About commissioning in social care

The Joint Commissioning Unit (JCU) is a team that manages the contracting of services for childrens’ social care, adults’ social care and public health.

Needs of individuals are assessed by social workers or health professionals and it is the JCU’s job to find a placement or service that meets the needs of that individual within a variety of care markets, usually provided by the independent private sector.

Finding placements, paying providers and ensuring the quality of the placement all fall within the remit of the JCU.

There is a wide system that exists to provide for the health and social care needs of vulnerable people in Havering, and it is the function of the JCU to try and ensure that the system is coordinated in the best possible way to meet the needs of individuals and ensure their well-being.

The JCU are also responsible for preparing a number of reports about social care.


Cost of care

The Cost of Care Exercise is a central government initiated project conducted by every council to help the DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) to understand more about local care markets – specifically focused on the domiciliary care (for those aged 18+) and care home market (for those aged 65+). 

This was announced to preface the (now delayed) amendments to the Social Care Act, but is still expected to go ahead broadly in-line with the original guidance and reduced grant allocations of the Market Sustainability and Fair Cost of Care Fund.

This wider exercise collected data from providers in scope, and determined the median average cost for their services, or the calculated ‘cost of care’. 

This figure is not expected to be achieved from the publication of the provisional Market Sustainability Plan (see below), but to gradually be moved towards over the coming years, using the grant allocated.

The outcomes from analysis of the data received, alongside a report detailing the methodology used was submitted to the DHSC in October 2022, which can be found in the files below.

The final part of the submission was a provisional ‘Market Sustainability Plan’ to set out how the council will use the grant in future years to move closer to the calculated cost of care, as well as an assessment of the market pressures.

In October 2022, this plan was submitted in provisional form, but has been updated and published below.

London Councils collectively agree that there are limiting factors that diminish confidence in the veracity of results from this exercise.

They include:

  • data biased by those who chose to participate
  • varying costs between provider (including rates of return)
  • insufficient time to carry out due diligence and obtain a higher response rate
  • rising inflationary costs, meaning the data from the exercise (obtained in Aug 2022) is now outdated

From the outset, it is important to acknowledge the fundamental limitations of the data and the unknown variables that are key constraints for the analysis of the cost of care data.

Havering proceeded to analyse cost lines and applied a consistent approach to return on operations, with reference to evidence-based industry guidance from external consultants to ensure validity.

Nevertheless, the data quality concerns are such that, even after final analysis, it is necessary for the local authority to consider other factors in setting fee rates as the cost of care outputs alone do not provide a reliable basis for fee setting.

Havering is currently conducting a separate consultation of the market before setting rates for 23/24.

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