Cost of Living Support

Essex County Council - Provider Hub
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Market Context

Social care support and services in this market are provided for the unpaid carer of adults and older people supported by Essex County Council who have had their own assessment of need.

We currently have four carer specific organisations operating in Essex, one being a nationally registered charity and the other three being Essex based voluntary and community sector organisations.  

One of the four providers is commissioned to deliver the Information, Advice and Guidance offer for carers and they are relatively new in Essex, securing the contract in 2018. 

Carers are referred into services and receive a quick intervention. Counselling has a small waiting list as demand for this service has increased as a result of the pandemic.  ECC will be publishing it’s four year strategy in April 2022 and this sets out our ambitions to increase our response to carers needs and thereby increase market opportunities.

Essex County Council currently commissions four carer specific providers to deliver 3 support offers for carers across Essex. The information, advice and guidance offer is a five-year contract due to end in March 2023. There is additional support via 2 pilots enabling ECC to test and learn the impact of counselling and befriending support and will inform future commissioning intentions.

Essex Market
Spend £4 Million
No. Providers 4
No. Known Carer 8187
No. Services 4
No. ECC funded Carer 433

The information shown in the table(s) above is correct as of 31.July 2022

The implementation of the Care Act in 2014 signalled change for carers by placing them on an equal footing as those they care for and giving them new rights to assessment and support for eligible needs. It also meant that information for carers should be easier to access.

In 2018 a five-year contract was awarded to a national carers support organisation to deliver information, advice and guidance to unpaid carers across Essex. The previously grant funded carers organisations were impacted by that re-commissioning have sustained their delivery and presence in Essex, 3 of which are delivering 2 pilot schemes for carers on our behalf.

The 2022-2026 Essex All Age Carers Strategy is being published in April 2022 and after extensive engagement with carers and those who support them, sets out how the council plans to work with carers and partners to improve support for carers over the next four years and drive our commissioning decisions

The current COVID impact highlighted is:

More people have become carers and those already in a caring role have needed to do more by way of caring than they did before. Where some may have had a reliance upon paid care staff to carry out some of the care, with care staff testing positive and needing to self-isolate, this resulted in the unpaid carers role increasing.

Current market risks:

  • From next year (April 2023) Adult Social Care will be subject to the new CQC Inspection Framework and any new services will be developed in conjunction with inspection standards and the market will need to deliver against those.  
  • Local Essex based voluntary sector providers may choose not to submit a tender when services are recommissioned and this will limit choice.

Our current area of focus is:

  • 2022-26 All-Age Carers Strategy Commissioning response to be developed for 2023
Last updated: 11/10/2022