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Essex County Council - Provider Hub
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Our Approach to the Market

Over the recent few years, Essex County Council have been strategically working to improve stability, and relationships with our Essex Care Market Providers. As result this has allowed us to:

  • Stabilise our markets by increasing the capacity of our service provision in the Essex market by encouraging Essex providers to join our framework(s).
  • Drive up the quality of services purchased to good or outstanding providers.
  • Effectively manage price through the use of framework(s) by providers selecting rates on matrixes that allows Essex to manage value for money.
  • Utilise the frameworks to shape service delivery outcomes through the use of our contracts. This includes process efficiencies, Care Act Regulations like choice and control, 3rd Party Top Ups and joint health and social care pricing matrixes for Residential Care. This includes increases in independence, prevention, early intervention and recovery.
  • Improve relationships with providers across our market proactive engagement and collaborative development of future procurements or sourcing activities.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of our existing future workforce and work strategically to encourage our carer workforce to evolve to meet complex demand.
  • Improve the use of data and insight to inform our market on adult trends, on gaps in the market or our planned commissioning intention and innovation to trial and change ways of working through the use of our market.

Agreed high level market shaping principles shaped by the Care Act to help us work better with adults and carers. 

  • Outcomes Focused; ensuring the adult outcome is at the forefront of our service design and delivery.
  • Promote Independence; to keep people well at home in their community and families.
  • Collaborate; to work with all system partners, organisations and suppliers to ensure our services are shaped and mobilised effectively.
  • Safe; to ensure people are safe and to promote good and outstanding care to our adults. 
  • Engage; to continue to work with all stakeholders, keep people involved in current and the future delivery of services. 
  • Innovate; to trial new concepts and ideas, ensuring that we evolve services to meet the needs of our adults through the use of new commercial models and technology. 

Collaboration has been vital and key to our delivery during the recent years. We have worked with our huge network of organisations and suppliers to ensure information, practice and most importantly a shared approach to delivery aids our business needs. This has involved

  • Fast tracking the utilisation of data and insight, and the use of technology as part of the health and social care service offer.
  • Progressed activities with the NHS which has pushed forward our agenda for joint collaborative working, decision making and future market shaping.
  • Establishment of the 5 place-based alliances, lead by the locality directors along with representatives from children’s services and public health; district/city council representatives; the voluntary community sector and the NHS and others. 
  • Collaborative working with the Essex Care Association to ensure insight is shared with our market and where possible maintain market resilience with our strategic providers.
  • Continued partnership working with the ADASS Regional group on workforce, social care markets, innovation in joint working on agreed tasks and technology.

Throughout the Pandemic, Essex County Council have still continued to deliver on existing contracts or services, this includes:

  • The implementation of the new reablement contract with ECL to support intermediate care activities within Essex.
  • The implementation of the Tech Enabled Care contract supporting nearly 10,000 people to remain independent as well as other digital projects such as Tribe and Electronic Homecare Monitoring.
  • The roll out of new contract terms and conditions for AWD residential services to bring them under a new specification, with new performance measures, and reduced numbers of people waiting to move into Supported Living, overall reduced capacity.
  • An IRN contract have 155 homes on the framework as per 31.March 2024. The Supported Living framework has been procured and mobilised for AWD with a value of £345m over 4 years; 93 providers have been brought on to the framework covering 85% of our market within Essex.
  • Re-commissioning the new Live at Home Framework to support the strategic direction of the Domiciliary Care Service.
  • Re-design of the Direct Payment Support offer went live July 2023 with the benefits of seeing greater confidence in direct payments, increased uptake of service, people finding it easier to recruit and retain a Personal Assistant and much more.
  • Immobilisation of the Essex Resilience Forum which brings together all partners to ensure that processes are in place for major incidents and emergencies to coordinate a response.

At Essex County Council we recognise that the people who use services, support and facilities have the best knowledge and experience to say how they want them to be. Our ambition is to have a more systematic and consistent approach to co-production and to embed lived experience across all our work. This will help ensure our practice and the solutions we commission are fit for purpose and meet what people want and need.  This means:

  • To embed lived experience at every level and be able to evidence it.
  • It’s a part of our Quality Assurance & Service Assurance Frameworks.
  • A consistent approach across all our work that is guided by coproduced strategic intentions.
  • Continuous improvement and sharing learning as we go along.
  • Including voices of people that are hard to engage.
  • A more equal and reciprocal relationship with people who access support in the design, delivery and evaluation of the support they receive, ensuring that people are recognised and remunerated for their work.

Essex County Council have mobilised a number of initiatives over during the last few year in particular following the pandemic. High level activities includes:

  • The mobilisation of the use of the Essex Care Search system to allow the NHS and Social Care Practitioners to discharge adults into residential settings from hospital during the first wave.
  • The implementation of Provider of Last Resort (POLR) to prop up our market where workforce or provision issues results in adults at risk of not receiving a service.
  • The implementation of Care Market Hubs across each quadrant to support daily deliverables across the system (NHS and Social care) whilst supporting providers within the area to remain resilient through the Care Provider Information Hub.
  • The implementation of the 12-month underwritten beds contract to financially support residential providers from the 18th March 2020 until the 31st March 2021.
  • The mobilisation of designated bed settings during the first wave to support adults with COVID being discharged from hospital. This includes the setup of Howe Green ran by ECL, and during the second wave three residential homes who were able to take COVID + Adults.
Last updated: 31/03/2024