Cost of Living Support

Essex County Council - Provider Hub
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Market Context

Working Aged Residential Care is a service that supports an adult with learning disabilities and/or autism and physical and sensory impairments on a long-term basis. Going forwards, the Council's strategy is to reduce the number of residential placements, instead supporting people to be more independent within their own homes.

The services are currently delivered by a very diverse range of providers within Essex with more than 900 people currently placed within residential services. All services are currently procured on a spot basis by Essex County Council, and we purchase three different types of service from this market:

  • Permanent residential placements
  • Temporary residential placements
  • Short term or respite services

In the future, the intention of the Council is to work with the market to better meet our requirement for the most complex adults we support, and to do this we will procure a new framework specifically for the placement of adults with complex needs and to seek to stimulate the market to develop more services for these adults.

It is expected that some services which do not meet the direction of the residential market may need to consider transition to other services such as supported living or to take more complex adults.

Market Rating

Market quality is good within Essex, as evidenced by the CQC ratings awarded to residential homes. Workforce remains a significant challenge for providers and the ability to recruit and retain staff remains very difficult in the current markets. Demand is relatively stable but the majority of demand in the future will be for complex needs which poses a threat to some homes in our market that are not suited to delivering care to these adults. As such, the ambition is to decrease supply in the market and focus on complex needs services to align with our direction of travel.

Market Quality Market Supply ECC Demand
Good Low Stable
Market Quality = Good Market Supply = Low ECC Demand = Stable
ECC Ambition Market Workforce Market Maturity
Decrease Supply Very Low Mature
ECC Ambition = Decrease Supply Market Workforce = Very Low Market Maturity = Mature

ECC rating of the market, assessed on the 01 October 2022

There is capacity in the market, but the capacity needs to be brought in line with Essex’s future vision. Going forward the placements will predominantly be for very complex needs, and work needs to be done with the market to move to this position. We have a wide and varied market, and rationalisation will be needed in the future to streamline the market to align with the vision of residential care.

  • There have been 9 homes exit the AWD residential market with 2 new homes developed over the last year with 1 anticipated to join in the coming months.
  • ECC commissions all LD residential services on a spot contract basis with prices negotiated individually with providers at the time of placement by SPT. ECC use Care Cubed as a benchmarking tool to ensure placements are made at rates achieving value for money.
  • Each placement is made under the terms of the AWD Residential Contract 2020 with a smaller number on the older 2016 version.
Essex Market
No. Homes 168
No. Beds 1,553
% Homes CQC rated Good or Outstanding 85%
Total Occupied Beds (including ECC funded) 1,314
Occupancy % 82%
Occupancy % for ECC Funded Adults 52%
Market Entrants since 1.April 2022 1
Market Exits since 1.April 2022 0

The market has been segmented based on the main specialism supported by the home

Essex ASC Market (ECC Funded)
2022-23 Forecasted Spend £208 Million
No. Adults funded by ECC receiving care in a residential setting 1,060
% ECC funded placements in a residential setting CQC rated Good or Outstanding 83%
Average Length of Stay (Years) 5 years 5 months
Essex ASC Market - Sourcing
Average Rate per week £1,998.68
No. Placements per month 16
% Admissions CQC rated Good or Outstanding  78%
Average Placements ended per month  7

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

Information in the above table for sourcing is based on activity between 1st April 2022 and 31st July 2022.

Moving towards the vision although gaps do remain, there is a lot of ongoing work with providers developing new services and models to match ECC vision and requirements. We are working towards bringing in a framework to focus solely on complex needs to further stimulate development of the types of services we will need.

Work is going on within the Ageing Well programme looking at adults aged 55+ and where they might have their needs best met in the future to allow for market shaping in the residential market.

There are lots of existing placements and stock where we are unlikely to make placements into. There will be work done to complete planned exits for the market. There will be some viability issues in the market in the future to meet the vision, but this is being managed through a risk matrix.

The current COVID impact highlighted is:

  • Lower impact than seen in OP residential; there were cases, but the market reacted well with infection control and staff availability.
  • Staffing - we are starting to see that it is as difficult or more difficult to recruit into as other industries open up.
  • Long Covid will potentially have an impact on PSI
  • Providers had to increase hours of support where individuals could not access day opportunities, placing pressure on the workforce.

Current market risks:

  • Staffing remains a risk - POLR used during COVID
  • Withdrawal of central funding for Covid response which may mean providers seek increases from us to cover these gaps.
  • Squeeze on development - less likely to develop if money is tighter and homes can’t be staffed.
  • Potential closure of homes in future as placements slow to ‘traditional’ homes and they become unviable.

Our current area of focus is:

  • To stabilise and maintain the markets so that moving forward we can work in partnership and innovate with the market
  • Innovate - move from a category approach to a local community partnership approach – market shaping by community and locally expressed need
  • Value – sustainable rates which are efficient whilst also supporting the required service development
  • Continue to promote choice and control for individuals and their families, with personalised, inclusive approaches driving outcomes and progression
  • Drive the progression of individuals, meeting and sustaining their outcomes to live a more meaningful life
  • Improve the quality of provision inclusive of quality of care and accommodation.
  • Develop the provision of more specialist complex care accommodation to meet the needs of people with complex needs, including PSI.
Last updated: 14/10/2022