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Care homes services commissioned


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Services we commission as at March 2018

  • In December 2017, Staffordshire County Council recommissioned the way it sources short and long-term care in care homes, opting to put in place a dynamic purchasing system arrangement for the supply of residential and nursing care services.
  • Proactis is the council’s dynamic purchasing system portal.
  • The dynamic purchasing system is an automated process through which an approach can be made to a wider range of providers for responses to placements. Providers can join this system at any point, which means it is more responsive to the market and enables new entrants to bid for Council funded placements.
  • Providers must register on the e-Procurement Portal Proactis before they can tender to join the dynamic purchasing system and enter into an agreement to use the system. The residential and nursing care home services page on the contracts database provides further details.
  • Call off contracts for block booked provision (including respite) can be awarded through the dynamic purchasing system agreement. The council then makes individual placements under such call off contracts on the telephone with the contracted providers.
  • Call off contracts for individual placements are awarded through the dynamic purchasing system agreement with specific invitations to tender issued via the Proactis portal.
  • Services under the agreement are split into lots. The call off contracts will be allotted by either residential care or nursing care, each of which is divided into the five care categories of Care homes that have a Care Quality Commission rating of inadequate may join the system but would be suspended from accepting new placements. We will work with care homes to improve provision and quality of care through support from the Care Market Development and Quality Assurance teams. Improvements will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
    • older people
    • dementia
    • learning disability or autism spectrum disorder
    • mental health
    • physical disability or sensory impairment

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Commissioning intentions as at March 2018

The duration of our current contractual arrangement is from 11 December 2017 until 30 September 2019, with the option to extend the initial term by up to two further extension periods of 12 months.

The residential and nursing care home services page on the contracts database provides further information. Alternatively, you can email adultcarehomesdps@staffordshire.gov.uk.

The council’s key priorities for adult social care are to ensure sustainability of the workforce and an affordable supply of good quality provision across the market in areas where supply is particularly challenged. Therefore, we are:

  • Aiming to ensure sustainability of provision to people with assessed care needs receiving local authority-funded support in the most cost-effective manner. This will be through block purchasing and may also be through development of specific partnership arrangements, soft market testing or stimulating market supply (especially in nursing and dementia category nursing care and bariatric care).
  • Retendering the respite bed contract with the option to increase capacity if or when it is needed through block purchase arrangements. New contracts are from 1 April 2019 until 31 March 2021 with the option to extend the initial term by up to two further extension periods of 12 months.
  • Looking to work further with the sector to address some of the existing workforce pressures through:
    • innovation in service delivery (e.g. in assistive technology or technology-enabled care and diversification of the traditional nursing home delivery model)
    • creating shared pools of nursing staff
    • the Care Market Development Team website provides information on recruitment and retention, training and events and signposts to local and national news and resources supporting the recruitment process.
    • Aiming to improve the timeliness of assessments (e.g. through use of trusted assessor processes) and reduce inappropriate hospital admissions.

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Key market messages

The training and events web page on the Care Market Development Team website and their mailshots provide details of future engagement opportunities (such as the Managers Quality Network Forum and the Registered Managers Network). 

We are encouraging organisations to contact us to discuss how the council can work with you or act as a consultee, especially if the following apply:

  • Partners who are interested in developing or re-developing nursing care homes (especially dementia nursing care homes). Please note that procurement opportunities will be advertised through Proactis.
  • Nursing care home partners who would be looking to increase local capacity especially where supply is more limited.
  • Nursing care home partners who would be interested in working collaboratively to improve career pathways and opportunities for nursing staff (for example, creating a pool of nursing staff to operate more cost effectively across a number of organisations).
  • Care home partners who are able to support people with complex needs and joint funded placements with the NHS that may require specialist knowledge or equipment (e.g. bariatrics).
  • Care homes who want to work with the council and its partners to support people with complex needs and reduce the ongoing need for one to one support and intensive supervision and support.
  • Care home partners or agencies wishing to upskill their workforce to support better quality or more specialist care provision.
  • Care homes keen to innovate (e.g. utilise more assistive technology and technology-enabled care, diversify their provision, diversify delivery of the traditional nursing home delivery model [e.g. in rolling out a Nursing Associate or similar role etc.])
  • Staffordshire homes keen to seek further support on improving how they run their business and or how they meet expected quality standards.

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Principles of service provision

Staffordshire County Council aims to:

  • Support individuals in their own homes. The council’s priority is to enable individuals to continue living in their own homes and to participate fully in the same range of community options as others. Where individuals are unable to remain independent without significant support in the community, we will consider care home placement.
  • Ensure the care home market in Staffordshire offers a personalised service which is flexible, responsive and focused on enabling people to maintain maximum independence and well-being and achieve the best outcomes for their personal circumstances. The mechanisms for capturing support and wellbeing outcomes, together with complaints, safeguarding, workforce learning and development and continuous improvements are built into the care home contract. These mechanisms include resident reviews, the care home annual return alongside provider engagement and contract monitoring processes.
  • Promote a sustainable care home market for the future, available to older people and working age adults with disabilities which meets people’s eligible assessed needs, is affordable to all users and is of the right quality. We are doing this in a number of ways including improving:Shape the market to ensure there is adequate provision of specialist dementia care in residential and nursing homes now and in the future. We are doing this by sharing market intelligence to support increased capacity, providing workforce development opportunities specifically linked to provision of quality dementia care and through direct intervention when appropriate.
    • Cross organisational information gathering, information sharing and integrated working with the NHS to support better access to information to support business development.
    • The quality and accessibility of market intelligence we can share with the market and the timeliness with which we share it.
    • Market engagement opportunities to provide better mechanisms for a two-way sharing of information, fee engagement processes and earlier fee setting, including:
    • Access to a range of business support for businesses providing adult social care services, including access to Council support and more general support for Staffordshire businesses.
    • How the Care Market Development Team supports ease of posting job search details for applicants and vacancies for providers.
    • Promotion of the find a job recruitment portal (Department for Work and Pensions) with providers.
    • Development of a training and events offer to adult social care businesses which is responsive to market need and is informed by the market.
    • Mechanisms for care homes to notify local authorities, NHS commissioners and local hospitals of current vacancies, to simplify and accelerate placement processes.

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Marketplace challenges

Market position statement intelligence outlining the evidence base supporting this programme of work is available on the Information for Providers website.

Nationally and locally the following key pressures in the care home market have been identified:

  • We are increasingly experiencing unanticipated delays when the council places people who require nursing care and particularly dementia category nursing support and people who require bariatric care. This is partly attributed to delays in care home assessments, workforce recruitment and retention challenges across key roles in this sector and low vacancy rates available for local authority placement in certain areas of the county.
  • These delays impact on the choice of care homes available to people with assessed needs in certain areas, especially in Lichfield, South Staffordshire, Cannock, Stafford and Tamworth.There has been a net loss of nursing care home beds, alongside an overall gain in residential care home beds over the past three years.
  • The care home market is struggling to recruit to certain roles (especially registered managers) and is struggling to retain an effective workforce, particularly for nursing and care worker roles in residential and nursing care homes and registered managers in nursing care homes. Vacancy rates have been increasing over the past 5 years regionally. This is further complicated by low levels of unemployment in Staffordshire and evidence of an increased reliance on agency staff being identified regionally.
  • The quality of care in nursing homes is lower than it is in residential care homes. In addition to this, care quality in Staffordshire nursing homes is lower than it is nationally.
  • The National Living Wage and auto enrolment into the workplace pension scheme introduced additional cost pressures, which has resulted in increased financial pressures on care homes.

A printable PDF version of Staffordshire's care home commissioning intentions is also available.

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Contact us

Providers can contact us by emailing the Health and Care engagement inbox:


You can also download this document for offline viewing (738 KB)

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