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Working with care providers to understand costs

1 February 2017

CIPFA was commissioned by the Department of Health, the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to co-ordinate production of this guide in agreement and consultation with the Care Provider Alliance (CPA), as part of a joint programme to support implementation of the Care Act.

The Care Act (2014) introduced new duties for local authorities in England to facilitate and shape a diverse, sustainable market for quality care and support in their local area. This practical guide is intended for adult social care commissioners who wish to develop their understanding of the costs involved in providing care to help them meet these duties. The aim is to enable and equip commissioners with the knowledge and skills to support informed dialogue with providers in the interest of working toward agreed fee rates which are affordable, good value for money and support market sustainability.

Commissioners are increasingly skilled at striking the delicate balance between making the most of limited resources and meeting the statutory requirements to shape sustainable care markets for their local populations. This growing wealth of experience provided the foundations for this guide, which was produced with extensive input from local authority commissioners, and also social care providers through a series of workshops and through consultations with individuals all aimed at to identifying and bringing together good practice. This process uncovered a variety of examples of collaborative and innovative approaches to costing, and identified means of generating efficiency savings in commissioning care. 

This guide has been written with a local authority audience in mind, and with an appreciation that a wide range of people in councils both officers and elected members play a role in commissioning adult social care. Inevitably, readers will have a range of professional backgrounds, different levels of experience, and varying levels of familiarity with accountancy, finance, business and economics terminology. Therefore, to make the guide as accessible as possible, while remaining relevant and useful to those who are more familiar with the concepts used, boxes highlighted in blue give introductory overviews of some basic economics and business concepts, and a glossary of terms has been included at the back. 

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