Posts in Members News
Registered Manager's Network 2019-2020

And this very popular Network for registered managers enters its 6th year! Words from the network’s organiser below and you can download the flyer here.

Spread the word! Click here to register your interest. If you want to talk to someone before you register then Email Mik Alban  or Tel:  07788 498909

“We will be continuing our popular Registered Managers’ Network sessions with the next three sessions focusing on:

  1. Managing investigations

  2. Managing performance

  3. Managing families and expectations.

In addition we will also:

  1. keep the CQC theme … each session will have a slot where participants can provide updates and discuss their experience of recent CQC inspections.

  2. provide pertinent updates … starting with the Liberty Protection Safeguards.

  3. continue with sharing ideas and good practice. This seems to be appreciated so we will keep it as a theme that runs throughout all the sessions.

  4. provide the opportunity for participants to raise issues that are affecting them. A sort of ‘problem shared is a problem halved’ slot.

  5. focus on the creation (and sharing) of mini training sessions that participants can adapt for their own workplaces.

 Plenty of good stuff for everyone”.

The CQC Portal and PIR: voice your concerns

As members of the Care Association Alliance, we can bring you information about the recent Adult Social Care Trade Association meeting with Ian Trenholm, the new CQC Chief executive: Notes here ; discussion points below.

The next meeting will discuss the unreliability of the CQC portal and challenges with the PIR document. If you have concerns. then please send them to us using the form below:

Discussions included: 
# good data management is a key indicator of good leadership and management;
# making CQC and easier organisation to do business with
# CQC role of market oversight  

Name *
Provider Engagement from CQC

At the end of January CQC will be launching their Annual Provider Survey. This will go out to approximately 70% of providers as a web survey with all responses being anonymous. This year we will be adding a series of additional questions we’d like to get your views on before finalising the survey.

They would find it very helpful if you could spare the time to complete this short survey and are ideally looking for views by the 21st January.

Care & Support West 2019 Care Awards: Nominate Now!

The 2019 Care Awards Nomination Process is now open. There are revised categories to help recognise the growing number of people who care via direct payments and to recognise the role of the education sector in Care training.

Go to our Nominations Page on our website to see

  • the Award Categories

  • the judging criteria

  • the online nomination form

  • get a download of the nomination form.

  • information on helping to spread the word!

Nominate now to show your colleagues and staff that you really do appreciate them

Changes to C&SW DBS checking process


This document is also available as a download here

C&SW has traditionally carried out DBS (and previously CRB) checks for many of its members using a paper-based model and the royal mail system of transfer between the provider, DBS office and the C&SW provider of the process Care Futures. For some years now, it has been possible to carry out DBS checks using an “On-Line” mechanism via the internet. The major advantage of the on-line model is that application results can be with the provider much quicker and in some cases within 48 hours. Care Futures will no longer be able to offer the paper-based system from January 1st 2019 so we have researched a range of alternatives for members to use all of which use an on-line process.

Below you will find two models for your consideration – the first is one whereby you engage directly with an on-line company yourself to carry out all your own DBS application processes (just contact them via the web link shown) and the second is one where you join a local organisation which in effect replicates the work Care Futures did on your behalf but uses an on-line model. Both models offer phone support and will be able to help you manage the new way of managing DBS applications quickly and well.

Doing the work directly yourself ---- Three companies to explore


Registration (One-off) £19:95 + Vat

Enhanced application     (direct 1:1 care work)                     £52.00

Standard application       (admn/back office staff)                               £35.40

Volunteer (Enhanced or standard) (non-paid staff)          £10.40  

UCheck is an online solution that lets you easily run checks on job applicants. Enter the applicant’s details just once, select which particular checks you need and get quick results. No more endless waiting, no more having to use different systems for different checks. Only need a DBS check or one other type of check? UCheck pay as you go pricing means it’s still cost effective and you’ll benefit from the speed of using UCheck for making checks online.


Registration free

Enhanced application     (direct 1:1 care work)                     £56.00

Standard application       (admn/back office staff)                               £38.00

Volunteer (Enhanced or standard) (non-paid staff)          £12.00  

Free registration and full setup within 15 minutes! Register your organisation now for the provision of criminal record checks with Care Check. Apply now for your Basic, Standard and Enhanced level DBS disclosures. Click here to manage your employees/volunteer DBS checks.

Registration free

Enhanced application     (direct 1:1 care work)                     £72.80

Standard application       (admn/back office staff)                               £54.80

Volunteer (Enhanced or standard) (non-paid staff)          £Not known      

Getting a DBS check online is fast, simple, and straightforward. With just one simple form to complete, our DBS application service is conducted online in a matter of minutes.

 Doing the work via Avon Local Medical Committee (LMC) Disclosure & Barring Service

Contact:               Pauline Jenkins

HR Adviser, Avon LMC

14a High Street, Staple Hill

Bristol BS16 5HP

T: 0117 9702755


 Enhanced application     (direct 1:1 care work)                     £60.00

Standard application       (admn/back office staff)                               £42.00

Volunteer (Enhanced or standard) (non-paid staff)          £16.00  

Process Start-up

1.       C&SW Care provider registers with Avon LMC (free of charge)

e.g. Care Home, Nursing Home, Dom Care Org, Supported Living Org

2.       C&SW Care provider gains Login code via registration to make applications

3.       C&SW Care provider now ready to process DBS applications

 DBS process

a)      LMC registered C&SW Care provider accesses DBS application form via login process  

b)      C&SW Care provider sends form to Applicant to complete

c)       Info on completed form verified by C&SW Care provider

d)      C&SW Care provider sends completed accurate form to Avon LMC DBS team

e)      LMC team checks form info is accurate and appropriately verified

f)       LMC team send completed accurate form to DBS Application company


The decision members will need to make depends greatly on the availability of IT systems in their Care Home or Dom Care office settings and the expertise of management staff to use them. It is however a truth that we all now use the internet in one way or another so moving to using it to gain a quicker result for the important matter of DBS application results is crucial in the era of tricky staff recruitment processes. The cost of the LMC model is close to that which members have been paying for the C&SW process and the costs involved with two of the three direct companies is less than the current fees organisations have needed to pay.

 Need help?

Please, if after reading this document you need advice or guidance please come back to me and I will see if I can support you.


Free "Human Factor" Training For Home Care Providers

C&SW member Jane Redman, owner of BS Healthcare, has been involved in an exciting venture developing ‘Human Factor’ Training in conjunction with the BNSSG Community Education Provider Network (CEPN). The project recognises the value of Home Care Providers in helping service users to remain well at home.

Amongst other things, the training will look at:

  • Identifying Frailty

  • Identifying ‘The deteriorating patient’

  • Identifying risk factors for the prevention of pressure injury.

There are 3 training days across the BNSSG area. Download the flyer for dates and further details

Members NewsBarbara Harris
Arts Festival hosted by Milestones Trust helps to reduce stigma and discrimination

Milestones Trust update – Expressions arts festival

During the weekend of the 15th and 16th September, Milestones Trust hosted their annual Expressions arts festival, which this year was inspired by nature and the environment. The Expressions arts programme uses creative art to help the people we supports develop new skills, make new friends and build confidence, by offering an alternative form of self-expression and communication.

Filling the event space at Paintworks in Bristol, the ‘Opening Minds’ exhibition brought together the creative talents and original artworks of the people supported by the charity.  Key exhibits included Halfway to the Sun, a cascading plastic installation created from recycling old plastic bottles, beautifully crafted textile Peacocks and a multi-sensory installation that used sound and light to explore the natural environment.

Alongside the different forms of art, the weekend event also featured a line-up of entertainment including live music from local Bristol bands, comedy from the likes of Mark Olver, Steve Day and Juliette Butler, poetry readings and original films depicting the work of milestones Trust, to create a fascinating and enjoyable day out for visitors. 

Louise Copping, art co-ordinator at Milestones Trust, explained: “We brought together some wonderful creations for the ‘Opening Minds’ exhibition, from art installations to crafted textiles, and from poetry to ceramics. It was fantastic to be able to showcase the different works and the months of hard work by the artists involved.

“What is most important about this exhibition, is not only what’s on display, but also how this shared arts movement helps to reduce stigma and discrimination for people receiving social care support."

Members NewsBarbara Harris
Cintre Celebrates Cooking Course Success

Cintre staff and service users got together on 2nd October to celebrate the first group completing their 12-week Big Lottery Funded Cooking Course.

 The course is designed to give small groups the opportunity to develop their cooking skills, and knowledge of nutrition in a safe, supported environment. It is also a great way for service users to make friends and develop new social connections. Before starting the course all participants are given the opportunity to attend a half day food hygiene training course, and each cooking session is then run by a combination of keyworkers and volunteers.

 For the celebration day, the course group prepared a fantastic, and healthy meal of fajitas, sweet potato wedges, and a range of salads. To mark their achievement, each participant was given a certificate, and a recipe book covering all dishes that they cooked across the 12 sessions.

 The cooking course is just one of several group activities that Cintre now provides for service users to help them develop new skills, find volunteering opportunities, socialise, and make new friends. Other activities on offer include IT skills sessions, sports, board games afternoons and a gardening club. The charity has big plans to expand its offering of group sessions in 2019 and beyond.

 Claire Mould, Cintre CEO said, “Cintre are delighted to be able to offer new and exciting group activities to our service users. We have been highly impressed with how much every member of the first cooking group has benefited from the course, each positively progressing onto something else as a result of their involvement in the course. This has proved so successful that we are now planning to expand our groups, and look forward next year to opening them out to service users from other organisations in the City.”

Service users from the course are pictured below with CEO Claire Mould and Activities organiser Scott Hopkinson (fyi, winner of the Activities Organiser Award at this years’ Care Awards)

Government Asleep on the Job.

The Tomlinson Blake Employment Tribunal ruling that sleep-in shifts be paid the national minimum wage sent shockwaves through the care industry. Notwithstanding opinion on whether workers should be paid this, the prospect of a £400m back-pay bill combined with rigorous HMRC enforcement threatened the very foundations of the UK’s social care model generating immense uncertainty in the sector.

In this context, the Court of Appeal’s emphatic rejection of the decision in July prompted a sigh of relief and was hailed as  Bright Line Decision by Walker Morris. Relief is short-lived unfortunately! Unison has now lodged an appeal against this decision in the Supreme Court. Whilst the grounds for appeal are not generally available yet, it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will sit before Summer / Autumn 2019

So the mayhem continues, the government appears to be doing little and the uncertainty is set to continue for another year at a time when "Care providers throughout the UK will now face further uncertainty at a time when consistency and continuity of the law is greatly needed." (Matthew Wort, Partner at Anthony Collins Solicitors

You can browse a series of articles and information sources from professionals in the field which are listed below. They give different  perspectives but all of them call for clarity and proper funding;  all express anxiety at the  immense complexity caused by the situation with both Unison and Mencap laying  blame firmly at the Government’s door.

Reading them a summary of the issues seems to be:

  • Agreement on what a realistic payment for “Sleep-In” shifts should be. The Court of Appeal: “It would not be a natural use of language, in a context which distinguishes between (actually) working and being available for work, to describe someone as “working” when they are positively expected to be asleep throughout all or most of the relevant period.”  V Unison: ‘Sleep-in shifts involve significant caring responsibilities, often for very vulnerable people. With too few staff on at night, most care workers are often on their feet all shift, only grabbing a few minutes sleep if they can. That’s why it’s such a disgrace that workers have been paid a pittance for sleep-ins – with some getting just £30 for a ten-hour shift.”
  • The ruling is not a blanket ruling but must be considered on a case by case basis puts additional strain on the employment element of care businesses, defining ‘specific activities’ and providing clarity.
  • Back payment? Have some workers been paid? What commitments and expectations are in place as a result of the original decision? Will these still be valid?
  • Ongoing payments: Will those organisations now paying NMW feel they can stop?  Some providers have parked paying out back pay and definitely moved back to flat rate payments going forward. What will be the impact of this decision on the already precarious recruitment situation and poor morale in care?
  • Are commissioners now funding Sleep-Ins on a NMW rate on an ongoing basis? Will they continue pending the Appeal?
  • What about the Social Care Compliance Scheme? This blog from James Taylor of the Access Group suggests it will continue but questions how it will operate.
  • What are HMRC’s instructions about enforcement?
  • What will the government do? “There needs to be a clear set of rules about exactly when NLW applies, and for government to fund these vital statutory services to avoid any future crises. Without this decisive action, our staff remain in an uncertain position with regards to their pay.” 

James Sage from Royds Withy King in the Guardian:

Walker Morris: Bright Line Decision:

Civil Society Article:




Mik's "Words from the Care Face" 2

Blog 2 – How many inspectors do we need?

Our The issues we face report was developed from a series of conversations with Registered Managers and people providing care and support services. It is designed to provide a voice for the sector based on the actual experiences of those who work in it. 

Providers find themselves inspected by CQC, local authority quality assurance or contract compliance teams and at times Healthwatch. All of these bodies have slightly different approaches and report on their findings. Providers are told public money is tight and experience this in their day to day operations and yet there is funding for three different bodies to come in and effectively do the same job.

Often these organisations have slightly different thoughts about what they want to see and yet providers who are already busy can’t be running parallel systems. They need to be running a single set of systems.

Would it not be better to have a single inspection body (potentially with representatives from these different stakeholders) and one agreed approach?

Would it also not be better for the regulator(s) to provide documents and templates which they agree represent Best Practice and which providers can use as a baseline and adapt them to meet their own requirements? Then people don’t have to second guess what’s wanted and to keep reinventing the wheel.

Providers appreciate having inspectors who they can talk to and who can offer them advice. Would it be better to have an ongoing and supportive relationship between services and their regulator(s) so that inspections can reflect a more thorough and ongoing assessment of a service rather than the current ‘snapshot’?

What are your thoughts?

If you are interested in looking at the full ‘The issues we face’ report, you can download a copy here.

Conference Commentary, Slides and Downloads

The C&SW Conference enjoyed record numbers of delegates and exhibitors this year and for the first time was sponsored by three of our Commercial Partners; Care Planner, Nurseline Healthcare and Nourish Care. The delegate numbers were north of 150 and the exhibitors numbered around 23.

Opening the day: David Smallacombe (CEO Care and Support West) opened the day by inviting the three sponsors to say a few words about why they had decided to become commercial partners with C&SW and why in particular they had agreed to sponsor the event.  He went on to set out the kind of support C&SW members could expect from him, Angela Roberts (Dep CEO), Mik Alban (Development Director) and Barbara Harris (IT support and newsletter writer) and closed his introduction by inviting non-members present to sign up to be a C&SW member via a special conference day deal on cost.  

The keynote speakers were Mei-Ling Huang (Royds Withy King Legal) and Professor Martin Green (Care England) in the morning and Deborah Ivanova (CQC) and Mick Feather (Citation --- also a C&SW commercial partner) in the afternoon. The remaining time in both the morning and afternoon programme was taken up with round table delegate discussions focused on what the keynote speakers had presented. The keynote PPT slides can be accessed via the links in this document; notes from the round table discussions are both on the C&SW web site and can be accessed here: Notes on Innovation

Mei-Ling’s presentation and talk focused on Service User Contracts, CQC and Local Authority Commissioners while Martin's presentation highlighted the importance of Sustainability, Maintenance and Growth. Both were variously critical of Local Authority Commissioners, CQC and Central Government and in particular Martin expressed his dissatisfaction with the latest boost to health funding making a total investment from government of £148b while social care sits at £18b. Mei wondered about local authority processes and highlighted the recent Competition Market Authority’s move to challenge care provider self-funder service users contracts and warned that both the CMA and CQC would be looking to focus on these. One of the highlights of the morning was a challenge to Martin Green from the delegate audience by a local authority commissioner. A couple of sparing rounds between them certainly livened up the audience!! 

The afternoon session saw a focus in Debbie's presentation on CQC and its task to Maintain Quality in Regulated Services while Mick chose to go with Improving Care Ratings and Keeping Quality Visible. Debbie, as you will see from her PPT slides had a great deal to say about the first element of the four CQC strategic priorities i.e. 1. encouraging improvement through innovation and sustainability in care. Mick's presentation took the audience through a number of the new KLOE’s and linked them to how best providers can improve their care ratings at the same time as keeping quality firmly at the centre of their work in order to obtain an Outstanding rating. He reminded people that always aiming for Outstanding is the route to take rather than being happy with Good!!

Some comments from speakers and delegates/Exhibitors

I thought it was a great event.  Thanks very much for allowing us to speak.  The joint session with Martin Green was fun and, I think, useful.

My reflections on the day are that it was great to see such a big and varied group of providers, managers and others come together all with a view to improving care and strengthening the sector.  There are a lot of issues to be managed these days but it’s heartening to know that CSW members have the can-do spirit and determination required not just to “stay alive” but to thrive. 

I thought the conference was an excellent opportunity for the care sector to come together, and to look at the current challenges, but also think about the way in which we can develop a diversify to meet these challenges”

Thanks for organising such a stimulating conference. It was useful to have the opportunity to be both a delegate and an exhibitor which is a helpful feature of C&SW conferences. It was perhaps the smoothest of starts that I have had: very easy to get set up and made to feel welcome. The day was well organised. 

Closing the day Len Collacott (Chair of C&SW) said:

"Firstly a few thankyous.  I am sure we all agree that this has been, as usual, a great conference. That takes a great amount of work so we need to thank David Smallacombe for his time energy and efforts (and his team). And a great thank you to all our thought provoking speakers. I wanted to do a brief recap of today’s event and mark out some of what I thought were the highlights.

·         Trevor from Nurseline- a great introduction. I have to question him- when he said ‘we will be using this service in 50 years’ time’- not me mate- at my age. We will have to get going a lot quicker than that!

·         Mei Ling- Always our X factor- often the fear factor- and always reminds me of the Gladiators. Contenders, are you ready?!

·         Martin Green- as entertaining as ever. This time he came as a double act with Vince, the commissioner from BANES.  We have to give a 10/10 to Vince for his willingness to stand his corner. It was good to have 3 rounds between Martin and Vince. Many thanks.

·         Debbie- Terrific to get the thoughts direct from the horse’s mouth of CQC. I do have to wonder though about the variance between what Debbie said about CQC looking to give support and guidance and what Martin said about CQC and its culture of being too ready to take enforcement action.

.         Mik Feather- A great opening song. What I took from Mik’s performance was from the same song sheet as Sean Fitzpatrick, the former All Blacks captain who said ‘In order to win, you just have to do the simple things well’ That is very true and his advice to remain calm when the CQC inspector arrives is very valid.

So, we face challenges. The biggest one is the integration of health and social care. That needs to be taken on seriously and speeded up. Martin has just told us the figures. A budget of £148billion for health and £18billion for social care. I want us to get our hands on a good deal of that because I am convinced that we, our industry, can provide much better value for money with it and we will all benefit.

Many thanks for attending today and have a safe journey home."


Mik Alban's 'Words from the Care Face'

What do you think social care staff are worth?

Our The issues we face report was developed from a series of conversations with Registered Managers and people providing care and support services. It is designed to provide a voice for the sector based on the actual experiences of those who work in it. 

It is well documented that the sector is facing significant pressures not least in relation to insufficient funding and an inability to recruit and retain the staff it needs. In order for the sector to survive never mind thrive, things will have to change. We make a series of recommendations throughout the report which are designed to resolve the issues we face. We would like to use this blog to share some of these recommendations with you and to get your thoughts.

In their 2017 ‘The adult social care sector and workforce’ report, Skills for Care highlight that the average staff turnover for staff directly employed in the adult social care sector is 32% ad that this rises to 39.5% for front line care workers. The average turnover rate across all sectors is estimated to be in the region of 15% so the social care sector clearly has a specific problem in retaining staff.  

When we spoke to managers about this they were clear that:

#  staff recruitment and retention are as bad as it has ever been despite them dedicating more time and effort to it.

#  Non-UK nationals are a vital part of many staff teams. Without them many services would increasingly struggle to operate.

#  Pay rates are a key issue. Care and support work is not a minimum wage job and staff can earn the same or more in other sectors without the same level of stress, responsibility and disruption to their lives.

#  Many people are either unable or unwilling to work the anti-social hours and shift patterns required in social care.

The Care and Support Statutory Guidance (The statutory guidance to the Care Act 2014) which is the guidance that local authorities need to follow states:

“People working in the care sector play a central role in providing high quality services. Local authorities must consider how to help foster, enhance and appropriately incentivise this vital workforce to underpin effective, high quality services ...” (Chapter 4.28)

“It should also allow retention of staff commensurate with delivering services to the agreed quality, and encourage innovation and improvement”. (Chapter 4.31)

There is clearly work to do.

In order to create a payment model for staff which would encourage their recruitment and retention and enable the sector to meet the requirements society has of it both now and in the future, we recommend:

1.    Basic rates of pay for front line care and support staff need to be sufficiently above the National Minimum / Living Wage to enable the sector to recruit the staff it needs.

2.    The ‘actual’ Living Wage as advocated by the Living Wage Foundation is used as a starting point. This is currently £8.75 an hour outside London. We believe staff working in this sector deserve an actual living wage. Using this as the baseline values staff and sends out the right message.

3.    There should be a pay enhancement to recompense staff for working anti-social hours.

4.    There should be a pay enhancement for staff who are required to work split shifts or to lone work.

5.    There should be a pay enhancement for staff who are required to support or care for people with complex needs.

6.    There should be a pay enhancement to reward experience / length of service.

7.    There should be further incentivising premiums for staff to take on greater levels of responsibility i.e. Senior Carers, Senior Support Workers, Team Leaders, Deputy Managers.  

What are your thoughts? Will the sector survive unless we can financially reward people properly for the work that they do?

If you are interested in looking at the full ‘The issues we face’ report, you can download a copy here.

Registered Managers Network 2018-2019: Book Now for Year 5!

Care and Support West run the well received Registered Manager’s Network sessions in B&NES, Bristol, North Somerset and South Glos in conjunction with Skills for Care. We start our fifth year in July.

See below for details of our new programme. 

Click here to register your interest

Principles of RMN sessions:

  • To share thoughts, ideas and resources to help each other to meet these requirements as clearly and unambiguously as possible. Presentations and resources from the Network sessions will be made available to participants via a special web page on the Care and Support West website.
  • A focus on participants supporting each other to raise our game collectively in line with the importance of complying with CQC’s requirements. 
  • A ‘problem shared is a problem halved’ slot: The opportunity for participants to raise issues that are affecting them; . Whether this is dealing with a particular situation or with difficult individuals, again it will be an opportunity to share experiences and ideas.
  • Pertinent updates. EG: At the first session this will be around the General Data Protection Regulation requirements which will be incoming from the end of May.

The Session Content:

Session 1 Well Lead: a focus on how we best evidence a service is being well led

Session 2 will be the part one of two parts focusing on meeting CQC’s Key Lines of Enquiry requirements as effectively as possible

Session 3 will be the part two of two parts focusing on meeting CQC’s Key Lines of Enquiry requirements as effectively as possible

If you are not a participant already and are interested in joining the Registered Manager’s Network in your area, then please contact Mik Alban on or 07788 498909.


£70 per participant for all 3 sessions (equivalent to £23.33 a session). making this a cost effective networking and Continuous Professional Development opportunity.

Click here to register your interest


Care Home Open Day 21st April

Care Home Open Day is upon us yet again!

With CQC emphasis on community links, Care Home Open Day is a really important initiative that can help you shine at the next assessment. You can find out more about it from their website

In 2018, the official day is 21st April but you can choose a date that suits you. Member Able Care have chosen 5th April because it works better for them for their open day at HENGROVE LODGE CARE HOME:  in Petherton Road. The idea behind the day is to encourage local people to visit care homes in their community and to work together to develop better relationships.

This important connection is something that Hengrove Lodge has nurtured and the home is already acting as a community hub, including regular visits from the Stay and Play Group from Southern Links Children’s Centre.

As part of the Care Home Open Day 2018 and working with LinkAge, Hengrove Lodge is hosting an afternoon with tea and cakes and the opportunity to get involved in flower arranging with Don Gay’s Florist who are based nearby.  Members of Christ Church Coffee Group have been invited to join in along with residents and their families.  You can see the full programme for the day under our page on the website by visiting

Sam Hawker, AbleCare Homes Director said: "This is a great way to show the excellent services on offer and the fantastic work that goes on at Hengrove Lodge.  Some people still have misconceptions about care homes so we are keen to dispel any myths and for people to come and have a look around, meet the staff and our residents."

C&SW 2018/19 Cost Pressures Report Available Now

Care and Support West produce a report each year on the Cost Pressures facing the sector every year; these are used in dialogue where we represent the sector. It is sent to both Local Authority and CCG commissioners within B&NES, Bristol, North Somerset and South Glos as well as relevant councillors and local MPs.

These are difficult times and we represent the entire sector in this dialogue, not just members. If you are not currently a Care and Support West member and are interested in supporting this work then you can find out more about C&SW membership

Our new 2018/19 Cost Pressures report can be found here

Developed from responses to a questionnaire, the report takes the stormy national discussions on the perfect storm brewing in relation to the funding of Social Care, and gives a local viewpoint, looking at what can be done to avoid it. 

We urge you to read the report. There is some useful information contained within it which can help you make your own case in relation to funding and to respond to the ongoing consultations

If you have any comments or feedback about the report then you can get in touch by emailing Mik Alban at

The Great Social Care Pass the Parcel Game

It seems that the music paused for a moment and the Social Care parcel has been left in another pair of hands! When Damien Green announced the Green Paper on how to fund and manage social care in the context of rapidly growing demand there was a kerfuffle. 

Care Industry News focused on the ADASS response; namely that the sector is already at tipping point with a funding gap. Secondly, where the Green Paper has a focus on the ageing population, Leonard Cheshire  point out that the Disabilities (Physical and Learning) Sector is just as big and the crisis is a "blight on the daily lives of disabled people up and down the country". The Guardian called the announcement a missed opportunity, it failed not just to take into account younger people in need of care and the disabled but failed to roll into it the long promised 'Carers Strategy' and failed to incorporate carer representation. The Local Government Association called for councils to have a key role in defining and shaping local care and again calling for immediate action to address immediate short term pressures.

However there was a broad welcome to the direction of travel albeit with a call for greater urgency and the need to build upon the inter-dependency of Health and Social Care.

At the time Jeremy Hunt said “We are committed to reforming social care to ensure we can guarantee everyone dignity and security in old age. It is important we consider a wide variety of views on the future of the social care system – as our ageing population continues to grow it is absolutely vital that we get this right.” So, is it surprising that Hunt's remit has been extended to Social Care and he has picked up responsibility for the Green Paper? Possibly it was the only and inevitable solution since Green's departure from the government.

But, is this extended role a substantive change?  The Financial Times tells us there is a sceptical response. A spokesman at Health says 'yes it is'; that where there were three organisations involved before, now there are only two. Plus, Hunt's role as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the appointment of Caroline Dinenage as a minister of Health and Social Care, re-positions Social care at Ministerial level. On the other hand, according to Norman Lamb, ex Minister for Health, while funding still remains with Communities and Local Government, there is no real change at all. And funding is the crux of the matter; in the words of ADASS, "...more needs to be done now to secure extra recurring money to address funding gaps, address continuing service pressures and the stability of the care market".

Rachel Sylvester at the TIMES* says that the funding must follow the ministerial remit that it's absurd that it remains with councils. "If local authorities are funding social care they have a perverse incentive to transfer the cost to hospitals". And this debate doesn't consider the iniquitous situation where some conditions are funded and others are not (viz cancer v alzheimers) and where private funders are subsidising those paid for by the public purse. Hunt's new 'Social Care Parcel' appears to contain a ticking time bomb and needs to be handled with care! "..Mr Hunt is willing to be brave. The only question is whether the Prime Minister has the authority to back him up"

But with all that said... at C&SW we welcome the debate and are pleased to see the integration of Health and Social Care at a Ministerial level even in semantics! We are particularly pleased to see the role requested of Skills For Care in handling the Care Sector Workforce Consultation. We understand that a further consultation questionnaire , with more focus on care needs will be available from Skills for Care shortly. We would urge our members, indeed the whole local care community to respond in your droves to the consultation, and to continue to lobby politicians wherever possible. 

Sources: Care industry News: Guardian article; Local Government Association; Leonard Cheshire; *Times article: you will need to register to see the full article.

Care Awards 2018

Nominations open on 24th January and close on 16th April

Judging will take place in May and June.

Finalists will be notified by the end of June and will all qualify for a free place at the Awards Dinner on 20th October at the Lansdowne Stand, Bristol Football Stadium.

Nomination materials will be found here. (from 24th)

Motivation and Recognition at Ablecare Homes

Ablecare have started a new initiative which aims to recognise contributions to the home and to wellbeing, made not by staff but by residents or visitors or volunteers.

Director Sam Hawker says: "A suggestion was made at our recent Managers’ Meeting to recognise the input of people other than paid staff into the running of the homes. As a result AbleCare Homes have created a Contribution of the Month Scheme.  Each month one individual will be honoured and will receive a certificate to thank them for their involvement. A copy of their certificate will be presented to them and posted on social media.

Suggestions for selecting AbleCare Homes Contribution of the Month:

  • Helping out around the home with duties such as setting tables, watering the plants etc. 
  • Joining in and helping to set up and lead activities for the enjoyment of residents. 
  • Cooperation, relationship with and support provided to residents.

The September Award was won by Roger, a resident at Crossley House in recognition of all the help he provides around the home

The October Award was won by Megan (below) who visited Hengrove Lodge every day during her half-term break, joining in activities and spending time with residents.  It really means a lot to everyone to have someone willing to spend time with them.

October Contribtuion.JPG
Ablecare Focus on Community Integration and Involvement

Director Sam Hawker tells C&SW about the visit to Ablecare by the Mayor Lesley Alexander:

"It was a great pleasure to welcome Bristol Lord Mayor, Lesley Alexander, when she visited AbleCare Homes Patron House.

Lesley took time to chat to staff and residents and find out about life in the home. Everyone got involved, even our training provider who was assessing NVQ Candidates on the day. 

Sam Hawker, said ‘It was really special for the resident and staff team in the home to know that Lesley was interested in what they do.  It is another positive PR success for Social Care when those in public life are genuinely interested in discovering the difference good care can make to the lives of individuals in the city.’   

In case you were wondering about the post, The Lord Mayor is the first Citizen of the City and County of Bristol. There have been Mayors in Bristol since 1216 and a Lord Mayor since 1899, following Queen Victoria's decision to grant Bristol this privilege."


In another initiative Hengrove Lodge has seen toddlers brightening the lives of residents. Children from the Hengrove branch of the Southern Links Childrens Centre visit the home. These visits have a real impact on the lives of people in the home says Lil Bowers from the Centre. Read the article in B24/7 here

"The Issues We Face": a new report from Care and Support West

Care & support West have published this comprehensive report on the the state of care in 2017, seen from the care providers' perspective. The author, Mik Alban, Development Director at Care & Support West said that he felt that it was important that care providers had a voice too.

"..this is a very accurate and true picture of the current market. Well done to whoever produced and created the report. We need to make sure it gets circulated as far as possible!! " Sam Notaro from Notaro Care

"I think this is a very good document and reflects what providers have been saying well.  Good Job!" Deian Glynn from Manor Communities

You can read the Executive Summary below and download the full report here.



1.  Care and Support West engaged with a broad selection of members, all providers of adult social care services, over a one-year period to mid-2016. The key issues that arose were the challenges of staff recruitment and retention which were descried as ‘dire’ and ‘as bad as it has ever been’. This is consistent with the national picture where Skills for Care estimate that there are around 84,000 staff vacancies in adult social care in England at any one time. Managers reported having to dedicate far more time and effort to staff recruitment and yet they were still struggling to attract both the numbers and the calibre of staff they require.

2.  The post-Brexit uncertainty for non-British workers has had a further adverse impact on sector recruitment and retention, deepening the crisis of Registered Nurse recruitment. This, together with the ageing workforce and regular negative press only worsen the recruitment challenge. The recruitment pressures in turn place additional burdens on those who are dedicated to delivering quality support; sadly, it is still seen as an industry not a profession and, being so heavily regulated, is often subsumed under the weight of paperwork.

3.  For the adult social care sector to remain viable, pay rates for front line staff are going to need to remain ahead of increases in the National Minimum Wage (NMW). This seems to be an intellectual leap too far for central government and local authorities and yet until recently many providers were paying more than the NMW. If that pay advantage is not re-established the sector will increasingly haemorrhage staff to other areas of the economy.

4.  A significant proportion of the current social care workforce in the UK are non UK nationals and the need for social care staff is growing. The reality for the social care sector is clear; we need significant numbers of workers from overseas to keep the sector operating. These routes need to remain open for overseas nurses and care staff otherwise the social care system will collapse.

5.  To place the status of social care on a similar footing to social work, nursing or other healthcare professions, there should be a recognised social care degree. Like social work and nursing there should be bursaries available to encourage people to achieve this qualification. Given the fact that the cost of getting a degree is becoming increasingly prohibitive for many, offering a highly subsidised  route would help attract people into the sector and offer higher status career progression to those working within it. This would both acknowledge the increasing professionalisation of the sector and serve to develop the leadership of tomorrow.

6.  Oversight by CQC and other stakeholders is an essential part of the work of social care; it is however performed by too many bodies all of whom seek similar information but often in different formats. All of this unnecessary duplication adds to the workload and provides no benefits to the service. In addition, inspections need to be more consistent, fair and accurate, not least owing to their potential impact on lives and business. We would recommend a more supportive and integrated regulatory approach involving the key stakeholders.

7.  The relationship between providers and commissioners is often an uneasy one. Much is said about working in partnership, but the two parties are working to very different financial agendas. Providers understand that local authorities have been placed in an impossible position by central government but they currently do not feel they are being treated fairly by commissioners and social workers.

8.  We make a series of recommendations within this report, the majority of which are designed to recognise the actual issues faced by providers and to address these head on. There are costs associated with some of these, but the reality is that it is the dramatic underfunding of social care which is resulting in the looming crisis.  The issues facing the sector will not go away or be addressed by being ignored. In fact, the longer they are ignored, the worse the situation will become.

9.  The sector needs to see the additional funding that is being made available both via increases to council tax and the £2billion over three years announced in the Spring 2017 budget making its way through to providers as enhanced rates payable for existing services rather than being used to fill holes in Social Service’s budgets or to pay for more services at the same inadequate rates.

10. Our recommendations are designed to support the continuation of a viable social care sector in line with society’s increasing requirements. They are deliberately designed to take a longer-term view of care and support delivery and move away from the dominant short-termism implicit in current cost-saving measures.

11. We explore the ideological slant towards Supported Living as a means of acquiring care and support and consider that there needs to be more objective  view of what residential care can provide in the round for people. We concluded that too many commissioners look to Supported Living as a cost-saving opportunity rather than a genuine option for specific individuals. The separation of housing and support is not the strong argument it is purported to be and has proved damaging in many cases and we would argue is serving as a barrier to the development of more individualised housing and support options that people could really benefit from.

12. Overall we have shown that the relationship between commissioners and providers would benefit from an element of truth and reconciliation with a mutual recognition of the drivers for each element of the partnership. In many areas an impasse exists, from which the future of social care will not flourish if it is not urgently addressed.

13. There is a significant degree of frustration amongst providers with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). CQC know the extent and nature of the problems and yet all they have really said publicly is that the sector is at a ‘tipping point’ or it is ‘straining at the seams’. Providers feel that CQC are not sufficiently vocal in relation to the problems facing the sector and are actually adding to these with their ever increasing regulatory expectations.

14. Those in power must step up to this challenge or the sector is going to go beyond the tipping point highlighted by CQC and it will increasingly collapse in upon itself and the country will find itself in a position where there is less and less available provision required by more and more people. It is difficult to see quite how it will recover from there. As a strategy, starving the sector of money until such time that central government has to provide some money for it is a dangerous game to play. There is a very real risk that intervention will come too late or that the cost of resurrecting the sector will be far greater than if the sector was simply being adequately funded.