Wokingham Borough Council fully appreciates the pressure that the whole sector is under and the exceptional job we are all doing to meet the current challenge. Wokingham Borough Council has always supported providers by paying very competitive rates within the funding envelope provided.
During the crisis, Wokingham Borough Council has provided support to care homes, this has included:
- An improved funding deal for cagre homes we contract with, prepayments to support with cash flow plus ability to apply for additional temporary funding
- Help with supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Regular advice and guidance including financial sustainability and infection control
- Testing for staff with symptoms
- Offer of access to staff in an emergency
- Infection control hotline established
The total spent by Wokingham Borough Council to date on supporting providers in response to COVID-19 is £1,583,000. We forecast c£5m in additional funding to social care providers in the 2020/21 financial year. In addition, Wokingham Borough Council will use its allocation c£1.8m Infection Control Grant to support infection control in the Borough.
If you would like to discuss the sustainability of your business please contact a member of the Commissioning Team at CommissioningSupportTeam@wokingham.gov.uk.
Financial Support during the COVID-19 pandemic
Wokingham Borough Council has offered a pre-payment to its providers at the beginning of the current crisis, which was intended to supplement an uplift on fees in 2020/21. The uplift was benchmarked against the sector in Wokingham and sufficient funding was provided to meet the increase in the National Living Wage.
Inflationary uplifts for ASC Statutory Services has been awarded at 3% (Residential, Supported Living and Day Opportunities) and 3.4% (Home Care) for 2020/21. The uplift has been applied to all commissioned providers up to an appropriate ceiling rate.
Service Sustainability Fund
Wokingham Borough Council established a Service Sustainability Fund to support providers in maintaining service continuity during this period.
The aim of the Fund will be to support providers in managing the additional costs associated with managing the response to COVID-19.
To qualify for reimbursement items of expenditure must be all of the following:
- Related to clients in receipt of adult social care services that are funded by Wokingham Borough Council or related to self-funders within the Wokingham geographical area.
- Over and above usual business costs.
- Directly or indirectly related to the COVID-19 emergency
See further information about the Service Sustainability Fund below:
Adult Social Care Infection Control Grant
The government has announced a new £600 million Infection Control Fund to support the reduction of COVID-19 transmission in care homes. This Fund has been ring-fenced for social care and will be given to local authorities to ensure care homes can continue to halt the spread of coronavirus by helping to cover the costs of implementing measures to reduce transmission.
Wokingham Borough Council will be allocated approx. £ 1,8m and Funding will be provided in two equal instalments directly to the local authority, which we will distribute in accordance with the grant conditions. This will include all Care Homes within the Wokingham geographical area, for use on infection control measures, including care homes with whom the local authority does not have existing contracts.
Wokingham Borough Council will ensure funding reaches the front line as quickly as possible, but to be eligible for the support from the grant, providers must complete the daily care home Capacity Tracker. This will ensure that your Care Home are correctly allocated funding as it becomes available.
Funding will also be available to support infection control measures within other social care settings. Wokingham Borough Council will be working with our providers to ensure that this funding reaches providers as soon as possible.
See further information about the Infection Control Fund on the Gov.UK website.
Extended capacity in domiciliary care, care homes and reablement services
The social care market in Wokingham has retained a level of capacity during this crisis. Hospital admissions and any movements within the market has been monitored throughout this period, and when appropriate, additional capacity has been commissioned.
To support the Council to meet its Hospital Discharge Requirements, Adults Social Care commissioned additional capacity within Home Care and Care Homes.
In accordance with the Procurement Policy Notice, Wokingham Borough Council commissioned 15 additional care home beds and 400 additional hours of Home Care. The additional care home capacity was decommissioned in March 2020 and our Home Care capacity is scheduled to expire at the end of June 2020.
Adult Social Care Provider Support in Wokingham
Adults Social Care has been working with our local providers to facilitate mutual aid across the sector. This has included:
- Wokingham Provider Portal; online access to relevant guidance and supporting information
- Establishing the Care Workers Support Team; pool of care worker staff and facilitated central recruitment programme
- 7 day working across social care and commissioning to facilitate hospital discharge and support providers
The local authority continues to support operational infection control, Wokingham Borough Council has established a protocol to ensure timely, effective and coherent support is provided by Health & Social Care to providers of residential care, nursing care, supported accommodation and Extra Care Sheltered Housing.
This support is delivered by a ‘COVID-19 in a care setting Taskforce’ which is jointly staffed by Health & Social Care and offers vital and dynamic support to the providers to mitigate risk around outbreaks and the management of the virus in the community as far as possible. This approach has been adopted across the West of Berkshire health and social care system.
The protocol covers all care provision in Wokingham Borough and for ease of reference is divided into four phases.
If you would like to discuss the sustainability of your business, please contact a member of the Commissioning Team at CommissioningSupportTeam@wokingham.gov.ukas soon as possible.