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 care 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.
Adult Social Care Infection Control Grant
Wokingham Borough Council has been allocated c£1.8m from the Adult Social Care Infection Control Grant. Funding has been provided as 2 equal instalments directly to the local authority and we have distributed the first instalment in accordance with the grant conditions. 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.
The primary purpose of the Infection Control Grant is to support adult social care providers to reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission in and between care homes and support wider workforce resilience. The Grant is subject to a number of conditions and the second payment will be subject to the satisfactory completion of the NHS Care Home Tracker and evidence that funding has been spent in accordance with the Grant conditions;
- Ensuring that staff who are isolating in line with government guidance receive their normal wages while doing so
- Ensuring, so far as possible, that members of staff work in only one care home
- Limiting or cohorting staff to individual groups of residents or floors/wings, including segregation of COVID-19 positive residents;
- To support active recruitment of additional staff if they are needed to enable staff to work in only one care home or to work only with an assigned group of residents or only in specified areas of a care home
- Steps to limit the use of public transport by members of staff
- Providing accommodation for staff who proactively choose to stay separately from their families in order to limit social interaction outside work
Local authorities are required to publish up to date information on its spend against the Infection Control Fund on its website, to ensure there is sufficient clarity over how the significant public investment is supporting front-line social care services. Further Information on the allocation can be found in our Use of Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund (PDF document.)
See further information about how the Infection Control Fund has been distributed Infection Control Fund on the Gov.UK website.
Read the Letter from Minister of State for Care about Infection Control Fund (PDF document) for details of how the Infection Control Fund has been distributed.
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 percent (Residential, Supported Living and Day Opportunities) and 3.4 percent (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:
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 and 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 and 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.uk as soon as possible.