As HCPA moves into our 10th year of working in partnership, we begin to look forward to the exciting times ahead.

HCPA will have a new office/training centre to look forward to in January, so it will really feel like a new start to the new year. We will be keen to welcome the many training delegates and partners who will pass through our doors!

To complete our 2018, we wanted to share with our members the article recently published by the Local Government Association.

Hertfordshire Care Providers Association

Hertfordshire Care Providers Association (HCPA) has become one of the most well-respected and developed provider associations in the country which levers in significant additional funding over and above the core grant provided by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC). This forms part of our adult social care markets and commissioning resource.

Initiated by HCC in 2008, HCPA now has over 500 members, runs an annual sponsored award ceremony, carries out peer reviews, holds networking events and runs a training programme reaching 13,000 people. HCC and local providers acknowledge that HCPA activity has positively impacted on the quality of care in the county.

The challenge

Hertfordshire County Council wanted to improve the quality of care providers in the council, reboot relationships with them and put them into the driving seat in developing a sector led approach.

The solution

Hertfordshire Care Providers Association was originally set up as a negotiating committee between care homes and Hertfordshire County Council. In 2008 a leadership change to the existing committee opened up an opportunity to revitalize the approach to provider relationships and encourage providers to take a more active active role in improving quality.

To set up HCPA a Memorandum of Understanding was signed focusing on values, openness and transparency. Funding followed shortly after. The Chief Executive was appointed in 2010 and membership was opened up to all providers. Since then Hertfordshire Care Providers Association has become one of the most well-respected and developed provider associations in the country.

The first annual HCPA Care Awards Ceremony took place in 2012. A successful NHS vanguard bid in 2015 led to national recognition.

The not-for-profit organisation, based in Welwyn Garden City, represents all adult social care – private, independent and voluntary sector providers – in the county.

Their vision is to create a county where all adults who receive care are given a service of true quality, which is both personalised and individually tailored to their needs. HCPA manage over £1million of funding for adult social care training courses and qualifications for members on behalf of the government, the local authority, the NHS, and other funding agencies, and work closely with their partners at Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), Care Quality Commission (CQC), Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Skills for Care and other public bodies.

They offer a broad range of training and qualifications to enable private, voluntary and independent care providers, at all levels of their career, to keep up-to-date with local and national initiatives and continually improve their knowledge and skills.

HCPA members get access to fully-funded and low-cost training and qualifications, including Care Certificate, CPD courses, Champion Pathways and falls training, as well as getting support from services such as Herts Care Search and Herts Good Care Recruitment Service.

The impact

  • Recent achievements include:
  • Constructive challenge to HCC on care fees and commissioning strategies
  • Low numbers of providers in safeguarding processes with free support offered if they are • Celebration of the care sector’s achievements
  • Representation of care providers with NHS partners
  • Innovative agile workforce initiatives
  • Peer support and collaborative working
  • Paid membership of 508 organisations
  • Re-accredited with the Matrix Standard for information, advice and guidance
  • A Skills for Care Endorsed Learning Provider
  • Taught 8,297 learners directly and indirectly, through approved training providers, HCPA funded education for another 4,500 learners, giving a total reach of nearly 13,000 learning interventions in 2017/18
  • Hold regular Network Events to engage with members. For example more than 100 members were at their most recent event which had the theme of Forward Thinking – Prevention and Planning for the Future.
  • Innovations like a ‘human library’ at events offering members the chance to chat to commissioners, monitoring teams, recruiters and HCPA staff on specific issues.

How is the new approach being sustained?

HCPAs independence is encouraged by being grant funded rather than via a contract. Funding is provided by a small top slice from the budget for the HCC annual provider inflation increase.

HCPA also charge a small subscription to members and offers a bronze, silver and gold membership scheme with services like peer reviews on offer to gold members.

HCPA inspections prior to CQC visits are particularly valued by members. If safeguarding issues arise free HCPA support is offered to providers.

As well as Hertfordshire County Council core funding HCPA successfully levers in additional funding such as Training Funding which provides money towards the cost of employees completing adult social care qualifications and learning programmes. The annual awards event also attracts significant sponsorship.

Lessons learned

  • The council took an open and transparent approach to working with HCPA which has been critical to the success of the relationship.
  • The council wanted the HCPA to be provider sector led.
  • Permanent staffing is also critical to its success. So proper funding of staffing and core costs is critical.
  • Involve NHS colleagues to get the most out of the investment. The NHS hear directly from providers via HCPA.