HCPA have been asked by members for an update on the proposed Spot Accreditation tender for Homecare being run by HCC.

We now have the following statement from Frances Heathcote:

I would like to update you on our plans for the Accreditation process for spot providers of Support at Home (homecare) and to thank you for your engagement so far.

Many of you will be aware that we carried out market engagement meetings in the summer to test out our ideas with home care providers. We were originally going to run an open tender process for all spot provision of homecare in Herts and as part of this would be offering guaranteed hours for each provider who scored the highest marks  across each district within the tender process.

We have had mixed feedback about these proposals and therefore have paused the process while we consider in more detail the feedback received. We are all well aware of the current challenges across the homecare market, particularly with recruitment and retention, and we appreciate the tenders we have undertaken over the last few years, whilst unavoidable  as previous block contracts were ending and could not be  extended, have inevitably caused some instability across the workforce. Our position as the commissioning authority is to do all that we can to create a stable and sustainable home care market, of consistently high quality and that values the care workforce, and we do not believe that launching another competitive tender process at this time is the right thing to do for the homecare market in Hertfordshire.

We are therefore exploring a number of options to accredit the spot market which will not involve a competitive   tender but will help standardise the quality of provision that we commission across the county and enable us to apply a more uniform set of rates across the provider market.  We believe this approach will help continue to improve quality, improve outcomes for people who need support at home, and help to stabilise the homecare market. You may be aware that we introduced the Herts Care Standard for Lead providers on April 2015 and we would now like to introduce these in to all contracts for Support at Home from April 2017. For those of you who are familiar with the NICE Standards for Homecare you will note that the Herts Care Standard is consistent with the expectations of the NICE Standards.

We have had significant input from service users, carers and a number of homecare providers in the review of the Herts Care Standard and I would now like to share with you the final draft for your comments and feedback. Your feedback is important and I would be grateful if you could send any comments to alicehandscomb@hcpa.info by Monday 10th October.

Once we have finalised the HCS I will be able to share, through HCPA, with you the final process for applying to become a Spot provider of Support at Home in Herts and the application process and timescales.