Significant Financial Savings

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The Challenge

  • An existing wide range of fees (from £800 to £5,000 per week) paid for complex and varied care packages depending upon the individual’s needs
  • A lack of a consistent approach to sourcing and negotiating placements
  • More intelligence around care provider costs was required to understand if the best value of care to individuals was being offered.

The Solution

  • A review of tools that could be procured and developed to assist ECC – identifying CareCubed
  • The development of an implementation plan for the future roll out and use of the software.
  • This formed part of a range of activity being undertaken to transform their approach to sourcing, understanding cost of delivering care, and managing this market over the coming months.

Results

  • Significant financial benefits following the implementation of CareCubed, with a total saving/cost avoidance of £510k
  • The approach has opened dialogue on rates with providers and has contributed to improved relationships with them
  • A change in messaging internally about the care market as a whole and what constitutes fair rates for packages of care.

Essex County Council (ECC) spend c.£79m per annum on residential services for adults with disabilities, including those with learning disabilities and/or autism, physical and/or sensory impairments.

This market was marked out as an area where ECC needed to enhance their knowledge and develop a more robust commercial approach. There were a wide range of fees (from £800 to £5,000 per week) paid currently for complex and varied care packages, dependent on individual care need and location, across 990 adults in 369 homes in Essex and outside of the county, and a lack of a consistent approach to sourcing and negotiating placements and rates to assure best value was being received.

This lack of knowledge also impacted the perception of the provision being overpriced and that providers were profiteering; a major driver for this work was to prove or disprove this.

“It is crucial that Essex County Council provide the best care to all of our residents when they need it and support our local care providers through these very challenging times – whilst at the same time ensuring we deliver value for money from taxpayers money. CareCubed plays a key role in us achieving these goals.” – Nicole Wood, Executive Director, Finance and Technology

As a result, ECC reviewed tools that could be procured and developed to assist, which led them to discover CareCubed; a readily available tool based on national benchmarking data that met their needs.

After the procurement of CareCubed, a review of the existing placement approaches in the category was triggered, along with the development of an implementation plan for the future roll out and use of the software.

ECC employ a specialist placement team to source and negotiate placements in residential services and this team was identified as integral to the success or failure of the tool, and the reduction in costs for our placements.

“CareCubed was implemented in just a couple of days and was simple to use meaning we could deliver immediate results. Using CareCubed for Adults has delivered significant savings/cost avoidance of over £500,000 which can now be spent on other residents requiring care or other council services.” – Steve Ede, Head of Procurement, Essex County Council

“Demand for care amongst working age adults is rapidly increasing and at the same time our budgets are shrinking. It is critical that we make sure every pound is delivers maximum value to our residents and helps them live the best life they possibly can. CareCubed plays a key strategic role in ensuring that we do this.”

Nicole Wood, Executive Director, Finance and Technology

CareCubed brings subsequent financial and non-financial benefits

To date ECC have demonstrated a saving of £367,000 per annum on new placements made and a further cost avoidance of £143k per annum on negotiated uplifts with providers.

Success of the tool has also been measured on qualitative measures, such as improvements to practice within the organisation driven by the introduction of the tool. The approach has opened dialogue on rates with a large number of providers and has contributed to improved relationships with these providers, as well as open and constructive dialogue about what makes up their cost bases.

Key stakeholders for the tool include their senior management for adult social care, the placement team, and providers. The feedback to date has been largely positive from all areas, and the ability to demonstrate cost avoidance and savings goes a long way to ensuring the project is looked upon favourably.

“Using CareCubed means we can have confidence and be on the front when negotiating care packages. It has delivered significant savings/cost avoidance of over £500,000 which can now be spent on other residents requiring care or other council services.”

Steve Ede, Head of Procurement, Essex County Council

The most telling feedback that has been received is not verbal but in actions that have been taken internally to utilise the tool and ensure it remains embedded as a part of a placement process as an enabler rather than something that may slow the process or block placements being made. The system has been embraced by the placement team who are primarily responsible for using it in day-to-day business and forms a key part of their uplift approach to ensure fair rates are paid across the market too.

The implementation and use of CareCubed at Essex County Council has been nominated for a CIPS Excellence in Procurement Award for Best Use of Digital Technology.

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