Agenda item

The Commercial Team Annual Report 2018/19

(To consider a report on the Commercial Team Annual Report 2018/19, which will provide information to the Committee on the activities of the Team supporting the delivery of services in Adult Care and Community Wellbeing)


Consideration was given to a report which presented the Annual Report (April 2018 – March 2019) of the Commercial Team, which supported the delivery of the Council's objectives for Adult Care and Community Wellbeing.


Members were guided through the report and were provided with the opportunity to ask questions to the officers present in relation to the information contained within the report and some of the points raised during discussion included the following:

·         It was queried whether there was an emergency plan in place in the event of four or five residential homes closing.  Members were advised that there was a process for such circumstances, and the Commercial Team had a significant role in that.  The Team had a co-ordinating role across health and social care, and continued to work with a range of colleagues across multiple agencies.  Work had been undertaken with a number of providers where closure had been prevented.  The role of the Commercial Team was about supporting the market and was not just about compliance.

·         It was queried how reliant the care sector in Lincolnshire was on EU staff, and it was noted that there would be an impact without the EU staff, as there would also be across the whole country.  The authority would continue to work with providers and there were contingency plans in place, and some of these risks could be mitigated.

·         It was noted that the number of beds available at Louth Hospital had reduced by half, however, members were advised that the NHS had liaised with Lincolnshire County Council on this in terms of measuring the impact and market in this area.  The aim as a service was to have more joint working arrangements in place with the NHS.  It was believed that the NHS and the local authority could work together more often in commissioning services.

·         In terms of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports, it was queried what was the difference between a rating of "requires improvement" and "good".  It was confirmed that the authority would work with a provider to help them maintain a "good" rating, as well as assisting to move up from a "requires improvement".  In the case of a rating of "requires improvement" this could be due to a wide range of factors such as the provider failing to deliver all aspects of their improvement plans, or being late notifying the CQC of changes, or at the other end of the spectrum there could be concerns about care.  The Commercial Team would also carry out unannounced visits, if a provider was low risk, they would receive at least one visit per year.  The frequency of visits would vary depending on the risk assessment of the provider, and if they were high risk there could be staff visiting the establishment every day.  For those providers requiring improvement, there was a lot of intensive support available.

·         It was noted that there had been a 20% increase in visits in one year by the Commercial Team, but members were also advised that there had also been an increase in resources.  The work of the team was not just about monitoring and compliance, but also about providing support.

·         There was more collaborative working between Adult Social Care and health colleagues, which meant a more co-ordinated approach in managing the market.

·         One member highlighted that the Commissioning and Commercialisation Board had received comprehensive reports on four adult social care contracts which were coming up for renewal.  The Commercial Team were a valuable part of the process.  It was suggested that some of the commissioning strategies could be reviewed by this committee so members could see the amount of work which went into them.

·         In relation to the NHS health checks, it was queried whether there was a breakdown of the data available, such as age range and geographic location.  It was noted that this was one of the areas where Lincolnshire was one of the best performing in the country.  There were contracts in place with GP's and the arrangements were working very well and the Team was able to capture a lot of data.

·         It was confirmed that the six weeks of reablement care was still offered to people leaving hospital, and the community hospital model was still in place with transitional beds which were available.

·         Members were informed that 2020 was due to be a significant year in terms of contracts as the capacity would be increased as demand for social care services continued to grow, due to Lincolnshire's ageing population.  There was a need for work with health colleagues to continue in order to enable the reduction in demand for adult social care.

·         The Chairman queried whether a list of the strategies and procurements and the dates they were due to be renewed could be made available, so that it would be easier to plan when they needed to come to the Committee.  It was noted that there was a yearly work plan which was signed off by the Adult Care and Community Wellbeing Directorate Management Team, and work was underway on a five year plan.  There would be a lot of contracts which would need to be re-procured in 2020.

·         There was a desire from health colleagues to work with the council on certain procurements, and by highlighting some of the benefits it gave more confidence, and not just to the NHS, but also towards an increased appetite within the east midlands to work more collaboratively.




            That the report and the contribution made by the Commercial Team to the delivery of the Council's objectives for Adult Care and Community Wellbeing be noted.



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