18 February 2019
The financial pressures crippling the social care sector could start to directly impact the vulnerable adults it supports, according to a newly published report, which shows the number of providers handing back contracts in the past 12 months has more than doubled.
Independent research commissioned by Hft found that in 2018 more than half (59%) of providers had been forced to close down some parts of their organisation or hand back contracts to local authorities as a means of dealing with cost pressures. Worryingly, 68% envisaged having to do the same “in the near future” while 11% foresaw a reduction in the quality of care if their financial situation did not improve. This would suggest that vulnerable adults supported by the sector may soon start to be directly affected by the funding pressures.
The survey also found that recruitment remains a challenge with 80% of providers reporting low wages as the biggest barrier to recruiting and retaining staff. In the last year, the number of providers citing the increased cost of agency workers as one of the main cost pressures facing their organisation, has rocketed from 13% to 63%. It comes second only to rising wage bills – as providers struggle to fill staff vacancies, in turn affecting the continuity of support they are able to provide.
The research is Hft’s second annual Sector Pulse Check report, carried out by independent economics and business consultancy Cebr, and is the first of its kind to focus primarily on learning disability providers. Based on survey analysis from social care providers, it provides an annual snapshot of the financial health of the social care sector over the past year and an indication of how providers anticipate the next twelve months will progress.
Read the full report on the HFT website