Newsletter Issue 136 27th March 2014


LaingBuisson 'Actual Costs' Survey - Progress Update

The LaingBuisson fieldwork has been completed and we have achieved a good response and a representative sample of providers. Thanks to all of you who responded. We don't know who you are as no one other than LaingBuisson see any of the data or know who has responded. We know the forms were complicated but that is the nature of an 'actual costs' exercise as compared with a 'fair price' exercise. It will have been a significant input of time for some to have completed these forms but we think we have had a tremendous response in Lancashire and that's great.

LaingBuisson's analysis is under way now and a report will go to LCC and the Social Care Partnership which commissioned the project and will then come into the public domain (in the same way as happened with the Fair Price project back in 2004). LCA's aim is to help shape a viable and forward looking care homes sector and we think this information is crucial.

While the headlines so often focus on negative messages - abuse or poor care on the one hand and an underfunding crisis on the other - we still have, as a sector, the task in front of us, today and every day, of delivering the best care possible with the available resources. However challenging that is we have to do it with our heads up, not down. That is best done if we can make transparent the links between care delivery, care quality and resources, and we find common purpose (borrowing the title of a recent ADASS paper) with those commissioning and monitoring care. The LaingBuisson work in the context of the Social Care Partnership is part of that process in Lancashire of finding common understanding, vision and direction.

If you have any remaining queries about the survey itself contact  If you have any other queries that LCA can address contact me:                         

Paul Simic, CEO

Equipment In Care Homes - Consultation

We have "The provision of assistive equipment to adult and older adult residents in nursing and residential homes" v 1.1 tabled at the Social Care Partnership. It will have been circulated to providers for info/ comment. LCA will respond formally by the deadline (7th April 2014).

Our general position is that people should not be discriminated against according to where they live. So whether at home, in a care home without nursing or with nursing they should receive assistive equipment that meets their assessed needs. None of the rules around provision of equipment should be a means of covering a cost 'shunt' to providers from health and local authorities. If there is a transfer it needs to be transparent and costed. We are drawing up a formal letter of response. The deadline for your feedback directly to LCC on this, we understand, is 7th April 2014:

If you want to make LCA aware of your views on this joint NHS/ LCC consultation  It would be really useful for us to get feedback from you, whether you are a member or not. The issue was on the agenda of the LCA Board (19th March 2014) and will be on the agenda of the re-scheduled Social Care Partnership (date: tbc). The LCA Board view is as outlined above and a more detailed note will be published in advance of the consultation deadline.

We worked well with health colleagues to produce a document on assistive equipment called "Let Common Sense Prevail". This is some years old now but the key principles around working in partnership, looking to making best use of scarce equipment resources, ensuring proper staff training, ensuring proper maintenance and meeting assessed need on a fair basis were all principles of that piece of joint work and we think the broad picture remains the same. The main changes since have been that authorities are under even more budgetary pressure now than was the case then. The answer to that is not shift a cost burden to providers but to work in partnership to look at how best to use those scarce resources to meet the assessed needs of vulnerable adults and in accordance with their rights.

Note:  For further information on the SCP follow this link

RM Network

We've held the second meeting of the Registered Manager Network. This is open to all Registered Managers in the areas covered by LCA (Lancashire County Council). You don't have to be an LCA member. If you have an interest in joining the Lancashire RM Network contact LCA:  The group will meet at 6 weekly intervals around Lancashire. Initial priorities have been around the pressures RM's feel from the weight of scrutiny by outside bodies and the replication of functions across different organisations with an overseeing role. Especial concern was raised around the impact of Safeguarding and the CQUIN paperwork burden that seems to be growing. These will be subjects for future meetings. The group were keen that there should be greater recognition of RMs as professionals and as leaders in the sector.


We hope to have some information for you here on the work of Healthwatch in and across Lancashire. If you have any feedback for us on visits you may have received we would be pleased to hear:

LCA says that the best providers are champions of user voice. Indeed, excellence requires the locus of a business being its customer needs and we welcome any independent, proportionate and fair external perspective.

There are some general concerns around how those in inspectoral and quasi-inspectoral roles play out those roles. Provider worries expressed to LCA about external monitoring, whoever it is from, include the 'who guards the guards' concerns over competence, fairness, consistency and quality in relation to those doing that inspecting or scrutiny (see, for example, current headlines around teacher concerns about Ofsted inspections, re competence and consistency) and lack of opportunities for providers to deal with invalid criticsim and have their own voice heard; amongst a range of other concerns. 'Candour' and openness are key but these have to operate in the context of a fair and just process.


CQC fines. We have heard concerns expressed about the increasing use of 'on the spot' fines by CQC. We have no data on this issue but would be pleased to here, in confidence, from any providers who have concerns. We do have some initial free legal advice currently from David Collins, solicitors, where a provider thinks some legal advice may be helpful to any concerns they may have (LCA member only) but LCA is pleased to hear from any provider with concerns that we may be able to help with on a specific or more strategic basis:    

Blackpool Borough Council

We are pleased our liaison meetings with council officers have resumed and we will report back on these routinely through items here in the newsletter and links to the LCA website.

Consultations: Deadlines

Kingsmill Review: 31st March 2014

CQC Consultation on Fundamental Standards: 4th April 2014

Lancashire Assistive Equipment: 7th April 2014

LCA's key points are that robust and genuine partnerships between authorities (local authority and health bodies) and independent sector providers is the way to help ensure the best care is delivered and commissioned. It is more important than ever in the difficult times we face. It is through an evidence-based approach and enduring and honest relationships between commissioners of care and providers that users of services are best served. The Social Care Partnership is the vehicle for that in the LCC area. Transparency is a key concept and relates to commissioning and to safeguarding processes. Providers should be partners in care and all parts of the system should be subject to review and scrutiny (including the 'who guards the guards?' issues) and the right checks and balances should operate for a fair and just system. 

LCA Key Meeting Dates

Lancashire Safeguarding Adults Board: Friday 28th March 2014

Social Care Partnership Steering Group: April Date to Be Confirmed

Registered Managers Network, Meeting no 3: Date TBC (early-mid April)

Lancashire Safeguarding Adults Board: Thursday 22nd May 2014

Social Care Partnership Steering Group: Monday 9th June 2014

LCA Board Meeting & AGM: Wednesday 25th June 2014



Safeguarding 'Launch' Event Friday 25th April 2014

‘Developing Our Safeguarding Adults Partnership’

This is an invitation only event, for more information or should you wish to attend please contact