Guidance on care spend

17 Sep 2010 12:54 PM

New guidance for councils and other public bodies buying care has been published.

The dedicated guidance on the procurement of care and support services is Scotland's first specifically governing care commissioning. It is set to improve services for people who need care, as well as making the way care is bought more consistent.

Around £1.18 billion is spent by public bodies on buying care and support every year.

In practice, the new guidance means those buying care and support will have to ensure the people who receive the service - and their carers - have the chance to be involved in the process. It includes older people, younger adults with disabilities and children and families - both in their own homes and in the community.

Public bodies buying care will now have to re-examine how they currently buy services and take a longer-term view of future needs- ultimately meaning more stable care. Councils will also be expected to ensure contracts include monitoring of how services are being delivered, and will be expected to take any necessary action to improve standards.

The guidance has been developed following detailed and lengthy consultation. It is supported by local authorities, service users, carers and service providers.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison said the new guidance should lead to more effective and efficient help.

Ms Robison said:

"Until now, councils have had to use standard procurement guidance when buying care services, and practice among local authorities has varied quite widely. The new guidance explains how the rules apply and sets out what councils should do to make sure they're buying high quality services at a price they can afford.

"The new guidance ensures taxpayers' money is spent wisely, while reinforcing our view that buying care is not the same as buying paper clips. Adults with support needs deserve high-quality, flexible and responsive care which meets their individual needs. It is essential their views are taken into account and that they are involved in designing their care.

"It's also important that councils develop strong relationships with their care providers. They, too, should be involved in designing services, as their role is absolutely pivotal in achieving positive outcomes for service users.

"We have been quite clear that older people's services generally need to become more personalised, and by taking their views into account the new guidance does exactly that. I'm confident it will mean better care, more stability for service users and providers and increased efficiency."

Finance Secretary John Swinney said:

"Public procurement has a huge economic impact and is often key to the successful delivery of effective and efficient public services.

"Publication of this new guidance is a further step forward in the Scottish Government's drive to simplify and standardise procurement processes in Scotland. It provides comprehensive guidance for our partners in local government and other public bodies to follow when tendering care and support services.

"It has been developed recognising that the procurement of care and support services requires special consideration because of its significant impact on the quality of life, health and wellbeing of service users and carers."

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