Better Care Outcomes Ltd. - Promoting excellent outcomes & value for money in social care
 
Overall Value for Money
 
The challenge: Increasingly, providers will be asked to demonstrate they are providing value for money in support services provided. This will require greater focus on justifying their costs in relation to levels of support provided and the outcomes that they are delivering for their service users.   
 
 
Issue 1: Whilst local authorities have received considerable guidance on delivering VFM this has not generally been shared very much with social care providers, who are just told to 'find more efficiencies' and reduce their unaffordable high costs', and are increasingly subjected to competitive bid requirements. 
 
Issue 2: Purchasers of services, whether they be social services departments or self-funders, frequently find it very difficult to assess VFM in any detail, having to rely on broad, overall quality ratings/ compliance or 'word of mouth' reputation comments, and compare these with prices to form their own views.  
VFM opportunities
Economies can be achieved in staff costs by better staff planning and management, to eliminate the need for the use of expensive agency staff and to make sure staffing structures are not top heavy (with too many senior staff as a proportion of the staff team, relative to support needs to be met, and too great a reliance on senior staff to undertake overtime duties). SPECTRUM or other purchasing consortia can deliver considerable 'economy' savings through bulk discounts in operational support costs, and price comparison services and websites can also help in obtaining cheaper sources of supplies, whilst not sacrificing quality.
 
In looking at the payback from investment in quality improvement programmes, it is helpful to consider actions which can improve staff productivity and effectiveness, by taking account, for example, of the potential positive impact of investment on efficiency improvements, such as on increased staff retention, a reduction in recruitment and training costs, as well as in levels of management supervision needed. Effectiveness can also be considerably improved by reducing unnecessary staff admin. and redirecting staff time onto the most important service user supporting activities.  

Experience- Case study examples
BCO 1) Assistance to homecare provider in bid to become a strategic partner with the local county council, required formulating a 'value for money' proposal, considering operational and quality propositions and appropriate price positioning to deliver competitive VFM  

2) Assistance to providers with a recent NHS continuing care bid required consideration of the relative level of quality being provided, compared with local competitors, and then assessing what price to bid, recognising that higher prices set would be marked down and offset against higher marks gained for quality, as part of an integrated VFM response and assessment. Higher quality providers for whom obtaining extra referrals from the contract was not so critical could therefore afford to price their services slightly higher, and still expect to achieve high overall VFM ratings.