Adult Social Care Commissioning Market Position Statements 2021-26

Our priority is to work together with our partners to drive the best possible outcomes for people in Kent now and in the future – keeping people at the heart of what we do and allowing us to make a difference every day.

We have a responsibility to support people with specific needs to live independent and fulfilled lives based on what is important to them and keeps them safe. We do this by putting the person first, listening, and giving information, advice, and guidance to help people at different life stages, as well as providing and commissioning support and services.

This responsibility comes from the Care Act, which places duties on councils to make sure that people who live in their areas:

  • receive services that prevent their care needs from becoming more serious, or delay the impact of their needs
  • can get the information and advice they need to make good decisions about care and support
  • have a diverse range of provision of high quality, appropriate services to choose from.

We consider various factors, such as:

  • what services, facilities and resources are already available in the community and how these might help local people
  • identifying people in the local area who may have care and support needs that are not being met
  • identifying carers in the area who might have support needs that are not being met.

Our role extends beyond supporting those receiving services, to include those who pay for their own care and those who may need to access services in the future.

Challenges and opportunities

Adult Social Care services across Kent continue to face a number of significant challenges:

  • the population is living longer with increasing complex needs
  • people deserve high quality and choice in the services they access
  • retention and development of the Adult Social Care workforce
  • uncertainty of long-term funding of Adult Social Care.

These challenges have been further impacted by COVID-19, which alone is one of the biggest challenges we have faced in recent history, resulting in a combination of increased spending growth compared to previous years (largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and a potential reduction in the Council Tax and business rates income we receive. This combination presents a much greater threat to our finances than we have faced over the last 10 years through austerity.

We are not facing these challenges alone. Our partners, suppliers, providers, and other organisations are all confronting these and other challenges, and we must continue to act collectively towards the achievement of positive outcomes for all Kent residents.

So far, we have come together effectively, to focus on our response and recovery to COVID-19, delivering our services in new ways and continuing to support our residents when they need us most, and we will continue to do so.

These challenges provide us with opportunities. Moving forward, we will take an asset-based approach to commissioning, which means working collaboratively with people in Kent and providers to identify those assets valued by the community, and collectively determine the best use of those assets. We have an opportunity to develop a diverse and vibrant market together, that recognises assets, talents, and the aspirations of the population, working in partnership, sharing our challenges and co-producing outcomes. We strive to create an environment where honesty and transparency fuels innovation and leads to joint solutions and shared outcomes.

We must seek opportunities to co-design support with people in Kent and commission jointly with our partners, to make the best use of public funding and resources and deliver better choice for all those in Kent.

For us to be able to jointly overcome both current and future challenges, we also need to ensure that the services we offer can flex to meet both changing demand and changing requirements. In order to do that, we need to work with suppliers that are willing and able to react to these changes as required, and we need to have the right contracting arrangements in place to support this.

Market shaping

The Care Act also places duties on us to promote the efficient and effective operation of the care market, ensuring it is sustainable, diverse and of good quality, and to provide contingencies in case of provider failures, through market shaping.

Market shaping means the local authority collaborating closely with other relevant partners, including experts by experience, to encourage and facilitate the whole market in its area for care, support, and related services.

One third of the councils’ budget is spent on commissioned services for adult social care, delivered through a mixed economy model. Kent works with hundreds of providers from small charities, Kent companies and global operators as well as over 3000 people making direct payments. KCC directly delivers a number of services, including day care services, community day services, enablement services and residential short-term and respite care services. These in-house provisions are delivered by 1420 staff, at a cost of £33.3million per year. Meeting the needs of people in Kent costs more than £1million a day.

The purpose of a Market Position Statement

We cannot address all needs and improve outcomes on our own. These market position statements are intended to clearly communicate our direction of travel, and both our expectations of and promises to current and future providers and suppliers.

They state our intentions regarding the services we need, including how they will be funded and performance managed, allowing suppliers and providers the opportunity to adapt their delivery model as, and if, required and help to shape their business plans.

This collection of documents includes:

  • Accommodation with Care and Support
  • Care and Support in Your Home (in development)
  • Discharge (in development)
  • Wellbeing and Prevention (in development)
  • Carers (in development)
  • Learning Disabilities and Autism Lifespan (in development)

These statements provide the starting point on which to establish an ongoing dialogue with providers as we work together to develop the market; they will develop organically, through periodic review or following any significant development.

Human rights, equality and diversity

Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world. In the UK, these rights are contained in the Human Rights Act 1998. As a public sector organisation, we are legally and morally responsible for ensuring we respect and protect the human rights of all individuals when we provide health and care services.

Equality is one of the key values underpinning the work we do - adopting a person-centred approach, tailored to each individual so they can achieve the things that matter most to them. This means celebrating differences, treating each person with dignity, and helping them to be safe and socially included, supporting their own sense of identity.

We uphold the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) under the Equality Act 2010, protecting individuals from discrimination against them based on their protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnerships, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation).

We challenge discrimination and encourage respect, understanding, and dignity for everyone in Kent, through our own policies and utilising our influence in the community to achieve this.

We recognise the diverse needs of our community and are committed to promoting equality of opportunity and diversity in employment, commissioning, and service delivery.

It is important that we support a diverse workforce in the care sector that reflects the local communities we serve. As such, we expect those providing services on our behalf to be aware of the demographic make-up of their workforce to reflect this.

We value and celebrate diversity and believe it is essential to provide services which work well for all of us. The services KCC designs and delivers, on its own or with partners and suppliers, should focus on allowing people, families, and communities to be independent.

We will treat people with dignity and respect and support and enable people to make informed choices, so that they have control over their lives.

Kent values

Kent values are the values that we demonstrate ourselves, see around us and collectively and individually strive for:

  • We are brave. We do the right thing, we accept and offer challenge
  • We are curious to innovate and improve
  • We are compassionate, understanding, and respectful to all
  • We are strong together by sharing knowledge
  • We are all responsible for the difference we make

As an organisation, we aspire to be:

  • compassionate and inclusive
  • collaborative – building and delivering for the best interests of KCC
  • people-focused – residents, families, and communities at the heart of decision making
  • flexible and agile – willing to take (calculated) risks
  • empowering – our people take accountability for their decisions and actions
  • curious – constantly learning and evolving

We expect those delivering services on our behalf to share our values and aspirations, and our responsibilities for respecting and protecting human rights, promoting equality, challenging discrimination, and encouraging respect, understanding, and dignity for everyone in Kent, as suppliers of our services are an extension of us.