Councils Must Attract Investors To Develop A Social Care Market That Meets The Needs Of All

Councils need to take the lead in attracting investment to social care services that meet people’s present and future needs, according to a new report entitled ‘Safe as Houses? What drives investment in social care?’

The report found that councils have the opportunity to shape the pattern of services available to all in their area, not just those they support financially, to ensure there are personalised services that people want.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection’s report looked at information raised during two seminars – one attended by corporate providers, analysts, investors and national policy makers, the other with members of a regional care association.   

The report found that investors preferred the tried and tested investment in care homes and that providers are often dependent on council contracts.

Dame Denise Platt, CSCI Chair, said: “We’ve found that providers often rely on councils for contracts, therefore councils need to signal the need for new care services that are personalised and really meet the needs of people. Where councils lead, investors will follow.

“Too often there is a limited range of services available and offered to people. We need investors to look further afield than the ‘safe’ models of care, to really open up the opportunities for all those who use care services now and for the future.”

Investors tend to treat social care like any other business, seeking a return on their investment within, at most, seven to ten years. This makes them cautious about the risks from new models of care. To develop social care services that fit people’s current and future needs, councils need to be less risk averse in strategic commissioning.

They also need to track people’s individual preferences and work with partners in housing and health services to indicate people’s future requirements to investors and providers.

Direct Payments and Individual Budgets represent further opportunities for services to develop in response to people’s individual wishes. Councils and investors need to seize these and other opportunities to further develop the social care market.