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To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities do not commission 15-minute homecare visits for personal care in the circumstances set out as not appropriate for such a length of visit in paragraph 4.101 of the Department of Health's Care and Support Statutory Guidance.
The statutory guidance to the Care Act 2014 is clear that local authorities should commission services to meet the needs of individuals and that very short home care visits would not normally be compatible with high quality care.
Local authorities are responsible for commissioning decisions, accountable to their local populations through elected members. The Government does not routinely intervene in individual decisions, but both the Government and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) agree that inappropriately short home care visits are unacceptable.
The Department has worked with local government and the care sector to develop and encourage good practice in commissioning and managing local markets. A suite of guidance is now available at the online Hub that is now published on GOV.UK under market shaping and commissioning.
In particular, the guidance ‘Commissioning for Better Outcomes’ (under Resources for Commissioners) is being actively used in the sector to improve commissioning and directly asks commissioners to review how short home care visits are used.
We are working with the Local Government Association (LGA) and ADASS through a sector-led improvement approach to encourage best practice and improve local commissioning skills. Specifically, the Department funds the LGA to deliver the Care Health Improvement Programme.