A report from the Executive Director for Adult Social Care, Wellbeing and Communities (Gloucestershire). The report to be noted and taken as read at the meeting.
The Executive Director of Adult Social Care, Wellbeing and Communities, gave a detailed update on the delivery of adult social care in Gloucestershire.
The report was taken as read at the meeting.
Members noted information on the Gloucestershire Market Sustainability Plan published on 27th March 2023 and received a detailed update on the community meals service in Gloucestershire.
It was explained that, in September 2021, a report had been presented to Cabinet, requesting approval for the re-commissioning of the community meals service for the county. Although a non-statutory service, the community meals service provides invaluable support to older and vulnerable adults by allowing them to maintain or regain their independence by living in their own homes for as long as possible. The outcome of the cabinet decision was to re-procure the community meals service in Gloucestershire. Publication of the tender had been delayed, with a new proposed start date set as April 2023.
No bids to deliver the service were received, with the current provider declaring that the contract was no longer financially viable. The failed tender occurred in December 2022. Due to the short timescale and the large number of individuals requiring meals, a decision was made to seek a short-term replacement service.
Whilst the adult’s commissioning team sought alternative provision, the adult social care locality teams contacted the current users of the service to discuss their needs with regard to community meals. From the enquiries, it was established that a number of people receiving meals from the current provider had either sourced an alternative arrangement or no longer needed a community meal. The outcome of the exercise identified only 80 people requiring a community meal.
Actions taken pending the commissioning of a new provider included taking on six providers on short contracts of between six and 12 months. Three of the providers were local charities, two were local community interest companies and one a small local business.
It was confirmed that the move from a countywide delivery to a more localised approach had been taken in line with the aim of supporting people to stay to their own homes for as a long as possible and to better connect residents to local facilities and resources.
Five of the six providers delivered plated meals directly to those who used the service. However, in Gloucester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and North Cotswolds, it had not been possible to source a provider who could fulfil this function. As an alternative arrangement, a local business had been commissioned to deliver frozen meals to people’s homes. Based on a review of those in receipt of frozen meals, it had been established that those people who were unable to reheat a meal themselves had been allocated a visit from a domiciliary care provider to reheat and serve the meal. Initial feedback from the arrangement had suggested the approach was working well.
The move towards commissioning a new provider in such a short timescale had made it difficult to negotiate on price, resulting in increased costs. The community meal service remained open for new referrals.
Members were informed that the Adults Commissioning and Operations Teams would be undertaking a thorough review of the service arrangements in place, including the work taken following the end of the contract with the previous provider. A report to be produced for consideration by Cabinet Members for Adults Social Care and by the members of the committee, setting out clear recommendations on how the council intended to procure for community meals in the future. The committee requested regular updates. Actions by - Executive Director for Ault Social Care, Wellbeing and Communities.
The report was noted.