The Municipal Journal reports that Labour-run Leicester City Council has proposed selling its care homes.
A Council Report approved this week says:
There are now more opportunities for people to live independently in Leicester. For example, there are more people now living in supported housing rather than needing to move into residential care – and we are making much greater use of assistive technology. Not only have these changes given people a chance to live independent and active lives within their own communities, they have also resulted in a more cost-effective use of funding.
As more people remain independent we have seen a decrease in the numbers of new admissions to residential care. The total numbers of over 65s newly admitted to residential care fell from 277 in 2007/08 to 208 in 2010/11 (across both public and independent sectors), reflecting the national trend. This is clear evidence of the success of our policy of supporting people to remain in their own homes, and as a consequence we have seen in the level of home care increase from 13,441 hours in 2007/08 to 18,067 hours in 2010/11, and an increase in telecare and assistive technology installations from 262 in 2007/08 to 726 in 2010/11. These changes have had a knock-on effect on admissions to residential care, which has resulted in significant over provision, particularly in the council’s own care homes.
Some will still need to go to care homes – but these could be owned and run by "alternative providers". The move away from Council-owned care homes sounds thoroughly sensible – especially in Leicester where they are particularly awful. The MJ says that last year a report by Janti Champaneri. This SCA audit "reveals that a failure to effectively manage performance at some homes had adversely affected residents’ lives."
The MJ report continues:
Citing a lack of personalised care and ‘institutionalised routines’ within homes – as well as concerns over hygiene – he reports that ‘in some instances, even the basic needs’ of residents ‘were not being met’. More than half the homes studied revealed ‘active safeguarding issues’.
Mr Champaneri, formerly a senior manager at Birmingham City Council, concluded that low morale among care staff resulted from a ‘lack of competent and stable management teams’, which ‘over time has led to ineffective leadership within the homes’.
In one damning observation, the report states: ‘It appears Leicester City Council has moved away from a performance-management culture within its residential care sector for older people’.
In private interviews covering staff performance, one registered manager told Mr Champaneri: ‘XY should have been sacked. I did everything I could to get XY dismissed but instead, “they” just moved XY to another home to practise badly again. I fear for the residents at that home!’