Getting the price right for sustainable care and support


There’s a chance to contribute to CIPFA’s work for the Department of Health (DH) towards a practical guide for commissioners of social care in the new context of the Care Act.

The Care Act places new duties on local authorities to facilitate and shape the whole publicly funded and self-funded care and support market to provide choice that delivers outcomes that improve well-being.

Recent research led by the LGA undertaken jointly with Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and DH is clear that discharging this new duty remains a growing area of concern for local authorities. 

Understanding costs and prices is a key area of concern. How do we take account of costs in determining commissioning intentions? How can we set prices that take account of the local costs of the small as well as the larger provider, in meeting diverse local need? 

CIPFA has been asked to work with the sector in collaboration with ADASS, Local Government Association (LGA), Care Provider Alliance, and Department of Health (DH) to establish what practical financial guidance is needed so commissioners can meet the expectations of the act to:

  • Be cost effective to commission services that offer value for money for public funds
  • Understand the costs of differing types of care and support in preparing commissioning plans and setting fee levels
  • Understand the business environment of providers and collaborating with them to ensure market sustainability - that there is sufficient provision to meet local need now and in the future.

This financial guidance will also offer some advice to local authorities to help respond to the additional challenges of these expectations during a period of continuing austerity. 

We are working closely with the Institute of Public Care who are leading a review project by Market Shaping.

We will be carrying out some desk top research as well as contacting a sample of councils and some providers shortly to look at these issues in more depth including information on regional differences. We would welcome receiving any examples of good practice of costing and pricing used by commissioners and providers that can be shared to help improve skills and knowledge across the sector. Please forward these examples to E: