We want people in Somerset to live healthy and independent lives, supported by thriving and connected communities with timely and easy access to high quality and efficient support when they need it.  A key part of this is ensuring there is sufficient, reliable, sustainable and timely care and support that is of excellent quality and promotes people’s wellbeing.

The Sourcing Care Service at Somerset County Council offers a vital function in securing care and support packages for individuals requiring it.

Care Act statutory guidance states that ‘high quality, personalized care and support can only be achieved where there is a vibrant, responsive market of services available’ and, to this end, the team works very closely with commissioning colleagues to identify unmet need and gaps in the market, and support sufficiency and efficiency.

Peak periods and holiday seasons create pressure and strain on the health and care system which can result in people failing to get the care they need in a timely way; this can have a detrimental impact on people’s health and wellbeing and can be distressing for families and individuals.

Our key aspiration is to support the wider health and care system in being able to maintain flow through services, and meet anticipated demand within available resources as often as possible.

We work closely with providers to try and ensure Somerset has the provision we require over busy periods.

We have developed an Escalation Plan – aligned to NHS England’s Operational Pressure Escalation Levels (OPEL) 1 to 4 Framework – to help clarify the triggers and responses required, as a system, when our ability to provide timely home care support is compromised.

This aims to set clear and coordinated expectations around roles and responsibilities for all those involved in escalation in response to surge pressures. It should be regarded ‘in operation’ on a year round basis.

Definition of Escalation Statuses

Sourcing Care Service support offer

The Sourcing Care Service offers a free support service which includes:

  • Processing requests for care services and advertising these to care providers contracted on our framework
  • Monitoring bed vacancy rates across local provider settings
  • Identifying and monitoring unmet need and gaps in provision in the market
  • Supporting sufficiency and efficiency of provision through close working with commissioners and providers
  • Serving as a bridge between operational social care teams, local providers and clients and their families

How we will work with you

  • We will advertise available homecare opportunities for core home care and reablement packages of care on a daily basis (Mon-Fri)
  • We will advertise available placement opportunities on a daily basis (Mon-Fri)
  • We will advertise current OPEL Status (Escalation Status) in relation to levels of unmet need
  • We will link with residential and nursing providers to understand available bed capacity and vacancies
  • We will award contracts
  • We will encourage staff members to get to know their ‘patches’ and localities, understand your provision, and develop good working relationships with your care coordinators based on mutual support
  • We will support you in the event of business continuity challenges associated with adverse weather conditions (snow; flooding etc) to understand if any of your service users are not receiving care or are requiring urgent assistance, and confirm what additional support you may require from the Local Authority.

Contact us

Email: sourcingcareservice@somerset.gov.uk

Have you recently received support from Somerset’s Sourcing Care Team? We’d love to hear about your experience.

Your feedback is really important to us and is crucial in helping us to deliver the best possible support:

Sourcing Care Service – Homecare Feedback Form

Sourcing Care Service – Placements Feedback Form