Frequently asked questions

Welcome to our FAQs page!  You will find answers to common questions about how to complete the homecare cost toolkit.

We have categorised questions and answers by section, with each covering a particular aspect of provider costs.

If you can't find an answer to your query, please e-mail support@costofcaretoolkit.co.uk and we will be happy to respond.

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General
Visits & Care Hours
Travel & Mileage
Branch & Volume
PPE
General

Are there any sections for providers to add notes to provide clarity on how they have completed a section?

As of the current February 2022 release version 2.21, there is no section in the toolkit to provide free text notes; these would need to be added seperately if clarity is required.

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Can providers who do not currently contract with local authorities, and are not likely in the future, use the toolkit?

The toolkit is freely available to download to support all commissioners, individuals and business in the sector to arrive at a better undertsanding of the impact of costs and operating models more widely in homecare. Any provider operating a homecare business may find benefit in using the toolkit for budgeting, forecasting or P&L purposes, and all use cases are encouraged in this regard, whether it be for personal or commercial use, or within the context of a local authority-run cost of care exercise.

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Can the toolkit be used for Housing with Care? Has it been tested for this purpose?

The toolkit can be used for any social care provision in the community as long as it is typically delivered on a time-and-task basis (such as domiciliary care). The toolkit can be used for purposes such as Live-In care and Supported Living without the Housing-related elements that pertain to the client or service user's rent/rates/utilities for the property they occupy (only the business overheads and back office costs relating to delivering personal or social care). Because of this, it is not designed to cover the range of complexities to include Housing-related costs at this time.

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Can the toolkit be used to model the cost for in-house (local authority) run provision?

Yes, absolutely. If the local authority has an independent trading arm (referred to as a LATCo), the toolkit can be used to model the unit cost for this in the same way an independent provider would determine their unit cost.

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Can the toolkit be used to model various different pricing strategies (such as costs per part-hour or variations in geography & rurality)?

Yes, the Sensitivity Analysis worksheet is designed to model vairous different pricing strategies. The "Standard Cost+" worksheet must be completed first in order for the sensitivity analysis to work, however, here you can adjust unit costs based on differing units of time, pay rates, or costs asssociated with travel.

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Does the EULA include a data sharing of how LA's will use the information?

The toolkit is offered free of charge to all commissioners and providers of home care. The EULA is an intended as an individual license agreement for all end users, and does not cover data sharing between individuals. ARCC do not collect or hold any data in relation to who may or may not download or enter data into the spreadsheet. It is up to each local authority to clarify with their local providers or market, if they are requesting a completed copy of the toolkit to be sent to them, under what data protection and sharing arrangements they make for commercially sensitive information.

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Does the toolkit aggregate responses from several providers at once?

The toolkit does not have this functionality. However, if a user wishes to aggregate the unit costs from several toolkits, they can copy and paste the results from Data Output worksheet into a new spreadsheet and collate several results together.

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Is there a list of fixed assumptions in the model?

A description of the calculation flow within the toolkit is provided within the guidance document at section "1.3 Calculating a unit rate per care hour". The link is provided here: https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/sector-support-offer/care-and-health-improvement/commissioning-and-market-shaping/cost-of-care-toolkit/homecare-cost-of-care-toolkit-information-and-user-guide#2-homecare-cost-of-care-toolkituser-guide In addition, the attached document provides a list of assumptions relating to the calculation flow within the model.

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Is there a standard survey that covers all the elements in the model that LAs can use to gather this data from providers?

The aim of the toolkit is to co-produce models of care delivery between local authorities, commissioners of care and providers who deliver that care. In this regard, the toolkit was not designed to simply gather costs from providers, and therefore there is no standard survey that accompanies the toolkit. Local authorities may gather all elements of business operating models they require in order to fulfil their own needs with respect to local models of care. With regards to the elements of cost required for the DHSC's fair cost of care, the Annex A submission can be found here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/market-sustainability-and-fair-cost-of-care-fund-2022-to-2023-guidance). This should represent the minimum data required for any local authorities or providers wishing to fulfil this requirement.

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Rather than devising a separate template for collating info/ data from providers, is it sensible to send out this toolkit for providers to complete?

This decision is up to each individual local authority/provider as to how they wish to complete their local cost of care exercise. The toolkit was not designed as a simple data collection tool, and is best used in situations where commissioners and providers wish to co-produce an operating model of care, once the actual costs of delivering care have been established. If local authorities and providers wish to simply gather total business costs for the delivery of homecare; for the direct purposes of fulfilling the DHSC fair cost of care requirements, it is recommended that the DHSC Annex A submission is used for this purpose (found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/market-sustainability-and-fair-cost-of-care-fund-2022-to-2023-guidance)

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Should we ask providers to complete the toolkit themselves, or to work alongside commissioners to do this?

The toolkit is designed as a co-production model, not a method to gather cost data. In this respect, anyone using the toolkit is free to complete this within their own organisation, however if the information is to be used to understand the costs of delivering care between commissioners and providers, it is recommended that organisations work alongside each other to complete this exercise.

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Where has the model been utilised previously?

The model was developed with the LGA and ADASS in 2021 and shared with over 50 commissioners and 200 provider organisations during live demonstration sessions over a 6 month period via communications managed through the LGA and Homecare Assocation. In addition, several local authorities and provider organisations shared cost data to complete testing of the toolkit. Commissioning organisations who agreed to share their in-house modelling assumptions for current homecare costs received a detailed feedback session and contributed to the development of the model. All users were invited to feedback on the toolkit and these contributions led to the final version being released in January 2022. ARCC Consulting have been utilising the model since 2021 alongside our in-house expertise to provide support and advice to local authority clients in completing cost of care exercises or developing new commisisoning models for their local area.

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Who completes the toolkit, providers or commissioners?

Any user can use the toolkit providing they have the requisite information relating to business operating costs in order to do so accurately. The toolkit was designed as a co-production model, meaning that it is ARCC's intention that providers and commissioners work together to develop new models of care using this toolkit and associated guidance.

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Will CHIP work alongside areas in approaching the application of the toolkit?

The LGA/CHIP have a dedicated mailbox to cover any queries relating to how to manage a cost of care exercise or to contact your local CHIP for support. If you have any questions for local government representatives you can email marketsandcommissioning@local.gov.uk

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