The social care sector provides an invaluable support network to older and vulnerable people. It has become increasingly integrated into the healthcare sector and is recognised as being an important aspect of general health and well-being. However, the financial constraints placed on social care are arguably more severe than ever before. With local and national government cutbacks in funding, the pressure placed on the sector is enormous. This can have a negative impact on the level of care that providers within the sector are able to deliver and especially on the number of individuals that it is capable of supporting.. Maintaining financial stability as a social care provider is a constant concern. Organisations are heavily dependent on government resources and allocation, and sometimes on reserves and resources that are non-recurrent. As a result, every effort must be made to keep the care level consistent and sustainable.
While each individual organisation needs a personalised plan to achieve financial stability and resilience, there are a number of ways that social care sector financial stability can be approached more generally whilst continuing to maintain a high standard of care.
A Plan of Action
Once a problem has been identified, or even a potential problem, it is important for the organisation to implement a plan of action. Knowing how and why the problem occurred—or is likely to occur—is key for identifying how to prevent it in the future. Assessing the impact of the problem and preparing how to offset or manage the problem are imperative. This can be difficult to achieve from within the organisation, and often an objective and knowledgeable outside consultancy can be helpful.
A consultancy business with strong experience in the social care sector can be an invaluable resource when identifying issues and planning for the future. Not only does an objective input help an organisation to see things more clearly, but a fresh approach can offer ideas for moving forward too. Together, the organisation and consultants can develop a clear and effective strategy for managing any current or ongoing problems, implementing solutions and preventing their recurrence in the future.
An accountable approach, where everyone within the organisation feels responsible and supported, is key to the delivery of high quality care and financial stability. A culture of accountability helps to ensure that any risk can be monitored, challenged and openly discussed, and an effective response actioned. Accountability not only applies at managerial level and as a company. It also begins within and between colleagues, who should feel confident enough to approach each other with concerns and ideas.
With careful forecasting and planning, it is easier to spot when targets or budgets will not be met, so this can be reported to management.
Financial stability should also include a plan for financial resilience. This means that the problems that were experienced in the past will not be repeated in the future—or can, at the very least, be prepared for. Assessing what went wrong and how to avoid such incidents in the future should form the heart of a financial recovery plan, but including ideas that add innovation, ambition and growth for the sector is imperative.
The social care sector provides invaluable resources and support for some of the nation’s most vulnerable people. With ambition, attention to detail, creativity and high-level consultancy, the sector can adapt to its financial challenges and provide a high standard of ongoing and far-reaching care.