Ombudsman offers practical advice on contracts for social care providers
Following a rise in complaints from self-funders about Funded Nursing Care (FNC), the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman have recently published guidance for social care providers to help them provide clear cost information to service users. The guidance can be found here.
Guidance key messages
- new residents should receive a clear written contract which sets out what happens to FNC payments;
- operators’ information about fees must be clear and in writing;
- you must be able to evidence that you have given information about fees to prospective residents;
- you must tell people about fee increases in the contract and write to them in advance of an increase being made;
- inconsistences or ambiguities about FNC could result in the Ombudsman recommending refunds, apologies or changes in your procedure.
To minimise the risk of disputes and the associated financial and reputational costs of these, operators should:
- review the terms of their existing contracts to ensure they are complying with consumer law and relevant guidance; and
- review their procedures for the provisions of information to residents, particularly in relation to costs and what happens when fees change for any reason.
Our team can help protect your business by:
- reviewing your contracts to see if they are compliant with current law and relevant guidance;
- advising you on steps you can take to minimise disputes with residents; and
- supporting and advising you on any disputes to minimise any adverse financial and regulatory consequences.
Please contact Mike Clifford or Sarah Skuse for further advice and see our infographic to find out more about our work with care homes and other social care providers.
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