Agenda item

Public Speaking/Open Session

In accordance with paragraph 2.24 of the Council’s Committee Procedure Rules and Appendix on Public Speaking, set out in the Constitution, a total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to put questions to the committee on any matter relating to this agenda. Each member of the public will be allowed up to two minutes each to speak, and the Chair will have discretion to vary this where they consider it appropriate.


Members of the public wishing to speak are required to provide notice of this at least three clear working days’ in advance of the meeting.



Steve Nichols, Chief Executive of the Rossendale Trust attended the Committee and spoke in respect of item 7 - Market Sustainability Plan.


Mr Nichols enquired as to when Cheshire East were going to support the complex care cohort (of which the Rossendale Trust represent circa 30%) with a rate in line with their peers and not at a rate which ranked 68th out of 69 Local Authorities according to the recent reliable independent national survey.


Mr Nichols felt that Cheshire East Council should be suitably rewarding and protecting those providers by significant partners who had shown outstanding loyalty and recognised achievement over a sustained period.


In response to Mr Nichol’s request for comments the Executive Director for Adults, Health and Education thanked Mr Nichols for his attendance at the meeting and recognised that Rossendale Trust was an important provider for Cheshire East. The way in which services had been commissioned in the past had been through a dynamic purchasing system, which enabled providers to bid for packages of care in the expectation of that the price that is submitted, is able to be sustained for the lifetime of the contract. There have been some very significant pressures on prices over the past two years and that was having a direct impact on providers, which is difficult for them but equally difficult for the Council within the context of the amount of money available for adult social care.


The draft market sustainability plan which was on the agenda for consideration looked at how the Council would invest more in its providers over the next year and how it might change its approach to supporting providers in the medium to longer term. It was recognised that supported living and care at home were the cornerstone of the care the Council wanted to support in Cheshire East. Time was needed to move from a position of funding people competitively to a position of more collaborative working in partnership with providers such as Rossendale Trust. It was hoped that there would be an increase in the amount being paid to the Rossendale Trust over the next twelve months and discussions would be held with Mr Nichols over the next few days. The Council would not be able to go as far as the organisation would wish it to in a single year, but there was definitely a strategic trajectory that would lead it closer to the market rates for supported living.


The Chair commented that it was acknowledged that Mr Nichols was concerned for the vulnerable adults that the Rossendale Trust cared for but the Council was also facing extremely difficult budgetary considerations. The Adults and Health Committee was £8.9 million overspent which was down to wage inflation and as a Council it was duty bound to have what was turned by the government's value for money for our residents.


Whilst the Council shared the same concerns around its vulnerable people it only had a limited budget and officers were trying their best to balance the demands of the system and the Council budget which was a very difficult task. Unfortunately, the government did not recognise the needs of vulnerable adults in the way it did of those vulnerable older people and the Council did not get the same level of support for those.

The recent budget consultation showed that about 70% of the Council budget had been spent on vulnerable adults which was a massive proportion and in terms of the population of Cheshire East it was a relatively small number of people and the Council could not have that position next year because it did not have the reserves to cover such a deficit.


Mr Nichols was thanked for his attendance.