Local authority contracts, tenders and fees

Specialist social care solicitors

Providing a complete range of legal and regulatory services to care providers

Direct contact with a lawyer who provides practical and commercial advice

An in-depth understanding of the key complex issues affecting the sector

Work in partnership with regional care associations

Local authority contracts, tenders and fees

Downward economic pressure has led to significant cuts in social care budgets and changes to the way local authorities contract for care. Local authorities may present tender documentation and contracts as “non-negotiable” which can place providers in a vulnerable position when they are already squeezed on fees.

Our expertise includes:

  • Advice on tender documentation
    We have experience in acting for groups of providers and care associations in reviewing and advising on local authority tender documentation and processes. We can review and advise on onerous or illegal terms and enter into negotiations on behalf of providers to improve their position.
  • Negotiating Framework Agreements
    Framework Agreements are notoriously one-sided. We have previously represented providers and care associations at procurement meetings and in contract negotiations, calling the local authority to account on unenforceable or unfair terms. The result has been a more balanced and favourable document for providers.
  • Fees
    The battle to ensure local authorities and NHS pay fair fees for care is ongoing. We have previously acted for providers and care associations in challenging commissioners on their fees decision-making. We have also successfully represented learning disability providers in defending costs reviews.

We are able to advise providers on their legal duties surrounding third party top ups under the Care Act 2014 and can review your contracts and admissions procedures to ensure they conform with the law.

Case Studies

  • Acted for a care association in the negotiation of a framework agreement between the local authority, NHS and providers including reviewing and advising on its terms, representing the care association at procurement meetings and negotiating fairer provisions into the agreement.
  • Acted for a learning disability provider in costs review negotiations with a placing authority represented by a company engaged to cut costs on its behalf. Engaged with the service user’s family and the provider to defend the current level of fees and ensure the placement was secure for the future.
I have always found them to be accessible and quick to respond to any queries. I am very happy to recommend the Social Care team at Royds Withy King to other care home providers.
Ravi Gidar, Director Gold Care Homes

FAQs

We very often find that sellers are not employing staff, particularly bank staff, legally. We will fully review all staff contracts and operational procedures and ensure any issues are dealt with pre-sale.

Very often we find that sellers’ documentation is incomplete or there are areas of non-compliance, for example missing fire risk assessments or equipment service certificates. We can help you identify and remedy these issues before the sale starts, reducing the chances of a buyer asking for a retention or re-negotiating the price.

In certain circumstances, providers must give service users a 14 day cooling off period after they have signed the contract to allow them to change their mind. We can advise on when this might be applicable.

We can either draft your CQC application from scratch or just review and proof-read your application and supporting documents. We can also help you prepare for interviews.

From our experience, providers often encounter significant delays in the local authority completing the investigation. This can be damaging for the provider as dealing with the investigation takes management time and resources and the longer it continues the more difficult it can be for confidentiality to be retained and reputational damage to be avoided. It is therefore important to make sure the local authority sticks to deadlines and follows its policy. We can help ensure a fair and proportionate process is followed by the local authority.

The answer will depend on how you structure the business. The main rule to follow is that the service user must always have choice as to who provides the support. The provision of the tenancy and the provision of the support must not be inter-dependent.


Contact us to find out how our expert team can help.