As care organisations across the UK continue to navigate an ever-changing and challenging landscape, it is essential to stay up to date with the latest industry trends. Our recently published Care Trends Report 2023 provides a comprehensive and independent overview of the current state of the industry and offers valuable insights into what to expect in the coming year.
Hundreds of care leaders and professionals took part in our Care Trends Report 2023, allowing us to gain valuable insight into the specific challenges and opportunities being tackled in social care today. Our respondents included care and support provider owners, CEOs and managing directors working in domiciliary care, residential care, supported living, extra care and retirement living.
In this article, we will give you a brief snapshot of the findings from the report, such as the key challenges faced by social care providers and where the cause of these problems could lie.
37% of all providers we surveyed are manually changing invoices after initial creation
Care providers can frequently amend invoices for a variety of reasons. For example, they may need to accommodate unprecedented changes to a clients’ care needs after they’ve been admitted to hospital, so therefore their billing changes that month.
Manually validating invoice data is not only complex and time consuming but is prone to human error. When you rely on reviewing every piece of data by hand, discrepancies may not be accurately noted or missed entirely. Processes then need further work and time to correct, with an avoidable delay receiving payment.
64% of all providers would prioritise technology spend on management of client accommodation and billing
Our survey suggests that social care providers are in need of a solution that can better support them with management of client accommodation and billing. Are you currently relying on manual systems such as using spreadsheets to manage how many rooms you have available, what services you can offer and what funding set-up your clients require?
Managing multiple spreadsheets relies on your availability to spend time consistently updating the data manually. And during times of peak workload, errors can occur, and you’re left playing catch-up.
Complex Payroll Processes
Almost a quarter (24%) of all providers experience errors with their payroll processes
Having such a wide variety of roles and shift patterns in social care can cause complications with payroll. And if you’re relying on manual processes, things like managing minimum wage uplifts and different pay rates can be even more complex to organise. You may also have trouble keeping track of things like overtime, promotions, resignations and sickness. All of which need to be factored in when processing your employees’ payroll.
And these changes can be lost in the process. Last minute amendments may not get updated at the end point, leading to your staff being paid incorrectly, effecting cashflow for the following month for both your organisation and the employee. Perhaps you have multiple locations, all of which use a different method of tracking data. When this information is collated, errors occur, and it takes time to find and rectify the issues.
36% of care providers say mileage and expenses are recorded manually
Many providers find themselves having to record their data on paper or using spreadsheets. These methods are not just difficult to update (especially if your staff are working on the go) but can also lead to data silos. Manually recording mileage or expenses can mean your staff accidently add the wrong information, upload data more than once, or even forget to enter it entirely.
And your management teams might not be involved in the day-to-day running of your service. Therefore, when they are authorising things like mileage and expenses, if the information is incorrect, they will have no way of knowing. They won’t be aware if all your staff member’s expenses have been factored into their pay until the errors in payroll have been noticed after the event.
Staff Training Obstacles
41% find difficulty filling training sessions due to planning / shift coverage
Finding the right time to conduct mandatory training for new and existing employees can be difficult to organise, particularly if you need to provide individual and group training for staff with different availability. And you may even need to take your experienced team from their daily tasks to support in the training sessions.
On top of these struggles, you may not even be sure who is at what stage in their training so you could be missing out on deploying staff who are ready to start caring for your service users.
38% say employees are lost midway through induction training
As social care continues to struggle with high turnover rates, challenges with staff training can have a considerable impact on recruitment and retention.
Providers we surveyed recognise that they lose new employees midway through their training. This may be because the training isn’t quick enough, or the training is more complicated than originally expected. This begs questions as to whether applicants are applying to social care roles with the false expectation that the role is easier, due to the lower rates of pay.
Managing Client Referrals and Enquiries
Over a third (35%) of care homes faced challenges with accommodation readiness
Many of our survey respondents say they struggle with getting their accommodation ready for service users. Providers receive care referrals from the local authority or directly from the service user’s family. If there aren’t clear and robust systems in place to manage the requests, you may be finding difficulty having accommodation ready in time for people to draw on the service as you work reactively, rather than proactively.
37% have difficulty in keeping the lines of communication open / chasing of the referrals
When you are spending lots of time chasing supporting documents, the service users’ care eligibility may have changed or your availability to care for them. And being able to keep in touch with families and local authorities is not only imperative for providing personalised care for service users, but also to ensure you are maximising organisational opportunities.
To discover more, download our Care Trends Report 2023 where we take a deep dive into the key challenges faced and opportunities faced in social care today, as told by the people at the heart of the service.
And don't forget to read our blogs where we analyse the results of our report geographically, taking a look at how feedback compares across the official UK regions: