Provider failure relating to cross-border placements
In a small number of cases, care providers may sustain business failure and cease to provide a service. It is vital that in such cases continuity of care is ensured for those affected. This may mean that authorities need to step in temporarily and meet the needs of people whose provider has failed in their geographic area. This will be just as relevant in respect of individuals who have been subject to a cross-border placement as it would to any other service user.
Sections 48 to 52 of the Care Act 2014 set out what should happen in respect of cross-border placements when the provider is unable to continue to provide care services. The relevant supporting regulations are the Care and Support (Cross-border Placements and Business Failure: Temporary Duty) (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2843), and the Care and Support (Business Failure) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/301).
In general terms, if a care provider fails and is unable to carry on, the authority in whose area the individual is placed must meet the individual’s needs for as long as it considers necessary. The first authority will normally continue to have overall responsibility.
In the event of provider failure in Scotland, local authorities have duties under Part 2 of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 as specified in the Care and Support (Cross-border Placements) (Business Failure Duties of Scottish Local Authorities) Regulations 2013 (SI 2014/2839).
Close communication and cooperation between the first and second authority throughout will be important. The temporary duty to meet needs in the event of provider failure is not expected to apply to local authorities in Wales until April 2016.
The Care Act 2014 enables the authority to recover costs from the authority which made or funded the original arrangements. This power will be commenced in relation to recovery by local authorities in Wales at the same time as the temporary duty is commenced in relation to them.
If a dispute later emerges, for example regarding costs incurred as a result of the provider failure situation, then the dispute regulations described above will apply.