Part 1: Overpayment of millions by KCC domiciliary service users due to call clipping ancedotal evidence suggests

The outsourcing revolution in social care started with the NHS and Community Care Act 1990, which established councils’ central functions as assessing need and funding and commissioning care, rather than service delivery.

Ever since this service was outsourced thirty one years ago clients who use and receive domiciliary care have paid billions for services not rendered.

If you, your parents, children, or any adult you know receive domiciliary care with carers visiting your home, then there is more often than not a necessity to pay for these services

Care services at home aren’t usually free. How much one pays for domiciliary care depends on a number of factors, including your income and savings. Here in our county, Kent County Council (KCC) carries out a care needs assessment and agrees you have eligible needs for care and support at home, they will then do a financial assessment. This will take into account your income and savings.

So this blog is applicable to those who have paid and/or pay, all or part of their domiciliary care costs. Invoices for these costs can be paid directly to the domiciliary care company, or via the county council.

Clients who receive domiciliary care receive various amounts of time. So  we will use an example and we’ll call them Client A.

Client A receives four visits a day, which last 30 minutes each, on paper. The two carers are from Wakey Wakey Care Ltd. With this package the carers attend and deliver 28 hours of care a week, on paper. At present the charge for this many hours would be in the region of £630. This is equivalent to £22.50 per hour.

However Client A gets “call clipped” by the care company carers between 3 to six hours.

“Call clipping” or “Time Clipping” involves carers spending less time with each person who needs care, so they can fit more people in.

This means Client A is billed between £67.50 and £135 a week. If we take the average between these two figures and say Client A loses 4.5 hours a week, they are billed an extra £101.25 a week, £405 a month and £5,265 a year due to calls by Client A’s carers clipping time from their domiciliary care package.

Call clipping across England is rife according to several leading industry specialist we spoke to. They supplied extensive evidence to support their claims. They believed the amount overcharged in the last thirty one years by care companies, across the England, is north of £5 billion.  This means those like Client A who’ve had their calls clipped, and paid for this time,  using industry experts conservative figure equates to £161,290,322  annually on average, or £441,891 daily. The industry experts reckon these figures will be considerably higher.

Furthermore our public face attended several carers meetings – 30 carers in each meeting –  and there was not a single carer present whose loved one had not experienced call clipping. Many raised this with the care company providing their loved one with care, only to to be informed they were “imagining it“, “dreaming“, “causing trouble“, “should let the professionals get on with it.” “keep their nose out of things they don’t understand.” “stressed“, “sleep deprived” and other trite phrases.

One hundred and twenty carers cannot all be wrong, nor can they all be telling untruths.

Let’s not forget there are many who do NOT have a loved one to challenge the bills and the call clipping by domiciliary care companies.

Many carers provided evidence they’d had calls clipped. This evidence amounted to good solid video evidence. Many carers loved ones in receipt of domiciliary care did not even have a care plan in place, even though there loved one had been receiving care for more than three months plus. This is shocking, absolutely shocking. The care plan is the singular most important document as it informs everyone of what must be done for the person cared for, when it must be done and how it must be done.

In 2016 it was reported that one in four home care visits in Wales was cut short, due to call clipping research suggested.

On the 16th April Shropshire Council answered a the following question in FoI response which asked:

3. What does the council do about providers who instruct their care staff to clip calls because the care provider has back to back rotas with no travel time – which is clearly because they do not pay their care workers for travel between calls. As you are aware the government clearly states online that care worker’s travel time is working time and must be paid at least NMW.

Shropshire Council responded by stating:

  • The Council uses a risk approach to this which is informed by notifications that we receive from services users, their family members, staff and other agencies about provider services. Clipping care calls is NOT something that the council condones and when we are notified it will result in discussion/monitoring with the provider concerned with the requirement that the situation is addressed. The council has a formal complaint process which will deal formally with any complaint received from service users who have not received calls as planned. The council also has an electronic call monitoring system for some contracts through which it can monitor if calls have been delivered as scheduled.

So it is clear Shropshire Council is reactive rather than proactive, light touch rather than regular touch. It’s also clear Shropshire Council does condone call clipping.

Kent County Council we hope, also condones time clipping. That said, it’s self evident time clipping by care companies providing domiciliary care in Kent is happening.

It’s self evident clients receiving domiciliary care in Kent are having calls clipped and being charged for these services, as one hundred and twenty carers cannot all be wrong.

From their anecdotal evidence, all clients across Kent who pay for their domiciliary care, are paying millions of pounds for services not rendered each year.

The Head of adult social care at KCC is Mr Richard Smith (pictured) based in Telford. He earns in excess of £150,000 annually. How can he honestly say he is financially safeguarding clients  who have been call clipped?

Under Kent County Council Safeguarding Adults at Risk Financial Abuse Kit there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to begin a Section 42 investigation under the Care Act, 2014, into all Kent domiciliary care providers, as evidence suggests there is “reasonable cause to suspect” that adults in receipt of Domiciliary care clearly

i. has needs for care and support

ii. is experiencing, or is at risk abuse or neglect, and

iii. as a result of their needs is unable to protect themselves

If Mr Smith fails to act and a single case comes to light, it would demonstrate another well paid council officer has been promoted to the level of their incompetence.

Let’s hope Mr Smith will act.

The Shepway Vox Team

Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful

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