Solihull Care Forum met with representatives from 30 borough care providers earlier this month where it was unanimously agreed there had to be an improvement on the council’s pay proposals for 2013/14, as fees had fallen ‘significantly’ behind the cost of provision.
Mark Melaugh, of Blanning Care Centre, in Bentley Heath, said unless fees improved, care providers would have “no alterative” than to pursue formal arbitration.
But Solihull Council argued it was embarking on a review of the actual costs of residential and nursing home care provision, known as the Fees Project, to get a better understanding of service costs.
“This in turn, would allow people to access quality services at a fair price, but will also allow providers to plan their businesses more effectively,” said a local authority spokesman.
“Once this information is determined the council, the NHS and private individuals will have a better understanding of the cost of services in the future.”
The council said there was a possibility fees could increase but only after the project was finished in September.
But Mr Melaugh said many providers saw the Fees Project as ‘a somewhat cynical attempt to avoid legal proceedings.’
“For some organisations the proposal for 2013/14 would be the sixth year in succession of no increase,” he added.
“It was acknowledged that SMBC faces difficult decisions, but it was questioned what should have a higher priority than the safety and well-being of some of the most at risk people in the community?
“If they don’t come up with something that’s fair, we will try and pursue formal arbitration,” he added.