30 May 2007 | Paul Snell
Councils in southwest England will be able to make significant savings if they help social workers to understand the price of care.
The South West Regional Centre of Excellence (CoE) and Gloucestershire County Council have developed a new "fair pricing tool" to make buying residential care easier to understand.
It has so far saved six local authorities a total of £1.2 million and the CoE is confident the tool can save councils a further £3 million by 2010.
The tool is a spreadsheet that allows social workers to see how the cost of a care place is broken down. When the social worker is looking for a residence, they can see an indicative price and then negotiate a fairer price with the supplier.
The spreadsheet also allows social workers to highlight differences in prices between suppliers and analyse the local supply market.
Julian Morley, director of the CoE, said the tool had increased understanding of the relationship between care and its costs.
The CoE is now working with other local authorities to adapt the tool so it can be used in other areas of adult and child services.