Media Release: Jeopardising vital care – Independent Care Services Out of Pocket

Scottish Care research has uncovered the scale and impact of delayed payment for care packages delivered by independent providers across the country. Public contracts should be paid within twenty-eight days. Yet this is not always the case.

When asked the level of late payment they are working with, 100% of respondents have informed Scottish Care that they operate with payments due over 30 days. With sums in certain cases going into the millions, the average owed amongst the cases provided to Scottish Care is £303,986.

When asked if they had any late payments that are more than 60 days, 62.8% stated they were, with an average sum of £139,990 owed per case. Again, certain providers are owed millions.

Care providers deliver vital support to their communities across the country. If they are not appropriately remunerated for delivering these vital services, their very existence comes under threat. It is again, those in need of care and support in our communities who will suffer. The situation is predicated on the misunderstanding of the current fiscal condition on the independent care sector in Scotland.

Scottish Care members have articulated the impact on their ability to deliver much need care:

“Our tendered care packages are accepted and delivered without issue, yet we wait months for eventual payment. The time we spent chasing these payments, critical to our ongoing survival as a business, could be spent delivering the care our clients need and deserve.” (Care at Home Provider)

“In a time where we, and the rest of the independent sector, need to grow to meet rising demand, this inadequate commissioning of services like ours further burdens our operations and the care our homes provide.” (Care Home Provider)

This undervaluation of social care is in stark contrast to independent services’ foundational importance to Scotland’s economy, and the ability to save significant sums of money through a preventative approach that addresses issues such as delayed discharge.

As a result of this, Scottish Care calls for:

  • An urgent short-term investment to ameliorate the funding shortfalls of commissioning and procurement bodies.
  • An immediate end of late payments for the delivery of care packages, and the prompt payment of owed monies.
  • A systemic change towards a model of ethical commissioning and procurement under a National Care Service (NCS), with statutory provisions to empower providers:
    • A standardised process of recourse to claim owed monies, including interest fees.
    • A transparent method of financial assessment that keeps providers informed throughout the process of admission and assessment.
  • A permanent representative of the independent care sector as part of new National Care Boards under an NCS, to routinely advise on issues impacting the financial viability of the sector, such as late payment.

Appreciating the current fiscal challenges local authorities face, Scottish Care is committed to working in partnership to remedy these issues and ensure the ongoing delivery of care and support across Scotland.


The Delayed Payment Briefing Report is available here.