I’ve spent the last two years entrenched in process redesign of care assessments. As part of the analysis I researched the best method in which customer’s chose to pay for their care contributions to the council.
Following a financial care assessment, customers are notified if they need to pay for some or all of their care. For customers who have care plans provided to them by the council, the primary mechanism for retrieving the customer contributions, is to invoice them some weeks after they have received the care. For some local authorities this process is driven by the care providers invoicing the council for the care they have supplied.
Often the council has to unpick these invoices and tally up the contribution that the customer needs to pay. It isn’t always a straightforward task. There can be discrepancies between the invoices and the outline care plans. These need bottoming out. Some councils have no set time-frames that the providers have to invoice them within. This often results in irregular and large invoices that the customer struggles to pay. This can lead to the council spending considerable resources invoicing and chasing debt.
So how could this be improved?
One idea is to introduce a Direct Debit data capture during the financial assessment. It could be possible to reduce the levels of unrecovered debt the council is currently carrying through regular smaller payments. This also feels fairer and could be more achievable for the customer. It is also the cheapest form of payment for councils to administer. Any discrepancies between invoices received and care provided can be dealt with using refunds/credit.
More to follow on this with the up and coming pilot of our new financial care assessment process.