Carterwood – sector-specialist market analysts to the elderly care home sector – today launches its innovative new online platform Collab, which provides instant online access to accurate, up-to-date occupancy, fee, funding mix, and staff cost data.
At a time when the trading environment for care homes has never been more challenging, Carterwood Collab makes it possible to get a true picture of current and historic elderly care home trading performance across Great Britain.
The platform’s name reflects the collaboration that is fundamental to both its creation and its purpose, with the secure and anonymised provision of trading data to Carterwood by care home operators, galvanised by a shared goal of improving decision-making across the sector.
Tom Hartley, managing director of Carterwood, shares his thoughts on the new platform:
“I’m so pleased to finally be able to share that Carterwood Collab is now live, a landmark for data collaboration within the elderly care home sector. This aggregated and anonymised data will help improve decision-making across the sector, powering market analysis and benchmarking with real trading data.
Part of what makes Carterwood unique is our ability to reinvent how data can be accessed and used to inform decision-making. A huge thank you to our founding contributors, without whom this would not be possible. Working in collaboration with our clients to create this new platform has been such a fantastic experience.”
Carterwood Collab provides trading data at national, regional, and local levels, as well as offering users the ability to customise segments of the market for benchmarking. At a Great Britain level, the platform’s data reveals:
- Agency costs have skyrocketed over the past two years, with average cost per bed in Q3 2022 (£445) over twice what it was in Q3 2021 (£222). This reflects the deepening staffing crisis across the sector, which when combined with inflationary cost-pressures from energy and food bills, has created an extremely challenging trading environment for operators, and is likely to continue given the impact of the NLW increase in April 2023.
- There has been a sustained, encouraging recovery in average occupancy, which sat at 84.2% in Q3 2022 (up from 78.4% in Q1 2021). The market is still below pre-pandemic levels but is now reaching a point where, combined with increases in average weekly fee and self-funded referrals, incomes across the sector are in more robust shape than they have been since the pandemic struck.
- The average weekly fee (from all funding sources) has risen by almost £100, from £895 in Q1 2021 to £981 in Q3 2022, driven primarily by increases in self-funded fee rates in response to severe staffing, utility, and general inflationary cost-pressures.
- Self-funders account for an increasingly bigger share of overall funding mix within care homes, rising from 37% to 40% between Q1 2021 and Q3 2023. This is driven by modest increases in local authority fees pushing operators to lean more heavily into the self-funded market to improve their trading position.
The Collab platform provides granular insight into these metrics at a local, regional, and national level, with the ability to generate reports and track the performance of individual care home markets over time. Trading data contribution is entirely anonymous, facilitated by Carterwood’s secure online data contribution process.
Professor Vic Rayner OBE, chief executive officer for National Care Forum comments:
“Access to accurate and up-to-date data is a hugely powerful tool. It is very exciting, therefore, to see the launch of Collab, powered by Carterwood. Collab represents a really valuable contribution to the whole ability of social care providers to make sensible decisions about the development of new services that will meet community needs. By facilitating the sector to work together on this project, Collab shows that we really can be stronger together.”