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Reablement (or ‘recovery’) services provide short-term care and support packages for individuals following a period of intensive support, such as a long-term hospital stay. Support aims to enhance an individual’s quality of life and maximise their long-term independence, enabling them to remain or return to live in their own home or elsewhere within the community.

Packages vary in duration depending on the person’s level of need and the skills they may need to (re)learn, starting at one to two weeks and increasing typically to around six weeks. Providers have to be flexible and responsive, recognising that individuals may rehabilitate at a quicker or slower rate than originally commissioned, ultimately informing whether the person is ready for independent living or if ongoing domiciliary care is more appropriate as the package concludes.

In addition, reablement services are CQC-regulated, and a CQC registration is essential in order to apply. The specific minimum rating will be stated by the contracting authority, typically ‘Good’ (or sometimes ‘Requires Improvement’, often with the caveat of providing an improvement action plan) and alternative indicators of credibility/suitability may be requested for providers who are yet to be inspected for the first time.

As detailed below, reablement services may be tendered for as a standalone service or form part of contractual responsibilities within a domiciliary care service. Buyers will stipulate this in the tender documentation.


Executive Compass’ health and social care team have experience supporting bidders to tender for reablement services in a wide range of contexts, for example:

  • As a standalone service (e.g. a tender specifically for reablement services only) as part of a single-provider contract, mini competition or framework/DPS
  • As a specialist lot in the context of a wider domiciliary care framework or DPS
  • As part of domiciliary care in general, where reablement services may be required alongside longer-term care packages.

Recently, our bid writers have completed tenders for specialist reablement (or similar) services for local authorities across the UK, including Richmond upon Thames London Borough Council, Wandsworth Borough Council and Carmarthenshire County Council, with these contracts becoming a popular alternative to domiciliary care as buyers search for more cost-effective care and support options.

Key aspects of reablement services

Referrals for reablement services are made by local authorities (often by a dedicated rehabilitation team) based on initial assessment in the person’s current living arrangement, with eligibility requirements often including:

  • Supporting recovery after a hospital stay following an illness or operation, facilitating timely discharge.
  • After a fall or short illness to prevent hospital and premature admission to long-term care.
  • If an individual has started finding everyday tasks difficult and requires support in identifying new ways of doing things, maximising independent living.

The type of support provided varies on the person, their needs and their preferences, established through an assessment which focuses on outcomes rather than completing specific care tasks. Working in partnership with key stakeholders, such as nurses, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and social workers, support could include help with:

  • Activities of daily living, such as getting washed/dressed and preparing meals.
  • Mobility, enabling a person to (re)learn how to move safely around their home or outdoors.
  • Improving confidence and supporting participation in the community, e.g. attending chosen activities and using public transport.

As such, key elements of effective reablement (as per SCIE guidance) include:

  • Individual assessment and person-centred goal setting to improve confidence and wellbeing.
  • Interventions to enable engagement in meaningful activities and occupational performance (the ability to desire, recall, plan and perform the required tasks, activities and roles of living).
  • Supporting and enabling risk management and risk-taking to maximise independence and choice.
  • An ‘outcome focus’ to appropriately minimise the ongoing support required.

Key themes in reablement tenders

Reablement tenders often reflect similar themes to domiciliary care services, whilst acknowledging the short-term nature of support:

  • Managing demand, ensuring sufficient numbers of qualified, trained and experienced support workers are available, often within a short turnaround time (e.g. within 24 hours to support an individual being discharged from hospital) and addressing the challenges associated with this.
  • Providing outcomes-focussed support, enabling service users to work towards goals and ultimately live independently.
  • Using a strengths-based approach, ‘doing with, not for’ and encouraging service users to do as much as they can by themselves to achieve their goals.
  • Bespoke training provided to support workers delivering reablement services, confirming they understand and can apply the nuance of this kind of care/support in comparison to domiciliary care and supported living.
  • Service mobilisation, detailing key timeframes, activities and milestones to demonstrate the resources, capability and capacity are in place to deliver the service from commencement, often within a tight overall timeframe.
  • Partnership working and communication, evidencing how the provider will communicate with the authority to ensure referrals are accepted and managed promptly, liaise with other providers (if on a framework) to share packages where appropriate and collaboratively solve problems, and healthcare professionals to help service users access bespoke support specific to their needs.

Tender writing support

Executive Compass complete hundreds of health and social care tenders (including for reablement), and as such our bid writers have the knowledge, skills and expertise to obtain the information needed to address these topics and produce high-quality, competitive responses, to win your organisation more contracts.



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