Note that this topic is covered in more depth in this video.

Efficient charging and paying for care provision is fundamental to the success of a care business, and Plait seeks to make it as easy as possible to do that.  Having said that, the number of variables that can impact the rates: day type (weekday / weekend / bank holiday); time of day; type of care being provided; grade of staff; the contract under which the care is being provided etc mean that setting up and maintaining tariffs is necessarily non trivial.  Below we explain how the system calculates rates.

1. Select the organisation

Costs and charges are calculated by referring to a Tariffs setup, which is created and maintained on the Tariffs tab of an Organisation form.  The system works out which organisation an event "belongs" to and then travels up the organisation tree until it finds an organisation that has some tariffs set up.

2. Select the scheme(s)

Over time, an organisation will have multiple tariff setups (or schemes), as rates tend to rise with inflation.  So the system needs to figure out which scheme applies at the time of the booking under consideration.  If a booking straddles two schemes then both will be taken into consideration (though unit rates will only be taken from the first).

3. Find the rate(s)

At the point the system starts to calculate the costs and charges.  It does these separately by looking through the lines of a grid for rows that match the booking under consideration.

The first four columns contain the attributes that are almost always used to determine whether a booking matches the row or not:

  • Tariff Period.  This entity is used to synthesise the day type and time of day into something more graspable such as "Normal Rate", "Higher Rate", "Bank Holiday".  The actual setup for this is also part of the Tariff tab.
  • Event Tariff Group. An entity used to group together different event types that attract the same costs and charges.  Event Tariff Groups are set up on the Tariff Framework tab of the organisation.
  • Grade Group.  An entity used to group together different grades that attract the same costs and charges.  Rarely used outside of organisations that have had a grade TUPE'd in.
  • Contract Group.  An entity used to group together different contracts that attract the same costs and charges.

In each column the value <any> is a valid selection - it means that this cell always matches an event.

The next column is is the Pay / Charge rate that applies is the booking under consideration matches each of the other cells in the row (the four we listed above and the next two).

There are another two columns that are less often used (which is why they are over to the right of the grid).  These are used where rates apply to short or long jobs.  For instance it is quite common to have bookings of up to 30 minutes attract a tariff that is greater than half of the hourly rate.

4 Calculate the tariff

If a booking matches the grid row (the four left hand columns and the two on the right if they are not blank) then the specified rate is used as follows:

  • Hourly rate.  The hourly rate is multiplied by the number of hours in the tariff period and added to the tariff.
  • Unit rate.  If a unit rate has not yet been applied to the booking, the unit rate is added.

Debugging your Tariffs

If a booking is not generating the amounts you expect, you can get quite a lot of detail about what is happening by clicking on the amount on the relevant tab of the full event form, as shown below:

A common problem is finding out why the tariffs generate a 0 cost or charge.  In that situation, you could do worse than try the following:

Check which event tariff group the event type in question is assigned to
Check which grade group the care worker's grade is assigned to
Check which contract group the client's contract is assigned to
Check with tariff period the booking falls into

Once you have that information, you can take a look at the tariff structure for the relevant organisation and period of the booking, find the line (or lines) which corresponds to the above circumstances (i.e. same tariff period, event tariff group, grade group and contract group) and check that the pay / charge rate is assigned correctly. If the tariffs structure is large, the filter fields at the top of the columns can save lots of time.