Council aiming to save £5.6m on adult care

Councillor Frances Renton is SBC's executive member for social care
Councillor Frances Renton is SBC's executive member for social care
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Projected savings of more than £5.6 million are expected to be made over a five-year period by changing how Scottish Borders Council’s adult care services are run.

At today’s meeting of the council, the business case for setting up an arm’s-length organisation to run adult care services will be presented.

Councillors will be asked to agree to move to the final stage of the three-stage project which will see the changes come into effect by April 2015.

Services operated by the proposed arm’s-length limited liability partnership company would include: care at home; residential care; extra care housing; Bordercare; older people day services; learning disability services; and Borders ability equipment store.

The arm’s-length company is expected to make an additional £2.2 million by offering additional preventative services to older residents who are not eligible for council services.

If the council chooses not to go ahead with creating an arms length service, councillors are warned that “costs will continue to increase, efficency opportunities will not be maximised, and fewer people will buy council services through Self Directed Support”.

“Doing nothing is not an option - without significant change the results will be increased costs and reduced service provision to residents of the Borders,” concludes the business case made for change.

The number of 65 year-olds in the region requiring social care is estimated to increase by 11% in the next five years, putting pressure on budgets that are already being squeezed. Savings of £697,000 are currently being looked for from the annual budget.

The new organisation would become one of the largest employers in the region, with more than 1,000 staff, but would still be owned by SBC.

Managers and staff would be transferred to the new organisation, but while there will be no change to terms and conditions staff will be required to adopt new working practices “to ensure the benefits projected are realised”.