Council approves changes to adult care services

Scottish Borders Council headquarters at Newtown St Boswells.
Scottish Borders Council headquarters at Newtown St Boswells.

Plans to implement an arms length council owned company to provide adult social care services in the region have been approved by Scottish Borders councillors.

Services currently provided by the council that will transfer to the new company in April 2015 include home care, extra care, residential care, Bordercare, day services and Borders ability equipment service.

All staff working in these services at the end of March 2015 (approximately 800) will be transferred into the new organisation on their existing terms and conditions, councillor assured that “the new company will enable people in the Borders to access a wider range of affordable complementary services whilst continuing to benefit from our ongoing commitment to maintain and improve the quality of care and support available”.

When they met last week councillors agreed with the recommendation that new LLP will be governed by a board consisting of a chair, managing director, finance director, operations manager and three non-executive directors.

An officer and member group known as the Strategic Governance Group will be established so councillors and officers can scrutinise and monitor the business plans and performance of the LLP.

Councillor Frances Renton, executive member for social work and housing said: “I am confident that with the commitment that is being shown toward this project by councillors and officers alike, service users, carers and other stakeholders will be seeing the benefits of the council care company in the new financial year.

“Since the meeting in June, officers have refined the original business case in order to provide further assurances to Council. They have also conducted an initial impact assessment and put together robust governance and scrutiny arrangements.

“Now that these issues have all been approved, officers can proceed with implementation plans.”

Over the next five months further detailed work will continue to set up the new company including discussions with staff, unions, service users, carers and other stakeholders.

Development of service specifications which set out the agreed quality standards and performance requirements of the company are key to this plan being successful.

Scottish Borders Council sees the main benefits of moving to the new care service model as being:

· 100% owned by SBC ensuring control of any profits and the strategic direction of the company, including the option of bringing services back ‘in house’ in the future.

· More business focused and ability to concentrate solely on social care provision to service users and clients.

· Reduction in the projected running costs of services.

· The ability to provide and sell a range of services to people who do not meet the council’s current eligibility criteria, producing profit and a broader range of service options. Better use of resources resulting in efficiency savings.

· The ability to continue to provide quality services that are more cost effective and affordable to people purchasing care through Self Directed Support.

· The ability to provide a more responsive service at a local level.