Author Topic: Outsourcing Adult Social Care  (Read 4133 times)

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Offline Drone

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Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« on: October 13, 2010, 05:03:36 pm »
Quote
SWINDON Council wants to outsource its entire adult social care service.

Proposals going before Swindon Council’s cabinet tonight would set in motion the establishment of a social enterprise to run the service from April 2011.

The company would be responsible for running both the adult social care service, including day services, domicilliary care and the like, and the community health workers currently provided by the Primary Care Trust (PCT).

It would affect services such as One Step Ahead, the Upham Road Centre and many more.

The Government has announced its plans to disband PCTs and from April next year none of them will be able to provide services any longer. It has also encouraged the setting up of social enterprises to run some public services.

Some councils have already announced they are to outsource almost all of their services to social enterprises but it is not yet know what route Swindon will take. This comes just a week after Swindon Council voted through £5.3 million of cuts to this year’s budget, including £1.52m from adult social care alone.

Council and PCT staff would be expected to transfer over to the new company under the same conditions. And the proposals going before cabinet also include setting up a different ‘arms length’ company to run the council’s children’s services department.

Coun Peter Mallinson, cabinet member for adult social care, said they had looked at 10 different ways of running the service and came up with the idea of a social enterprise as it allowed greater staff ownership and the profits would be reinvested back into the service.

“The council would be more like a commissioner and the social enterprise would be the provider of the service,” he said. “From my point of view I think it is the correct way to go, but the proposals have to be put to cabinet first.”

If approved, the council will start putting together a business case for the company. Only then will the financial details of how it would operate be known, although it is thought that much of the income would be from grants and charging people who use its services.

Coun Mallinson insisted that this was similar to how the department operated now.

He said: “We will be charging no more than we currently do. At the moment people can pay out of the personal care budgets they have for what they want. We’re not asking them to dig into their own pockets and pay for something. Obviously we are dealing with an area of vulnerability here so we have got to be careful.”

The company’s contract would be reviewed every three years and a service level agreement would ensure the same level of care was provided as now.

Coun Mallinson said: “This is not the complete product, this is just the first stage of seeing if cabinet thinks this is a viable position.

“The business case hasn’t been worked through yet.”

But Labour councillors have spoken out in opposition to the plans, saying handing large parts of the public sector over to employees alone could spell the beginning of the end for a public say on public services.

Coun Steve Allsopp (Labour, Parks) said: “This is hasty and without proper public consultation. Focusing only on putting employees in the driving seat completely ignores accountability to the public.

“There are other ways to ensure proper use of public resources. There are also huge risks in telling hundreds of public sector workers that in only a few months they will work for a stand-alone company.

“Government plans to make the NHS and social services in England obey European Union competition law also threaten the livelihood of dedicated workers who would have to re-tender for contracts in a few years, up against large national and even multinational firms.

“That is surely not the way to create any sort of locally accountable big society.”

derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Drone

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2010, 05:04:41 pm »
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“The business case hasn’t been worked through yet.”

So these proposals are based purely on political ideology?
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Rochelle

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2010, 05:41:52 pm »
You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment...

Offline Chav

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2010, 07:44:04 pm »
 So when do they consult with the service users, parents/carers etc to see what they think, feel, need, and want ?

This is what gets peoples backs up.
Yes we all know about the cuts and the budget (this now seems to be the words that are given in answer to anything and everything put to SBC at the moment).

All people want, is the transparency, the chance to have a say and actually be heard, and for their concerns to be taken seriously and to be given honest answers.

"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Tea Boy

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2010, 09:01:43 pm »
Quote
“The business case hasn’t been worked through yet.”

So these proposals are based purely on political ideology?

If  for instance the wi-fi's buisness case was worked through, just what can we expect when one isn't.....
Gardening tips: Always remember its brown side down, green side up.  If its knocking now it'll only go bang later

Offline chrisp

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2010, 10:52:36 pm »
Quote
SWINDON Council wants to outsource its entire adult social care service.

But Labour councillors have spoken out in opposition to the plans, saying handing large parts of the public sector over to employees alone could spell the beginning of the end for a public say on public services.

Coun Steve Allsopp (Labour, Parks) said: “This is hasty and without proper public consultation. Focusing only on putting employees in the driving seat completely ignores accountability to the public.

“There are other ways to ensure proper use of public resources. There are also huge risks in telling hundreds of public sector workers that in only a few months they will work for a stand-alone company.

“Government plans to make the NHS and social services in England obey European Union competition law also threaten the livelihood of dedicated workers who would have to re-tender for contracts in a few years, up against large national and even multinational firms.

“That is surely not the way to create any sort of locally accountable big society.”

bonkers, why is this loony labour person against staff running the service?

Offline Drone

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2010, 06:11:17 am »
So when do they consult with the service users, parents/carers etc to see what they think, feel, need, and want ?

This is what gets peoples backs up.
Yes we all know about the cuts and the budget (this now seems to be the words that are given in answer to anything and everything put to SBC at the moment).

All people want, is the transparency, the chance to have a say and actually be heard, and for their concerns to be taken seriously and to be given honest answers.

Exactly, they've stumbled on a solution before they've identified the problem. Social enterprise is an ok idea so long as its users have the security that their 'care provider' won't go bust, cut the service, change staff every two days...

There are now a few places where council's have moved to this commissioning model. It creates extra bureaucracy and additional concern, particularly for the most vulnerable users who just want to be supported, not to have to wade therough multiple options in order to commission their own care plan.
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Muggins

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2010, 09:32:57 am »
I dare say that very expensive consultants have been brought it to ask the questions, we just haven't heard of them. 
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2010, 11:43:18 am »
There are now a few places where council's have moved to this commissioning model. It creates extra bureaucracy and additional concern, particularly for the most vulnerable users who just want to be supported, not to have to wade therough multiple options in order to commission their own care plan.

I have very recent, personal and local experience of this.

I feel a blog coming on.....

Offline Rochelle

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2010, 12:56:32 pm »
you and me both....

Offline Drone

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2010, 04:37:27 pm »
April 2011 is not a long time away. Do any staff/users/volunteers have any info on how far they have progressed with discussions?
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Drone

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2010, 04:42:36 pm »
Guidance from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation here: http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/users-local-services

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A lot of social care public money is spent locally through commissioning. Officers buying in blocks of services where they can use their purchasing power to get the services they want, at a quality they want and at cheaper cost.

For years Governments have developed policies on choice and control for individual service users (e.g. Labour’s Personalisation Agenda; Conservative’s 1996 Direct Payments Act) built on ideas from disabled people before that. Policy language focuses on ‘World Class Commissioning’, but in fact this evidence shows that we are still a long way from ideas of choice and control and credible user involvement in the ways that services are commissioned.
...

The involvement of service users in shaping and commissioning services is at an early stage. We are a long way from credible user involvement in World Class Commissioning.

‘User involvement’ can mean different things. It can represent a valued process with users as equal partners in reshaping services or be a manipulative one-off consultation, when users gradually realise they are being given bad news.

Commissioners and their partners were frequently poorly placed to engage with user involvement in commissioning. Their skills, knowledge and practice of effective involvement were often limited. Even where they had knowledge, there were few drivers which pointed them towards service users and away from simply responding to organisational necessities.

In most cases the facilitation of user involvement was handed down to voluntary organisations without acknowledging tensions between their provider and advocacy roles or taking into account variable user involvement within voluntary organisations themselves.

There seemed to be two ideas within the same system. Individual service users were to have choice and control in line with Personalisation. Commissioners retained control over block contracts. It was difficult to see how one influenced the other.
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Drone

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2010, 04:46:09 pm »
derp derp herp herp derp

Offline Chav

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2010, 05:13:27 pm »
April 2011 is not a long time away. Do any staff/users/volunteers have any info on how far they have progressed with discussions?

It would be good to be consulted and involved in them for starters !!!!!
"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Martin Wicks

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2010, 05:31:03 pm »
Staff running the service? You are rather taking this at face value Chris P. 'Social enterprise' sounds sweet, but this is part of the process of turning services into commodities.

This proposal is partly the result of the closure of PCTs. You may remember the Tories said before the General Election that there would be no more top-down reorganisations. So, the obvious thing to do was to introduce.... a top-down reorganisation of the NHS without telling anybody you are going to do it before the election.

Under New Labour's 'health market' the PCT's were involved in 'commissioning'. This work will be passed onto GP's, most of whom do not want to do it. It will open up the NHS to more blood-sucking private companies. The Doctors' union, the BMA is saying that GP's should not be forced into commissioning. The government is currently saying they will have to do it.

So the social care element of what the PCT's used to do themselves has to go somewhere. Hence the 'social enterprise' bringing together the Council and probably ex-PCT staff. But rest assured the staff won't run  it.

Social care in general has more and more been turned into a commodity with wages of staff who do an important job having their wages drive down.

As it happens the union UNISON is taking the government to court over its lack of consulation on its proposed changes. So watch this space.

Offline Chav

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2010, 05:48:01 pm »
I know it will affect places such as respite facilities .

For example: Tantivy which was run by the PCT and faces closure - and I know that there is a big uncertainty as to who will run another like for like unit if Tantivy is replaced.

I think that people need to be transparent and honest with what's really going on.
There has been cuts to Adult Social Care , I just wonder when it is outsourced to whoever, will the service user get the same quality of care as they have done with the PCT (like for like) , and on a limited budget ?
"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline Chris Watts

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2010, 07:52:57 pm »

Quote
And the proposals going before cabinet also include setting up a different ‘arms length’ company to run the council’s children’s services department.

If anyone can enlighten me on this I would be grateful. (Stand down Bogo', its not that kind of enlightenment I am after)

I am not sure if it is just me but the phrase used above - arms length - I have heard many times in the council with regards to council dealings with Digital City, Thamesdown Transport and SCS. The problem that I have is that when questions have been raised in full council regarding two of these "entities", we are told to contact the company in question as the council is not responsible. Cllr Perkins referred question about the number of Digital City customers back to the company even though he sits on the board of directors as the SBC representative. Cllr Greenhaulgh did the same regarding the Okus road bus service petition even though I believe he is a non-exec on the Thamesdown Transport board. You can see where I am going with this. Sloping shoulders. Buck passing. Relinquishing Responsibility...

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Coun Peter Mallinson, cabinet member for adult social care, said they had looked at 10 different ways of running the service and came up with the idea of a social enterprise as it allowed greater staff ownership and the profits would be reinvested back into the service.

Do you think that is a miss quote? Do you think that it is more likely that Cllr Mallinson looked at 10 different ways to spin the same old policy of privatisation before settling on "Social Enterprise" in readiness for Serco (or similar) to mop up at a later date?

Quote
“Government plans to make the NHS and social services in England obey European Union competition law also threaten the livelihood of dedicated workers who would have to re-tender for contracts in a few years, up against large national and even multinational firms.

“That is surely not the way to create any sort of locally accountable big society.”

This I have seen in before. One of my customers of 10 years is an award winning property maintenance company in Bristol. A large part of their business model was looking after social housing for Bristol City Council. This was business they competed for against several similar sized operations, but there was enough to go round. Everyone was happy until the enlightened board members of Connaught and ROK did look upon their fare city and decided that they wanted a piece of the action. Coincidently, around this time, the tendering process mysteriously became increasingly more time consuming and expensive (e.g. up to £5000 in legal fees per tender) as the criteria was gradually pushed out of reach of the smaller businesses. (At one point the council deemed that companies turning over less that £5M need to apply). Needless to say, Connaught and ROK cleaned up. (Look at their share prices for this year to see how successful this strategy was for them and BCC)

Who knows, in years to come, instead of an elected Mayor, we will be voting for an elected Non-Exec Board Member for Serco to represent us.

Offline moley

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2010, 08:21:18 pm »
I genuinely believe that an outsource model could work if the right measurable service level agreements were put in place.

BUT

the complexities of putting these in place and measuring them correctly may drive the costs to a level where actually it's more economic to do things in-house.

Outsourcing with the wrong SLAs/KPIs just results in a crappy service and a focus on the easiest thing to measure (cost).

Moley

Offline Muggins

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2010, 10:14:52 am »
Beware the phrase 'Social enterprise'. the concept needs a thorough investigation including finding out if it's being misintpreted.   

Community or social enterprise used to mean 'bubble up' from the community need and where the workers formed themsleves into a 'not for profit company' became a seperate legal entity to anything else and obviously ran the 'company' to provide the service at a cost that would vcover overhead and their own pay - a co-operative. They are rarely charities because they 'trade'.

The company they formed had/should have a legal persona and was answerable like the rest of us, to holding AGM's, producing properly audited accounts and having good solid procedures and policies in place.  The few newer set ups that I have heard called 'social enterprises' are wobbly on some of these items.  Mostly because they have not had the proper support to set up properly.

Now a long arm trading company  ran like any other business, that maybe covenants profits back to the mother ship is something different.
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Chris Watts

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Re: Outsourcing Adult Social Care
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2010, 10:29:51 am »
(At one point the council deemed that companies turning over less that £5M need to apply).
Sorry, typo above, meant to say:

"At one point the council deemed that companies turning over less that £5M need NOT apply"

 

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