Wolverhampton City Council is set to consider proposals to change the way it provides a number of social care services.

In the face of unprecedented financial challenges, members of the council's Cabinet will meet next week to consider proposals to find external partners to run some in-house care services on its behalf.

They include certain services for older people and children and young people, as well as a number of mental health and disability services.

The proposals seek to provide continuity of care and the quality of services that customers have come to expect while reducing the cost of the services to the council at a time when the authority must find savings of £123 million over the next 5 years.

Councillor Steve Evans, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "We are experiencing rising demand for social care services, particularly those for older adults as a result of our ageing population, at a time when the council is also facing an unprecedented financial challenge due to Government cutbacks.

"The money provided to Wolverhampton by Government will have reduced by more than half over 4 years if Whitehall goes ahead with its intended spending plans.

"Therefore, like many other local authorities, we have to look at everything we do to ensure we offer the best quality services to our customers while also providing good value for money to taxpayers."

Councillor Val Gibson, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, added: "It is clear that, despite our very best efforts, we cannot make savings of £123 million - on top of the £100 million we have saved over the last 5 years - by delivering further efficiencies and through good housekeeping alone. We need to consider making fundamental changes to the way we deliver our services if we are to meet both increasing demand and the financial challenge we face.

"We are determined that any changes we make to our in-house services do not compromise our service users and that they continue to receive the highest quality of care possible."

The council has looked at a wide variety of options for the services included in the proposals, and spoken with many other local authorities which have developed alternative delivery models for services formerly provided in-house.

A report will be presented to Members of Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet next Tuesday (4 March, 2014), and recommends contracting out the services.

Councillor Evans said: "Engaging with one or more external partners to provide our services has been identified as the option which would have the least effect on service users and staff while enabling us to make the savings we require.

"We'd like to reassure our customers that this proposal is primarily about providing social care services in a different, more cost effective way - it is not about wielding the axe. We don't want to see the level and quality of service diminished, and so service continuity and quality standards would be a pre requisite of any discussions we have with prospective providers."

It should be stressed that these are only proposals at this stage, and whether or not Cabinet agrees to the recommendation which has been put forward, the council is very receptive to suggestions for alternative models that would deliver the right outcomes, both for our service users and the council.

The services being considered as part of this review are:

  • Older People's Services: Nelson Mandela House and Merry Hill House residential care homes, Bradley and Woden resource centres and the social care element of Blakenhall resource centre, HARP Reablement, the social care element of the community intermediate care teams, Telecare, Carelink, Neighbourhood Support Service, Ekta
  • Children's Services: Upper Pendeford Farm and Red Gables Children's Homes
  • Learning disability and younger adult services: Learning disability day services at Oxley and Neil Dougherty resource centres, learning disability employment services at Bilston Hub and Old Tree Nursery, A41 reablement outreach and employment support services, Duke Street learning disability residential services, Ernest Bold and Swan Bank respite services
  • Mental Health Services: Community Inclusion Team, Recovery House

Councillor Gibson added: "We will be working closely with service users, their family carers and staff through this process and will keep them updated about developments."

  • released: Monday 24 February, 2014