This report is due to be pre-scrutinised at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee scheduled to take place on 2nd September 2021. Any recommendations on this subject arising from the meeting will be reported for the Executive Committee’s consideration in a supplementary pack.
The Head of Community and Housing Services presented a report outlining the proposals detailed in a business case for the future delivery of the St David’s House Extra Care Scheme.
The Committee was informed that the Extra Care Scheme enabled residents to live independently whilst receiving support. St David’s House and the Queen’s Cottages were located in Batchley and consisted of 54 units. Many of the tenants living in this accommodation had previously been Council tenants.
Redditch Borough Council had a contract with Worcestershire County Council to provide a range of services at St David’s House and the Queen’s Cottages, including domiciliary care, personal care packages and kitchen services for tenants and their visitors. The Extra Care Scheme at St David’s House was not a statutory service. Many stockholding Councils had chosen to outsource provision of such services to specialist care providers.
In previous years, Redditch Borough Council had received £200,000 from Worcestershire County Council in Supporting People Funding, which had helped to cover many of the costs of delivering the service. Unfortunately, this funding had been withdrawn some years ago and the Council subsequently received a much-reduced sum of £58,000 from the County Council, meaning that the service was heavily subsidised by Redditch Borough Council.
The report proposed that the Extra Care Scheme should be procured in future for St David’s House and the Queen’s Cottages. Any procured provider would be robustly monitored and would need to be on Worcestershire County Council’s preferred provider list. In order for service providers to be included on this list, they needed to demonstrate that they met particular conditions in service delivery.
Following the presentation of the report, the Portfolio Holder for Housing and Procurement commented that Members were being asked to make a difficult decision. However, unfortunately the Council had been subsidising the Extra Care Service delivered at St David’s House and the Queen’s Cottages for a number of years and the financial position was not considered to be sustainable. There were a number of specialist care providers operating in the region that could provide excellent care to tenants and monitoring would help to ensure that service quality did not suffer. The Council would retain ownership of St David’s House and the Queen’s Cottages and consequently the authority could continue to ensure that an Extra Care Service remained available at the site. Should the Council have chosen to sell the site, there would have been a risk that the new owners might have sold the land for development and a valuable service could have been lost in the Borough.
During consideration of this item, reference was made to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s debate in respect of this item. The Executive Committee was informed that some Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had raised concerns that they were uncomfortable with the proposal that had been made. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had also suggested that the proposal needed to be discussed with representatives of the Trades Unions and that action needed to be taken to ensure that staff were protected through the TUPE transfer process.
Following the presentation of the report, the Committee discussed the proposals in some detail. Members noted that communications had already been issued on the subject of the proposals and this would help to keep the public informed about the situation. Questions had been raised by some members of the public with elected Members prior to the meeting concerning the implications for these proposals of the Government’s recent announcement of an increase in National Insurance (NI) contributions to help cover the costs of adult social care. Members commented that further information on the Government’s proposals was needed moving forward.
the delivery of the Personal Domiciliary Care, Core Services and Kitchen services at St David’s House Extra Care Scheme be procured in accordance with the Business Case attached to the report.
(During the consideration of this item, Members discussed matters that necessitated the disclosure of exempt information. It was therefore agreed to move to exclude the press and public prior to any debate on the grounds that information would be revealed which related to the financial and business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) and which related to consultations or negotiations, or contemplated consultations or negotiations, in connection with any labour relations matters arising between the authority or Minister of the Crown and employees of, or office holders under, the authority.)