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Barnsley Council’s Cabinet Members will receive an update on progress made on plans to buy in a new model of accommodation and support services for adults with Learning disabilities in the borough, at their next meeting on Wednesday, 1 July. 

Members gave their approval to this procurement in January, when a previous Cabinet report set out the model, including the Council’s own Supported Living Service.

The updated report states that the current service is delivered by three externally contracted providers and around one third of the existing people are supported by the council run service.

The new model will be focused on enabling people to progress to their full potential for independence and reduce the overall cost of these services.

Members are informed that there are approximately 150 people in the existing standard supported living services and 21 people in high cost specialist residential care, 11 of whom are ‘out of area’. There are 130 staff in the council run service.

Financial modelling of the impact of the new model compared to the costs of current services for these people over the next five years shows that costs of £2.9 million can be avoided if the whole service volume is tendered.

Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for People (Safeguarding), said: “While constraining the rising costs of care for people with learning disabilities – which is a local and national trend – the remodelled service will also achieve better lifetime outcomes for adults with a learning disability.”

The model will support people moving on from high-cost residential placements, as well as young people in transition from children’s services.

Following a thorough engagement process with staff and trade unions the in house service has decided not to bid for any parts of the new service.

The procurement process will formally start this July and the contracts award will take place by November.

There will be an implementation and transition phase of at least 90 days to support staff and those who use these services and their families to transfer to new providers should this be the outcome.

To ensure there is minimum disruption to the lives of existing service user’s implementation will be carefully planned, with a dedicated project leader and two dedicated Social Workers working alongside current and incoming new providers. The Service Director for Adult Social Care and Health will retain oversight of the process.

When a business or service changes owner, its employees may be protected under TUPE – the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment), meaning that the employees’ jobs usually transfer over to the new company.

Supported Living staff currently support individual service users or groups of service users who live together or near one another. Therefore the council’s view is that TUPE will apply to existing staff and this will be made known throughout the procurement process.

Initial engagement with services users and their families has already taken place and individualised plans are being worked up with dedicated social worker resources to support this process.

The report can be read in full here http://goo.gl/2QpOjq