A kind reader has sent me a copy of a confidential report from a body known as the Joint Integration Board (JIB) of North Lanarkshire's Health and Social Care Partnership.
The JIB is just a fancy name for a big committee made up of very senior officials from North Lanarkshire Council and Lanarkshire NHS who have been charged with the task of getting social care (council-run) services and NHS services to work more closely together and more effectively, with a view to reducing 'bed-blocking' for example.
The report is dated 4 May 2016 which is important because the article below from The Motherwell Times with the banner headline "Home support staff are staying in-house" is dated 29 April 2016.
Yet the JIB report (dated a week later) says in Appendix 3:
4. Home Support
"Currently, around 77% of this service is provided in house, with 23% purchased from commissioned providers. The savings option was based on increasing the proportion the service purchased to 60%, although it would have remained the Service's intention to provide as much re-ablement and complex care as possible in-house whilst buying in more support overall."
Now the JIB statement directly contradicts a previous decision of North Lanarkshire Council and I find it hard to believe that such senior officials were not aware of the Council's new policy stance.
So why is the Health and Social Care Partnership still pressing head with plans to out-source much of North Lanarkshire Council's home care service?
If you ask me, the Home Care workforce deserves some urgent answers because this JIB business just doesn't sound right.
Home support staff are staying in-house
Friday 29 April 2016
Home support workers sent a clear message they wanted to remain as council employees
Home support workers employed by North Lanarkshire Council will not see their contracts being transferred to the private sector.
The council currently employs around 1,400 care staff who provide vital services to local people.
Following budget cuts, one of the proposals to save £3.6 million being considered was to ‘TUPE transfer’ around 400 staff to a third party private provider.
During a public consultation about potential savings the public told the council this was the sixth least palatable option of the 98 listed.
The workers themselves also submitted over 15,000 letters they had collected from the public calling on the council not to take this action.
At the Housing and Social Work Services Committee yesterday (Thursday) convener Barry McCulloch announced this proposal will not be going ahead.
Councillor McCulloch said: “I am glad to announce our home care support will be remaining in-house. This was always our preferred option.
“Everyone knows what a vital job these people do to support those in need in our local communities, and I’m glad this has now been dropped.
“This has been made possible by relocating people in some of our care facilities and by vacancies arising within the service.
“We look forward to our home support staff continuing to provide an excellent service in our communities.”