Day care services to stay in-house, says council

The Phoenix Centre crew are pictured with other community volunteers at a work day in the community forest at Rhubodach recently. Argyll and Bute Council has announced that service provision at the centre, which caters for adults with learning disabilities, will be kept in-house as a result of feedback from service users.

The Phoenix Centre crew are pictured with other community volunteers at a work day in the community forest at Rhubodach recently. Argyll and Bute Council has announced that service provision at the centre, which caters for adults with learning disabilities, will be kept in-house as a result of feedback from service users.

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ARGYLL and Bute Council has decided to continue providing day services for adults with learning disabilities, and day care services for older people, in-house, rather than putting them out to external tender.

In a news release the council said that “staff believe they are able to meet the challenges of delivering the different model specification agreed in the review of these services, and have agreed via their trade unions to work with the council to introduce the required level of flexibility”.

Day care services for older people on Bute are provided at Thomson Court in Rothesay, and day services for adults with learning disabilities at the Phoenix Centre, which is also located within the Thomson Court building.

Both services had been considered for an external tender, under changes made necessary because of the proposed introduction of ‘self directed care’ by the Scottish Government, but it has been decided that in neither case would external tenders result give ‘best value’ to the council.

Users of adult learning disability day services said they were happy with current providers, whether internal or external, and these decisions provide a level of continuity which was highlighted as important.

The council’s news release said external bids received to run day care services for older people as part of the tender process “would produce a cost substantially higher than the current service budget”.

Argyll and Bute’s spokesperson for social affairs, Councillor Andrew Nisbet, said: “We will now work closely with the unions to negotiate amendments to core conditions of service for staff in adult learning disability day services.

“I’m already delighted with the co-operation from staff and the union which is what we need to provide the services our clients need and deserve.”

“At the heart of these decisions made is the need to deliver an improved and more flexible service for our service users. We have listened to what our service users are telling us and have taken it into careful consideration before reaching agreement.

“I’m confident this is the right way forward for these day care services. All those who took part in the pre-qualification questionnaire process for the tenders are being written to informing them of the council’s decision.”

We asked the council’s press office for more detail on the implications of its decisions on staffing levels in the two service areas; a spokesperson said on Friday there would be no changes to job numbers, working hours or rotas, and that any such changes would in any event have to be negotiated with the appropriate trade unions.