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Health Politics Rhondda Cynon Taf South Wales

Adult disability care services to be transferred to external providers

SUPPORTED living services for adults with a learning disability in Rhondda Cynon Taf are to be transferred to independent providers.

The council’s cabinet agreed to service changes on Monday, October 23, that will see the small percentage of council-provided services transfer to external providers, which the council said will ensure continuity of care and job retention for staff.

Supported Living Services provide 24/7 supported accommodation for adults with a learning disability, supporting small numbers of people who live in shared houses across Rhondda Cynon Taf.

The council said each person who uses the service has their own tenancy, enabling them to continue living in their local communities.

The council has a small in-house service that provides care to around 10% of the total number of people that receive Supported Living in Rhondda Cynon Taf. This includes 27 people supported by 54 staff members in nine houses.

The council said that the much-larger external market provides the vast majority of the overall provision – around 90% made up of 245 people being supported in 78 houses.

Cabinet approved officer recommendations around transferring the council’s remaining nine supported living services to new external providers, through the re-tender of the council’s current contract and this will start from April 2024.

The council said that all eligible staff members who currently provide the in-house supported living services will be transferred to the new specialist provider, under TUPE – transfer of undertakings (protection of employment) – arrangements to ensure that contractual terms and conditions of employment are protected going forward as well as membership of the local government pension scheme.

Plaid Cymru group leader Councillor Karen Morgan said the firms are not for profit but asked what is to stop any private companies coming forward in the future.

She raised concerns about market forces, the lack of pre scrutiny, TUPE protection and the loss of infrastructure and consultation and asked for it to be referred to scrutiny.

Councillor Gareth Caple, cabinet member for health and social care, said the council has “substantial experience and a good track record” of commissioning supported living services from external providers.

He said officers advise that the changes offer best value and the future sustainability of the service without reducing its availability and he mentioned the context of the budget gap, rising cost pressures and rising demand in social services.

Cabinet agreed to include protection of the membership of the local government pension scheme, the recognition of trade unions in the tender process and no compulsory redundancies.