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Havering’s reablement service to be privatised to save £750K

PUBLISHED: 16:57 16 July 2012 | UPDATED: 17:44 16 July 2012

Cllr Steven Kelly

Cllr Steven Kelly

Archant

The cabinet approved plans to save £750,000 per year by privatising social care for elderly people in the borough.

Councillors agreed to transfer parts of adult social care from the council to a private company for five years at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday July 11.

The service, called reablement gives elderly people the skills they need to live independently in their homes rather than go into a care home or be reliant on home help.

Havering Council have been running the six week service based within adult social care since 2007 and is provided by the former internal homecare team.

But in 2010, it was revealed that in comparison with other council run reablement services, Havering has the highest cost of all per contact hour.

The decision was made after Havering Unison chair Janne Cassidy clashed with the Deputy Leader of the Council Steven Kelly (Con, Emerson Park) in the ask the cabinet meeting about how he described the move.

She said: “I am hearing you describe this as trade, profit and tendor.

“It’s not items that we are talking about, we are talking about people.”

Later she urged Cllr Kelly to consider the decision carefully.

She said: “Our main argument is that all the services should be kept in house.

“It is a service that the council runs very well, how will we be able to maintain that with a private company?

“We were told from the beginning that it was only about saving money and I am asking that you should not let this go through on a nod so that there is more time to talk to the service users.”

The Leader of Havering Labour Party, Keith Darvill (Heaton) also added his voice to the opposition.

At the end of the meeting he said: “I am disappointed that the service should be externalised because it has been very successful.

“It is a good service and it is being provided by a team of 100 workers many of them local.

“It is important that we keep this service together, but at the moment it is being driven solely by money and I am unhappy about the amount of consultation that took place.”

Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Steven Kelly said: “In this day and age, it is a harsh reality but we are looking to save while maintaining the quality of the service.

“The company that we have taking over the care are a good company that provides a lot of other good quality services in the borough.”

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