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Council to take over management of Birchwood Care Home

Authority votes in favour of bringing service in house to save costs

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Contact:

01635 886632

Council tax set to rise by four per cent from April

WEST Berkshire Council has voted in favour of taking on the responsibility of Birchwood Care Home.

Birchwood is a 60-bed home between Newbury and Thatcham. The care is currently delivered by a company called Care UK, but the original 10-year contract is due to run out on April 1.

There is an option of a three-year extension term, at increased costs, but the council has opted to let the existing contract lapse and bring the service in -house, under the jurisdiction of adult services.

A report circulated to councillors in December says: “This will allow us to have more control and ensure adequate capacity.

“We have no confidence that another block contract, even if competitively priced, will deliver the reliability that we need.”

It adds: “Historically, the council has been committed to commissioning the majority of its care provision from the independent market.

“Changes in market conditions outlined above means we have had to think again as choice has become limited and the market more volatile.”

The council says that adult social care provider services already deliver three care homes and therefore have the necessary skills to take the service on. However, the council says the economic climate means this role has become increasingly difficult.

A report published in November highlighted that four out of five local authorities report having capacity challenges in the independent care market.

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