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The Masked Tulip

Plan To Outsource Social Services At Swansea

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Gosh, I can hear the chattering from their main office just 2 miles from me. I suspect there will be more biscuits and tea ate and drunk this mid-morning.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-11759210

Swansea council is drawing up plans which could see adult social services outsourced to save costs.

The Liberal Democrat-run authority published a document to gauge interest in running all adult social care services within the city from April 2012.

The plans have been criticised as "mass privatisation" by Labour.

But Cabinet member councillor Nick Tregoning says the current process is not privatisation or outsourcing.

Mr Tregoning said: "The option that I'm looking at is to put out adult social care as a social enterprise."

The council says its document is to develop a business case for alternative means of delivering social care.

Services covered include mental health, residential homes and domiciliary care services.

Interestingly, a fortnight ago I was at a party attended by large numbers of high-up social workers and most seemed oblivious to any cuts coming in the public sector. I posted at the time about the utter denial that I had witnessed that night.

In the past week I had heard rumours of this happening. It should be seen as an oportunity if safeguards are put in place to ensure that it is not already a done deal between the Council and whoever has already expressed an interest.

I wonder if this will become the norm across the UK?

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I'm sure I'll be called a wingnut for even suggesting this,but is there a chance that privatising it,will actually improve the service?

the cost is high and I honestly wonder whether the the sort of problems that stem from being virtually unsackable across much of the public sector don't encourage the sort of lethargy and indecisiveness that created the sort of travesties eg baby P,that social services were set up to prevent.

It all depends on the terms and conditions that the service is passed over on.

And also what you want from social services.

I'm sure by going private they can avoid some of the staff time spent on non-core activities, they can also be more flexible in their choice of software, how records are kept etc

Now if this saving is put into more staff time with the vulnerable then good, if it goes into making a profit then it won't be good for society.

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Interestingly, a fortnight ago I was at a party attended by large numbers of high-up social workers and most seemed oblivious to any cuts coming in the public sector. I posted at the time about the utter denial that I had witnessed that night.

could you post a linky to that? :)

Now if this saving is put into more staff time with the vulnerable then good, if it goes into making a profit then it won't be good for society.

nah profits can be very good - they can be reinvested and they can attract more inward investment in return for a return

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I'm sure I'll be called a wingnut for even suggesting this,but is there a chance that privatising it,will actually improve the service?

the cost is high and I honestly wonder whether the the sort of problems that stem from being virtually unsackable across much of the public sector don't encourage the sort of lethargy and indecisiveness that created the sort of travesties eg baby P,that social services were set up to prevent.

I fear that outcome may be unlikely.

I'm not too fussed about whether its privatised or not. I anticiapte the same ****-ups if it is privatised. Just a matter of time before there's another dead baby. Only difference is that instead of blaming lazy social workers the press will start to blame profiteering private companies.

The problem is too few people monitoring too many at risk children. Either the public care enough to put enough better trained people onto the job in order to reduce these tragedies, or they don't. Its no good hoping cutting out managers will give enough funds for front-line staff to spend longer on each child. Inquest after inquest has shown that its necessary to increase the communication between social services, police, hospitals etc. People can't spend more time on the front line and do lots more communicating at the same time.

Privatised or not it is all down to how willing the public is to put its hand in its pocket to stop babies suffering and dying. I don't believe the public as a whole cares enough to do anything more than go through the motions. Outsourcing fulfills the need to go through the motions - the question is whether they will put in the extra to let the outsourced staff do the job?

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For me there are 2 aspects to this:

1. Will the service improve or deteriorate as a result?

Bottom line - will people who need help be better or worse served? What will the affect be on the wider community?

2. House prices. This department is, I believe, the largest in the Council and this is probably true for most Councils.

I would expect any outsourcing would result in job losses, rationalisation, etc.

I imagine that there are plenty of people in that department today who have suddenly woken up to what is going on in the economy.

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I'm sure I'll be called a wingnut for even suggesting this,but is there a chance that privatising it,will actually improve the service?

the cost is high and I honestly wonder whether the the sort of problems that stem from being virtually unsackable across much of the public sector don't encourage the sort of lethargy and indecisiveness that created the sort of travesties eg baby P,that social services were set up to prevent.

yeah, roll up Group 4.....

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Will this be one of those things where senior managers in the local authority set up a private company with themselves as directors to run the social services ?

What a deeply cynical comment that is- of course they won't do that. They'll just wait a bit then take well paid jobs as 'consultants' for a gazillion pounds a year- so what if a few thousand nutters end up walking the streets shouting at themselves as costs get slashed- all they need do is give them mobile phones and everyone will assume they are just 'having a bad day'. :D

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Will this be one of those things where senior managers in the local authority set up a private company with themselves as directors to run the social services ?

I wouldn't rule it out. I mean, who on earth approaches a Council wanting to run their social services dept out of the blue?

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Will this be one of those things where senior managers in the local authority set up a private company with themselves as directors to run the social services ?

And where does TUPE come to play?

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Outsourcing local government services always always leads to lower salaries and instability for the work force, but not necessarily lower costs for the taxpayer. Most of the poor sods who go to work for the services contractor won't know if they have a job for more than about 14 months at a time. These types of contracts are renewed every 2 years by tender, and if unsuccessful, they lose their jobs. Very little in the way of benefits either.

No doubt the council will pay a handsome six figure sum to one of the big 7 accountancies to carry out the study.

Years ago I carried out an engineering study for a local council. Was hired to do the work directly by the council engineering team, and did the project, complete, for about £6500. This resulted in the council being successful in attracting a £500,000 grant, and the work was carried out by the DLO. A very efficient scenario, in my view. I found out later that a local councillor had also engaged one of the big 7 accountancies to do pretty much the same thing, in parallel. The price tag? £64,000. I was astonished.

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Not just TUPE - what about the legal requirement under UK and EU law to put such a contract out for tender?

The DWP contract for the medical assessments for claimants of ESA was never retendered despite the huge number of complaints from both the clinical staff and the claimaints.

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