Adults’ Provider Services research challenges options

Adults’ Services has been carrying out an ‘options appraisal’ of its in-house provider service (such as day care and residential centres for people with learning disabilities and the elderly).

UNISON was so concerned by the alternative delivery models being considered (such as staff mutuals, social enterprises and local authority trading companies: LATCs) we asked deputy branch secretary Karen Daubney to conduct research on those options, especially LATCs. She found little track record of success elsewhere.

“There appears to be considerable over-estimation of potential savings and income generation. The reality is that LATCs often struggle to adapt to changes in demand because of their poor financial reserves,” said Karen.

“We’ve found evidence of failure across the country: in Barnet, Kensington & Chelsea, Surrey, Stockport, Essex and Dorset. It seems the LATC business model is based on a two-tier workforce, where new staff are employed on worse terms and conditions than those TUPEd over from the council. This appears to be the primary way they attempt to make a profit, which of course is totally unacceptable to us.

“At a time when demand for Adults’ Services is increasing, surely the answer is not to de-skill and underpay staff or reduce their terms and conditions? The profound implications of doing this are obvious to anyone in social care.”

The branch has used its research to help the council with its decision-making. We’re now told decisions have been put on hold for this year. We will know more detail of future proposals in Spring 2017. Read Karen’s research paper here:

Download (PDF, 436KB)