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Homecare contract for more than 200 people in Broadland is terminated by mutual consent

PUBLISHED: 06:30 27 June 2014 | UPDATED: 10:11 27 June 2014

Care for the elderly.

Care for the elderly.

Archant © 2006

Homecare services for more than 200 people in the Broadland area are to be re-let after a controversial care provider and the council mutally agreed to terminate their contracts in that part of Norfolk.

Earlier concerns

Norfolk County Council warned Care UK in September 2013 that it could pull the plug on its contract to provide services in Broadland unless performance improved.

The council revealed that since Care UK’s three year contract worth £4.2m started in July, 2013, it had received about 100 complaints.

The company said problems had been caused by a number of employees from the previous care provider failing to transfer to Care UK when they had been expected to do so, and a higher than normal level of summer annual leave not having been agreed with Care UK prior to the transfer.

The company brought in extra care workers, more management support was put in place and rotas for staff were replanned. A month later council bosses said the service had improved.

The decision by Care UK and Norfolk County Council follows a re-emergence of some of the organisational problems that occurred in 2013 after Care UK took over two contracts in Broadland.

In recent weeks, there have been a number of missed homecare visits and the company has struggled to deliver the service in the Broadland area to a standard with which either the council or Care UK is satisfied.

Both parties have agreed that the council’s contracts with the company in the Broadland area should be terminated.

People receiving homecare from Care UK in the Broadland area should have received letters yesterday informing them of the decision.

With close monitoring and assistance from the council’s quality assurance team, Care UK will continue to provide homecare services in the area, while the council expects to appoint replacement providers during July, with the handover of services being carefully managed over the following weeks. In the meantime, individual ‘spot purchasing’ of homecare services from other providers will be used as necessary by the council.

Sue Whitaker, chairman of the Adult Social Care Committee on Norfolk County Council, said: “Last year, when there were difficulties with the contracts, we said we would not hesitate to act if the situation recurred. We have been monitoring things very closely and have taken quick action which I firmly believe is in everyone’s best interests.

“The company has accepted that it cannot provide the level of service we require. Making this change will allow them to concentrate on maintaining a high level of service in North Norfolk and Great Yarmouth.

“This is absolutely no criticism of the front line staff who have on the whole provided brilliant care, day in, day out and I very much hope they will continue to do that in the future, albeit under different management.”

Donna Cousins, director of quality and governance for Care UK Community Services, said: “We apologise to people who have experienced difficulties with their service over recent weeks. Relinquishing the Broadlands area will allow us to focus our attention on delivering a high quality of care to the people in the other areas of Norfolk that we will continue to be responsible for. Over the next few weeks, we will work closely with Norfolk County Council to ensure a smooth handover of the service.”

Norfolk County Council will receive compensation from Care UK for the extra expenses it incurs, in keeping with the terms of the contract. There will be no financial impact on the Norfolk taxpayer as a result of the agreement to end the contract, which had originally been due to continue for another two years.

If people have any concerns about the care they or a friend or relative are receiving in Norfolk, whether from Care UK or any other care provider, they are encouraged to report them to Norfolk County Council on 0344 800 8020.

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