East Lothian Council

Council secures new 'care at home' contracts

Published Thursday 19th March 09

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New external Home Care contracts awarded by Council

East Lothian Council has just completed an extensive procurement exercise to appoint agencies to provide continued general, and not specialist, 'home care' services to people throughout the county. The three successful agencies are: Allied Healthcare, Housecall and Goose Green Homecare and they were selected following the procurement project which involved care agencies submitting detailed cost and service breakdowns. An experienced team of council officers conducted the evaluation of tenders and carers of people, who use the Care at Home service, were also involved at a presentation stage of the procurement exercise.

Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services, Cllr Ruth Currie, explained;  

"East Lothian Council is committed to ensuring that the care packages we commission for local people provide appropriate standards of service.  Throughout the procurement project a key priority was the quality of care provided. The agencies short listed from the initial submission made a presentation to local carers and service users outlining the services they provide. It was extremely important that we heard the views of people directly involved and their comments gave an invaluable contribution towards the final selection.

"East Lothian Council has been very fortunate to enjoy an excellent working relationship with the current external care providers and I would like to record my appreciation for the services that they have delivered. However, it is important to note that we are required to re-tender our services at regular intervals to make sure we guarantee high quality provision at the best price to the Council. We are looking forward to working in partnership with the contracted agencies to seek continuous improvement in the service. Carers and service users will be invited to be part of this quality monitoring process."

Housecall, based in North Berwick and Musselburgh, and Goose Green Homecare, based in Gladsmuir, already provide services for people throughout East Lothian. Allied Healthcare is one of the largest care providers in the UK and has an office in Edinburgh. Staff who currently work for another external home care provider may have the right to transfer to the new providers with their job and associated terms and conditions of employment protected.

All service users or carers who are affected by a change in agency will be notified in writing and special helpline has been set up to answer any questions or concerns for those affected. Tel: 01620 827805 or by email to cah@eastlothian.gov.uk

East Lothian Community Care Forum (ELCCF) provides a table for discussion and comment for service users and carers throughout the county. ELCCF spokesperson, Phyllis Wilson, said:

"Service users and carers were involved in the final selection process. Most of the questions asked from the panel came from service users and the process was very participative."

Tony Segall of Carers in East Lothian, said:

"What carers look for are high quality services with trained, knowledgeable staff. It was clear that the council shared our priorities during the procurement exercise and we are reassured that the companies contracted are likely to deliver to the expected standards. I know many carers were initially apprehensive about this process but I'm optimistic many anxieties will now be allayed."

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