Council takes adult social care services back in house after viability concerns
Posted on 18/01/2018 by
Northamptonshire council to reabsorb adult social care services run by Olympus Care Services after auditors' warning
Northamptonshire county council is bringing adult social care services back in-house following concerns about the financial health of the company it moved them into five years ago.
The move will see all of Olympus Care Services’ 1,100 employees and services transferred into the council. Services run by Olympus include dementia care, residential homes, short breaks and support for younger adults.
Northamptonshire’s cabinet agreed the move on Tuesday (16 January) after being advised that auditors had raised concerns about the council-owned company’s lack of reserves and ability to continue as a ‘going concern’ in 2018/19.
In a report to the cabinet Anna Earnshaw, the director of Northamptonshire Adult Social Services, said “it is clear that Olympus Care Services is no longer a viable going concern from a financial perspective” despite continually delivering on its growth and income objectives.
Olympus Care Services, which supports with around 2,000 people in Northamptonshire, was founded in April 2012 to save money and enable more innovation in adult social care services.
During its first three years in business the company turned a profit but in 2015/16 it recorded a £3.06m loss. Olympus’s most recent accounts, for the 2016/17 financial year, show a loss of £943,000.
Councillor Lizzy Brown, the cabinet member for adult social care in Northamptonshire, said the decision was also driven by the council’s wider budget pressures, which mean it needs to find £34m of savings for 2018/19.
“We were also asked, following the recent Local Government Association peer review of the council’s plans and finances, to look again at all the council’s separate vehicles for the delivery of services and whether they deliver value for money for the council. Olympus was one of these,” she added.
Brown said the council will continue to use the Olympus Care Services brand and that taking services and staff back in-house will reduce the cost of running services through the company.
“It will also mean Olympus teams will work more and more alongside care management staff to ensure we deliver the right care, get the right outcomes and at the right cost,” she added.
“This is not a reflection of the success of Olympus Care Services. For the past five years it has been innovative, inclusive and definitely customer-centred and we don’t want to lose any of that.”
The Care Quality Commission has rated all of the Olympus services it has inspected as good with the exception of the Southfields House residential care home in Northampton, which requires improvement, and the outstanding-rated Shared Lives Service.
The transfer could take place as early as April 2018 although legal and financial paperwork could delay this. All staff are to be transferred to the council’s new directorate of adults, community and wellbeing services under their existing terms and conditions.