100 care jobs under threat as Staffordshire County Council outsources social workers
ONE hundred carers who support vulnerable residents in their homes face redundancy as part of a council's out-sourcing plans.
Staffordshire County Council has transferred about 1,000 social workers and £137 million of its budget to a new NHS-led trust.
But it also means the remaining council-run home care service, which helps people carry out tasks like cooking and washing, will be out-sourced.
Carers who failed to secure work with the new trust or chose not to apply for new roles will now be out of a job.
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Steve Elsey, branch secretary for Unison Staffordshire, pictured, described the move as a 'final push' to switch home care into the private sector.
He said: "The council is ceasing to provide generic home care internally, a change that is going through in the next few weeks. Those who did not transfer to the NHS trust will be redundant, which amounts to 100 people in total.
"It means the county council will no longer be a provider of home care and it will all be delivered privately, which is very sad."
The new trust, called Living Independently Staffordshire, is designed to offer support to elderly or vulnerable residents in their own homes after injury or a stay in hospital.
The measures are set to deliver savings of more than £20 million for the council over the next four years while the NHS could save £4.4 million as fewer people go to hospital.
Biddulph councillor Christina Jebb, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats criticised the plan.
She said: "It's difficult for staff and for people who receive the services as well. They are left wondering if they are going to have the same person looking after them. It's hard for everyone."
In Stoke-on-Trent, concerns have been raised by older people campaigners about the quality of the city's home help service.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has now agreed to a formal review of the care delivered through eight companies in a £7.1 million-per-year contract.
Staffordshire County Council is attempting to make savings of £120 million over four years in response to Government funding cuts. County councillor Matthew Ellis, cabinet member for adult wellbeing at the Conservative council, said: "Every member of staff currently working in the Home Care and Community Living service was given the opportunity to apply for a position in Living Independently Staffordshire.
"Some staff chose not to apply or were unsuccessful and the majority of those have opted for voluntary redundancy.
"We have been working closely with staff and the unions, and any members of staff affected will be supported to secure other suitable alternative job vacancies within the organisation.
"The council will do everything it can to avoid compulsory redundancies."