Wokingham Borough Council’s decision-making executive is set to approve a streamlined and improved adult social care structure.
The executive will consider a recommendation to move statutory functions currently carried out by Optalis (a local authority company jointly owned with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead) into Wokingham Borough Council’s adult services in order to improve the quality of service and gain more control of these functions.
Currently, Optalis delivers parts of the council’s adult social care statutory service provision*. The remaining statutory services are provided directly by Wokingham Borough Council and it has always been the intention to create a seamless pathway in order to deliver the best service to residents.
Executive member for health, well-being and adult social services, Cllr Charles Margetts, said: “’Our adult services have been under increasing demand over the last few years and it is important to continually improve our systems to ensure they offer the best possible service delivery. Both Wokingham Borough Council and Optalis have excellent, hard-working staff and this structural change would help them do their jobs by improving processes and removing barriers.
“We know some of WBC and Optalis staff have been frustrated that our current structures have not helped them in their work. We have worked with staff on these issues and are putting improvements in place. This change would be part of that improvement process and would allow a more timely, efficient and customer-focussed practice.”
The change would mean transfer of about 50 staff from Optalis to WBC and mean that the council would take direct control of all statutory adult social care functions. This would allow the council to focus on improving this area and Optalis to continue to provide high quality care services. It would not require any additional money and is funded from existing budgets.
Optalis will continue to provide a large proportion of adult care services on behalf of WBC, which it has done since 2011. During that time, Optalis has consistently delivered high quality care.
Cllr Margetts said: “Optalis is doing a great job. The Care Quality Commission considers its services to be good or outstanding. This is a fantastic achievement and is a credit to the leadership and all of the staff. It will continue to provide care and support services for Wokingham Borough residents as it does now. The changes discussed at executive will seek to set up the overall service so it is better placed to respond to the challenges of the future and to ensure we can offer a better service to all Wokingham residents.’’
The council’s decision-making executive will discuss the proposed change when it meets on Thursday 27 June.
*The statutory services currently carried out by Optalis cover annual reviews for all residents receiving support, brokerage to ensure personal budgets are used in the most effective ways, some long-term support packages and services to maximise assistive technology