Wokingham Borough Council and The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead have agreed to deliver their adult services together through a new partnership.
Both councils held separate meetings on 27 October to discuss the proposal and have approved the partnership which means the final process of forming the partnership will now take place.
Under the new partnership agreement Optalis Ltd will be expanded by both councils to provide adult services across the two boroughs.
Optalis was created by Wokingham Borough Council in 2011 as a way of giving the council more opportunities to enhance some of its provision of care.
Cllr Julian McGhee Sumner, executive member for health and wellbeing at Wokingham Borough Council, said: “I am delighted the proposal has been approved. The new relationship strengthens the quality and breadth of adult services in the Wokingham Borough.
“This decision will benefit the people using the service immensely and give greater peace of mind to their families, but also enrich the capacity and resources for the professionals working within the sector.
“Optalis continues to prove its stature and reputation as an outstanding care provider in the area.”
Cllr David Coppinger, cabinet member for adult services for the Royal Borough, said: “It has taken time to get to this position but I am pleased that we will be able to continue to deliver high quality services for our residents by joining Optalis.
“We already work closely with Wokingham on a number of other services and we believe this decision will only strengthen the relationship and provide a better service to our residents.”
Mette Le Jakobsen, managing director at Optalis, said: “It has long been Optalis’ ambition to develop and grow through partnership in a way that supports local communities.
“We have been developing the model with Wokingham Borough Council over the past five years and we’re excited to be working with a new partner in the Royal Borough and to be welcoming so many great colleagues to our organisation.”
The agreement would see the Royal Borough join Wokingham as shared owners of Optalis Ltd – initially on a 45:55 split (the Royal Borough owning 45 percent with Wokingham owning 55 percent). This would be adjusted to equal ownership after two years.
The partnership will have a number of benefits, including greater resilience, improved service provision, and a greater potential for innovation through sharing of best practice. There will also be opportunity for staff development, leading to a better trained and more stable workforce.
The Royal Borough employees will still work in council buildings and remain in the same positions but will be part of a larger specialist adults organisation. There are approximately 300 staff in the Royal Borough adults directorate.
The Royal Borough will still be accountable for the standards and retain its statutory responsibility for adult services.
The Royal Borough's existing adult services workforce will be employed by Optalis Ltd instead of the Royal Borough from April 2017.