Adult services in Wokingham Borough Council and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead have joined forces.
It marks the completion of the transfer of Royal Borough staff into Optalis Ltd, a local authority trading company now owned by both councils, to provide adult services.
Residents will benefit from a more resilient service being provided by a larger pool of staff who can share their best practice and expertise while still maintaining the same local connections to the existing staff and venues they already know and use.
For the employees transferring this also offers further opportunities to develop their careers that would not be possible while working within a single local authority.
A short ceremony at Boyn Grove Community Resource Centre in Maidenhead this week marked the formal beginning of the partnership, with representatives from the Wokingham Borough Council, Optalis and the Royal Borough.
Cllr Keith Baker, leader of Wokingham Borough Council, said: “Our companies continue to grow and mature, setting a high standard for local authority companies across the country. With the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead joining Optalis today, it will triple its turnover. It is a great success that will save taxpayers’ money while improving our social care services.
“I am delighted this partnership launches today after months of hard work which will bring huge amounts of benefits to both councils. Optalis continues to prove its stature and reputation as an outstanding care provider in the area.”
Mette Le Jakobsen, managing director of Optalis, said: “Today marks a really important change for adult social care services in the Royal Borough. The council has decided to work with Optalis as a local, trusted provider and we are thrilled to be working in partnership to deliver highly valued services to local people.
“The partnership is the culmination of a lot of preparation and I’m particularly pleased to be welcoming teams of talented and enthusiastic adult social care professionals to Optalis.”
Cllr David Coppinger, cabinet member for adult services and health at the Royal Borough, said: “Today is the start of an exciting new chapter for our staff and residents as we complete the transfer of our adult services to Optalis.
“This partnership with Wokingham Borough Council will put us in a much stronger position to ensure our residents are cared for and supported throughout their lives.
“We know that adult social care is a key issue on many people’s minds and we’re confident that this partnership will help us to protect those more vulnerable residents who need extra support, as well as opening up more opportunities for staff to progress their careers within a larger organisation.”
Adult services staff in the borough will still work from the same buildings and in the same roles and residents will only notice a change in the logos on badges and paperwork.
Optalis was created by Wokingham Borough Council in 2011 as a way of giving the council more opportunities to enhance some of its care provisions.
The two councils approved the partnership last October and since then officers from both have been working closely with their counterparts at Optalis to ensure a smooth transition.
Photo: L to R Cllr David Coppinger, Mette Le Jakobsen and Cllr Keith Baker