THOUSANDS of Sunderland’s most vulnerable residents are to have their care taken over by a new council-created company.
The responsibility for adult social care will now be taken over by the newly-formed Sunderland Care and Support.
Nine hundred council employees have transferred to the new company which will have its own budget of £33million.
The local authority trading company, which is officially launched today, will cater for about 6,000 people, across 16 services, including supported living, day centres and short break care.
Council bosses say the venture is necessary due to recent legislation, which mean that people are increasingly receiving personal budgets to shop around for services.
But because councils are not allowed to sell its services on the open market, Sunderland City Council are unable to compete with the private sector, placing it at a disadvantage.
Services transferring to the “arms-length” company will include Farmborough Court Intermediate Care Centre, Sunderland Telecare, the Reablement at Home service and Community Equipment service. Harry Trueman, deputy council leader, said: “This is about the council trying to protect frontline services for vulnerable people by finding different ways of delivering services in the face of enormous government reductions in public sector funding.
“This new approach will safeguard care services to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
“It’s another example of how we’re looking to do things differently to protect services for the future, like we have already done with Sunderland Live and we’re in the process of doing with sport and leisure.”
“We recognised early on the need to do everything we can to protect care and support and this is why we have gone down the route of creating a local authority company.”
The company, which will be wholly owned by the council, has three elected members on its board; Anne Lawson, Jill Fletcher and Amy Wilson. It will be run by chief operating officer Philip Foster.