Radical plans to merge social care and cut management jobs across three London boroughs may not go ahead as planned, a leading councillor from one of the boroughs has said.
Plans to appoint a single cross-borough director for adult care may not be implemented, said Daniel Astaire, cabinet member for society, families and adult services at Westminster Council, which is planning to merge with Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham.
The three boroughs want to save £19m from children’s and adults’ services – and £35m overall – by 2014-15 by halving the number of middle and senior managers it employs in these services.
“There’s a clear argument that if you reduce management costs you can make savings,” said Astaire. “Whether or not that works in practice we will see.”
He added: “The prime purpose of adult social care is to look after vulnerable residents. The proposal we are looking at is having one director across three boroughs. But we will pull that to pieces and see what works.”
He said separate directors could be retained at each borough; and, if a single strategic director were appointed, they could be backed by locally based senior managers.
Astaire also said that plans to transfer social care staff from all three boroughs – including social workers involved in care management and safeguarding – to the new Central London Community Healthcare Trust may not go ahead.
The proposal, which would bring social workers together with district nurses and other community health staff, is designed to reduce duplication of assessments and provide more integrated care for older and disabled people.
“At the moment we are in a scoping exercise,” said Astaire. “What sort of models can we live with? How will that benefit residents and service users, what costs will that save? A lot of it is aspirational. I haven’t made a decision. All I’ve done is meet colleagues from Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea.”
“It depends what management capacity you’re talking about. You can have people at strategic level who don’t drive through change.”
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