Ladyman scraps transfer of schemes as relations with Scie break down

    The plan to transfer seven Department of Health programmes to
    the Social Care Institute of Excellence has collapsed amid a war of
    words.

    Although Scie and the DoH both admit that the deal was scuppered
    by a conflict arising from the institute’s desire for independence
    and the department’s insistence on retaining influence over the
    programmes, there is agreement on little else.

    Health minister Stephen Ladyman said the institute had “blown” a
    chance to raise its standing and said it had always known – and
    originally agreed to – the influence he wanted over the
    programmes.

    However, Scie chief executive Bill Kilgallon said the
    opportunity had been withdrawn by the DoH, which had “changed its
    view on the process” while Scie had stood firm.

    He added: “I have respect for Stephen Ladyman. I’m very
    disappointed that he has been given that briefing by officials in
    the department which doesn’t tally with our understanding of
    reality.”

    The collapse of the plan to set up a care services improvement
    partnership under Scie, including the National Institute for Mental
    Health in England and six other schemes, again raises the question
    of the status of social care within government.

    Ladyman had portrayed the merger of the programmes into a
    Scie-led partnership as a way to boost the standing of social
    care.

    The roots of the breakdown date to the failure to appoint a
    national director for the partnership after the post was advertised
    last November.

    Ladyman claimed Scie had “unilaterally” changed the agreed job
    description. But Kilgallon said Scie had suggested revising it only
    after the panel – which included Scie and DoH representatives – had
    failed to find a suitable candidate.

    “The only unilateral action has been by the DoH in not wanting
    to continue with the proposal,” he said.

    Ladyman said he would introduce proposals to merge the
    programmes separately from Scie.

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