Adult care and children’s services in two counties overhauled

Adult social care and children’s services in Cheshire and Bedfordshire have been overhauled through the creation of two new unitary local authorities in each county.

Cheshire and Bedfordshire councils, which previously had responsibility for children’s and adults’ services, were scrapped this week, along with all the district councils in the two counties.

The new authorities – Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Bedford and Central Bedfordshire – have assumed all of their functions.

Shared services

Julie Ogley, director of social care, health and housing at Central Bedfordshire Council, said the transition to the new authorities had “worked very well”.

She said Central Bedfordshire and Bedford councils were running shared services to maintain continuity, including an emergency duty team, a safeguarding adults board and Supporting People commissioning body.

Ogley, who has come from North East Lincolnshire where she was responsible for adult care and housing, said that, for most adult social care staff, it was “business as usual”, particularly those in geographically-based roles. Others, such as those in commissioning and support roles, have been shared between Central Bedfordshire and Bedford.

Single director in Cheshire East

Contrary to Department for Children, Schools and Families guidance, Cheshire East has appointed a single director, John Weeks, with responsibility for children’s services and adult social care .

Weeks, formerly director of community services at Cheshire Council, will also oversee culture and public health.

Cornwall, Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire and Wiltshire county councils have now become unitary authorities by absorbing district council functions, such as housing.

The changes take the number of English authorities with responsibility for social services from 150 to 152.

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