Pay cut council may outsource adult care provision

Southampton Council is considering proposals to outsource its adult social care services, weeks after introducing a pay cut for most staff.

Southampton Council is considering proposals to outsource its adult social care provision, weeks after introducing a pay cut for the majority of staff.

The Conservative-led council is looking into the possibility of setting up a local authority trading company, often described as a “half-way house” between council provision and going through a traditional tendering process.

Around 350 care staff working across five residential homes, as well as the domiciliary re-ablement service and services for people with learning disabilities could be affected. There are currently no plans to outsource adult social work services.

Other options on the table include keeping the service in house or taking a procurement approach. The council is currently developing business cases for each, ahead of a Cabinet meeting on 24 August.

A spokesperson said it was “unlikely” the council would pursue a social enterprise model.

Mike Tucker, branch secretary of Southampton Unison, said the union was opposed to the outsourcing plans and would do “all we can” to keep the service in house.

Trading companies are wholly owned by councils but operate as commercial enterprises, allowing them to compete for contracts. Staff outsourced to the trading company retain their terms and conditions.

Southampton introduced pay cuts of up to 5.5% for all but the lowest paid staff on 11 July.

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