Issue - items at meetings - Integrated Community Equipment Services

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Issue - meetings

Integrated Community Equipment Services

Meeting: 23/09/2013 - Adult Care & Health Committee (Item 28)

28 Integrated Community Equipment Services pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Report of Executive Director of Adult Social Services (copy attached).


28.1         The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director of Adult Services concerning options for the future delivery of equipment services, currently provided by the Integrated Community Equipment Service.    The service is commissioned jointly between BHCC and Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group and has been provided via a Section 75 agreement with Sussex Community NHS Trust since 2004. 


28.2         The service delivers daily living and community health equipment and minor adaptations to adults and children who met the accessibility criteria.  It is located at the Belgrave Centre in Portslade, a BHCC building, with a satellite store based at Brighton General Hospital. 


28.3         The Commissioning Manager set out the report and explained the various options for the future of the service.  The Commissioning Manager explained that key issues to consider were the current low rate of recycling of equipment which negatively affected the budget, and issues related to the building which is not big enough and requires major works.  


28.4    Councillor Mears commented that it would have been helpful for members to have seen a map of the site, showing its relation to the Belgrave Day Options Base. She asked if the damaged roof was above the store.  The Commissioning Manager confirmed that the roof was above the store. 


28.5    Councillor Mears referred to paragraph 3.6.5 of the report which stated that £193,000 was required to update the building.  She asked if this sum of money was purely for this part of the building.  The Commissioning Manager confirmed that the money was required for this part of the building.


28.6    Councillor Meadows agreed that recycling was a key issue.  She stressed the need to keep track of equipment.  Councillor Meadows asked about the relationship between the equipment store and the Belgrave Day Options Centre. 


28.7    The General Manager, Learning Disability Provider Services explained that the equipment store and the Belgrave Day Options Centre were conjoined but separated a few years ago.  They operate as two separate buildings.  The Executive Director of Adult Services confirmed that there were no plans to expand the day service.  The two services are not connected in any way.  


28.8    Councillor Meadows expressed concern that staff at the equipment store had only been consulted about the proposals a few days before the committee meeting.  She asked officers to clarify what would happen if members approved Option 4. Would TUPE be involved and would the decision be seen as a fait accompli? 


28.9    The Executive Director explained that if a decision was taken to approve Option 4, it would result in discussions with West Sussex County Council on the possibility of working in collaboration to tender for a new service model for the provision of the community equipment store.  There would be further consultation with staff following the decision of the committee.  TUPE would apply to some staff if any new tender was to be pursued in the future.


28.10  Councillor Meadows asked if there would be redundancies.  The Executive Director replied that it was difficult to give a definitive answer but stressed that the changes would not be implemented until 2015 and officers would work closely with the unions with regard to these issues.   There would be a natural staff turnover which would help to mitigate the need for redundancies.


28.11  Councillor Robins raised the issue of the Shoreham Harbour Planning brief.  This would result in a large housing development in this area of Portslade. He asked if the developer could be asked to fund a suitable store.  (Note – The General Manager, Learning Disability Provider Services later confirmed that the Shoreham Harbour scheme would not result in changes on the site for about five years).


28.12  The Commissioning Manager stated that she was not aware of the housing issues and had looked at the most effective model for the future of the service.   If Option 4 was agreed and a joint tender was progressed with West Sussex, it was anticipated that there would probably be the need for 5 smaller stores across the city.   


28.13  Councillor Bowden stated that housing in this area had been identified in the City Plan but nothing definite had been approved at this stage.  He agreed that in the future it would be sensible to have discussions with the developer.  Councillor Bowden referred to paragraph 3.5.2 which related to the overspend on the ICES equipment budget.  He stressed the need for keeping a track of equipment with smarter methods such as bar coding.  Councillor Bowden considered that only Options 3 or 4 were feasible.  He asked for reassurance that the depots would be sited in Brighton & Hove.


28.14  Janice Robinson expressed concern about the overspend on the budget and stressed that increasing numbers of people would require the service.  She stated that she would like to see if efficiencies could be made by joint working with West Sussex.  She considered that the needs of service users were paramount. 


28.15  Councillor Norman considered that the service had been in need of an upgrade for some time.  He believed that that Option 4 was the right proposal.  Councillor Norman informed members that having been a service user this year he had been very impressed with the prompt delivery of equipment but had found that he had received no contacts regarding the return facility. He stressed that the Shoreham Harbour scheme was at very early stage at the moment and it was necessary to make improvements to the equipment service as soon as possible.  The current facilities were not fit for purpose. 


28.16  Councillor Mears highlighted how difficult it was to return equipment.  She suggested that service users should be given written instructions on where to return equipment.  This was not happening at the moment.  Councillor Mears asked for a report to the next committee meeting setting out the findings of discussions with West Sussex County Council on the feasibility of working in collaboration to tender for a new service model. 


28.17  The Commissioning Manager stressed that West Sussex County Council would not be meeting until December 2013 when they would make a decision about a procurement process.  Nothing definitive would happen for a few months.  The Executive Director confirmed that no final decision could be made by Brighton & Hove City Council until West Sussex County Council had made their decision in December.


28.18  Councillor Meadows suggested that the local authority could take over the management of the store.  Bar coding would help to identify equipment.  She stressed the need for the store to remain in the city so that service users could easily access equipment. 


28.19  The Executive Director explained that Sussex Community NHS Trust had other satellite buildings.  There were no issues with those buildings.  The proposals were based on better logistical stores.  The Executive Director stressed the risks associated with the current building and systems.   She further stressed that ICES is a service that requires specialist skill.  She considered that bringing the service in-house would not be an appropriate option as the local authority did not have the specific skills required to manage the service.


28.20  Councillor Phillips informed members that she could not support Options 3 or 4 as she did not agree with outsourcing services.  She preferred Option 2 but accepted that this option would not be sustainable in the future.      


28.21  Councillor Summers stated that she was not happy to accept recommendation 2.2 which would have given the Executive Director delegated authority to award a contract. 


28.22  Councillor Bowden considered that the committee should not be rushed into making a decision without further information.  He would prefer the service to remain in-house but if that were not possible then joint procurement could be considered.  He stressed that the committee should have democratic oversight on the future of the service. 


28.23  Councillor Mears informed members that she would be happy to agree recommendation 2.1 but would want a report back to committee in November.  She agreed with Councillor Summers with regard to recommendation 2.2.  Meanwhile, members should be invited to a tour of the site.


28.24  The Chair informed the committee that agreeing Option 4 would result in discussions on the feasibility of joint procurement with West Sussex.  It would not be a final decision. 


28.25  RESOLVED – (1) That Option 4 of the report be agreed: To enable Adult Social Care to formally approach West Sussex County Council to discuss the feasibility of working in collaboration to tender for a new service model for the provision of community equipment services.


(2)       That until such time as a new contract is awarded, it is agreed that services shall continue to be delivered with Sussex Community NHS Trust (SCT), and that commissioners will work with SCT to develop the requirements of the existing service specifications. 


(3)       That a further report be presented to the Committee at its meeting on 25 November.  In the meanwhile, a site visit should be arranged for Members.



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