Council plans shake-up of services for adults with learning disabilities or autism – to save £3.7 million – Stoke-on-Trent Live

Services for adults with complex needs could be moved to a new company – to help a council save £3.7 million.

Staffordshire County Council is considering various options for ‘reshaping’ its community offer for adults with learning disabilities or autism.

One preferred option could see the creation of an ‘alternative delivery vehicle’ for the authority’s six complex needs services, including those in Newcastle, Moorlands and Stafford, with a community interest company or a mutual co-operative among the possible models.

Under the second preferred option for complex needs, the services would remain in-house but with increased capacity, to maximise use of the buildings. Other alternatives include maintaining the status quo, decreasing capacity or ceasing provision altogether.

The six services currently have 65 attendees and cost £3.2 million a year – which works out at nearly £50,000 per person.

The council is also looking at introducing a new system for purchasing building-based day opportunities in the independent sector – such as block contracting or a framework agreement – to replace the current free-for-all.

At the moment 403 people attend services provided by around 50 different organisations, at a cost to the council of £5.1 million. Introducing a system of specified rates could reduce costs and allow better monitoring of services.

Council leaders say these changes will ‘strengthen and improve opportunities’ and ensure a ‘sustainable and fair marketplace’. But they will also contribute towards the £3.7 million savings to the community offer programme, which need to be made by 2022/23.

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