Preferred bidder announced to run Devon’s integrated children’s services
Posted on: 12 July 2012
A decision about who could manage and run important integrated health and social care community services for children in Devon moved a step closer today with the announcement of Virgin Care as the preferred bidder.
It follows agreement between NHS Devon and Devon County Council.
Detailed negotiations will now begin with Virgin Care on the £44 million annual contract.
A final decision regarding who the contract will be awarded to is expected in the Autumn.
Services for children with physical, sensory and learning disabilities; public health nursing services such as health visiting and school nursing; and mental health and wellbeing services, are to be re-commissioned as part of a rigorous process to ensure they continue to work well together in future.
These services, known as integrated children’s services (ICS), are currently provided by NHS Devon and Devon County Council.
They are delivered by approximately 1,100 staff, the majority employed by NHS Devon.
The services were put out to tender following the Government’s national Transforming Community Services directive in 2009, requiring all Primary Care Trusts to become commissioning-only organisations.
This meant that NHS Devon could no longer provide these integrated services.
The authorities spoke to parents and carers, staff and a range of health and social care professionals about how services could be improved.
All agreed that it was essential to keep these important services integrated, to provide the best care and support possible.
NHS Devon and the Council believe that appointing a single accountable organisation to deliver the services on their behalf provides the best opportunity to maintain and strengthen the integration of the services.
The announcement today follows involvement with parents, health and social care professionals, safeguarding and governance experts, carers, GPs, head teacher representatives and technical experts.
Rebecca Harriott, director of commissioning development at NHS Devon, said:
“Bringing together community-based health and social care staff has brought many benefits for children, young people, parents and carers.
“Keeping these services together and developing them further means finding the right provider with the right vision and commitment.
“Today’s announcement is just one step towards this.
“We know that these are important and sensitive services and it is vital to ensure that everyone can be confident that a winning bidder is able to deliver the best possible outcomes for children and young people across Devon.
“That is why we have been so careful to involve as many stakeholders as possible in the evaluation process including young people, parents and carers and professionals such as GPs and head teachers.
“Our aim throughout the process has been to secure the best possible service and improve health outcomes for younger people while continuing to strengthen integrated community-based health and social care.
“Once a single service provider has been appointed there will be new opportunities for innovative approaches to meet the needs of children and their families.”
Although safeguarding is a key duty for every single agency working with children, it should be noted that Child Protection is not a part of this contract and will continue to be the responsibility of specialist children’s social workers within Devon County Council.
Detailed negotiations will now take place over the coming months to give NHS Devon and Devon County Council the necessary time to satisfy themselves that the organisation they choose to contract with will be the best one for vulnerable children in Devon.
Please note that today’s announcement covers only the Devon County Council area, excluding Plymouth and Torbay.Posted in: Health and Wellbeing