County Council to spend £6.7m taking over on-site care from private landlords

Essex County Council will spend millions of pounds taking over the job of recruiting staff in four extra care schemes from their private landlords.

Th council’s cabinet voted today (April 18) to invite bids for five-year contracts to provide on-site care and support services for schemes in Brentwood, Basildon, Chelmsford and Uttlesford.

According to a council report, the Medium-Term Resource Strategy budget across the five years of the contracts is £6.7million.

Extra care schemes provide 24 hour care and support to over 55s. This comes amid a shortage of care staff, being experienced in Essex and across the nation.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting, Councillor John Spence (Con, Chelmer), Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said property operators have begun to “pull back” from providing the additional support in recent years.

He continued to say it had become difficult to recruit care workers, but that it was easier done on a block basis, and assured the cabinet this was not being done to save money.

He said: “There will be no cost to the residents. This is a way of ensuring that these extra care schemes can continue.”

Cllr Michael Mackory (Lib Dem, Springfield) said providers are choosing to withdraw because of the difficulties in recruiting and training care staff.

He said: “I do have a real concern that why do we think that this is going to be any better under this system if the existing providers can’t find the staff.”

The four affected sites are Montbazon Court in Brentwood, Poplar House in Basildon, Freeman Court in Chelmsford and Cornell Court in Uttlesford, the report says.

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Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter