Moves to outsource children’s social care services in Birmingham progressed after the Council Cabinet yesterday gave the green light for detailed proposals to be drawn up for either a wholly owned company or an employee owned mutual to run the care services.
While the Council would retain full legal responsibility an independent trust would run the services on its behalf. The Trust proposals will potentially affect 1,200 employees whose employment would be transferred out of the Council.
The redesign of Birmingham’s Early Years services is likely to take the best part of 5-6 years from conception to execution. Birmingham’s Early Years Services currently provide support to around 100,000 parents and 80,000 children at any one time. Early years services consist of Children’s centres, Health Visitors, Parenting support and Pregnancy and breastfeeding support services which support parents from the time a child is conceived up until the age of 5.
There has been a major service review over a nearly 3 three year period, and the current procurement process up to the award of the new contract is likely to take a further 10-11 months, there will be a further period where the contract is implemented. This extended period of time and the convoluted nature of the processes involved have provided useful political cover to the Council’s Labour leadership who have still not had to name and own the actual cuts and closures in Early Years services to come.