The Future of the recently Transferred Learning Disability Provider Service (LDPS) to Dimensions UK Ltd (Discovery)
Response from Cllr William Wallace – Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care
For comparison can these KPIs be completed for the final 3 months of the In House Service (January- March 2017) so that we can see (a baseline) what better, worse or similar performance looks like after transfer of the service to Dimensions UK Ltd?
Response: “We will work to provide this comparison, however this will only be possible where the current KPI and future KPI indicators are either the same or broadly similar””.
Can the final versions of the pre-transfer Risk Register and Issues Log be also supplied (for the period up to 31st March 2017)?
Response: “”As stated in previous responses, this is not a document that is appropriate to release. “”
What are the “specific circumstances” for terminating the contract with Dimensions UK Ltd?
Response: “”These circumstances are expressed as clauses within the contracts and are commercially confidential. In broad terms they cover normal and prudent provisions relating to changes to legislation and provider performance etc.””
What mitigating plans and actions have been considered between SCC and Dimensions UK Ltd (Discovery) to address the recruitment and retention (of staff) problem?
Response:”” Somerset County Council and Dimensions have listened to staff and trade unions during consultation leading up to transfer. One change that was made, as a result of this, was to ensure that relief workers were engaged on the same terms after transfer as they had before. We have been meeting with Discovery regularly both prior to and now that the transfer has taken place, with recruitment and retention a key part of those conversations. We are well aware of issues around staffing generally, in health and social care, and these are a major consideration within our work on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Somerset.””
The Cabinet papers (7th July 2016) for Item 5 contained Appendices C and D which contained exempt information “and…therefore marked as Confidential”. Will the Appendices to that paper now be released so the part published Business Case can be put in context?
Response: “”All information, beyond the detailed breakdown of commercially confidential financial information that was summarised in the public version of the paper, has been released and is therefore already available to put the business case in to context.
In terms of the appendices you have directly referred to:
Appendix C provided an end to end narrative of the procurement process undertaken in order to provide assurance to Cabinet and Scrutiny that the process undertaken was compliant with the Public Procurement Regulations (2015).
It contains commercially confidential information about all the organisations that participated in the process and therefore is, and will remain, confidential. For clarity both the production and confidentiality of this document is normal practice in any procurement process undertaken by SCC.
Appendix D provided a detailed breakdown of financial information relating to the contract in addition to the summary provided within the Cabinet paper itself. As such it is commercially confidential and I refer you to the response given to the question that you submitted in July 2016 that stated “Where we have not shared information it relates either to commercial aspects of the Dimensions bid and/or approach to bidding that could adversely affect either the new social enterprise or Dimension’s ability to retain or compete for future work locally and/or nationally given the competitive nature of the market for these services.
Included within this commercially confidential information is the detailed cost comparison between the new social enterprise and continuing to provide these services in house as, while we have stated the overall difference, the detailed information would immediately give the new social enterprise’s competitors an advantage in this highly competitive market.” This appendix therefore will remain confidential.””””
a) How much is SCC “investing” (as indicated in the written responses) in Dimensions UK Ltd (compared to the Financial Forecasts and projected expenditure of the In –House service) for each year of the contract?
Response:“”As previously stated it is inappropriate to term this as SCC investment and the release of this detailed information would immediately give the new social enterprise’s competitors an advantage in this highly competitive market. Therefore it is, and will remain, commercially confidential.””
b) Is the financial savings estimate (forecast) after 6 years still (cost if SCC ran the service directly £195m compared to Dimensions UK Ltd cost of £191m) approximately £4m?
Response: “””The estimated total cost has increased following increased pension contributions and further National Living Wage increases. This increase would affect SCC if the service stayed in house so the cost of SCC running the service would also increase. The comparison is therefore still valid.””””
These questions were sent in after the deadline for the 15th March Cabinet meeting but are in response to the SCC press release, which appeared in the public domain after midday on Friday 10th March.
a) One of the main ‘fresh’ points is that the sudden appearance of a, previously unknown, compensation fund raises more questions than it answers, e.g. SCC subsidising Dimensions’ plans?
Response:“””It is misleading to suggest that SCC is “subsidising Dimensions’ plans”. The funding referred to relates to the funding of the actual costs of the organisational transformation that is required to meet SCC’s requirements of the new social enterprise.””””
b) Why was this fund deemed necessary in 2016 and why has this remained hidden until less than 3 weeks before the proposed transfer? Why is it being kept a secret from staff until after the proposed transfer date? Were Councillors told about the Compensation Fund and if so at which meeting?
Response:””””The “fund” referred to formed part of overall bid that Dimensions submitted. Details of this aspect of the bid were contained within the confidential papers that were considered by both Cabinet and Scrutiny.””””
Does the proposal about a Compensation Fund conform to TUPE and procurement legislation? Please demonstrate how this is met.
Response: “”In terms of procurement, as previously stated the “compensation fund” referred to formed part of overall bid that Dimensions submitted and is therefore compliant with the procurement regulations. The actions undertaken by the Council meets its TUPE responsibility.”””
Has this extra funding been factored into the business plan/financial case?
Response: “””The “fund” referred to formed part of overall bid that Dimensions submitted. Details of this aspect of the bid were contained within the confidential papers that were considered by both Cabinet and Scrutiny.”””
How can using money that government has set aside for social care be used for compensation and not have a detrimental impact on remaining services & Service Users??
Response:“”””As previously stated this relates to the funding of the actual costs of the organisational transformation that is required to meet SCC’s requirements of the new social enterprise. None of the recently allocated additional funding has been used in this process.””””