Wakefield Council has informed the Trust that when its current contracts to provide health and wellbeing services in the district end on 30 September 2016 they will not be renewed in the present form. Some elements are to be procured under a new specification. The council’s decisions have been made as part of actions being taken to manage the reduction in the public health grant it receives from central government.
Around 60 staff at the Trust are affected, including: health trainers, community food and health workers, domestic abuse counsellors, prevention and support workers, health and wellbeing development practitioners, self-management service workers.
The trust has entered into discussions with the local authority commissioners regarding the future of the services; however, they have clearly indicated that their intentions are:
- That the health trainer, community food and health and domestic violence counsellors services will be decommissioned on 30th September 2016 and will not be replaced.
- That the services delivered by the health and wellbeing development team and the self-management team could be extended until 31.03.17 pending the re- procurement of similar services through an open tender process. The extension to the contracts is currently under review by both parties. The council has indicated that TUPE would apply to those staff into the successful service provider
- That the domestic abuse prevention and support workers TUPE into the council, however, the timescales for this have as yet to be agreed.
Rob Webster, Chief Executive of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Andrew Balchin, Corporate Director of Adults, Health & Communities at Wakefield Council said: “In relation to changes to public health services commissioned by the council and delivered by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust there is a commitment by both organisations to work together in the best interests of service users and staff affected by the changes.
“Where services are continuing under new commissioning arrangements we will continue to maintain high quality services that benefit local people. In other cases, the council will ensure that service users receive the appropriate support through signposting to alternative specialist services (such stop smoking support and physical activity schemes).
“We expect some staff from the Trust to be eligible to transfer into new services and we are working jointly on this process to make it as smooth as possible. For those staff currently at risk of redundancy, we will be working hard to fulfil our duty of care to staff, looking to see if alternative employment can be found.
“The Trust and the council are working together to ensure that employment opportunities within each organisation (and across the council’s providers of services) are shared as soon as possible to enhance opportunities for redeployment and retention of our teams.”