Borders care services to return to council control
Scottish Borders Council is to bring care services in the region back into its control less than five years after being taken over by an arms-length agency.
Councillors approved a recommendation to bring SB Cares back into the council at a full council meeting this week.
SB Cares was established with a number of key aims, including offering new services to clients, generating income to be re-invested in council services and providing the best possible care to the people of the Scottish Borders in the most cost-effective way.
However, the council said the agency had failed to deliver the savings anticipated and “struggled to realise its potential”.
Tracey Logan, chief executive of Scottish Borders Council, said: “We are continuing to make it absolutely clear that the plans that were approved today will have no detrimental impact on the care delivered by the outstanding SB Cares staff.
“All clients will still receive first-class service from the same staff. This is purely an organisational change and we have written to all clients and staff to reassure them of that.
“There are challenges facing the care sector right across the country, but we feel there are still opportunities to further improve our services and facilities here in the Scottish Borders.
“While SB Cares has achieved much, including a net financial benefit to the council of almost £3.7 million, the changing environment, such as integration etc, means the time is right to bring it back in.
“A five-year review was always planned and, alongside our with Best Value audit preparations, we undertook a comprehensive review which lead to our recommendations.”
The news comes as the council agreed a £2.8m investment to transform Deanfield Care Home in Hawick into a state-of-the-art facility, trialling an innovative approach to caring for older people in the Borders.
Elected members agreed to create a facility which will lead the way in piloting a new approach to delivering care across the region.
The new approach is based upon the very successful care village approach in the Netherlands, with extending respite and day opportunities key features of the plan.
The building will be completely refurbished to provide five ‘homes’, each with six bedrooms, wet rooms, accessible showers and new living/dining areas. New social spaces and outdoor seating areas will also be created giving friends and family the chance to enjoy the space with their loved ones.
Ms Logan explained: “This is a fantastic opportunity to allow us to drive forward a fundamental shift in how we look after our older people in the Borders.
“It is our aim to ensure people feel at home and live happy, enjoyable lives no matter how complex their needs are. Our older people must have access to the right care to meet their needs, and they must be able to do that in a homely, welcoming and enjoyable environment.
“As always, we are being ambitious, but we have a clear vision about how we want our care homes to look, feel and how they should operate. We have seen an exceptionally inspiring model in the Netherlands, and there is no reason why we can’t deliver something as fantastic here in the Borders.
“The approach at Deanfield will inform our strategy for our care homes going forward with a plan to survey all our care homes by the end of October.”