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'Management firm could run care homes'
6:00am Friday 25th October 2013 in News
A COUNCILLOR has put forward an alternative scheme to help preserve the future of two Shoebury care homes.
Ron Woodley, independent councillor for Thorpe Ward, wants a management company set up to run Delaware House and Priory House.
Southend Council proposes closing Priory House over the next 18 months and upgrading Delaware House.
Mr Woodley put forward his business case at the council’s people scrutiny committee on Tuesday night.
Speaking after the meeting, he said: “I have often said this council has to be more business minded.”
Independent Councillor for Shoebury, Mike Assenheim, says the plan is a “no-brainer”.
He said: “I had no previous knowledge of councillor Woodley’s suggestion of a management company being set up to run the two homes.
“This, I suggest, is a no-brainer, as we have an arm’s length management organisation running our council housing stock, so surely this is the way to go.
“Let South Essex Homes create an arm of the company to run our care homes – this would stabilise jobs at South Essex Homes and the care homes.”
Cross-party councillors and members of the public had the opportunity to ask questions about Southend Council’s recommended proposals at the meeting.
Councillor Anne Jones asked how Southend Council will justify the costs of paying specialist workers at Priory House redundancy pay as part of its proposals.
Simon Leftley, Southend Council’s director for people, said: “It’s always difficult in these situations and I sympathise with staff.
“Every time a situation like this occurs we try to make sure there are maximum opportunities for staff to be redeployed elsewhere.
“We do not know what the exact plan for Delaware House would be, and whether more or less staff would be needed – we don’t yet know.
“We can only go by a worst case scenario.”
The cabinet will meet to discuss the proposals on Tuesday, November 5 at 2pm.
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