Plan for firm to run Cornwall social care
Proposals to allow a private company to run adult social care services in Cornwall are set to be considered.
Cornwall Council is to discuss allowing Peninsula Health Community Interest Company, which took over community health services last October, to manage its care services.
The move would lead to 650 staff being switched to the company.
Critics said the benefits were not clear but the council says it could make services more efficient.
Peninsula Health Community - a not-for-profit company - took over NHS services in the county after winning a four-and-a-half year contract.
It currently runs 14 community hospitals.'Take out duplication'
The proposal is part of plans to integrate health and social care services for older people and adults with physical disabilities.
At the moment, adult community health services are run by the community company, while social care is provided by the Conservative-Independent controlled council.
End Quote Councillor Jude Robinson Adult health scrutiny committee
The company may not exist in three years' time and we'll be looking at former council staff being 'stranded' ”
Council managers said the move would cut down on bureaucracy and make the service more streamlined.
Graham Allen, the council's head of operations for older people in adult care and support, and also head of operations at Peninsula Community Health, said there were benefits to moving to a "single organisational setting".
He said: "It would mean we can work to single systems, take out duplication [of staff, administration or use of resources], and make sure we use our resources in the most appropriate ways for front line services."
The Labour councillor for Camborne, Jude Robinson, who also sits on the authority's adult health overview and scrutiny committee, said she was "not sure why the issue has risen".
She said: "I'm not really sure what the benefits are and why the idea is suddenly being floated.
"The company may not exist in three years' time and we'll be looking at former council staff being 'stranded' and having to work for companies seeking to make profits.
"Shouldn't we be keeping control over these services so we can deliver them, rather than having them floated off to private companies?"
The council said the proposals were at a very early stage, and - as yet - it was not sure whether it was legally possible.
The unitary authority's cabinet would debate the proposals in December, it added.