Berkshire

Slough's learning disability service could be outsourced to save money

Slough is to look at outsourcing its adult learning disabilities care service to save up to £400,000 a year.

Any changes would involve its in-house residential service at Lavender Court and respite care service Respond, with "significant" implications for staff.

The council said the review was needed after a report predicted more of the town's Asian community could be using the service in future.

There are currently 356 adults using the service.

Slough Borough Council cited a 2008 report from the Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University, which predicts there will be an increase in the proportion of younger adults [with learning difficulties] who belong to Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities.

The council said this forecast could put a strain on its learning disability service as its highest population demographic was Asian, at 39.7%.

It needs to cut £650,000 from its in-house services by 2017 as part of overall budget cuts.

The council's Learning Disabilities Change Programme estimates "outsourcing" the residential and respite care service for those with learning disabilities could lead to potential savings "in the region of £300,000 - £400,000 a year".

Councillors have been asked to approve a "testing of the care market" to look at "alternative models of support" at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

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