Advocacy has dominated today's Council meeting. We have had a review ongoing for two years now and finally we reached the stage of sending it out to tender.
This Joint Review with NHS Partners has involved extensive consultations with service users and other stakeholders.
We eventually plumped to have three contracts covering different group s . We currently have seven providers and as these are new contracts we need to tender them. This has caused existing providers to campaign against the proposals as it threatens their economic interests. They have opposed the move to three contracts and said if we were to move to three they want to have the new contracts gifted to them.
We can't do that. For one thing it would breach EU Procurement legislation which states that we have to procure in an open and transparent manner . Even if we didn't have to do that I would still want to. When we tendered Homelessness Services a couple of years ago we got far better quality of services for better value and as a result were able to increase the number of people able to receive the service.*(Note this part of the post was missed by accident and explains the following paragraphs! Apologies for any confusion)
This was a win for the service user - they got better services - a win for the Council - we got better value and made savings - and, critically, a win for those who in the past we couldn't afford to provide a service for in the past.
These are the people who get lost under the shouts of the vested interests. The silent voices of those for whom we are unable to provide a service for. The decision we took today means that these people will now find their voices.