Thursday, 3 December, 2020
A new partnership will bring greater resilience to valued community services used by thousands of vulnerable people in two neighbouring Surrey boroughs.
Surrey Heath Borough Council and Runnymede Borough Council are to form an integrated community services partnership. Councillors and senior officers at both authorities have confirmed the move with the signing of a new agreement and the partnership is due to launch in April 2021.
The decision is a progression from the existing relationship which has been in place between the two councils since 2015 and demonstrates the good working relationship between the two boroughs.
The new formal partnership will share delivery of community services to people across both boroughs who want to live independently in their homes and remain active in their community.
The services which will be provided by each council that will form the Community Services partnership include:
- Meals at Home
- Community transport
- Community alarms and telecare
- Day centre services
- Social prescribing
The partnership will demonstrate how two councils working together can provide wide-ranging support to residents.
For several years, these type of discretionary services have faced a number of challenges, including reduced Government funding, increasing costs, and increasing numbers requiring prevention services within the borough.
The launch of the new partnership is intended to strengthen their delivery, improve resilience, effectiveness and efficiency and improve focus on the users. It could also allow for new services to be brought in, to further help people.
As these services have grown the councils have approved the move into a fully integrated partnership arrangement. As a result staff, vehicles and equipment will be used in a completely seamless way across both boroughs whilst retaining high quality local services to residents.
Runnymede will act as the ‘host’ authority in the partnership, but it will be an equal relationship in terms of sharing both the risk and reward 50-50 with regard to the partnership’s finances.
No jobs will be lost as a result of the partnership. Staff teams will be retained in each borough area, allowing local teams to deliver local services, with the flexibility to work more widely across the partnership.
Surrey Heath Portfolio Holder for Environment and Health, Cllr David Mansfield said: “This move demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the delivery of discretionary services, even in these tough financial times.
“We consider these services, which support some of the most vulnerable in our community, to be vital. This partnership allows us to continue offering a high quality service to local residents, with the potential to extend and improve services further in the future.
“These services also support the wider health and care system - with pressures across both Adult Social Care (ASC) and the NHS, it is widely recognised that preventative services play a key role in the reduction in the need for social care and health services, with the services provided by the borough council an important contributor to this.”
Cllr Nick Prescot, Leader of Runnymede Borough Council said: “We are strengthening the way residents in our area of North Surrey receive what are often vital public services. I’m proud we have come together to support local people in this way, and I believe it could be a model for how local authority services could be delivered in future.
"This partnership is a prime example of real localism in action and putting residents first. We’re drawing on shared expertise to create a genuine partnership of equals which provides Meals at Home, transport services and many other functions they and their families rely on.”
Community Services offered through the new partnership will begin on 1 April 2021.