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Wokingham council's Optalis move 'no concern', says Royal Borough councillor

There are ‘no safeguarding or service delivery concerns’ for the Royal Borough following Wokingham Borough Council’s decision to bring some key adult care services back in-house.

Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill), the Royal Borough cabinet member for adult social care, children’s services and health, moved to calm worries about the change this week.

Wokingham Borough Council is transferring some 48 staff from Optalis, a company it jointly owns with the Royal Borough, which provides adult social care services, to itself.

Optalis will continue with some adult social care services in Wokingham but Wokingham Borough Council will carry out statutory functions – services it is required to provide – itself.

In an email to fellow Royal Borough councillors, seen by the Advertiser, Cllr Carroll said: “The position of the Royal Borough has not changed and our adult services will continue to be delivered in its entirety through Optalis.

“There are no safeguarding or service delivery concerns which would cause the Royal Borough to change direction and, together with Wokingham and Optalis, we are committed to transforming and improving the delivery of adult services across both boroughs, to achieve quality and value for money, and securing the stability of the workforce, ensuring staff are retained, and their continuous professional development is enabled.”

He told the Advertiser on Wednesday: “I have spoken to our director of adult social care (Angela Morris) and our managing director (Duncan Sharkey). They have done a standard risk assessment of this... there is no difference or change in the functioning of the services we provide.”

Cllr Carroll said the dozens of staff transferring was more a ‘technical’ move by Wokingham Borough Council.

Optalis is jointly owned between WBC (55 per cent) and the Royal Borough (45 per cent). Cllr Carroll said he wanted the Royal Borough to take an equal share ‘imminently’ but would explore the possibility of taking a majority stake in light of WBC’s changes.

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