Council-owned care firm has lost £400,000

By Trevor Bevins - Local Democracy Reporter

1st Jul 2024 | Local News

Care Dorset chief executive Chris Best and board of directors chair Caroline Tapster addressing Dorset councillors on Monday
Care Dorset chief executive Chris Best and board of directors chair Caroline Tapster addressing Dorset councillors on Monday

THE CARE organisation which provides adult social care service for Dorset Council has made a loss of £400,000 in its first full year, on revenues of £28.58million.

Care Dorset says it estimates it spent up to £1million investing in new systems and addressing poor quality issues from when Tricuro was contracted to provide services to the county's adult care sector.

Care Dorset, an arms-length organisation wholly owned by Dorset Council, took over residential homes, day services and at-home care, from Tricuro in October 2022.

In a report to the council Care Dorset Managing Director Mr Chris Best says despite the loss for the first full year to the end of September 2023 the business is looking better – with happier staff, good recruitment figures and good progress on its plans for the future.

It has also invested in new ventures with a 55-bed extra home due to open at St Martin's, Gillingham by the end of September, and the longer-term re-development of the Sidney Gale House site in Bridport to become a reablement and rehabilitation 'hub', although that will result in moves for 12 residents and some changes for existing staff, currently being negotiated.

Mr Best and Care Dorset chair Caroline Tapster told Dorset councillors that bed occupancy had improved from 76 per cent at the time of transfer to 92% today with the recent creation of a "listening group", which involved residents, examining complaints and making suggestions for further improvements.

Mr Best said that the cost of employing agency staff had been a 'significant factor' in the business loss, but steps were being taken to reduce agency use, including having a bank of retained workers who could be called on when needed, together with re-arranging rotas and working patterns.

He said other aspects were also being looked at to make further savings, including cleaning services.

Mr Best said that all the staff required for the new Gillingham town centre home had been recruited with training about to get underway.

Work on the building, being developed by Magna Housing, is now nearing completion and will provide one and two-bed flats for people who need extra support to remain living independently.

     

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