Financial problems in care department threaten Wirral council budget
Wirral council fears a £ 1million hole may be opened in its budget due to issues with a care facility.
Wirral Council’s shareholder board meeting on Wednesday learned that Wirral Evolutions, a care service focused on adults with mental and physical disabilities whose board is the sole shareholder, is unable to pay nearly $ 900 £ 000 for services provided by the local authority.
Shaer Halewood, Wirral Council’s director of resources, said Wirral Evolutions would not be able to pay the money it owes the board for pension-related costs and services such as human resources this year.
Ms Halewood said the care company had paid these fees to the Wirral Council in previous years and a variety of pressures, including the pandemic, had prevented it from doing so this year.
Cllr Janette Williamson, head of the board, said: “There is no date when we should have this money if we get it given that there are obvious issues with this company.”
The Labor leader added: “So this is a real risk, especially [given] the situation we find ourselves in with funding (a loan that the government gave to the board to help them deal with pandemic pressures).
“We could have a £ 1million hole in our finances.”
Wallasey Town Hall, where the Wirral Council normally meets
Regarding the likelihood of the money being paid back, Ms Halewood said that if the company was able to implement a restructuring plan, it could get back on a solid footing within five years and pay the money back, can -be in installments.
But that would depend on the success of the Wirral Evolutions plan and the approval of the board.
In addition, the Wirral Council voted in March to reduce the amount it is giving Wirral Evolutions to manage care services by £ 500,000.
To cope without the extra cash, Wirral Evolutions is making major changes, including closing some of its centers and downsizing.
But due to the company not being able to implement these changes on time and factors such as increased rental costs, the meeting learned that Wirral Evolutions is asking for £ 230,707 in ‘funding. transition ”to the board.
Union adviser Yvonne Nolan said it was “unfortunate” that Wirral Evolutions feels it needs to come back to the board to address budget deficits rather than seek other sources of funding like other companies would.
A meeting of the Adult Welfare Committee next week will decide whether the council is ready to pay the sum.
Jean Stephens, Managing Director of Wirral Evolutions, said: “The company was confident that it could operate within the contract price limits for this year, but unfortunately changes and actions outside the control of the company interrupted this. implementation and had an impact on the savings option that was provided. ”
Ms Stephens also underlined the importance of the work carried out by Wirral Evolutions.
The CEO added: “In 2020/21, we made 6,695 calls for social assistance to the people we support [and] their parents by our dedicated staff using a variety of communication methods.
“We provided nearly 4,000 hours of staff training, delivered using digital technology with a satisfaction rate of 89% of our workforce. ”
She added that more than 70,000 hours of essential enrichment activities were provided at the center during the pandemic for the most vulnerable adults.