Key stage for future of Learning Disabilities services in Somerset

A ground-breaking project to develop Learning Disabilities services in Somerset has reached a key milestone with three organisations shortlisted to work alongside the County Council.

Somerset County Council announced in February 2014 that a new social enterprise would be established to run the services currently provided by the Learning Disabilities Provider Service (LDPS).

The next step was to select an organisation to work with the LDPS to set up the social enterprise. Following an initial competitive exercise, three have now been shortlisted to progress to the next phase.

The short-listed bidders are Dimensions UK, Turning Point and a consortium that includes Brandon Trust and Enham Trust. All are nationally recognised care providers. The County Council will be working with all three to decide which one will take the social enterprise forwards. A final decision is expected in early in 2016.

Cllr William Wallace, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Learning Disabilities, said: “We’ve had a lot of interest from many different organisations who have seen vast potential in the LDPS and want to improve services for customers in Somerset.

“This is the key thing for us; from the outset, we’ve been working with our customers, parents and carers to make sure any changes are in their best interests.

“All the shortlisted organisations have shown a commitment to investing their skills and experience to establish a sustainable not-for-profit social enterprise that will fully meet customers’ needs and improve the care currently provided.

“It’s a very exciting stage and I’ll be keeping a close eye on progress as this project develops.”

In February 2014, Somerset County Council and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group considered the options for the future management and ownership of the services that are currently run by the Council’s Learning Disabilities Provider Service (LDPS). The decision they reached was to create a new social enterprise, and transfer all or some of the services to it.