The leader of Edinburgh city council, Jenny Dawe, has unexpectedly announced that they will not be proceeding with the tenders for social care and support services.
The new contracts would have affected around six hundred people with physical and mental disabilities, transferring them to private care businesses. The changes were being resisted by a broad coalition of voluntary groups, care workers, and disabled people themselves.
A special meeting of the finance and resources committee was meant to make a decision on the controversial issue tomorrow morning, and most of the Edinburgh care groups affected had expected the tender to be pushed through.
But, apparently reacting to the depth of feeling surrounding the tendering exercise, Councillor Dawe has suspended the process until January, so that an independent investigation can be completed.
In a letter, she said “I recognise the importance of the Care and Support Services Tender to vulnerable people in the city and have insisted that all aspects of the tendering process must be robust.
I have been in regular touch with senior council officials on this and have just been advised that there remain a number of outstanding issues surrounding the Care and Support Services Tender.
As a result, I have instructed the Chief Executive to have the tenders independently evaluated.”
The outcome of the dispute remains uncertain. Health and Social Care Convenor Paul Edie had argued that any delay past the 5th of December could result in legal action against the council by the companies which had won the tender.
Whether or not this threat remains, and whether the council is still committed to the tendering process, remains to be seen.
Updates to follow on the nose.