After months of uncertainty, and a costly review, The City of Edinburgh Council has abandoned plans to put support and care services for disabled and mentally ill people out to tender.
An independent report by Deloitte has concluded that whilst the intended process was “appropriate,” it’s implementation was “not as sufficiently meticulous or as thorough as might have been expected.” Another irregularity seems to have been changes to the quality assessments of bids during the process itself;
But it was probably the decision of hundreds of service users to opt for direct payments that made the tender impossible. According to the Chief Executive’s report, 483 people have now applied for the payments, which would allow them to employ their care organisation of choice directly – that’s 80% of the service users offered up in the new contracts.
Attention will probably now focus on the cost of the consultation, around £80,000, and questions about the use of the tendering process more generally. But it’s worth remembering that there was a positive story here, despite the uncertainty and distress that many vulnerable people in the city experienced. They got involved in local politics – they came to the council chambers to speak, and they won the vote.
In the end, they made sure they got the result they wanted – which I hope was an empowering experience.