Strict conditions imposed on home care companies

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Scottish Borders Council is imposing a list of stringent conditions on companies and organisations wishing to deliver home care to vulnerable clients across the region.

As the commissioner of these services, the council is seeking interest from “a number of service providers” who may or may not be included in a new list from which contracts will be awarded from May 1 this year.

The high standards demanded by SBC is set out this week on the Public Contracts Scotland website.

“To support the development of a flexible and resilient [care at home services] market, the council is taking a new approach with the aim of creating capacity to meet the demand,” states the tender notice.

To be eligible for inclusion on the list, which offers no guarantee of any care package commissions being awarded by SBC, potential providers must subscribe to a number of laudable requirements.

“The service aims to help people sustain, recover or manage their health, skills and abilities to lead independent and fulfilling lives,” states the document.

“The service also provides support to those approaching the end of their lives in their own homes where this is their choice.

“Successful delivery of the service involves putting the person at the centre of decisions about the way they want to live and the support they want to receive.

“It also requires that services are provided in a way which reflects a strong commitment to the principles set out in the National Care Standards for care at home services.

“These principles are dignity, privacy, choice, safety, realising potential, equality and diversity. It also requires close co-operation with, and listening to the views of, people who use the service and, where appropriate, obtaining the views of family carers and friends.”

To be considered for the list, providers must also submit evidence of their professional experience in the field of home care and the probity of their directors.

They must also produce their financial accounts for the last two years and have relevant risk indemnity insurance.

And if the bidders meet these criteria and are awarded a contract, they must sign up to the following clause: “In the event that any aspect of the contract or the service, including the termination of the contract and subsequent re-commissioning of the service, becomes a matter of media speculation, the council and the provider shall issue an agreed media release.

“The provider shall not make any statement to the media without first consulting the council. This clause shall survive the termination of the contract.”

Providers wishing to be on contract list have until March 17 to submit bids.