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Under-fire Norfolk care company gets reprieve

Sue Whitaker, cabinet member for adult social services at Norfolk County Council.

Sue Whitaker, cabinet member for adult social services at Norfolk County Council.

Archant © 2007

An under-fire social care provider criticised for missed and late appointments is no longer being monitored on a daily basis by concerned council bosses.

Care UK was thrust into the spotlight last summer after it emerged Norfolk County Council had received about 100 complaints and was told the service had to improve.

The company, which has a £4.2m, three-year contract to provide care to 300 elderly and vulnerable people in the Broadland area, has been closely scrutinised by the county council since the problems emerged, with constant monitoring of its performance.

But Sue Whitaker, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for adult social services, revealed this week that the monitoring has been relaxed, after improvements were made.

She said: “We are now at a point where we no longer have daily monitoring of performance. Care UK have taken on extra work and we are confident they are performing at the same level as other providers.

“They have been taken off the daily monitoring, but it has been made clear that, if there is any repeat, we will take the contract away.

“We are not prepared to go through the intensive work which was needed this time, again. It is not acceptable if the service slips back.”

Care UK recently introduced smartphones for its 200 workers, to help nip problems, such as missed and late appointments, in the bud.

The company said that if a care worker was running late, the smartphones would help identify another carer who could make the visit instead.

Care UK had blamed the problems on a number of employees from Extra Hands, the previous care provider, failing to transfer to Care UK when they had been expected to do so.

They also said there had been a higher than normal level of summer annual leave not having been agreed with Care UK prior to the transfer.

Care UK supports 700 people across five contract areas in Norfolk, including 300 elderly people in Broadland.

• What’s your experience of social care in Norfolk? Tell us your story by writing, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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