Care contract for vulnerable adults in Cromer, Mundesley, North Walsham and Sheringham to end amid safety fears

A domiciliary care company looking after vulnerable adults in North Norfolk is set to have its contract ended because it 'cannot guarantee to deliver a safe service'.

Suffolk-based Cephas Care provides services for 11 people in an area covering Sheringham, Cromer, Mundesley and North Walsham.

However contractor Norfolk County Council has moved to terminate its contract with the organisation following a meeting with its operations manager.

In a statement, Harold Bodmer, director of community services at the council, explained the meeting had followed 'concerns' about the standard of care the company was able to deliver in the county.

He said: 'It was concluded that Cephas Care cannot guarantee to deliver a safe service at this point in time and alternative arrangements will need to be made for the 11 people in north Norfolk who currently receive care from the company.'

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The council, which declined to elaborate on what prompted such concerns, will now be working to find replacement care providers.

However, Mr Bodmer added: 'In the meantime, Cephas Care are aware that they have to ensure that care continues to be provided until the new arrangements can be put in place and we will be monitoring the situation very closely.

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'At the point that all 11 have moved the county council's contract with Cephas Care will terminate.

'County council staff will stay in close contact with those people who are affected and support them through the transition.'

Cephas Care has operated in the area since 2009. It has offices in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, and in September bought The Oaks Day Nursery in Diss.

Graham Jones is a Liberal Democrat Norfolk county councillor representing the Mundesley Division and was one of a number to receive an email from the council about the move.

He questioned how rigorous the pre-contract council checks on Cephas Care were and said he was concerned as to whether this was a one-off or 'more systemic problem'.

He said: 'It is clear that there have been problems of a serious nature. I am glad that these have been picked up by the county council and that appropriate action seems to have been taken.'

Mr Jones added: 'We are dealing with very vulnerable people and there is only one mantra that can apply and that is right first time every time.'

A director of care for Cephas Care said: 'Cephas Care has always provided a client centred approach to care. We work alongside multi agency teams in order to meet the highest level of standards and have been working with Norfolk County Council in order to achieve this.

'Cephas Care contacted Norfolk County Council last week as we were concerned that recruitment within the Norfolk area had become very difficult which has unfortunately meant that we have had to close our domiciliary care in Norfolk.

'Cephas Care will continue to work alongside Norfolk County Council until replacement care providers can be found.'

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