THE future of a council-owned care company has been secured beyond next year having impressed regulators after being ordered to improve.

Vivo Care Choices, which is owned by Cheshire West and Chester Council, provides services for older residents and adults with learning disabilities – including day centres, respite and residential care.

CWAC extended Vivo’s contract to April 1, 2020, last October on the condition that its services improved after the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found a number of its services were requiring improvement.

But following a raft of ‘good’ CQC ratings in the months since – and improved performance against the council’s own targets – cabinet members agreed to extend Vivo’s contract for another year at Wednesday’s meeting.

“In October last year we challenged Vivo to deliver a number of improvements,” said Cllr Val Armstrong, cabinet member for adult social care and public health.

Northwich Guardian:

“The staff, the management and the board have stepped up to this challenge and either delivered what was asked already or they are well on their way to meeting those challenges.

“Cllr [Carol] Gahan and I recently spent a day visiting Vivo services and we were very impressed with the commitment of staff, with their enthusiasm to provide the best service and to make changes where they could improve the services they offer.

“An extension of Vivo’s contract until April 1, 2021, will give Vivo some important stability and security and recognises the excellent progress being made.”

Vivo’s services include nine day centres for adults with learning disabilities and four for older residents, plus 30 respite beds, 65 supported living units, residential care, a respite facility and the Shared Lives support service.

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Since being ordered to improve by CWAC, Vivo has received ‘good’ CQC ratings for Curzon House and Dorin Court respite homes in Chester, supported living services in Northwich and Winsford, and Shared Lives.

CWAC now expects the rest of Vivo’s services to be rated as ‘good’ by December 2019.

Cllr Carol Gahan, cabinet member for legal and finance, praised the work of Vivo and suggested the move would help provide stability while CWAC is still waiting for the Government’s ‘green paper’ on the future of social care funding – which was first due to be published two years ago.

Northwich Guardian:

She said: “Learning disability is an area where many people’s lives need to be enriched by better service delivery, and their quality of life is so important.

“This is our opportunity to make sure that we can contribute to that despite the fact that we still don’t know how much money is coming through from central Government to help fund the likes of these services.”

CWAC is currently developing a learning disabilities commissioning strategy – a document which will set out guidelines for the borough’s adult social care services.

The council will recommission its adult social care services for beyond 2021 once that strategy has been published.