An investigation will be held into adult social care facilities in the Northampton area ahead of the local government reorganisation which will form two new unitary authorities in 2020.
Councillors on Northampton Borough Council’s scrutiny committee have been tasked by the authority to carry out the investigation to ‘identify future demand patterns’ so that any new unitary authority is ‘able to better plan for the needs of older people in the future’.
The motion, originally proposed by Liberal Democrat councillor Sally Beardsworth, had originally called for an audit of all facilities, but following an accepted amendment from Tory deputy leader Phil Larratt, the task to analyse potential problems has been handed over to the council’s own scrutiny committee.
A panel has now been set up with nine councillors from all three main political parties, as well as an independent councillor.
Speaking at the council meeting, held on July 9, Councillor Beardsworth said: “It’s 20 months until we become a unitary authority, and we have to make sure that there is adequate provision for elderly people.”
The motion comes after a recent Newton's review found that 35 per cent of all beds in Northamptonshire hospitals were occupied by people who didn’t need them and were waiting for suitable after care to be available. This came at a cost of around £24.3m to the county in hospital beds alone.
Backing the amended motion, council leader Jonathan Nunn said: “This is absolutely right to do. There’s a good chance many of us will be involved in the new unitary authority.”
And Councillor Larratt added: “I’m really pleased we’ve reached a consensus on this, because going forward adult social care is going to be the main challenge of whatever new council is around.”
The borough council cabinet has agreed to work with the county council’s scrutiny committee on the investigation into facilities. The county council overspent by £12.6m on adult social care in 2017/18.