Northamptonshire County Council-owned care company with 2,0000 clients taken back in-house after unsuccessful experiment

Staff and clients of Olympus Care Services helping police stuff envelopes in 2014
Staff and clients of Olympus Care Services helping police stuff envelopes in 2014

One of the county council's companies that were created to manage key services and make money for reinvestment has been effectively shelved because it was running out of money.

Olympus Care Services was created in 2013 as a frontrunner in ex-CEO Dr Paul Blantern's 'Next Generation' model of local government.

Council officers were transferred across and the council commissioned them to manage services such as dementia care and care for people in their homes, allowing it to compete in the open market.

But it director of adult services Anna Earnshaw, has created of a new directorate for adults, communities and wellbeing in order to establish a “simplified” structure - effectively bringing the experiment to an end.

Mrs Earnshaw said auditors were worried about Olympus's financial stability and its reserves were low.

She added the company, which is wholly owned by the council, had remained heavily reliant on the council's block contract, which has reduced year on year due to the local authority's “financial challenges”. The root of these woes is generally accepted as being the £60 million that councillors were forced to plough into its failing children's department.

Mrs Earnshaw said: “While Olympus has provided savings and grown income, it can no longer match delivery of its contract within the amount provided and threatens the ability to invest in the innovation and growth of services moving forward, therefore in some cases, making services unenviable.

“By aligning resources and plans within a new directorate… our ability to do this more effectively and to ensure the maximum use and utilisation of our own frontline services is considerably strengthened.”

A peer review of County Hall's spending by the Local Government Association found there were “clear advantages in ways of working, management efficient, shared resources and financially” from placing Olypus alongside all adult social care services under a single management structure.

Mrs Earnshaw said the modest savings could include reduced support costs, buildings and infrastructure, VAT and "reduced governance structures.”

Although services they provide would be under the council, it is understood they will continue to use the Olympus brand.