SOCIAL care services which the council outsourced to its own arms-length company eight years ago looks set to be brought back under its own control.

Cheshire West and Chester Council set up Vivo Care Choices Limited in 2013 to deliver adult social care services in the borough.

But now the council wants to bring those services back in-house, with Vivo’s 540 employees also being transferred to the council’s workforce.

The plans are set to be discussed by the council’s ruling cabinet next Wednesday and if given the green light, the aim would be to return to an in-house model by next April.

Services currently provided include learning disability and dementia respite, supported living, day care for adults with learning disabilities and older people, and shared lives - a domiciliary care service.

A report to the cabinet said the company was originally set up to operate commercially so it could generate growth and revenue, but that this was no longer seen as viable because many of its private sector competitors were cheaper.

The report said: “In 2020, the council published a framework for council companies which set out the core principles it seeks from its ownership of arms-length companies.

“These principles place expectations on council companies such as meeting the local living wage and maintaining good employment terms and conditions.

“Given the low pay and competitive nature of the care market, it is unlikely that Vivo will be able to generate significant new business outside of its contracts with the council, while adhering to these principles.”

The report said that because Vivo was not generating enough private income the council was essentially funding it, but did not have the benefits of ownership and control.

It added that government legislation was ‘fundamentally and rapidly changing’ the sector, with the council seeking more freedom to be able to deliver services in conjunction with the NHS.

It said: “This wider transformation agenda needs the council to be able to respond flexibly and be in a position whereby we can further integrate with other adult social care services and utilise opportunities as they emerge.”