Wiltshire Council has been liaising with families of residents living at Furlong Close and has invited them to be part of the process to find a new provider for the site.
Hft owns the site Furlong Close which is home to 21 Wiltshire Council-funded residents and 14 residents from 13 other local authorities.
Hft stated in February it was terminating its contract at the site but would offer the site to be available for up to two years. The council has been in constant discussions with Hft and is now leading the tendering process for a new provider.
The council is not delivering the provision of care at Furlong Close as this will either be provided by Hft or an alternative care provider, however it is working on the tendering process and is inviting family members to be involved as well.
Lucy Townsend, Corporate Director for People at Wiltshire Council, said:
We know families and residents at Furlong Close are anxious for a decision to be made and they remain at the heart of this decision. We have been liaising with families of Furlong Close residents and have invited them to be involved in an interview that will form part of the tender evaluation, as it will be important we take on board the views of the families before any decision is made. We have also been holding regular meetings with the family members of residents and there will be another one this week to provide them with the latest news. For us this is about finding the best future options for our residents who live at Furlong Close.
The deadline for submissions for tenders as a new provider was 15 April and shortlisted tenderers will be notified shortly. The final stage of the tender process will be an interview with families next month for shortlisted providers and once the interviews with families have been concluded, the formal notification of a contract award decision will be issued to tenderers.
The tender process is the latest development after Hft informed Wiltshire Council in July 2020 they wished to close the site. Since being made aware Wiltshire Council has made efforts to work in partnership with Hft to find the best solution possible for all Furlong Close residents.
The fees Wiltshire Council pays are currently at the top end of what is expected to be paid for this type of care and in November 2019 Wiltshire Council agreed a 34% increase in fees for Wiltshire Council residents at Furlong Close.
In October 2020, Hft sent a letter to residents announcing its plan to close the site in June 2021. On 15 February, Hft sent a letter to Wiltshire Council and the other local authorities and served 90 days' notice of termination of services at the site. The decision was shared with residents, families and carers and Hft has said the site is currently available to a provider for a period of up to two years.