The Council-established health and social care social enterprise, SEQOL, will be wound up at the end of this month, with 400 staff transferring from the organisation to Swindon Borough Council and others transferring to the Great Western Hospital.
SEQOL was set up in 2011 with staff from Swindon Council and the then Primary Care Trust transferred to the organisation. At the time SEQOL was seen by the then Coalition government and the Conservative administration on Swindon Council as a trend-setting organisation for how health and social care services would be delivered. This has turned out to be a huge misjudgement, with SEQOL staff hastily being transferred after the organisation’s financial problems.
At the time SEQOL was proposed being set up in 2011, Labour Councillors refused to support social care services being transferred to the organisation because of the uncertainty this would lead to the quality of council services.
The Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Jim Grant, said:
“I would like to welcome back all SEQOL staff that are being transferred back to Swindon Council. I welcome the Council’s reassurance that the transfer of staff from SEQOL won’t affect local services and that services will continue to be delivered in the same way. I also welcome the fact that all staff will be transferred back to the council on the same terms and conditions they had with SEQOL.
I do however think the closure of SEQOL proves the setting up of this company to run health and social care services was a 5 year long mistake and a fundamental misjudgement made by the Coalition Government and the Conservative administration on Swindon Council.
They said this type of delivery of health and social services would be the best in terms of value for money and for the quality of services. The closure of SEQOL and the bringing back of services shows that this argument was a nonsense.
We now want health and adults’ services to be delivered in a sustainable way under the Borough Council and Great Western Hospital as it should have been for the last five years.”