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Changes to how we provide Care and Support

The Group is making some changes to where and how we provide Care and Support services.

We’ve taken the difficult decision to exit the supported living, residential and domiciliary care services we provide in the West Midlands.

As a result, we’ve recently given notice to Birmingham City Council and Warwickshire County Council that we’ll be terminating the care contracts we hold in these regions.

These contracts cover a range of locations and are provided by more than 170 colleagues.

How will this affect our customers?

We’ll continue to provide housing support to customers who also have a tenancy with us, and these customers will have security of tenure.

Will floating support services be affected?

The floating support services we provide in the West Midlands won’t be affected by these changes and we’ll continue to provide these services in line with our contract.

How will my job be affected?

Discussions are ongoing with both Councils, and we don’t yet know who the new service providers will be. We believe most colleagues will be able to transfer to any organisation that takes on a service though a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE).

“We’re very proud of the care services we’ve provided across Birmingham and Warwickshire for over 30 years and the dedicated and heartfelt service our colleagues have given.”

Bernadette Farrell, Director of CQC Registered Services

Bernadette Farrell, Director of CQC Registered Services, said: “We’re very proud of the care services we’ve provided across Birmingham and Warwickshire for over 30 years and the dedicated and heartfelt service our colleagues have given.

“In recent years, we've faced significant challenges, including low funding from commissioners and a lack of new referrals. It has become increasingly difficult to make these services financially viable and we’ve decided that other, larger providers will be better equipped to take them forward.”

By concentrating our efforts in fewer areas, these changes will enable the Group to focus the care and support services we provide in other regions.

Frequently Asked Questions

We appreciate that you’re likely have some questions. We’ve collated some answers to some common questions below. If, after reading, you still have questions, please speak to your Line Manager.

Why has this decision been taken?

When considering Longhurst Group as a whole, we’re a minority provider of general needs and supported housing in Birmingham and Warwickshire. A significant investment would be required to maintain the high level of service that our customers deserve and that our colleagues pride themselves in delivering. 

Will our customers definitely be staying together, and continue living in their properties?

Customers are at the centre of our organisation; our primary objective is to keep customers in the same property.

How long will the process take?

We’ve given a formal notice to Birmingham and Warwickshire authorities. It is three months’ notice for domiciliary care and six months for supported living. 

This isn’t set in stone as we want to make sure we have the best provider. We hope a single provider will be found but there may be multiple ones.

We’ve agreed with local authorities that we will work together to identify suitable providers, and should this process take longer, we’ll still offer support within reasonable timescales.

What is TUPE?

TUPE regulations protect your rights as an employee when you transfer to a new employer. 

TUPE stands for Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment).

A 'TUPE transfer' happens when:

  • an organisation, or part of it, is transferred from one employer to another
  • a service is transferred to a new provider, for example, when another company takes over the contract for office cleaning.
Will there be redundancies?

Subject to what the Councils decide, there are two possible outcome.

Either your employment transfers to the Council or a new third-party provider under TUPE or Longhurst Group may need to commence a redundancy process.

Until we know more, we're working on the basis that you’ll TUPE transfer to a new employer. IF TUPE doesn’t apply then we will, of course, let you know. 

Can I choose redundancy as an option?

No, we believe TUPE will apply and your employment will transfer to a new provider.

What about colleagues who don’t work directly in the care service such as administrative colleagues?

Once new providers will be identified, we’ll be able to advice whether TUPE applies to those colleagues.

The customers will panic, how do we deal with this?

We rely on colleagues to manage the process without causing anxiety and stress. Their care and support plans will continue, but change does bring anxiety and therefore families will also need support. They’ll be offered individual meetings to discuss any concerns that they might have. 

What if no providers will be identified?

This is an unlikely outcome, however, in those circumstances, the responsibility lies with the local council to ensure the continuity of the services.

If I didn’t want to transfer to the new provider what would happen?

Under TUPE regulations, the new provider is legally obliged to transfer your employment. Should you choose not to transfer, this would effectively mean you’d be resigning from your current role.

What about our benefits and pensions, are they protected?

Under TUPE regulations, your contractual terms and conditions are protected indefinitely.

Any new provider would have to offer you a comparative alternative for any non-contractual benefits like Westfield Health.

If you have a workplace pension, it's likely it’ll not transfer to your new employer as it is exempt from TUPE. This means your new employer doesn’t have to continue offering the same pension. However, they must provide a reasonable alternative scheme and match your contributions up to a maximum of six percent.

If you have a personal pension, your pension rights will automatically transfer to your new employer. This means your new employer must pay the same amount into your personal pension as before the transfer.

Are we communicating future plans to prospective new colleagues?

Yes, it’s expected that, during interview stage candidates, will be informed about future business plans.

Do we continue to take on new referrals?

Yes, we’ll continue to take on new referrals and advertise any voids we currently have.

The profitability of some of the services isn’t satisfactory so will other providers find those services financially viable?

Longhurst Group is a minor provider in the west region therefore we’re looking at specialised care providers to express their interest. The council will put the services on the portal and the packages will be selected by suitable providers.

What communication will be going out?

We’ve agreed that local authorities will be communicating directly with customers. We’ll also be doing the same.

We’ll be offering our support during the transition period and answer any questions that may arise.

Can a new provider change colleagues’ terms and conditions?

No, TUPE regulations give some protection to your terms and conditions for an indefinite period. For example, if your new employer wants to change your terms and conditions 10 years later, they’d still need a valid reason for the change that is unrelated to the transfer.  

A new employer can only make changes following the transfer if:  

  • They improve your terms and conditions, for example your employer increases your holiday entitlement (annual leave)
  • There's an 'economic, technical or organisational' (ETO: economic, technical, organisational) reason involving a change in the workforce, for example the organisation needs restructuring. ETO reasons include: 
    • essential cost-saving requirements (economic reasons) 
    • using new processes or equipment (technical reasons) 
    • making changes to the structure of an organisation (organisational reasons).  
Will Longhurst Group’s redundancy terms apply under TUPE transfer? 

Yes, if a colleague is made redundant under a new provider their Longhurst Group redundancy terms will apply.  

Will redundancy apply within domiciliary care packages if not all packages are selected by a new provider?  

Once new providers are identified and we know exactly which care packages are going to TUPE over, we’ll assess the number of hours included in every package and what percentage of the overall role that consists of. 

More information

Colleagues directly affected by these changes have been informed during meetings that took place on Wednesday 29 March and Thursday 30 March.

If you weren’t able to attend these meetings, we’ve collated some associated resources below.


Click below to watch a recording of the presentation that was shown to colleagues during the meetings.

Read more

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