Bath and North East Somerset Council have appointed Virgin Care to run its adult social care, continuing care and children’s community health services in an unprecedented £700 million pound deal. The Council voted to approve the deal by 35 to 22 votes. The plan had unanimous support from Bath and North East Somerset's Clinical Commissioning Group.

This is the first time statutory social work will be delivered by a commercial organisation. To overcome concerns regarding profit taking from the social care budget, Virgin Care have agreed to a contractual clause requiring any profit element of the contract to be reinvested in services. The contract also includes a range of other Council services such as public health nursing, speech and language services and integrated re-ablement services.

Health and local authority chiefs said the Virgin Care deal will deliver more joined up and preventative care by setting up locality hubs aligned with GP practices to ensure “seamless communication” with primary care. But unions, social work leaders and staff affected have all raised concerns over the move. You can see the Council papers outlining the business case for approval and full details of the plans here.