Last year Slough Borough Council, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and Bracknell Forest Council made the decision to jointly commission a single Local Healthwatch Service across East Berkshire when the current individual local authority contracts expired.
This created the opportunity to work collaboratively to develop and agree a common specification and run a single procurement process across these three local authority areas within the geographical footprint of the Frimley Integrated Care System (ICS). This will help to reduce duplication of resources and share valuable intelligence about health and social care between the three boroughs. The new service will be aligned with the NHS East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) boundaries.
The three local authorities are pleased to announce that having successfully concluded a competitive tender process; the new contract has been awarded to Help & Care. The successful provider currently provides the Healthwatch service in Slough.
Help & Care will maintain local boards and a full-time member of staff within each of the three areas, so keeping a local focus for each borough. This new approach will help strengthen collaboration within East Berkshire, as well as build and develop relationships with local communities, focusing on neighbourhoods and engagement with a diverse range of local people. The three areas will still keep their separate identities as Healthwatch Bracknell Forest, Healthwatch Slough and Healthwatch Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead and retain individual work plans representing the demographical health needs of their distinctive local communities.
Alan Sinclair, Slough Borough Council’s Director of Adults & Communities, said: “We are really pleased to be working alongside our colleagues from Bracknell Forest Council and RBWM in awarding the contract to Help & Care. Healthwatch provides a critical voice for people who use health and social care services, which is an extremely important service for our residents.”
Mark Sharman, Chief Executive of Help & Care, said; "We're delighted to be appointed as the providers of Healthwatch Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead and Healthwatch Bracknell Forest, alongside our current work in Healthwatch Slough. We look forward to working with residents and healthcare providers across East Berkshire as well as current boards and volunteers.”
The new Healthwatch East Berkshire service delivered by Help & Care will commence on Monday 4 January 2021. The contract will run for three years with the option to extend for a further two years.