Big Society plan could create jobs at Bangor care provider

THE largest locally managed social care provider in North Wales says Prime Minister David Cameron’s vision of a “Big Society” offers it new opportunities for further growth.

Anheddau Cyf provides social care tailored to the needs of individuals receiving support.

It works primarily on behalf of the social services departments of Gwynedd, Conwy, Anglesey and Denbighshire councils.

The registered charity was established in 1989 by a group of volunteers and moved from its offices in Bangor city centre to a new base on Parc Menai business park two years ago.

Over the past 20 years its income has grown from £80,000 to £4.7m and its workforce has expanded from three employees to 250 staff today.

Anheddau says current economic and political developments provide “significant opportunities” for it to extend and develop its services.

It says local authorities will move away from providing services directly to commissioning those services from the independent, third and private sectors.

Janetta Jones, Anheddau chief executive, said that the Big Society idea as outlined by Mr Cameron meant there would be wide ranging developments affecting the independent care provision sector as councils sought cost effective and high quality service providers to ensure the long term viability of care provision.

She said: “It is no secret that one of the ways that the Government will seek to make significant cuts is in the public sector.

“That will push more work out to the independent, charitable and private sector.

“Yes, that will create more jobs – we would like to double the size of the organisation over the next few years,” Mrs Jones added.

She said there was a “tension” between price and quality but Anheddau was determined that growth would come without loss of quality of its provision.

The organisation has a commitment to its staff, demonstrated by its terms and conditions of employment and staff training and development opportunities, she added.

“We do not believe that a sustainable, quality of service to vulnerable adults can be provided by staff who do not themselves feel secure and valued in their employment,” said Mrs Jones.

Although Anheddau is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee, the organisation sees itself, and operates on a day-to-day basis, as a dynamic and expanding business.

Over the past year Anheddau has concentrated on adding to the skills of its workforce and it views lifelong learning and developing management capabilities as its main people development activity. Anheddau gained its fourth Investors In People Award in July this year and is currently working towards the IiP Bronze Standard award.

Mrs Jones said Anheddau chose sustainability as the theme for the Investor in People assessment in order to best position the business to meet the chal lenges and opportunities presented by the current financial climate.

“The continued success of Anheddau illustrates the potential of North Wales to develop and sustain a large and successful business which does not rely on management or governance from outside the area which it serves,” she said.