UPDATED: Questions raised over Tricuro

UPDATED: Questions raised over Tricuro

Published by Maria Greenwood at 9:16am 12th November 2018. (Updated at 9:30am 13th November 2018)

It's one of Dorset’s biggest adult care providers, jointly owned by local councils.

What is going on at Tricuro? – one of Dorset’s biggest adult care providers, jointly owned by local councils.

The question is being asked by Dorset County Council’s audit and governance committee which says it is unable to fully vet what is happening at the business – because it is not getting all the information it needs.

But Tricuro say financial data has been made available including recent meetings which the council and its officers were asked to attend and at frequent appointments with council officers and care commissioners.

An auditor’s report highlighted the perceived problem for county councillors: “The council does not currently receive copies of minutes of Tricuro’s Audit, Governance and Risk Committee and therefore has limited assurances around the adequacy of review of operations within Tricuro.

Tricuro have not provided regular performance or financial data to the council.

Performance data that has been provided indicates poor performance in some areas.”

Committee chairman Cllr David Harris said that without minutes of the key Tricuro committee it was almost impossible for the county council to oversee Tricuro’s operation and judge whether they were moving in the right or the wrong direction.

“We need to know the key indicators and flag things up,” he said.

It was confirmed that the county council, at the time the audit report was written, (September 2018) had never received copies of any of the meetings of the Tricuro Audit, Governance and Risk Committee.

Cllr Ray Bryan said that Tricuro received a ‘substantial amount’ of council funding: “I am horrified that this has taken until now to get this raised,” he said. But Cllr Cherry Brook said that the issue was first raised about a year ago.

Auditor Rupert Bamberger from the South West Audit Partnership said the issue had been taken up with Tricuro but they had not, at the time of the audit, taken any action about the reports required by the county council.

“In May – June we were told there was a broader review underway. We have gone back again this week to chase it up and we will continue to do so,” he said.

The committee decided to write to the county council’s brief holder for adult social services, Cllr Jill Haynes, asking her to seek assurances that the county council would be provided with the minutes of the Tricuro audit, governance and risk committee.

In response to questions from the Local Democracy Reporting Service following the council committee meeting Tricuro finance director, Phil Rook,said that since the audit comments further work had been done to ensure the council receives the information it requires.

“There are monthly Finance and Performance reports the are sent to the Council and monthly meetings are held with commissioners to discuss and monitor the Key Performance Indicators in the Care Contract. In addition there are regular meetings with Tricuro Management and Senior staff within Dorset County Council to review strategic progress on both financial and operational issues.”

He said that the Executive Shareholder Group, who govern Tricuro, also receive regular finance and performance reports on a quarterly basis which highlight all relevant quality, performance and financial issues.

“Tricuro also held an annual general meeting in September which elected members and senior staff were invited to review the performance for the year. The issues raised in the audit will be concluded and an update will be given to the next audit and governance meeting,” he said.

A spokesperson for Dorset County Council on Monday 12th November, said; "Dorset County Council commissioners have regular contract management meetings with Tricuro. They have also received the required performance management information and meet regularly with senior managers to ensure that the quality and efficiency of services are regularly reviewed.

"The South West Audit Partnership reviewed governance arrangements put in place by the council over a year ago, and as a result implemented a number of recommendations, which have all been complied with.

"Progress has been and will again be reported to the relevant scrutiny committees of the council."

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter

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