Devon preferred children's care bidder to be named

Children's services
Image caption Child protection services will continue to be managed by Devon County Council

A preferred bidder to take over future care for disabled children in Devon will be announced on Thursday.

Devon Partnership Trust with Barnado's, Young Devon and Interserve, Serco with Cornwall Partnership Trust and Virgin Care are hoping for the £44m contract.

A decision will be made by Devon County Council and NHS Devon.

Services for children with physical and sensory disabilities, children's mental health services and school nurses and health visitors will be affected.

There are 2,400 disabled children in Devon who receive these services.

The services, known as integrated children's services, are currently provided by NHS Devon and Devon County Council.

Government directive

According to a report to the county council's cabinet , services are delivered by approximately 1,100 staff, most of them employed by NHS Devon.

The county council said the services had been put out to tender because of the government's national Transforming Community Services directive in 2009, requiring all primary care trusts to become commissioning-only organisations.

That meant that NHS Devon could no longer provide these integrated services, according to the county council.

The new contracted out service will start in March 2013 if it gets the go ahead.

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