CARE bosses in the Borders believe the closure of the BorderCare control room in Galashiels will lead to a better service for its thousands of elderly clients.

And the 20 or so affected employees will be given an option to transfer to the new contact centre in East Lothian, which will also be shared with Midlothian Council.

The Border Telegraph revealed this week that SB Cares had been plotting to close to the Galashiels operation due to out of date computers.

The plans were rubber-stamped in private by councillors yesterday (Thursday).

SB Cares managing director Philip Barr told us: “The decision to move to an alternative service delivery model with the potential impact that this has on staff is never easy.

“We would also like to reassure all our clients that this move will result in us being able to make substantial improvements in the quality of service that we provide.

"Midlothian Council has given us excellent feedback on the provision that their clients receive through a similar arrangement and we are committed to making sure that Borders residents have access to the same benefits.

"We will be writing to our clients to inform them of this change and how it will benefit them.”

Staff at the Paton Street contact centre in Galashiels will have the option of deployment within SB Cares and Scottish Borders Council.

They are also being invited to apply for early retirement or voluntary severance when the control room closes on April 1.

A review into the current operation found that significant investment was needed to upgrade out of date monitoring software and meet the expected industry quality standards.

SB Cares’ recommended option to enter into a partnership agreement with East Lothian Council was approved on Thursday - on the basis that it would provide a number of significant quality, developmental and financial advantages to benefit its clients.

Councillor Tom Weatherston, spokesman for Adult Services, said: “Having considered all the options for future-proofing this service, I am convinced that this is the most effective way forward, both for Borders residents who rely on this important service and the council itself.

"It was clear that the costs of bringing the existing service up to industry standard were not viable, particularly when compared to the skilled and innovative alternative being offered to us by East Lothian and I welcome the decision taken today that means we can move toward working in partnership with them, with all the benefits that this will bring.”

East Lothian Council has recently invested a new call monitoring software that places them in a strong position to achieve full telecare industry accreditation in the next 12 months.

Under the new partnership arrangement, SB Cares’ BorderCare clients will see no change to the technical alarm installation and support service.

All client fees and charges will continue to be set by SBC and the new arrangements will not result in any changes.

In addition, discussions will commence with East Lothian Council on the detailed planning of the transition to the partnership arrangement to ensure that there is a smooth transition for the service by April 1 2018.