LEVELS of care at a York children’s home will not be affected by a shake-up which will see 14 staff leave, council bosses have pledged.

City of York Council has awarded a contract to run Wenlock Terrace, the city’s only children’s home for young people looked after by the authority, to an external private firm as part of moves to save £200,000.

Northern Care will take over the six-bed home from April on a five-year deal, with an option to extend it for two more years, and will pay the council £15,000 a year for its lease.

A report on the process says 14 staff at Wenlock Terrace have taken an offer of voluntary redundancy and will leave in mid-April, with the three remaining employees transferring to the new provider.

The firm’s contract will also see it secure any extra beds outside the York area for children from the city who need care. Wenlock Terrace provides accommodation for children for between six and 12 months, and after this time they usually return to their families or are placed in foster care.

Coun Janet Looker, cabinet member for education, children and young people, said: “Northern Care already runs 43 children’s homes throughout Lancashire and Yorkshire and was selected following a rigorous evaluation process, involving practitioners and managers.

“It has a proven track record in children’s residential provision, with good and outstanding judgements from Ofsted for all the children’s homes it currently runs. I am confident our officers will continue to work closely with the new provider to ensure the service to young people is maintained at a good or outstanding level, and in accordance with the best and most appropriate care for them.”

Coun Looker said Northern Care would also be recruiting staff and thanked those who will leave for their “commitment and service over many years.” She said: “It is hugely appreciated by the council and the children and families they have worked with.”

The decision to outsource the service was made after the council said it needed to cut £200,000 from its budget for children’s residential care by the end of 2013/14, and having just one provider would reduce costs.

The authority said five bids were received and Northern Care was chosen “on the basis of quality and cost”, with young people currently living at Wenlock Terrace being made aware of the changes.