THE face of mental health care is set to be transformed in Swindon after chiefs announced plans to invest nearly £350,000 in reshaping its services – although jobs could be at stake in the shake-up.

Swindon Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group are inviting voluntary groups and firms to bid for a £340,000 contract to take the helm of a more joined-up service able to provide one-to-one counselling, as well as support groups for people suffering from mental health issues out in the community.

The tender is part of an on-going redesign of voluntary and charity contracts within adult social care, which started last spring.

A total of 18 staff under current contracts are affected by the tender. It is unclear how many posts would be at risk at this stage but the local authority said it was confident the majority would transfer to the new provider.

The council said the updated model of delivery would improve and more sustainably support the health and independence of people with mental health issues in Swindon.

“We are carrying out a tendering process to identify potential providers of community-based mental health support services in Swindon, who will work in partnership with the higher level, statutory mental health services delivered by the Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership,” said Coun Brian Mattock, the cabinet member for health and adult social care.

“As a small number of existing contracts are coming to a close, this is an exciting opportunity to integrate services with a view to providing more joined-up, holistic support.

“We are seeking organisations, likely to be in the voluntary sector, with a successful track record in working closely with service users to promote independent living and successful re-integration into the workplace and wider community.”

The successful bidder will be asked to offer a range of services to people, which will both prevent deterioration and improve mental health across the board, including one-to-one and group support, and help accessing activities and networks within their local community after leaving hospital care.

The service will also aim to enable people to stay in or find employment. The deadline for tenders is August 13.