A company set up by the council to provide adult social care is being wound up after less than five years.

The council’s top decision-makers have decided to in-source wholly owned company Independence and Wellbeing Enfield (IWE), bringing its services directly under the authority’s control.

It comes after the company struggled to compete with private-sector providers and a high administrative burden.

Enfield Council set up IWE in December 2015 to look after some of the most vulnerable people in the borough while raising income and saving money.

One of the main ways it was supposed to bring in extra cash was by providing services to other councils.

But a cabinet report says IWE has not been able to develop wider commercial opportunities in a social care market that is “extremely challenged by many years of austerity”.

The report adds there are several social care providers in Enfield that provide services to other councils and the NHS, driven by low property prices.

Competing with these firms would mean lowering IWE’s staff terms and conditions, which the council was not prepared to do.

IWE was also the council’s provider of last resort, meaning it would step in when private care homes failed.

While three out of four regulated services provided by IWE are rated ‘good’ by watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC), inspectors spotted problems at one of the homes it runs, Bridgewood House Nursing and Residential Care Home in Enfield Highway.

Bridgewood House opened in February 2018 but was rated ‘requires improvement’ following inspections by the CQC in April 2018 and August 2019.

The latest inspection found the leadership within the home to be ‘inadequate’, and a warning notice was issued to IWE and the registered manager.

Councillors agreed to in-source the service at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday (January 22).

Cllr Alev Cazimoglu (Labour, Jubilee), cabinet member for health and social care, said: “The recommendations are made in the context of the very challenging financial environment for councils in the last few years.

“It is a very difficult commercial environment for social care providers, and bringing the services back in-house would simplify the governance arrangements and structures, and is in line with the current administration’s policy of insourcing services where it makes sense to do so.

“I think government austerity and no long-term plan from the government has led the sector into the position it is in – just limping along while we wait for the government to take some responsibility.”

Council leader Cllr Nesil Caliskan (Labour, Jubilee) added: “In most cases, insourcing demonstrates there are better outcomes for our residents, and the last decade has demonstrated that outsourcing does not save money for the public sector.

“We are responding to a sector that is dramatically failing.”