Portage FAQs

  • Structure and Working locations

    Will my base change because of moving to the Council?

    There will be no immediate change to your base or working arrangements.

    Will my base change?

    There is an ongoing review of accommodation, which may result in changes to bases and location of staff and car park charges, post transfer. We will engage with staff about any changes separately.

  • Culture change and working for Devon County Council

    Will Occupational Health Provision change?

    Your current Occupational Health Provision will change and be operated by Medigold from date of transfer. You will need to give permission, to allow for any transfer of information from your current Occupational Health provider if required.

    Will I get employee assistance and support from DCC?

    Devon County Council offers a 24/7 employee assistance and support scheme through Workplace Options. Details are available to transferring staff.

    Does DCC have a childcare voucher scheme?

    Computershare have confirmed that in TUPE situations, individuals who are currently in their employer’s childcare voucher scheme can transfer to Computershare when they TUPE in to DCC (as long as they have had a deduction within the last 12 months and subject to staff satisfying qualifying conditions.)

    New entrants will be able to join the Tax Free Childcare which will allow eligible parents to open online childcare accounts to make payments direct to their registered childcare providers.  Further information can be found at childcarechoices.gov.uk and at www.gov.uk/get-tax-free-childcare.

    Will I still be a member of the Virgincare benefit schemes?

    Virgincare benefit schemes will cease on transfer (including Bonus Scheme, PMI, Cycle Scheme), however staff will have an opportunity to join Devon County Council schemes as appropriate and if eligible to do so. Details of benefit schemes are available to transferring staff and they include a Cycle Scheme, Devon Discounts and many more.

    Will my annual leave entitlement year change?

    Annual leave entitlement year will run from 1 April to 31 March.

    What will be in place to help NHS/Virgin Care Ltd employees understand local authority culture?

    It is great to have staff with experience across the two systems, so we can share and learn from each other. At Devon County Council we will be looking at how best to adapt our culture to ensure it works for staff who are part of the NHS, and in turn for public health nursing staff to adapt to Devon County Council’s culture.

    We are held an event to welcome staff to Devon County Council which provided the opportunity for staff transferring to Devon County Council to ask questions and hear from Members and staff about working for a local authority.

    And we are building on the experience gained when Public Health staff transferred from the NHS to Devon County Council in 2013, identifying what worked well, and where improvements could be made.

    How will terms and conditions be protected?

    The transfer will happen under TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations). This means that people and posts will transfer to DCC along with employment terms and conditions transfer including continuity of employment and pension arrangements VCL staff pensions will transfer to DCC pension. NHS staff will remain on the current pensions.


    We have heard some negative experiences from colleagues who have moved into local authority delivered service. Can you alleviate those fears?

    We feel the local authority is a positive place to work and we look forward to welcoming the new services to join us. There is always anxiety with change and we are actively engaging the staff teams to make sure that we can support anxiety where it may arise.

    Will my pay date change?

    The pay date for staff transferring will be 25 of the month (or on the closest earlier working day if 25 of month falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Bank Holiday).

    What is happening about lease cars?

    A proportion of staff transferring across have lease cars through Virgincare ltd. Devon County Council do not run a lease car scheme, so we will honour those current arrangements with transferring staff, however the scheme will not be continuing post transfer and as such new entrants, or extensions of agreements, will not be available post April 2019.

  • How you work, IT and systems

    Will my mobile phone number change?

    You will keep the same number upon transfer and this will be reviewed within the first 12 months.

    Will we be using an ipad, or will we have an option for a laptop? What about my current ipad and iphone?

    You will keep the same IT equipment upon transfer and this will be reviewed within the first 12 months.

    Will we continue to use EDM?

    The team will continue to use EDM and Total Mobile upon transfer and this will be reviewed within the first 12 months.

    Will we have an intranet where all our forms are stored?

    The team will continue to use Careplus upon transfer and this will be reviewed within the first 12 months.

    All my files are currently on my profile of the hospital server site. Will I be able to continue using this?

    If this is required as part of your role, then this can be requested from the RD&E.

    I have special IT requirements due to my health. Will I be given the opportunity to talk to someone about this to ensure that from day one I am able to use the IT equipment I require?

    No changes will be made to the current support you receive. Your health information will transfer from the current VCL Occupational Health provide to the current DCC one and your personal information will transfer at the same time. You can request a 1-1 from DCC where you will be able to discuss the support you require.

    What will happen to Virgin Care policies?

    Non-contractual policies will not transfer and the relevant Devon County Council policy will be used from the transfer date. The only exception may be where at transfer, an employee has started a process within an existing policy.

    Will the team continue to have access to their existing IT, clinical systems and records?

    As part of safe transfer, the current IT and system access will remain the same as the team currently accesses. This will be reviewed within 12 months of the transfer.

    Will the Portage team be able to keep their NHS email?

    Yes, where appropriate for clinical contacts.

    Will we still get IT support?

    Yes, from SCOMIS.

  • Management and budget

    What will be move in-house mean in terms of management and delivering the service?

    DCC is keen to maintain the structure of the service, maintain co-location with other community services and accessibility of inter-agency colleagues. DCC recognises that this is a specialist service that delivers good outcomes and want this to continue. The decision has been made that the team will sit under Val Smith the Senior Manager for County Wide Services.

    When will the Service Specification be reviewed and agreed?

    The service specification has been worked on with young people, their families, the Portage team and the wider community professionals involved. This has now been finalised ready for the transfer to DCC.

  • Staffing

    Will there be any redundancies because of the transition?

    There will be no redundancies as a result of bringing the service in-house. Potential staff reductions associated with the budget reduction will be made in 2018 before the transfer of the service in April 2019

  • Transition process

    Why did County Council elected Members choose this option?

    Members spent around 18 months carefully exploring options, convening two Scrutiny Committee Spotlight Reviews and taking evidence from a wide range of stakeholders. Intelligence was also gathered from other parts of the system, formally and informally, and Members discussed options with communities.

    There were two public consultations and these responses were considered by Members before the final decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting on 9 February 2018.

    By bringing the service in-house, it was agreed that we will have more opportunities to align it with other important services for children and young people, and review future options. Doing the best for families, children and young people is critical to this decision and this option best enables the service to work in a more integrated way with education and social care.

    How will the County Council ensure stability during the transition?

    We will be working closely with Virgin Care Limited to ensure a smooth and seamless transition, that the quality of the service is retained and that we build on the existing skills and expertise of the excellent workforce.

  • Your role

    If I apply for a new role within Devon County Council post transfer, will I be able to maintain my existing terms and conditions?

    No, new roles will be appointed on Devon County Council terms and conditions. If you see a vacancy that you are interested in applying for then please speak to your manager who will assist you in understanding the changes.

    What will happen to my pension when I transfer?

    Please refer to your measures letter as part of the consultation from Virgin Care. This letter highlights the pensions arrangements depending on your current position.

    Will Devon County Council have details of my Special Class Status as part of my NHS Pension?

    We are working with Virgin Care’s HR and Payroll teams to ensure we gather this information. If upon transfer this information isn’t available then we will make contact with staff to ensure that your status is correctly in place where applicable.

    What will happen to my childcare vouchers upon transfer?

    Staff that are currently part of a salary sacrifice scheme for childcare vouchers will have that entitlement transferred with them. If staff wish to join the salary sacrifice scheme post transfer then they can do so as a DCC member of transfer.

    How will the County Council retain staff and build morale within the workforce?

    While change can feel daunting and unsettling, this has the potential to be a huge professional and personal development opportunity – we don’t have a service blueprint and are committed to involving you in co-producing any system or service re-design.

    And we are mindful that in creating an opportunity to strengthen integration with education and social care, we don’t want to lose the strong and effective partnerships that have been built with other parts of health both in primary and secondary care.

    How will the County Council ensure stability during the transition?

    We met with the Portage team early in the process and have remained in contact with the joint DCC/VCL/Alliance working groups to ensure a safe and smooth transfer. Any issues raised have been supported and the answers have been shared with the staff teams.

    Can I keep my pension?

    Staff currently on NHS pension schemes should be able to retain their NHS pension (subject to NHS pensions final determination process). The process of application for NHS Pensions can take 3 months and we are escalating this due to the short time scales to reduce any impact on staff. Staff currently on teachers pensions will have their teachers pensions transferred. However, staff on Virgin Care pensions will no longer be able to continue their Virgin Care pension but will be automatically enrolled in the DCC pension scheme. Staff that are currently not in a pension scheme will automatically be enrolled within the LGPS. If they do not wish to enrol in the pension scheme they will have to opt out. You can find details of DCCs pension here.

    Can I continue with any trade union duties I have?

    We have an existing recognition agreement with trade unions with arrangements for existing full time officials and as required local union representatives to attend Joint Consultative Committees. Therefore the current Virgin Partnership Forum will cease within Devon County Council. Existing union representatives may continue to be local representatives as required and in accordance with relevant DCC policies or collective agreements regarding time off for trade union activities.

    What do I do regarding my expenses claims, including mileage, during March 2019?

    Mileage prior to 1 April 2019 will be paid by Virgin Care in April 2019. Please ensure all claims are made prior to transfer.

    Will my pay on Agenda for Change pay reflect the NHS pay deal post transfer?

    Yes, previously agreed pay consultations will be honoured under TUPE. Therefore staff on agenda for Change terms and conditions will continue to receive renumeration in line with the agreed pay agreement.