AN outline agreement for a private firm to take over Devon's residential services should be endorsed next week.

If agreed, county council officers will continue negotiations through to completion of the contract with Shaw Healthcare, with a further report to be presented to councillors at a later date.

AN outline agreement for a private firm to take over Devon's residential services should be endorsed next week.If agreed, county council officers will continue negotiations through to completion of the contract with Shaw Healthcare, with a further report to be presented to councillors at a later date.The care contract would see the council's 24 residential homes for older people transfer to Shaw Healthcare, and bring about investment of £100 million to deliver improved social care for adults over the next 30 years. Under the plans 19 of the Council's homes will be redeveloped over three phases. This would, over and eight-year programme, provide 19 new developments on existing sites; up to 1,070 units of accommodation, icluding 360 extra care flats in state of the art new buildings for older people across the county.The contract would increase the availability of care for older people with dementia and with nursing needs - both are specialist care services that are in short supply in Devon.There would also be more short-term care, including respite and intermediate care for older people. David Johnstone, the council's Director for Adult and Community Services, said: "I am pleased that after considerable negotiations with Shaw Healthcare, unions, and other partners, we now have an excellent programme of partnership. We will be able to develop modern care services which are designed to meet the high expectations and future needs of our older people."Staff transferring to Shaw Healthcare would keep their conditions of service and pension entitlements, retaining admission into Devon's pension scheme.As homes close to allow redevelopment, staff will be offered suitable alternative employment in Shaw where possible, and where this is not possible, will be offered redundancy.