Bridgnorth day centre is spared axe – for now

The Innage Lane day centre in Bridgnorth will be spared the axe while a review into its users is carried out, it was announced this afternoon.

Campaigners outside Shirehall in Shrewsbury today
Campaigners outside Shirehall in Shrewsbury today

But two adult day centres in Shrewsbury – the Hartley’s centre in Monkmoor and the Sabrina Court centre in Longden Coleham – will close in a shake-up of Shropshire Council’s adult day care services.

Two centres deemed “no longer fit for purpose” in Oswestry – Avalon and Lorne Street – will also be closed once a new facility is opened.

No decisions have yet been made about the location of the new facility, but options include the possibility of using the former Willow Street medical centre building.

The decision was taken by Councillor Tim Barker, cabinet member for adult services, at a meeting behind closed doors at Shirehall in Shrewsbury today.

About 20 placard-waving protesters gathered outside the council’s headquarters to demonstrate against the proposed closures.

Among those protesting were representatives from Age UK, the Shropshire Seniors and anti-cuts group Shropshire Fights Back.

Age UK’s chief executive, Heather Osborne, said: “I think this is just too important a decision to be made behind closed doors. Older people who go to these day centres have a real need for social contact, I don’t think there are suitable alternatives in place.”

But Councillor Tim Barker said: “The proposals are about meeting their needs in a different more positive way. That may still include going to a day centre, but could also involve a variety of other activities too.

“Some people have interpreted these proposals as meaning people would stop receiving care. This is not the case.”

According to a report to the meeting, the changes will lead to a 40 per cent reduction in staff.

Councillor Barker also approved plans to outsource two support services for disabled adults – Community Living and Shared Lives. The future of the Kempsfield residential home in Shrewsbury, will also be reviewed, with one option seeing it sold off.

Comments for: "Bridgnorth day centre is spared axe – for now"

Oh_dearie_me

I see no harm in exploring other methods of care and support, and that's how Shropshire Council is dressing this one up.

They perhaps ought to be more honest and say that budgetary pressures are forcing this on them. Although saying that, I suppose they don't HAVE to take these actions.

Councillor Barker must be very proud of himself.

grumpo

The secrecy under which Shropshire Council now operates is virgin on the obscene. The Councillors who follow Lord Keith must start to question how this is an open Council when the press can be so easily dismissed from what should be a public meeting.

Could the Shropshire Star also investigate exactly how widespread are the powers the Council have to continue to hold meetings in secret and was this move to delegated powers ever in the public domain. No doubt the proposed replacement of Lord Hills' statue with one of Lord Keith will also be delegated to one of his underlings

Roger

No cuts to front line services was the promise and that is exectly what this is.

Yes care can be delivered in other ways e.g by outsourcing it, but that would be more expensive in the end. It is ridiculous to suggest that services can be provided with 40% less staff and two building removed from use. Of course once removed, the council staff would not need to be TUPEd over to the outsourcer and the outsourcer can find new premises. Clever way to dodge legal requirements if no assets are transfered.

It is however political manipulation and the risks are all to the people being cared for. No wonder they wanted the meeting behind closed doors they have too much to hide.

bb

why was the decision taken behind closed doors?

Roger

I think we should now be standing back and looking at the generality of what's happening across the piece. What starts as a trivial 10% cut of salami slicing keeps getting repeated until the system is unmanageable when radical measures have to applied to deliver budgets and instead of the budget meeting the services the services have to meet the budget.

That is achieved with the radical changes applied. We outsourced retirement homes because it was apparently cheaper and a decade on, we close them and remove the residences because the home is no longer fit to meet the standards. Outsourced care of those with learning disorders ends up expose the Winterbourne care home abuses and so on. Closing day centres to hand out personal budgets means that the educationally challenged victim is now responsible for meeting his own needs with the budget allocated and is open to exploitation by very savvy private sector profit generators.

A 10% cut in budget now equates to a 40% reduction in staff. No it does not. Outsourcing 80% of the work equates to a 40% cut in people directly employed by the council. Most will still be in work, provided they are prepared to take a severe cut in wages and conditions to line the pockets of outsourcing companies. The service has become largely irrelevant. It is about money transfer from the public sector to the private sector, exploitation of workers, generation of profits and doing what they can to provide a service within the remains of the budget.

The parallels are by no means exact but what we are looking at is the genesis of the Stafford Foundation Trust Hospitals applied to Shropshire. A decade down stream we will be asking how could this have happened? A total failure of care dictated by an executive who's only priority was to meet a budget which had been set without reference to the actual needs of services to be provided. Decisions made by the executive imposed on the staff to reduce costs leaving them de moralised and defeated which rapidly turned to inefficiency and neglect and then people started dying needlessly. How did it happen? Why did the staff not speak out? How could the executive detach themselves from the outcomes?

Shropshire will be different; the executive has been effectively replace by a political cabinet with behind closed doors meetings and executive power transferred to politicians. They seek to remove the existing staff before outsourcing so that there is no continuity of standards to reflect on. They will shift responsibility from providing care to allocating budget severely ration by budget limitations which override the required care requirements. The council will have totally disconnected budget from the care. That’s what happened at Stafford. The executive did their job they managed the budget. Care was not on their agenda their assumption was that if the hard results could be delivered the soft qualities of care could be ignored. Treating people less well will not kill them. They were wrong and they killed hundreds of people unnecessarily.

Shropshire is going the way of Stafford Hospital. The duty of care and candour have departed the process. The public debate is on the budget the care of the largely unseen clients is not being talked about but limited to “There are other ways of providing care” but they are not telling us how. That is behind closed doors. Our elected representatives are no longer answerable to their electorate or the council in general. Most of them elected in the Rotten borough syndrome of uncontested seats and voter apathy.

Will we have to wait a decade for the evil to rise to the surface only to find that it is irreversible because the infrastructure required to support a change back has disappeared. Will Shropshire need to be administered from outside the county to rebuild services to the required standards, whilst the Electoral Commission attempt to rebuild democracy in Shropshire. Will the people understand the importance of voting? No matter how you vote it is then the voters choice and if the County is not administered as it should be they can change their vote. That’s what happened in Shrewsbury where there were candidates to chose from, but unfortunately the extent of non election in the rest of the county diluted the impact. The way it is set up now the Tory Cabinet can do whatever they like with our services and destroy the staff and infrastructure to achieve their political objectives for 5 years and they don’t even need to answer to the council or the electorate has they do their evil behind closed doors. They honestly think they are doing the right thing as did the Stafford Trust.