It's there, in a stark red block on Salford City Council's `savings tracker'… Reconfiguration of Day Services 2013/14 `savings target': £816,000
Anyone who thought that the battle to save services for some of the city's most vulnerable people had been won, had better think again.
On last year's Council cuts list were two options for chopping day services, used by the old and the ill for getting hot meals, socialising with other people and getting health advice…
Option 1 would have seen two day care centres closed - Craig Hall in Irlam and Humphrey Booth in Ordsall, with the loss of 40 jobs and 200 service users `removed by reassessment'.
Option 2 would have seen the closure of three day care centres - Craig Hall in Irlam and Humphrey Booth in Ordsall, plus St George's in Charlestown, with the loss of 60 jobs and 300 service users `removed by reassessment'.
With protests about to reach boiling point, last February, the then Leader of the Council, John Merry, issued a bulletin to his colleagues announcing a U-turn on immediate cuts and explaining that "Any future reconfiguration of these services must be done in the light of the following:-
1.Further work to make sure that the multi-use of all centres can be developed
2. That we can be assured that the needs of vulnerable people in the city can be met by undertaking individual reviews of the 490 people who use our day services
3. Demonstrate that we have more locally available alternatives for people to choose from as part of our personalisation changes
4. Fully consider the views that came back from the 700+ people who participated in the consultation process."
Today, the Council's Health, Wellbeing and Social Care Scrutiny Committee met to hear an update on the review from Sue Lightup, Strategic Director of Community Health and Social Care.
On the first point about getting more groups in to use the centres (and thus spreading the overhead costs), she explained that, while Craig Hall had got `three or four' community organisations interested in using the space, Ordsall's Humphrey Booth had met with `less success'...
On the second point, Lightup reported that "a steady trickle", or 10% of users had already decided that they wanted to access day services "in another way". This is hardly surprising given that transport charges to get to the centres have been imposed (see here and see here), that there's people being moved from their regular centres to other centres, and the general uncertainty surrounding the service.
On the third point, Lightup explained that the alternatives for people "hadn't been put together yet". And on the fourth point, to "fully consider the views that came back from the 700+ people who participated in the consultation process", she had absolutely nothing to say. It was never mentioned.
Labour councillor, Jim King, told the committee that the day service at the Humphrey Booth Centre in his ward, Broughton, was closed down and moved to Ordsall with an assurance that the provision would be maintained… "If we withdraw these services we haven't kept the promise that we've made."
Sue Lightup confirmed to the committee that the Council "is trying to deliver the service for less money" and also confirmed that the cut of £816,000 to the day centres was still the target, although "no decisions have been made"..
The review of day services continues over autumn, with its result expected before Christmas. Expect the attempted closure of Humphrey Booth in Ordsall at the very least.
The war on cuts to Salford's most vulnerable people is very much alive.
See also: Cuts to Mental Health Service Drop-in Groups – click here
See previous Salford Star articles on Day Care closures – click here and click here and click here.
Main photo shows protest outside Craig Hall - photo by Phil Hamer