Star date: 1st November 2013


"won't be able to leave home", "will be socially isolated", "nothing would help me manage", "would have no quality of life"…

Over the summer Salford Council carried out a huge consultation about its Fair Access to Care Services (FACS), which centred on cutting support for people with `moderate' needs and only helping those with `substantial or critical' needs.

The overwhelming, emotional response from both the old and the ill, and their carers, was not to cut support for those with moderate needs. This week Salford Council cut support for those with moderate needs.

Full details here…

For once, Salford Council almost got a consultation right. Over four thousand people who use its Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) and their carers were written to directly, outlining proposals to scrap support for those with `moderate' needs and only support those with `substantial or critical' needs.

Those who have moderate needs may have had a stroke and need help getting in and out of the bath, or going out of the house to socialise; or they are people who might be getting a bit forgetful and need reminding to take tablets or turn the taps off.

Care workers visit and, not only help them with their daily needs but also provide vital human contact, particularly if family and friends are out working all day or don't live local. Salford Council wanted to cut these services and replace them with…well, nothing, apart from `advice' on how to pay for `telecare' technology which would replace human contact, or advice on how to pay for someone to come in and replace Council staff.

As well as writing directly to those who use the current services, a booklet was produced plus adverts, emails, online questionnaires and more. And well over one thousand responses came back – the overwhelming majority of which said `Don't cut support for people with moderate needs'.

Over 91% of those with moderate needs and currently getting support stated that adopting the proposal would make their life worse. The most popular responses included that they were "reliant on care services", "it would cause hardship", "won't be able to leave home", "will be socially isolated", "nothing would help me manage", "would have no quality of life"…that they "have no one to get help from" and that "family can't provide any more help".

89% of those caring for people with moderate needs stated that adopting the proposal would make their life worse, and echoed the points above, including the plea "don't make this change", "it isn't fair", "support should be available to all who need it", "make cuts elsewhere", "increase tax"…

AgeUK was asked to comment on the impact of the proposal and responded that it would lead to "Increased financial burdens, Reduced quality of life, Deterioration in physical and mental health, Increased social isolation and self neglect, Reduced choice, Confusion and stress, Increased pressure on carers, Increase in numbers of people attending A&E, Increased risk to older people, Rise in Safeguarding cases…"

The Carers Support Team was asked to comment on the proposal and how it would affect carers and responded that there was "a definite risk that carers may reach crisis point and be unable to carry on in their caring role" and there would be "Further pressure on families who are already feeling anxious and stressed as a consequence of the cuts in benefits".

The Salford Council risk report on the consultation weighed up the risks of scrapping support for people with moderate needs. It was cold hearted and stark. A People versus Money chart.

On the `People' side, `medium and high risk' likelihoods included "Quality of life will reduce as people need to cope with difficulties without direct paid for services from the Council" … "Some people may deteriorate more quickly, needing to access to services for substantial and critical need (and funding) earlier than would have been the case if support was provided at moderate need"… "A proportion of people may be more likely to experience a crisis, requiring support from the NHS or other partners".

On the Money side, `medium and high risk' likelihoods included that if moderate needs support wasn't scrapped, "The specific budget savings will not be achieved. This would mean that £1m (2014/15) would need to be found from other sources recurrently"…

The savings to Salford Council vary wildly, from £300,000 to £2.1million, "depending on the number of people who would be re-assessed as having needs in the moderate category of FACS".

Salford City UNISON Branch Secretary, Steve North, made a passionate plea to Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart, during the summer that the £1.55million windfall from Manchester Airport be used to stop this cut (and the closure of short term respite services for disabled children at The Grange).

In an open letter to the Mayor, Steve North wrote: "As you know, the Council is currently considering withdrawing support for people with moderate care needs and cites reduced resources as the principal reason for doing so.

"Salford Council has long had a positive reputation for how it has provided care for vulnerable people and we should not lose our status as the only Council in Greater Manchester to provide such support easily. This year's Council budget tells us that the Council will save £300,000 if the proposals to withdraw that care go through. The unexpected announcement of this £1.55m should mean that we no longer have to do that; which would again be fantastic news for the most vulnerable in our city." (see here for full details)

This week, Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart, ignored the findings of the Salford Council consultation, and ignored UNISON's suggestion that the Airport windfall money be used to stop the cut.

The decision notice reads…

"I, Ian Stewart, City Mayor, in consultation with Cabinet and in exercise of the powers contained within the City Council constitution, do hereby;- Note the content of response to the formal consultation undertaken between June 2013 and 9th September 2013. Approve the change in Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) policy for accessing Adult Social care in Salford, to substantial and critical need only."

Alexander James Valliant wrote
at 06:20:09 on 04 November 2013
It was my pleasure, "Life is loud". Take care and thanks for the reply back.
life is loud wrote
at 21:11:13 on 03 November 2013
Thank you Alexander for clarifying the situation about the care cuts much appreciated good luck with your case
White wrote
at 17:45:17 on 03 November 2013
Mr Stewart is quite happy to ignore the result of a consultation which was more statistically significant than the result of his own election. The response to the consultation was around 25% of those likely to be affected. The responses indicating a worsening of conditions by the proposed changes was around 22% of those likely to be affected. Compare this with the mayoral referendum when around 18% of the total electorate voted in favour of having a city mayor, and a magnificent 14% voted for Mr Stewart to be that mayor.
Michael Felse wrote
at 17:44:42 on 03 November 2013
We must face facts that Salford Council looks unable to fund services unless if makes financial cut backs. Salford Star, the eyes of Salford, reported back on 11th July 2013 that Salford Council currently has the highest amount of debt than any other Council across Greater Manchester, with `total debt' in Salford then standing at £516million. I think this gives a reason why our Elected Mayor had few choices but to lead on actions such as the Dock Cranes and other sad cuts.
Salford onion wrote
at 10:14:41 on 03 November 2013
The ceremonial mayor cots £160,000 as the cost is made up of chauffeur wage and pension contributions, dedicated admin staff wage and pensions, limousine costs and maintenance , personal allowance for Mayor and consort, clothing allowance, melas and hospitality budget. Scraping the Mayor would have saved scrapping the cranes who were a much more iconic contribution to Salfords heritage than some of the bumbling councillors that we have!
Salford Star wrote
at 08:26:22 on 03 November 2013
See Salfordian's comment below...£160k for the ceremonial Mayor? Are you sure? Don't think this is right..
Alexander James Valliant wrote
at 07:59:18 on 03 November 2013
Dear Life Is Loud, I have just found the contact details for the Stephenson's Solicitors Manchester Branch. The address is Manchester Office, City Wharf, 30 New Bailey Street, M3 5ER, or you can phone them on their New Enquiries Line on 0333 344 4772. It is important to remember that it is for the solicitor to decide if their is suitable grounds to take legal action against The Salford Social Services Team, because every disabled persons case will be different, and in some cases, The Salford Social Services Team may have assessed a persons needs correctly. But if you are in the Low to Moderate Needs banding, you do have a right to be reassessed by The Salford Social Services Team. I hope this information has helped you understand what you need to do, practically and legally. Best wishes from Alexander James Valliant.
Salfordian wrote
at 07:58:56 on 03 November 2013
Salord Council is still wasting about £160k a year on funding a ceremonial Mayor and all the trappings which go with it, including a chauffeur and limousine. Its time to dump this nonsense and get the Mayor, his Deputy and 12 Assistant Mayors out amongst the public instead, or are they too frightened about what they may hear about a crap city council?
Alexander James Valliant wrote
at 07:58:26 on 03 November 2013
Dear "Life Is Loud". I understand how confusing this story could be, so I shall simplify the key elements. If you have been assessed by The Salford Social Services Team, and have recieved a Needs Assessment that states you have Low to Moderate needs, then you will no longer receive a Direct Payment to pay for those needs. Therefore The Salford Social Services Team, will expect you to pay for your ongoing care out of your benefits, which for some disabled people, would mean going without food or warmth this winter. So if you do have an assessment from The Social Services Team, that states you are within the Low or Moderate needs category, you will not receive any further financial help, in the form of a Direct Payment. If this is the case, you can either request another assessment to be undertaken by The Social Services Team, or you could legally fight this by getting yourself a solicitor. Because I have already contacted a solicitor on my clients behalf, I can recommend you get in touch with Stephenson Solicitors. You can find their contact details by entering "Stephonson Solicitors in Leigh or Wigan" into the Google search engine. These solicitors deal with Civil Rights Cases, to which yours might be one of them. I hope this has helped you to understand this Salford Star story. Best wishes from Alexander James Valliant.
Paul wrote
at 07:58:13 on 03 November 2013
When are the people of salford going to wake up. Ian Stewart and labour are playing politics with these cuts, these cuts are about the next election, you only have to read that Labour Party rag, the salford labour party advertiser, to see what labour are up to, Blears, kealey, Stewart, and many more Labour Party parasites are in there every week, saying how all these cuts are down to the Tories and lib-dems and anyone else they can blame. How can a council which spends £ 22million + on a rugby stadium, £13 million on a fountain, £3million a year on the philharmonic orchestra, £1million a year on the Lowry, £2 million on a foot bridge at the crescent, £13 million to peel holdings in the last year, hundreds of thousands of £ to grow pea's. how can a council cry poverty and at the same time close and stop vital services when we have the above happening, because it is very simple, labour need to get people angry, they need to take the focus away from what they are doing, which is selling salford to their rich friends. who in salford gives a damn about rugby, bridges, fountains, pea's or philharmonic orchestra's, who cares if these disappear off the salford landscape, these won't get people voting labour at the next election if they get cut, but close vital service to the elderly the sick, close services for children and parents who need help, these are what labour are using to get re elected at the next election. It's time for the people of salford to wake up and smell the coffee. Don't allow this labour council to use Salford's vital services to be used for their own political agenda. Don't swallow the labour line, salford is broke and we need to cut back, the above spending tells us different, it's all political.
life is loud wrote
at 22:49:18 on 01 November 2013
So people with moderate needs will have to pay for their own care now is that what this decision means, so will they have to go down the Direct payment route to pay for help from private care agencies? Am confused
Alexander James Valliant wrote
at 22:49:14 on 01 November 2013
I have read this article, and have found it inaccurate. Not because of what has been stated within the article, but because what facts are missing. The story is correct when it states that vulnerable adults, whom are deemed Low to Moderate needs are having their financial support pulled. However the Salford Star is not aware that The Salford Social Services department are also rewriting assessments so that vulnerable adults, whom do have Substantial Needs, are also having their direct payment pulled too. I have a client whom has serious physical disability, Autism, Bi - Polar, ADHD, Heart Condition, Epilepsy, combined with social interaction difficulties, whom resides on the top floor of a tower block, where the lifts are constantly in disrepair, and has been classed with possessing Substantial Needs by the Salford Social Services Department. However, they have refused any form of direct payment to support this persons needs. What The Salford Social Services Department are doing is failing to mention key points concerning the need for social interaction, and vital patient risk assessments. In other words they are rigging the assessments to ensure even the most severely disabled, are left without support. Unlike the Mayor of Salford, I have the most recent assessment from my client, to support this claim, and it fails to identify the need for social interaction, and the risks involved if my client were to go out alone. They have told my client to buy his shopping online, apply to the DWP and DLA for more money, and have stated that if my client stays in his property, there is no actual risks. So in other words, The Salford Social Services Department are now asking the disabled not to go out, and stay in their homes, and apply for even more money from the government, thus putting a greater strain on the UK's ever failing economy. I feel that it's about time the Salford Council stop making everyone else in the UK responsible for their lack of services and care to vulnerable adults, whom are unfortunate enough to live within Salford. If I am permitted to plug a Solicitor, there are specialists in Wigan, and Leigh, whom deal with citizen rights cases, such as this one. The Solicitors is called Stephensons, and I have forwarded this case to them. My client has now recieved their legal aid to pursue this case. If anyone with Substabtial Needs is having the same problem, then I recommend that you contact either the Wigan or Leigh branch. They do have offices in Manchester opposite the Salford Central Station. You can find Stephensons Solicitors contact details by putting their name into the Google search engine.
Do they Care wrote
at 14:32:09 on 01 November 2013
Do They Care?
Do they Care wrote
at 14:32:04 on 01 November 2013
Same old same old. The lack of innovation/balls, and the Mayors attitude to what people want is a reflection on the true Values of the so called New Labour Elite who masquerade as people who CARE. When you quantify the additional impact costs to other services as a result of these cuts it makes this move all the more stupid. The cash that flows to "Glamour pet projects" could make a real difference to peoples lives now, when they need them most. Its consultations like this that feed peoples mistrust of the system as it proves that the decision had already been made and as usual they was just ticking another box. Another Sad day for Salford and all those people who are impacted by this decision.
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