Tuesday 30 March 2010

Care homes campaign

There has been a campaign group in Llanelli for some time now, organising the campaign against the possible closure of council-run care homes. Last night, there was a very well-attended meeting in Carmarthen to establish a similar group in the town.

The council's position is that the 'task and finish' group set up after their previous proposals were soundly thrown out by scrutiny committees is still working on the issue, and that we should all wait for that to complete its work before getting too excited. But then, they do generally prefer that we all wait until after they've taken the decision before commenting - at which point, it's usually too late. Somehow, I don't think that the relatives, staff and others are going to sit back and wait until the council has decided to close them before they start making their voice heard - and they're absolutely right not to wait.

I find it difficult to believe that the council's leaders will really try and come back with the same proposal again, but from the responses that I've heard from the leader and others in council meetings, I simply wouldn't put it past them. They're certainly still using the same arguments.

One of those arguments is that demand will drop as more and more people opt to try and continue living in their own home. But there's a huge gulf between the number who would like to go on being independent and the number who are capable of remaining independent. And the council's projections are open to great question anyway - they openly admit that every year for the past three or four years they have underestimated the demand for adult care, and consequently overspent the budget for that department.

They'll need to demonstrate a much greater capacity for accurate forecasting before anyone will believe their projections.


Clem said...

Since when do task and finish groups and Scrutiny make decisions, I thought they make recommendations that the Executive Board can choose to follow in making their decisions.

John Dixon said...


As a general rule, you're right. But when it comes to unpopular decisions, like cutting services and closing care homes, the Executive Board likes to be able to say that the relevant scrutiny committees have agreed the decision, or that it was a proposal from a task and finish group. The administration, of course, has an inbuilt majority on all such committees and groups, so generally expects to get its own way.

Having one of its proposals rejected was soemthing of a shock to them...

DC said...

Many thanks for your support of the Care Homes in both Llanelli and Carmarthen.

It was great to see you at the meeting in Carmarthen...things have moved on again and there is to be a march in Llanelli on Saturday the 24th and in Carmarthen on the 1st of May - all support gratefully received.

I think like most people, Clem and to a large extent myself until recently, find the machinations of the Council are not quite you would expect...

I think that the Councillors need to take back the power and wrest it from the Council Officers.

Sadly until the Councillors have access to either other expert analysis or are provided with detailed summations including costings, savings, fundings, impact analysis and valid alternatives of what the policies they are voting for, they are at the mercy of the people that they employ to advise them.

Once again Many Thanks - DC