Make Your Vote Count in the County Council Elections!

Dear Colleagues

Make Your Vote Count in the County Council Elections!

On the 4th May there will be election about who runs the Council for the next four years. Your vote can make a difference to the outcome and deliver a different administration to run services e.g. Adults and Children’s Social Care, Learning Disability Services, Public Health, Support Services for Schools, Transport and Highways to name but a few of the very important services the Council is responsible for.

The proposed integration of Social Care and Health needs more than just woolly words (The Sustainability and Transformation Plan for Somerset – STP)– it needs well trained staff who are properly rewarded by Local Government and the NHS and the Resources and Funding to improve services and make a real difference. It also needs Public Services to be Democratically Accountable to residents, service users, citizens and electors alike. Privatisation and the race to the bottom must stop.

The recent outsourcing – the Transfer took place on 1st April this year – of the Learning Disability Provider Service (LDPS) to Dimensions UK Ltd, the only bidder for the contract, by Somerset County Council is already causing concern for Service Users, Carers, Families and Staff alike. It was not supposed to be about savings but staff face drastic cuts in pay, terms and conditions of employment e.g. reduced sick pay and annual leave – because they claim it’s the market!

LDPS already had a high turnover of staff with vacancies – how the contractor and Council think it will improve is yet to be explained. It seemed an ideological decision to privatise rather than the needs of people with Learning Disabilities and Autism. (link)

SCC should have learned the Lessons of SCC and the failed outsourcing contract with IBM – The Controversial Southwest One contract which had to be terminated early (link)

The current government which is cutting grants to local councils year on year and expect their Councils to do the dirty work by cutting Social Care monies. The Public Finance magazine recently reported:

“Despite growing numbers of older people, and working-age adults with long-term conditions, adult social care received a 6% spending cut between 2009/10 and 2015/16. This includes a funding boost from the Better Care Fund last year.

Yet delayed transfers of care – where people who are deemed medically fit for discharge remain in a hospital bed – have continued to rise. The number of days delayed due to issues in social care has risen 51% since August 2015.

The extra £2bn provided to the adult social care in the March budget may help tackle this immediate problem, but the prime minister herself has admitted that the government does not currently have a long-term solution to put the struggling sector on a sustainable footing.”

It is also an opportunity for you to pass judgement on the last 4 years (and before) on Children’s Services and Adult Social Care.

We need to Campaign for Better Public Transport and have a more integrated approach to Housing and Employment.

Best wishes

NPBN

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