Leasowe, Saughall Massie and Moreton Area Forum 27th February 2013 Part 4 | Moreton Day Centre

Leasowe, Saughall Massie and Moreton Area Forum 27th February 2013 Part 4 | Moreton Day Centre

Continued from Part 3.

Mr. Hodkinson said that all the day centres were running with spare capacity, across three large ones and a number of small ones the average spare capacity was 15%, however they had the potential to offer greater capacity if like a proper business they were run at full capacity. He said that staffing levels would remain unchanged, so how was he to make savings? The contention was that the service could be run more efficiently by downsizing the number of buildings operating to reflect demand. He said currently there was the capacity for an extra 108 half-day sessions, but they had the capacity to run up to an extra thousand half day sessions if more people received a service from a smaller number of buildings.

He continued by saying that a key saving was reducing the staffing complement as it would run on a reduced staffing model to unlock additional capacity. As part of this it was their plan to close one large day centre. Graham Hodkinson referred to the consultation run in 2012 on transforming day services, which told them that people wanted smaller day centres with greater choice.

He said a key part of the plan was whether they would be better run as a social enterprise, mutual or council run company and referred to the What Really Matters consultation. The Director said that they would need a further round of consultation should the option be accepted, in which they would work directly with people affected and be clear about which would close. This would be done soon after the Council decision [on March 5th] and would compare the three large day centres on capacity, demand, unit costs, capital costs of refurbishment, added value such as community links and qualitative feedback. He would also go to each service with an officer for a meeting to enable for detailed consultation.

A member of the public said that he seemed confident he would get his own way on 5th March. Mr. Hodkinson replied that it was subject to a Council decision.

A member of the public asked what happened after the 5th March?
He answered that they have to plan, followed by that he has no say in the Council vote, but that they had to plan and have contingencies, they wanted a more efficient service and that a proper business would be run to full capacity.

A member of the public said that large day centres were more efficient than small day centres and that it was three times more expensive to run a small day centre than a large, so what was the rationale for closing a large day centre? He also asked about the recording of gifts to employees in the Department of Adult Social Services.

Graham Hodkinson said he was not sure about the final question and that the arrangements for gifts and hospitalities was a different area and that if large day services were cheaper, the cheapest model would be one large day service rather than the two proposed.

A member of the public quoted Graham saying “most efficient” and asked why they were proposing to close a large day centre if it was the most efficient service?

Continued at Part 5.

Leasowe, Saughall Massie and Moreton Area Forum 27th February 2013 Part 3 | Moreton Youth Club | Moreton Day Centre

Leasowe, Saughall Massie and Moreton Area Forum 27th February 2013 Part 3 | Moreton Youth Club | Moreton Day Centre

Continued from Part 2.

English: Wallasey Town Hall, Wirral, England a...
English: Wallasey Town Hall, Wirral, England as seen from the promenade. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cllr Blakeley said that he was not in a position to answer.

Terry said that when he’d worked with Cadburys he’d been responsible for youth activities and had persuaded them to build it in the community, however it had not solely been funded by Cadburys and had been part funded by the Council, however it recent years Cadburys hadn’t been funding it.

Caroline Laing answered the points. Cllr Blakeley said that he’d read through the 1968 deed hoping to find a covenant that meant it would be saved, if it was sold half the money would go to Cadburys so Wirral Council couldn’t fully realise the asset. He wanted it to remain open and was hoping that when a million pounds was spent in Birkenhead that Moreton wouldn’t be forgotten.

A member of the public said that young people were very territorial, couldn’t afford transport and were too frightened to go outside their locality. They thought this would mean the Birkenhead youth would have the new super hub to themselves. Another member of the public said that it was a shame that only six months since the Olympics that they were shutting down youth clubs.

Cllr Blakeley said that he had got the message that the people of Moreton wanted to keep the Youth Club going, but that it was important to know what’s going on. He said it was good news that Moreton Youth Club was recommended to be maintained as it would give more time to fight its closure, therefore it was good news but not final news.

A member of the public asked if the youth club could be incorporated into the new combined One Stop Shop and library as it would make more sense as one facility? Cllr Blakeley said there would be a library update later, that it might be something worth looking at and that all suggestions could be explored. He thanked Caroline Laing.

Cllr Blakeley said that Graham Hodkinson, Director of Adult Social Services and Chris Begya were here for the next item on Moreton Day Centre.

Graham Hodkinson started by saying that they need to make savings in services for people with learning disabilities, he was going to talk about how they plan to make savings followed by a little about the consultation process, Chris Begya was also present and could answer any more detailed questions.

Mr. Hodkinson started by saying that they had to find savings of £109 million [over three years] and that the Department of Adult Social Services spent £77 million a year, therefore it was incumbent on him to present ideas as to how to run an efficient service. He said that Audit Commission data which was “readily available” [Ed – readily available where?] showed that Wirral Council was in the top 5% for its spend on learning disabilities and was an outlier as it spent the most on day services for people with learning disabilities.

He said that this cost each Wirral resident £500 which totalled £6 million [Ed – 319,800 (latest 2011 Census population figure for Wirral) * £500 = £15.99 million, so the figure is more accurately £18.76 per a resident], £5 million was spent on in-house provision and £1 million on transport. Mr. Hodkinson said that they had a duty to meet people’s needs and use public resources wisely, but he recognised that people didn’t agree with him, nevertheless he had a duty to do that.

Continued at Part 4.

Leasowe, Saughall Massie and Moreton Area Forum 27th February 2013 Part 2 | Moreton Youth Club

Leasowe, Saughall Massie and Moreton Area Forum 27th February 2013 Part 2 | Moreton Youth Club

Continued from Part 1.

Caroline Laing said that officers had been asked for savings [in the Youth and Play Service] of £1.2 million which had led to a report to the Cabinet meeting of the 18th February.

She continued by saying that the Budget option would consolidate the existing youth clubs into four youth hubs and would result in a reduction in the number of outreach teams and the closure of eleven satellite youth clubs. The proposals would be discussed and had been recommended to the Budget Council meeting of the 5th March. The Leasowe Youth Club was proposed to be closed with no recommendation to be saved, meetings had been held with Leasowe Community Homes and 7 Waves Community Radio over an exit strategy, there would be a locality manager to give advice and guidance to voluntary organisations and there would still be some outreach provision which would be focussed on more targeted activity.

Cllr Blakeley said that before he asked for questions about Moreton Youth Centre, he want to ask if Moreton Youth Club would stay open until the Birkenhead hub costing £1 million opened?

Caroline Laing said it was worded until but she didn’t know the answer.

Cllr Blakeley said it sounded like the Moreton Youth Club wouldn’t close until the super Hub was open and asked for any questions?

A member of the public asked what criteria were used to decide what youth centres closed and which stayed open?
Caroline Laing answered that the decision was made by Cabinet, but in relation to the Budget four would be retained.

A member of the public involved with a voluntary group that used a youth club said that they hadn’t been consulted on closure and knew of another voluntary group in the same position. Tracey Smith said that managers had been provided with the detail of the consultation. Cllr Lewis asked the member of the public to see him at the end so he could liaise between her and the locality manager. Caroline Laing pointed out that the locality manager appointment had not yet been made.

A member of the public called Steve said that the youth club had been known as Cadburys Youth Club and that he’d been one of the first to go it many decades ago. It had been built for the people of Moreton, but had since gone to Wirral Council. He said it was scandalous that now people would not have anywhere to go to at night, that there would be more people hanging around if they removed provision and questioned how people would be able to afford the bus fare to Birkenhead and back finally saying it was “not right”.

Continued at Part 3.

Leasowe, Saughall Massie and Moreton Area Forum 27th February 2013 Part 1| Minutes silence for Anne McArdle | United Utilities update

Leasowe, Saughall Massie and Moreton Area Forum 27th February 2013 Part 1| Minutes silence for Anne McArdle | United Utilities update

Cllr Chris Blakeley (Chair)
Cllr Ian Lewis
Cllr Steve Williams
Cllr Anita Leech
Tracey Smith, Area Forum coordinator
Steve Preston, Community Safety
Inspector Peter Kolokotroni, Merseyside Police
Chris Begya (Head of Branch, Personal Support (Department of Adult Social Services)
Graham Hodkinson (Director of Adult Social Services)
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service
and about forty members of the public

The Chair, Cllr Chris Blakeley welcomed the public to what he said was sadly the last Area Forum as the Council wanted to move to Neighbourhood working based on the four constituencies. Cllr Blakeley said that this would not be as local and as the constituency the Area Forum was based in was Wallasey that it might involve travelling further to meetings. He thanked those involved with the Area Forum over the last ten years.

Two items in particular [on the Area Forum agenda] had generated interest locally, the Moreton Youth Club and Moreton Day Centre, on the latter Graham Hodkinson, the Director of Adult Social Services had been invited to answer questions. Cllr Blakeley said that Tracey had been a “fantastic Area Forum coordinator” and he wanted to thank Tracey who he thought was the best Area Forum coordinator.

He introduced Cllr Steve Williams and Cllr Ian Lewis and told them that the latter had been elected in the recent byelection. Cllr Ian Lewis asked that as this was the first Area Forum since the death of former Cllr Anne McArdle for a minutes silence. There was a minute of silence for former Cllr Anne McArdle.

Cllr Blakeley asked for apologies? Apologies were given for Cllr Simon Mountenay, Cllr Ron Abbey and another. He asked if there were any questions arising from the minutes? None were asked. He then asked Peter Cummings to give an update on United Utilities. However Peter Cummings wasn’t present. Cllr Blakeley commented on the widespread nature of current United Utilities roadworks in the local area.

Continued at Part 2.

Cabinet (Wirral Council) 18th February 2013 Budget Meeting

Video of Wirral Council’s Labour Cabinet meeting of the 18th February 2013 to discuss their Budget recommendations to the Council meeting of the 5th March 2013

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Above is video of the well attended Cabinet meeting of 18th February 2013 which discussed the Labour Budget recommendation to Council (which will meet on the 5th March). The agenda, reports, draft minutes etc can be found by following the link.

It was another well attended meeting in the Civic Hall, prior to it was a march and protest outside the Town Hall.

Every agenda item (apart from declarations of interest and minutes) was a recommendation to Council on the 5th March, as the Labour Group could change their mind between now and then on their budget, I’ll save commenting in detail on Labour’s Budget until after the Budget Council meeting on the 5th March.