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Greens in U-turn on privatisation plans
A DECISION on privatising support for disabled adults has been postponed after unions “threatened merry hell”.
Green party leader Jason Kitcat deferred the decision after receiving “feedback” about the plans and visiting council learning disability services in Brighton and Hove.
He said: “I believe we need to have a wider look at the council’s learning disability services in the round, rather than in a piecemeal way.
“The time is right to take a step back to look at best practice and research evidence from elsewhere.
“Our ambition must be to modernise our services to provide the best possible outcomes for all service users with learning disabilities.”
Green councillors have been accused of “bottling out” of a tough decision and bowing to union pressure.
The withdrawn proposal, which was due to be discussed today, could have seen seven supported living homes and flats for up to 43 adults with learning disabilities transferred to a private company.
The move would have saved the council £300,000 a year and a 90-day consultation was set to be launched at this afternoon’s Health and Wellbeing Board meeting.
The seven homes in Beaconsfield Villas, Liphook Close, Cromwell Road, Hawkhurst Road, Lennox Street, Rutland Gardens and Leicester Villas were set up more than 20 years ago to replace long-stay hospitals.
Criticism The decision to withdraw the plans were welcomed by unions who slammed the original proposals, which they claimed would lead to staff losses and reduction in quality of service.
They were also critical of the way the proposals were released, claiming they were not consulted on the matter.
But Conservative adult social care spokesman Councillor Ken Norman said: “This really is no way to run a council.
“Every time officers propose to modernise a council service by bringing in an alternative provider, for example from the independent or voluntary sector, the trade union bosses threaten merry hell and the Greens, dutifully followed by the Labour group, back down.
“Our NHS partners who are about to join us for the first meeting of the new health and wellbeing board must wonder what on earth they have let themselves in for.”
Labour group leader and health and wellbeing board member Councillor Warren Morgan said: “The Greens’ decision at the 11th hour to pull the report on the future of homes for people with learning disabilities is yet another example of them bottling out of making tough decisions.
“It leaves us with the worst of both worlds; no decision and no timetable for making one, but worry and uncertainty for residents, their families and the 60 council staff at those care homes.”
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