Two Hove care homes to be axed after split city council vote

First published in News by

Two care homes supporting people with learning difficulties will be axed.

Brighton and Hove City Council put forward plans to close some of its smaller homes, claiming the move will save £600,000 a year.

The local authority, which provides one of the most expensive services in the country, claimed changes need to be made if it is to combat Government cuts and improve care.

But campaigners, who collected a petition of more than 1,600 signatures, claimed it would have a detrimental effect on the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the city.

In a close vote, the proposal was voted through on the casting vote of the chairman when it was discussed by the local authority's adult care and health committee last night.

Sue Beatty, of Brighton and Hove Unison, said: "We as a union believe it's wrong, 1,650 members of the public who signed the petition believe it's wrong and family members believe it's wrong.

"These people are the most vulnerable in the city and have their no voice of their own.

"They have to rely on those people that know them to do their best on their behalf."

The local authority claims its current portfolio of care homes are "high quality and high cost".

Its original plan, which was discussed in June, was to shut three homes.

The latest option was to close the homes in Old Shoreham and New Church Road, both in Hove, and move clients to other care homes.

Four Greens and one Conservative voted for the plan, two Conservatives and three Labour councillors voted against.

This will put between eight and 13 jobs at risk although existing permanent staff are expected to be relocated.

Other options included maintaining the current system, handing the running over to the private sector or increasing the capacity at its current homes.

While there was information on potential annual savings, opposition councillors said they were concerned there was no information on how much it would cost to bring buildings up to scratch.

Labour councillor Anne Meadows said: "I'm concerned this is just a cost-cutting exercise. It seems the council is robbing Peter to pay Paul."

But Rob Jarrett, the chairman of the council’s adult care and health committee, said: "It is not something we would choose to do. We have had our hand forced by circumstances."

Fellow Green councillor Mike Jones said: "If we make these dedicated changes now with the dedicated staff we can keep the residents' together. I worry, if we don't act, what will happen in two, three or four years time."

Fellow Green councillor and committee member Steph Powell, who was away, sent a statement saying she did not agree with the plan.

However, her place was taken by Green councillor Sue Shanks who voted to close the homes.

Conservative councillor Ken Norman, who voted for the proposals, said: "I cannot imagine any of the officers doing anything cynical when it comes to vulnerable people.

"We have to do the right thing with the money we have."

Comments (13)

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12:08pm Tue 25 Sep 12

Fight_Back says...

Alternatively close two of the following - Hove Town Hall, Brighton Town Hall and the main council offices. There really is no need for all three with today's technology allowing home working to be easy and affordable.
Alternatively close two of the following - Hove Town Hall, Brighton Town Hall and the main council offices. There really is no need for all three with today's technology allowing home working to be easy and affordable. Fight_Back
  • Score: 0

12:16pm Tue 25 Sep 12

F in L says...

£40,000 on hosting the Council of Europe event, Nearly £350k on one cycleway alone.. We have the Council we deserve...indeed
£40,000 on hosting the Council of Europe event, Nearly £350k on one cycleway alone.. We have the Council we deserve...indeed F in L
  • Score: 0

12:44pm Tue 25 Sep 12

rolivan says...

A child that is born into this world with disabilities should be looked after no matter the cost it wasn't their choice.I have worked with people with Physical and Mental Disabilities and although it is heartwrenching it is also very rewarding.These carers will have built a bond with these people and to take them away from their environment will be very distressing.
I wonder what some of these Councillors would do if it was their children?
Also what is going to happen to these 2 buildings that are going to be vacated what is the money going to be spent on if they are sold?
A child that is born into this world with disabilities should be looked after no matter the cost it wasn't their choice.I have worked with people with Physical and Mental Disabilities and although it is heartwrenching it is also very rewarding.These carers will have built a bond with these people and to take them away from their environment will be very distressing. I wonder what some of these Councillors would do if it was their children? Also what is going to happen to these 2 buildings that are going to be vacated what is the money going to be spent on if they are sold? rolivan
  • Score: 0

12:46am Wed 26 Sep 12

General Dreedle says...

This is a shameful day for the Greens. The first priority of their manifesto is about protecting services for children, vulnerable adults and those on a low income. But it seems people with learning disabilities who are unable to speak for themselves are an easy target. Are the Green councillors who voted for this going to be hauled before the inquisition ala Summers? Probably not because the most vulnerable without a voice don't count whereas vocal LGBT pressure groups hold the sway of votes. Well, that's politics I suppose. Its worth noting that the appointed 'Disability Champion' Councillor Stephanie Powell who sits on this committee, sent her apologies when she was needed most to speak for the vulnerable and champion their cause. Slipping out of a vote seems to be becoming a habit with the Greens, right Ania? Apparently Councillor Powell sent a note saying she disagreed with the closures but her substitute Councillor Sue Shanks voted for the closures. What is the point of the 'Disabilties Champion' sending a substitute that is going to vote for closures and therefore against her wishes and party policy? All of them have gone against party policy on this one. All of them should be throughly ashamed of themselves. They all own property that is secure that noone is going to take from them. Councillors Jarrett and Wakefield have beneficial interests in land in the town the details of which they have chosen to withold in the register of members interests. Councillor Shanks owns a mansion on Preston Road. I have no problem with their ownership of land or property but as they settle in to their nice secure homes and tot up the rising value of their properties they should pick up a copy of Animal Farm ask themselves if they can identify with the maxim "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" Oh yes and I suggest you remove all the mirrors in your houses. You don't want to be looking yourselves in the eye just yet. Not until, you have hardened your hearts sufficiently.
This is a shameful day for the Greens. The first priority of their manifesto is about protecting services for children, vulnerable adults and those on a low income. But it seems people with learning disabilities who are unable to speak for themselves are an easy target. Are the Green councillors who voted for this going to be hauled before the inquisition ala Summers? Probably not because the most vulnerable without a voice don't count whereas vocal LGBT pressure groups hold the sway of votes. Well, that's politics I suppose. Its worth noting that the appointed 'Disability Champion' Councillor Stephanie Powell who sits on this committee, sent her apologies when she was needed most to speak for the vulnerable and champion their cause. Slipping out of a vote seems to be becoming a habit with the Greens, right Ania? Apparently Councillor Powell sent a note saying she disagreed with the closures but her substitute Councillor Sue Shanks voted for the closures. What is the point of the 'Disabilties Champion' sending a substitute that is going to vote for closures and therefore against her wishes and party policy? All of them have gone against party policy on this one. All of them should be throughly ashamed of themselves. They all own property that is secure that noone is going to take from them. Councillors Jarrett and Wakefield have beneficial interests in land in the town the details of which they have chosen to withold in the register of members interests. Councillor Shanks owns a mansion on Preston Road. I have no problem with their ownership of land or property but as they settle in to their nice secure homes and tot up the rising value of their properties they should pick up a copy of Animal Farm ask themselves if they can identify with the maxim "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" Oh yes and I suggest you remove all the mirrors in your houses. You don't want to be looking yourselves in the eye just yet. Not until, you have hardened your hearts sufficiently. General Dreedle
  • Score: 0

7:33am Wed 26 Sep 12

ruberducker says...

they spent all the money on bike lanes and travellers.
they spent all the money on bike lanes and travellers. ruberducker
  • Score: 0

7:54am Wed 26 Sep 12

Dealing with idiots says...

General Dreedle wrote:
This is a shameful day for the Greens. The first priority of their manifesto is about protecting services for children, vulnerable adults and those on a low income. But it seems people with learning disabilities who are unable to speak for themselves are an easy target. Are the Green councillors who voted for this going to be hauled before the inquisition ala Summers? Probably not because the most vulnerable without a voice don't count whereas vocal LGBT pressure groups hold the sway of votes. Well, that's politics I suppose. Its worth noting that the appointed 'Disability Champion' Councillor Stephanie Powell who sits on this committee, sent her apologies when she was needed most to speak for the vulnerable and champion their cause. Slipping out of a vote seems to be becoming a habit with the Greens, right Ania? Apparently Councillor Powell sent a note saying she disagreed with the closures but her substitute Councillor Sue Shanks voted for the closures. What is the point of the 'Disabilties Champion' sending a substitute that is going to vote for closures and therefore against her wishes and party policy? All of them have gone against party policy on this one. All of them should be throughly ashamed of themselves. They all own property that is secure that noone is going to take from them. Councillors Jarrett and Wakefield have beneficial interests in land in the town the details of which they have chosen to withold in the register of members interests. Councillor Shanks owns a mansion on Preston Road. I have no problem with their ownership of land or property but as they settle in to their nice secure homes and tot up the rising value of their properties they should pick up a copy of Animal Farm ask themselves if they can identify with the maxim "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" Oh yes and I suggest you remove all the mirrors in your houses. You don't want to be looking yourselves in the eye just yet. Not until, you have hardened your hearts sufficiently.
If you want to see the bits that they withhold on the online version then speak to Democratic Services and arrange a time to view the paper copy. They are held at Kings House.
[quote][p][bold]General Dreedle[/bold] wrote: This is a shameful day for the Greens. The first priority of their manifesto is about protecting services for children, vulnerable adults and those on a low income. But it seems people with learning disabilities who are unable to speak for themselves are an easy target. Are the Green councillors who voted for this going to be hauled before the inquisition ala Summers? Probably not because the most vulnerable without a voice don't count whereas vocal LGBT pressure groups hold the sway of votes. Well, that's politics I suppose. Its worth noting that the appointed 'Disability Champion' Councillor Stephanie Powell who sits on this committee, sent her apologies when she was needed most to speak for the vulnerable and champion their cause. Slipping out of a vote seems to be becoming a habit with the Greens, right Ania? Apparently Councillor Powell sent a note saying she disagreed with the closures but her substitute Councillor Sue Shanks voted for the closures. What is the point of the 'Disabilties Champion' sending a substitute that is going to vote for closures and therefore against her wishes and party policy? All of them have gone against party policy on this one. All of them should be throughly ashamed of themselves. They all own property that is secure that noone is going to take from them. Councillors Jarrett and Wakefield have beneficial interests in land in the town the details of which they have chosen to withold in the register of members interests. Councillor Shanks owns a mansion on Preston Road. I have no problem with their ownership of land or property but as they settle in to their nice secure homes and tot up the rising value of their properties they should pick up a copy of Animal Farm ask themselves if they can identify with the maxim "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" Oh yes and I suggest you remove all the mirrors in your houses. You don't want to be looking yourselves in the eye just yet. Not until, you have hardened your hearts sufficiently.[/p][/quote]If you want to see the bits that they withhold on the online version then speak to Democratic Services and arrange a time to view the paper copy. They are held at Kings House. Dealing with idiots
  • Score: 0

8:19am Wed 26 Sep 12

Plantpot says...

F in L wrote:
£40,000 on hosting the Council of Europe event, Nearly £350k on one cycleway alone.. We have the Council we deserve...indeed
Spot on. Why are we spending money on cycle lanes and closing care homes?
[quote][p][bold]F in L[/bold] wrote: £40,000 on hosting the Council of Europe event, Nearly £350k on one cycleway alone.. We have the Council we deserve...indeed[/p][/quote]Spot on. Why are we spending money on cycle lanes and closing care homes? Plantpot
  • Score: 0

8:21am Wed 26 Sep 12

Plantpot says...

No-one defending the Greens on this story? Normally there would be at least a couple on here.
No-one defending the Greens on this story? Normally there would be at least a couple on here. Plantpot
  • Score: 0

10:28am Wed 26 Sep 12

adream says...

never trust a green,
worse than the tories, at least the tories don't try and hide the fact that they don't care about the common man and are proud to belong to the "i'm alright jack" camp
the bloody greens however, all touchy feely care for the environment blah blah blah, but at heart team up with the death dealing tories and self serve..
never trust a green, worse than the tories, at least the tories don't try and hide the fact that they don't care about the common man and are proud to belong to the "i'm alright jack" camp the bloody greens however, all touchy feely care for the environment blah blah blah, but at heart team up with the death dealing tories and self serve.. adream
  • Score: 0

11:00am Wed 26 Sep 12

redwing says...

'But Rob Jarrett, the chairman of the council’s adult care and health committee, said: "It is not something we would choose to do. We have had our hand forced by circumstances." '
You either stand up and be counted, or you don't, Rob. There is simply no point in the Greens being on the council unless they are prepared to do what is right to counter government hogwash and protect ordinary people. If Greens won't protect even those who have the least capacity to champion themselves, what hope for the rest?
Refuse to implement the cuts and closures, or get out. We don't need more of the same. We need leadership.
'But Rob Jarrett, the chairman of the council’s adult care and health committee, said: "It is not something we would choose to do. We have had our hand forced by circumstances." ' You either stand up and be counted, or you don't, Rob. There is simply no point in the Greens being on the council unless they are prepared to do what is right to counter government hogwash and protect ordinary people. If Greens won't protect even those who have the least capacity to champion themselves, what hope for the rest? Refuse to implement the cuts and closures, or get out. We don't need more of the same. We need leadership. redwing
  • Score: 0

2:45pm Wed 26 Sep 12

F in L says...

Mysteriously the council's disabilities champion - a Green councillor called Stephanie Powell - who opposed the cuts was substituted and replaced by a more compliant Green councillor called Sue Shanks who supported the cuts.....SO THAT WAS THE DECIDING VOTE .......

Remember her come election time.....
Mysteriously the council's disabilities champion - a Green councillor called Stephanie Powell - who opposed the cuts was substituted and replaced by a more compliant Green councillor called Sue Shanks who supported the cuts.....SO THAT WAS THE DECIDING VOTE ....... Remember her come election time..... F in L
  • Score: 0

3:33pm Thu 27 Sep 12

DavidWilliams says...

I attended this meeting as an interested bystander and was genuinely shocked by the process. Having followed this story closely the figures of £600,000 savings are highly spurious. This seems too important a decision to base on claims about savings with such scant evidence supporting them and nothing was heard about the costs which will counteract these apparent savings. Also the arguments made by those few voting for the closures seemed wilfully self-deluded.

One argument made by supporters of the closures (despite all evidence to the contrary) was that the residents will be fine and in fact better off. Will these residents really be fine ? The proposal is to take people with severe Autism out of an environment which they have taken years to become accustomed to and to feel secure in. In exchange they will be moved to a larger, grimmer and unfamiliar environment. You have to expect that their wellbeing will be seriously adversely affected. The potential for actual harm as a result of such disruption is genuinely high. Those hard hearted enough not to be worried by this human cost to our most vulnerable residents might consider the rising economic cost of care as residents behaviour deteriorates (and it inevitably will).

If there were no alternative to moving these residents it might be easier to understand but there are 5 new residents joining this service from children’s services in the next year or two. Those being booted out of their current homes will go to a new home housing 5 residents. Can anyone think of other ways a new 5 person home (ready in the next year) might prove useful to those same people trying to house 5 new people in the next year or so ? A way that does not require closing down their best current homes ? No? Anyone ? Where are these five new residents going to go ? I suppose they’ll have to buy new homes and staff them. We could outsource but that’s even more expensive - how are those savings looking now ? If it wasn’t tragic it would be hilarious.

Another interesting argument from the Greens was that while Green party might be doing a morally bad thing now if things are left as they are future councils will do worse things later. This is at best a shockingly weak justification – moral relativism for what the councillor accepted as a deplorable decision in its own right. In any case the impassioned opposition to the plans from the majority of Labour and Tory councillors suggests the argument is cynical, inaccurate scare-mongering.

None of this shocked me, what shocked me was the politics and in particular the sudden disappearance of the Green’s Disability Champion. This was the councillor who sent her opposition to the plan in writing. A laudable act but I think her vote which would have given objectors a clear majority and stopped the proposal in its tracks might have been preferable. This councillor decided to take a day off on this crucial day. The one day she could have actually have made a difference to those she claims to give a voice to. In place of our ‘champion’ for the disabled was a Green stooge who carried the day for those in favour of this plan only with the help of the chair’s own vote, his girlfriend’s vote and his own additional casting vote. Democracy in action !

Well it would be a victory for cost cutting over our obligations to our most vulnerable but sadly the numbers don’t stack up. This time next year it will be all too apparent that this decision serves no one.
I attended this meeting as an interested bystander and was genuinely shocked by the process. Having followed this story closely the figures of £600,000 savings are highly spurious. This seems too important a decision to base on claims about savings with such scant evidence supporting them and nothing was heard about the costs which will counteract these apparent savings. Also the arguments made by those few voting for the closures seemed wilfully self-deluded. One argument made by supporters of the closures (despite all evidence to the contrary) was that the residents will be fine and in fact better off. Will these residents really be fine ? The proposal is to take people with severe Autism out of an environment which they have taken years to become accustomed to and to feel secure in. In exchange they will be moved to a larger, grimmer and unfamiliar environment. You have to expect that their wellbeing will be seriously adversely affected. The potential for actual harm as a result of such disruption is genuinely high. Those hard hearted enough not to be worried by this human cost to our most vulnerable residents might consider the rising economic cost of care as residents behaviour deteriorates (and it inevitably will). If there were no alternative to moving these residents it might be easier to understand but there are 5 new residents joining this service from children’s services in the next year or two. Those being booted out of their current homes will go to a new home housing 5 residents. Can anyone think of other ways a new 5 person home (ready in the next year) might prove useful to those same people trying to house 5 new people in the next year or so ? A way that does not require closing down their best current homes ? No? Anyone ? Where are these five new residents going to go ? I suppose they’ll have to buy new homes and staff them. We could outsource but that’s even more expensive - how are those savings looking now ? If it wasn’t tragic it would be hilarious. Another interesting argument from the Greens was that while Green party might be doing a morally bad thing now if things are left as they are future councils will do worse things later. This is at best a shockingly weak justification – moral relativism for what the councillor accepted as a deplorable decision in its own right. In any case the impassioned opposition to the plans from the majority of Labour and Tory councillors suggests the argument is cynical, inaccurate scare-mongering. None of this shocked me, what shocked me was the politics and in particular the sudden disappearance of the Green’s Disability Champion. This was the councillor who sent her opposition to the plan in writing. A laudable act but I think her vote which would have given objectors a clear majority and stopped the proposal in its tracks might have been preferable. This councillor decided to take a day off on this crucial day. The one day she could have actually have made a difference to those she claims to give a voice to. In place of our ‘champion’ for the disabled was a Green stooge who carried the day for those in favour of this plan only with the help of the chair’s own vote, his girlfriend’s vote and his own additional casting vote. Democracy in action ! Well it would be a victory for cost cutting over our obligations to our most vulnerable but sadly the numbers don’t stack up. This time next year it will be all too apparent that this decision serves no one. DavidWilliams
  • Score: 0

9:03pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Idontbelieveit1948 says...

Plantpot wrote:
No-one defending the Greens on this story? Normally there would be at least a couple on here.
Yes, where is H Jarrs when they need him !

Regrettably the vulnerable and the disabled appear not to be one of the Greens pet projects.

However, at least they seem to have learned how to fiddle attendance and the voting system to their advantage so the disability champion won't be embarrased !

I do wish all the opposition councillors would show a little more commonsense and concern for our city and the residents. With a little cooperation they could at least contain the Greens worst excesses and at best get us all to the polling booths before 2014 to kick these idiots out sooner rather than later.
[quote][p][bold]Plantpot[/bold] wrote: No-one defending the Greens on this story? Normally there would be at least a couple on here.[/p][/quote]Yes, where is H Jarrs when they need him ! Regrettably the vulnerable and the disabled appear not to be one of the Greens pet projects. However, at least they seem to have learned how to fiddle attendance and the voting system to their advantage so the disability champion won't be embarrased ! I do wish all the opposition councillors would show a little more commonsense and concern for our city and the residents. With a little cooperation they could at least contain the Greens worst excesses and at best get us all to the polling booths before 2014 to kick these idiots out sooner rather than later. Idontbelieveit1948
  • Score: 0

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