Councillors' Attendance Statistics
- Meeting of Health, Housing and Adult Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Monday, 25 October 2010 7:00 pm (Item 25.)
This report contains the results of the Base Budget Review exercise undertaken by Leading Members and officers over the last 3 months in response to reducing public funding and the Council’s aim of minimising Council Tax.
Report of the Director of Adult and Community Services attached.
Councillor Urquhart addressed the committee;
she gave a political steer on the information contained within the
report. She referred to the national
agenda and the economic era of austerity which we had unfortunately
entered. She emphasised that although
there would be changes to the care provided by Richmond Council
which until now had been generous and above statutory requirements,
the council would continue to provide for those most in need and
their carers. She also stressed that
the budget proposals before the committee tonight were for
consultation and comments and ideas would be taken very seriously
and each one investigated.
Cathy Kerr, Director of Adult and Community Services addressed the Committee, she guided committee members though the information contained in the report and in particular referred to the three main changes:
Changes to SDS payments in particular the removal of the current
cap (£320) for those with the financial means to pay more and
changes to take disability benefits into account when assessing a
person’s financial contribution.
Changes to eligibility criteria and reduction of eligibility bands
from 3 (moderate)to 2
(substantial). Comparisons with other
local authorities showed that Richmond had been particularly
generous in the past.
(iii) Rationalisation of intensive day care centres which would result in reducing sites from 4 to 2 specifically closing Tangley Hall and Twickenham Day Centres and providing additional care at Sheen and Ham Day Centres. These sites had been chosen as they had room in which to incorporate care for those displaced from the closures and also to create additional services in environments that could become centres of excellence for these types of care. The level of service would not be affected only the place in which it was provided.
Other savings would be made from work underway already where efficiency measures suggested by PWC and internal investigations had been put into practice. These were not part of the consultation and did not affect front line services. These additional savings would contribute to the total 26% savings that the council must make in the next 3 years.
The Director repeated the message of the Cabinet Member and reminded the Committee that the proposals outlined were all subject to thorough and genuine consultation which would continue until December 10th 2010 with re-worked proposals being considered by Cabinet on the 17th January 2011.
[Please note: Cabinet
meeting will now take place on 24th January
Representations were heard from members of the public:
Mrs Alison Swift addressed the Committee
Mrs Swift informed the committee that her mother was a user of
Tangley hall. She asked the committee
to consider how the closure would sit within the national agenda of
individual care. Her mother received a
very personalised service at Tangley and
she didn’t consider that this would be possible in the larger
environment that would be created at Ham. The care her mother had received at Tangley Hall
had seen a dramatic improvement in her mood and ability to
Following questions from the Committee Mrs Swift gave the following answers and made the following additional comments:
That this was the first experience that her family had had of
intensive day care centre care and that they had been hugely
impressed. The respite it provided for
a family caring for an elderly relative at home had been
That her mother had a key worker who oversaw the care provided by a
small group of carers. There was
a continuity to the care that was
important for her mother and for the family in being alerted of any
issues or problems that had occurred during the day.
· That her mother attended the Centre everyday between 10am and 4:30pm and that the journey time was roughly 45 minutes.
Mr Richard Hunter addressed the committee
· Mr Hunter informed the Committee that he had no current vested interested in Tangley Hall remaining open but that his mother had attended the centre before she passed away the previous year.
He argued that
there was a high need for such a service in the particular location
due to there being a very high proportion of people over 65 in the
Hampton area of the Borough and that transporting these elderly
people by bus was not a financially viable or client friendly
Mr Hunter also maintained that it would be possible to make Tangley Hall more viable and even for it to create income for the council. There were opportunities to expand the care given. That it provided the best value for money and was the cheapest to run of all the centres with the highest take up.
Following questions from the Committee Mr Hunter gave the following answers and made the following comments:
That his mother had attended Ham during a brief closure at Tangley
and the journey had been too much for her to cope with as it took
too long. In addition the transport
costs were high, to suggest it would save money was debatable and
should be investigated further.
That as a taxpayer in the borough he understood and welcomed the
efforts made by the council to freeze council tax but that he did
not believe the plans before the committee were financially
sound. In particular he expressed
concern that the income generated by each centre was combined in a
central pot making it difficult to assess each centres financial
merits and potential for income generation.
Mrs Sheila Scorer addressed the committee
She reported that her husband had attended Tangley hall until ten
days ago when he had unfortunately had to be moved to residential
care due to the severity of his dementia. He had been attending for 3 days a
week. She praised the care that he had
received at Tangley Hall. She believed
that the environment at Ham would not have been as beneficial to
her husband, in particular open spaces confused him and therefore
the smaller environment at Tangley Hall had been beneficial in
addition the travelling time to Tangley Hall had been difficult for
her husband and this difficulty would increase with any additional
She praised the staff and manager at Tangley Hall and warned the council against losing them; they had helped not only her husband but supported her in her role as carer. In closing she expressed her incredulity that the current administration could prioritise funding for free parking initiatives whilst taking funding from vulnerable adults in the Borough.
In response to questions Mrs Scorer made the
following additional remarks:
- that she
had used the services of Homelink in
the past who she rated very highly but who could not accommodate
those with more severe dementia.
- That Tangley Hall had been particularly good in relaying small details back to her as a carer which made her role easier.
Mr Skilling addressed the Committee
· Mr Skilling had been a volunteer at Tangley Hall in the past. He reported that some of the users had come by bus to the facility and others had been brought by their families. These families would often stop a while and receive advice and support, which was invaluable to them. He stressed that for the carers and the users the upheaval of a move to Ham would be very difficult. He asked the committee to consider carefully the human effects of such closures and described a personal experience where this care had not been available and the difficulties that might have been avoided if it had.
Mr John Robertson addressed the committee
· He told the committee that although his father had used Tangley Hall he wanted to talk generally about the importance of Intensive Day Care and how it could save or delay dramatically the need for dementia sufferers to go into residential care. He felt that this type of care, where appropriate, was better for both carers and users and was better value for money for self funders and also for the Council where it funded the care.
Mrs Robertson addressed the committee
She explained that she had been a carer for four
years to her husband who had suffered from dementia. She told the committee that she was concerned that
any re-evaluation of those needing care should be done over more
than one appointment as dementia sufferers could often make efforts
to appear more well when new people were
In relation to Tangley Hall she felt that it was necessary for the users and carers that this service remained. She referred to the high level of care provided and provided anecdotal evidence for the committee of times when Tangley Hall staff taking an extra interest had avoided problems.
In response to questions Mrs Robertson reported that her husband had travelled from Kew to Tangley without issue but that travelling was not a particular concern for him.
Mr Walker addressed the committee
He explained to the committee that although he was
not a resident of the Borough at present, his mother and father
lived here and his father attended Tangley Hall on 3 days a
week. He said that there had been a
marked improvement in both of his parents health since then. He argued that the 98% capacity of the service
showed its popularity.
He praised the services provided and the freshly cooked meals received by users. He also suggested that the need on this side of the Borough was higher than that on the other side. Ham was running at 58% capacity and to ask users of Tangley to support it by taking unacceptably long journeys was unfair. In addition Ham was not purpose built and when Tangley had closed briefly attendance of Tangley users at Ham was reduced.
He urged the council to think creatively and in the long term about how to care for people with dementia and other needs and there were, he argued lots of people both in the Borough and outside prepared to help financially and with expertise to achieve that end.
In response to questions from the committee Mr Walker asserted that:
- His father had been
reluctant to take help from the local authority despite paying in
to the system all of his life and this was a stigma that should be
- His father had used the services provided at Elleray Hall for a time but as his dementia had become more severe it was not secure enough to cater for him.
- That as a younger member of society he was prepared to pay more in taxes to support the elderly and vulnerable and did not believe he was alone in this Commitment.
Mrs Nixon addressed the committee
She reported that her husband had attended Tangley
Hall for 7 months before his death in June of this
year. She praised the service she and
he received and argued that without it her mental health would have
· Previous to his attendance at Tangley Hall the service she had received had been distressing for them both and although he had attended Whitton for a time this did not provide her with a break as she had to stay with him. It was a huge relief when he was finally referred to Tangley Hall. He had difficulties travelling to Tangley and these would only have been exacerbated by a longer journey to Ham.
Councillor Urquhart responded by thanking those who had spoken for taking the time to attend and give their views and assured them that their comments would be noted and considered.
The Director of Adult and Community Services, Cathy Kerr echoed the comments of the Cabinet Member and assured those present that the consultation was a genuine one and that all proposals were subject to review and consideration in light of the results. However the savings were not negotiable and any alternative proposals would have to address them whilst maintaining the highest levels of service for users and carers possible.
The following answers were received in relation to points raised by speakers:
That the national agenda did focus on individual care and that it
was hoped that the proposals would not jeopardise this type of
care. Users would receive the same
level and type of care but in a different place.
With regard to personal service – it was hoped that many of
the carers who worked at the centres earmarked for closure in the
proposals would move with their clients and that levels of
individual care would be maintained.
That the savings proposed were cautious; for example no savings
were tabled for transport so although there would only be two
centres there would be the same amount of transport
For those who did not want to travel it was hoped that other
services would be provided this side of the Borough, possibly by
voluntary sector organisations
Councillor Urquhart responded to questions regarding the political will behind the proposals. She acknowledged that any political administration must make difficult choices and that these proposals were part of those choices. She also confirmed that she had visited the centres but was unaware if other Cabinet members had done so.
The Committee held a debate during which Brian Castle, Assistant Director of Housing explained the transport element of the budget and that it was considered that it would be cost neutral.
In addition the committee considered
(i) the percentage of the savings the council must make as a total that would fall within the ACS budget, although the monetary value was high it was a relatively low percentage of the total budget. Caution was urged however as there would be more savings required in the future and it had not been decided where these would be made as yet.
(ii) The wider social reasons for low take up of services and the financial pressures on carers in general
(iii) That any changes to the provision of service for individuals under the new eligibility criteria be handled with the greatest care and phased to avoid distress
(iv) That the reablemement agenda would be important to the future of the ACS budget and the care of residents of Richmond in the future.
(v) That some preventative measures had proved not to give value for money in the long term and this would be addressed within the budget proposals
Various other themes were debated from which the following resolutions were agreed
- That the staggering of opening hours
at intensive day centres as a possible alternative to closure be
- That the results of quality
assessments carried out be reported back to the
- That financial information including
details of cost and income for each day centre be provided.
- That the possibility of providing
carers to accompany users who travelled to day centres be
- That whether members of the cabinet
had visited the centres be confirmed
- That the possibility of retaining
Tangley Hall and Ham be investigated
- That an explanation as to why the
attendance figures were provided as an average of the 4 centres and
not individually be provided
- That anecdotal concerns raised at
the meeting be reported via the Director of Adult and Community
Services to the appropriate care teams
- That an independent evaluation of
both Ham and Tangley Hall, by a psycho-geriatrician, be
- That the exploration of options to
prevent the closure of Tangley Hall be continued.
- That the high level of care provided
at all four centres be noted and efforts
continue to be made to see that it be maintained.