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Being Labour, Cotterill on the Council

Tory consultation response: a betrayal of vulnerable adults

02.28.11 | Comment?

At the Corporate Overview & Scrutiny meeting on Thursday 8th March I’ll be calling the Tory Cabinet Member for Housing to account over her approval of an absolutely disgraceful response to her Tory colleagues so-called consultation Making Difficult Decisions about Funding Adult Social Care Services in Lancashire

The consultation closed today, a week after the budget was set.

I’ll be asking the Overview & Scrutiny Committee to seek the formal withdrawal of the Cabinet Member’s consultation response, which is directly AGAINST the needs of vulnerable people in need of social care in West Lancashire, and of which the Cabinet Member should be thoroughly ashamed.

I don’t expect the Tories at the County Council to listen, but this was the response I sent today for the Labour group:

I am writing on behalf of the Labour group to set out our response to your Making Difficult Decisions about Funding Adult Social Care Services in Lancashire consultation exercise.

1) The terms in which the consultation exercise are set are not acceptable. The whole exercise is predicated on the assumption that if adult social care funding is not cut then something else must be cut. This is not true. Both at a national and local government level, the decision to cut spending is a political decision, and not one of necessity.

2) To seek to skew the consultation by setting out a biased rationale for the consultation is not legitimate. What the County Council should be doing is reviewing need, deciding what resources are needed to meet it, and setting out the case to government for how that resource need should be met. In the period that such discussions between the centre and the local ate taking place to ensure reasonable funding from government to meet needs, reserves should be used as appropriate to current the funding gap caused by the reckless grant settlement imposed upon Lancashire County Council.

This consultation finishes after the budget has been set. This is patently injurious to the fair conduct of the consultation process, since it is clear that valid arguments for additional resourcing will either be discounted or mean the underresourcing of other areas in the Council. This is something that puts consultees in an invidious position, and is unacceptable.

Given this, our view is that the consultation should be re-run with a properly developed methdology, and the results used to guide proper needs-based resourcing, with the Council adjusting its budget for these services accordingly, but without taking money from other services. This, as noted, will require use of reserves in the short term, pending a more reasonable settlement from government.

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