The Monitoring Officer submits a report informing the Commission that the Executive Decision taken by the Deputy City Mayor - Social Care, Health and Community Safety on 3 July 2023, relating to ending the service at Hastings Road Day Centre and instruct Adult Social Care to start working with families to undertake reviews, identify suitable alternative arrangements, and support the safe transition of people into those arrangements, has been the subject of a five-member call-in under the procedures at Rule 12 of Part 4D (City Mayor and Executive Procedure Rules) of the Council’s Constitution.
The Commission is recommended to either:
a) Note the report without further comment or recommendation. (If the report is noted the process continues and the call in will be considered at Council on 28 September 2023); or
b) Comment on the specific issues raised by the call-in. (If comments are made the process continues and the comments and call in will be considered at Council on 28 September 2023); or
c) Resolve that the call-in be withdrawn (If the committee wish for there to be no further action on the call-in, then they must actively withdraw it. If withdrawal is agreed the call-in process stops, the call-in will not be considered at Council on 28 September 2023 and the original decision takes immediate affect without amendment).
The Monitoring Officer submitted a report informing the Commission that the Executive Decision taken by the Deputy City Mayor - Social Care, Health and Community Safety on 3 July 2023, relating to ending the service at Hastings Road Day Centre and instructed Adult Social Care to start working with families to undertake reviews, identify suitable alternative arrangements, and support the safe transition of people into those arrangements, had been the subject of a five-member call-in under the procedures at Rule 12 of Part 4D (City Mayor and Executive Procedure Rules) of the Council’s Constitution.
The Commission was recommended to either:
a) Note the report
without further comment or recommendation. (If the report is
noted the process continues and the call in will be considered at
Council on 28 September 2023); or
b) Comment on the
specific issues raised by the call-in. (If comments are made the
process continues and the comments and call in will be considered
at Council on 28 September 2023); or
c) Resolve that the call-in be withdrawn (If the committee wish for there to be no further action on the call-in, then they must actively withdraw it. If withdrawal is agreed the call-in process stops, the call-in will not be considered at Council on 28 September 2023
The Chair invited the proposer of the call-in, Councillor Modhwadia, and the seconder, Councillor Kitterick, to the table and allotted them five minutes to make their case. The proposer and seconder raised the following points:
· That the decision was financially harmful to the Council as it may place the Council in a difficult position in relation to the private sector, which could see any agreed contract prices increasing year on year, in attempting to provide alternative services for the 19 service users at the Hastings Road Day Centre. It was suggested that an internal contract within the department would be a financially better solution.
· That the impact of the decision on the already strained workforce may send staff of the Hastings Road Day Centre into redundancy.
· That the impact on the 19 users and their families following the termination of services may limit opportunities for care going forward.
· The proposer noted contact with families and local residents as the ward councillor in which the centre was based, and that closure of the centre would be akin to taking away a loved home for the current 19 users.
· The proposer raised that the seven years without a referral had not been through want of trying as residents had been turned away from the facility during attempts to gain access to the centre’s services.
· That the council consider alternative options such as dividing the space and providing usage of vacant parts of the building for other opportunities.
· That the call-in be allowed to progress and that the Hastings Road Day Centre and its services be retained.
The Chair invited Deputy City Mayor for Social Care, Health and Community Safety, Councillor Russell, to make their case. The following points were raised:
· That the decision to close the centre had been a long, difficult process.
· That officers and Councillor Russell had met with the families using the services at the Hastings Road Day Centre a number of times throughout the process and while it was understandable that they wished for the centre to stay open, it wasn’t feasible.
· The referral process was conducted by Adult Social Care, with support from NHS partners, alongside the families seeking care services to ensure that they received the right type of care for their loved ones.
· The 10am – 4pm ‘school hours’ model of opening times provided by the day centre proved to be less attractive to families seeking care arrangements as most families sought longer care times. Many families using the day centre’s services also noted receiving other forms of care outside of the provided time period.
· Additional funding had been sought for more staff to assist families and their loved ones during the difficult transition period, in which support would continue to be provided until users of the day centre are settled and happy in a new care facility.
· Councillor Russell thanked the staff and families of the centre and recognised the difficulties they had been facing during the decision-making process.
· It was emphasised that the 19 users of the day centre would use the services at different times and days according to their needs and would not all be at the centre at the same time.
· It was noted that any decision regarding the future of the Day Centre building was separate to the decision made regarding the closure of services and review of the impact on families and their loved ones, however the building was being reviewed to see if it could be used to help those with learning disabilities in an alternative manner.
· It was noted that the day centre service did not meet the increasing needs of those on the Autism spectrum, which restricted the number of referrals coming through for those requiring specialist care services.
Strategic Director for Social Care and Education, Martin Samuels, Director for Adult Social Care and Commissioning, Kate Galoppi, were invited to speak on the matter and the following points were raised:
· It was noted that families, when given the option, had chosen other care services and facilities, which had led to significant financial difficulties for the council, as the total level of costs for the Hastings Road Day Centre was broadly the same regardless of the number of people accessing the service.
· The numbers of people using the centre was noted to be 65 in 2010, however a drastic decline followed 2016 resulting in the current 19 users as opposed to the optimum of 30 at any one time.
· Discussions had been held with key stakeholders and it was noted that a market for day care services existed, and that the cost to continue running Hastings Road Day Centre was double what could be accessed externally.
· Resources would be allocated to provide support, such as a point of contact to work with families to assist meeting their needs during the transition period. An assessment will be offered to carers to assess carers needs and provide additional support.
· Human Resources would be involved in the re-allocation and re-deployment of existing staff.
Members of the Commission discussed the report and questioned both the Deputy City Mayor and Directors, which highlighted the following points:
· Work was being conducted alongside other organisations to recognise those in need of specific support that Hastings Road Day Centre had not been able to support. It was not appropriate to seek to offer a single standard provision, as each individual and family required tailored support towards their specific needs.
· Research had been conducted initiating contact with families seeking care to understand reasons why they had chosen an alternative provider rather than the day centre.
· Following concerns about the decision being based on a monetary basis it was noted that due to Government cuts, large savings were required to be made across the full range of the Council’s services to ensure all facilities and provisions of service across the Council were treated equally. It was noted that Leicester City supported a variety of needs and was important to ensure that taxpayer money was used fairly across the board to meet those complex needs.
· During the years the Day Centre had not receive new referrals, it was noted that a number of other day centres across the city had also closed and that new opportunities had opened up in a variety of ways, which included personal support workers and day trips and activities. In addition, a number of people drawing upon care and support at the time had passed away or moved into a residential setting.
· Members queried why focus wasn’t placed on improving the facilities and provision of support instead of closure of the service. It was noted that people drawing on the service mainly lived in their family homes and day services could not be used solely as a respite. Specialist staffing in a residential setting was seen as a more attractive option, especially for younger populations, as it met the needs of both the cared for and the family involved.
· It was noted that opening up the building to other uses alongside the current service would be unfair to the current attendees and that the current focus needed to be placed on the people already accessing the service and their families before considering wider options for the building’s use.
· The need for more provision and recognition of neurodiverse people’s needs was increasing, which the Council service needed to reflect.
· Members highlighted the need to balance the legal, financial and moral implications of a decision. It was noted that due to government requirements, legally and financially, the Council didn’t have much of a choice. Moral implications complicated the decision as it was important to analyse where best to concentrate limited funds on strained services.
· The importance of making a decision was noted due to the lengthy amount of time the decision had been hanging over families’ heads.
· The Project Search approach, operated by Ellesmere College with support from the Council, was raised due to the successful impact it had on developing workforce with learning disabilities.
· It was noted that the HR process would not be commencing until a decision had been reached. A number of staff were noted to have a learning disability, which required additional support and prioritisation in the re-deployment process. It was further noted that Adult Social Care had received grant funding to help neurologically impacted individuals and ensure that individuals receive the help and support to obtain and retain employment in a learning disability friendly working environment.
· It was noted that while there was no guarantee for redeployment, the Council would be providing as much support to re-deploy members of staff affected by the closure of the service. Staff members had in-demand experience and skills which may be sought out by external sectors.
The Chair allowed the proposer and seconder to summarise their final points, and the following points were noted:
· It was raised that knowledge had been obtained regarding families applying to the Day Centre for their loved ones, who were rejected and told that they were not taking new referrals.
· It was noted that the people accessing the service had formed close bonds with each other, despite the limitations on their speech abilities.
· The activities provided at Hastings Road may not be provided to people accessing other services.
· It was noted that Hastings Road Day Centre was the last day centre held by Leicester City Council.
· Concerns were raised that the Council did not reflect the situation outside and the probability of not receiving a single referral for seven years.
· It was noted that caring required a patchwork of provision and the closure of the Day Centre would take away an option for families and carers.
Deputy City Mayor, Councillor Russell clarified that the Hastings Road Day Centre was not CQC registered. As this sort of service did not require such registration.
The Chair asked if the proposer and seconder wished to withdraw the call-in. It was noted that the proposer and seconder wished for the call-in to proceed.
The Chair moved that, following the points raised during the meeting, the call-in be withdrawn. This was seconded by Councillor Surti and upon being put to the vote the motion was CARRIED.
That the call-in be withdrawn.
Councillor Kitterick and Modhwadia thanked the Members of the Commission and retired from the meeting.