Cuts to Westminster’s adult social care weaken the supervision of key contracts and older residents
- Conservative Council cuts are biting again this year with Westminster planning to make half a million pounds in staffing cuts for officers supporting the elderly and vulnerable.
- Labour are concerned that even fewer staff will mean worse services and worse value for money. Along with plans to reduce home care visits, this is another sign that the Conservatives are failing on adult social care.
The axe is falling on the council’s Adult Social Care commissioning team, with the removal of one director post and 13 senior managers (who have the responsibility for finding and managing council contracts), as well ending the use of agency staff in the team. While we welcome the decision to end the use of highly-paid consultants and the use of agency staff for other senior roles, it is hugely worrying for Westminster’s social care that the positions won’t be replaced by full-time officers (who are considerably better value for money).
There is real concern that these cuts will have an impact on services to residents, with less contract monitoring and scrutiny of service providers. The reduction on the commissioning team will impact not only adult social care but also public health teams, including the teams that commission sexual health services and drugs and alcohol services. These are multi-million pound contracts. Endless re-organisation and the requirement for teams to re-apply for the jobs also has a very poor effect on staff morale and further lowers efficiency.
Labour is also concerned about plans that some residents who currently receive 3 home care visits a day will be strongly encouraged to receive only 2, with the middle visit being substituted by a phonecall from family to serve as a ‘check in’ or a reminder to take medication. How safe these substitutions will turn out to be remains to be seen.
Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Cllr Nafsika Butler-Thalassis said:
“Boris Johnson’s flagship Conservative Council appears convinced that adult social care can constantly “do more for less”. They are constantly reducing staff teams, losing really experienced members of staff and cutting provision to the bare bones. We know that already there are vulnerable people in Westminster not receiving the level of care they need, these latest cuts will reduce care even further.
We need a Labour council in Westminster that will fight back against the Conservative Government’s failure to properly fund adult social care.”