In an interesting new development Glasgow Carers have put forward a proposal for a 2 year moratorium on day centre closures.
Since November 2012 the consultation methods applied to the closure of the three day centres has created a hostile relationship between the 520 families who depend on day centres and Glasgow City Council. For the past 7 months day centre families have unanimously & strongly opposed the Council's closure plans. The response from elected members is to carry on regardless with little attention being paid to the concerns of elderly carers, ethnic minority service users or those who care for a profoundly disabled family member. In particular, many elderly carers are reaching crisis point the closer we come to actual closure dates. Families that include a profoundly disabled day centre user fear the return to a regime that removes their loved one from the community environment they currently experience in day centre settings and places them in a situation that can only be described as social segregation. This is a briefing paper that sets out the reasons for the reasonable request from day centre carers for a 2 year moratorium on the current closure plans
The Public Social Partnership (PSP) as set out in the memorandum of understanding produced by Enable Scotland is not a true partnership model as carers hardly merit a mention throughout the 30 page document. It is more accurately described as an agreement between service providers - no more than that.
A new PSP needs to change direction and space needs to be found within a 2 year period for a working group that includes day centre users, carers, and academic experts working in the fields of social work and disability.
In order to create a constructive way forward from the impasse of the current situation we find ourselves in there needs to be fresh thinking applied with new ideas, vision, aspiration and a firm commitment from all appropriate parties to improve the life chances of the learning disability community in Glasgow.
This requires a partnership that has inclusion and equality as core components - that type of relationship is currently unavailable to the city's learning disability community.
That is why the 520 families affected by the closure plans are calling for Glasgow City Council to agree a 2 year moratorium on the closure decision to include day centres as an option for consideration regarding the future of day service provision in Glasgow. In the first instance this requires the political decision that demonstrates strong and caring local government that genuinely listens to the people. There are a number of obvious benefits from the model suggested by carers:
1.More intelligent thinking around the day centre estate - consider why the buildings are not open to local communities in the evenings and at weekends - this is an opportunity to maximize community involvement.
2.In-depth consideration of a Carers Trust that embraces an extended partnership model and includes Glasgow City Council as lead partner with day centre users, carers, health, education, social work and DWP (employability) working together – requires a properly resourced feasibility study – and the will to succeed .
3.An innovative attitude to day centre development should include a more open environment. Where appropriate, for example, open/re-open community cafes to increase local inclusion and provide work experience for day centre users.
4.As above, where appropriate, re-introduce horticulture, arts & crafts, music and other options to seriously take on board the views and aspirations of day centre users.
5.Encourage the participation of expert organisations including Learning Disability Alliance Scotland (LDAS), PAMIS (profoundly disabled), Down’s syndrome Scotland (DSS) and others in an advisory capacity moving forwards.
6.Develop a strategy for day centre users and carers to have easy access to financial advice & support to address the impact of welfare reform that many families will experience.
In order to produce an improved day care service for the learning disability community in Glasgow it requires a 2 year moratorium to engage a short-life working group to scope and develop potential outcomes emanating from a fresh approach to partnership working in Glasgow. This would include examination of the feasibility of a Carers Trust and forensic accounting of the economic elements of any proposed changes.
A working group to bring about positive change should include, Glasgow City Council, service users, carers, and day centre staff, third sector partners, LDAS and expert academic advisers. This steering group could report to a broader advisory body within an agreed timeframe and fully utilize the benefits accrued from a 2 year moratorium on the current closure plans.