NO ONE LEFT BEHIND
A REAL CHOICE FOR EVERYONE
On Wednesday night 250 people with learning disabilities, their supporters and carers protested outside Edinburgh's Annual Social Work lecture. They were demanding to be able to choose the services and service providers that they wanted. Edinburgh Council had put their support services up for sale in a competitive tender process and almost all of 800 service users were being forced to change. In an effort to take more control individuals had applied for a direct Payment to make their own choice rather than trust the council's decision making process. However the council then suspended Direct Payment applications to prevent people having that choice.
The demonstration showed the strength of feeling and almost everyone attending the lecture showed their support. Even the main speaker sent a message of support!
Dir: /home/ldascotl/public_html/images/quick inesistente
At the meeting Peter Gabbitas, Edinburgh Director of Social Work announced that the council had got it wrong. He apologised for the hurt they had caused and said that they had badly underestimated the concern of service users and carers. Direct Payments for the 87 people with applications in the pipeline would be processed and the transfer of contracts to new providers delayed until this was done.
However.... it looks like they may be trying to deny people a meaningful choice. Plans to cut the level of Direct Payments to below what could buy the service that people want are being brought forward. Cutting a Direct Payment without making sure people can still get the service they need is illegal. The local authority must ensure any new rate is reasonable based on negotiation and not dogma.
And many more people who now realise what is happening to them want to stay with their existing provider either through having a Direct Payment or just in the same way they always have are being forced to move.
That why no one should be forced to move if they don't want to and why there should be no cut in Direct Payments so the choice that people get is a real one. That's why we still be at the Council meeting 19th November at 9.30 at the City Chambers making our points.