Cabinet vote unanimously to scrap Local Area Coordinators

Despite huge opposition from service users and their families, as well as those who’ll be expected to take over the care of the 600 people who rely on Local Area Coordinators, the Cabinet voted unanimously to scrap the service.

clare mosdell - lac video tom stroud

As reported in OnTheWight’s live coverage, residents walked out of a public meeting last night (Thursday) after the decision was made to axe an Isle of Wight community service used by 600 people.

More than 45 people attended the meeting, where the Isle of Wight Council cabinet voted unanimously to axe the Local Area Coordinator (LAC) service. The LACs support people in the community and aim to prevent the need for further adult social care intervention.

Call for deferment
Residents questioned cabinet members, with many asking the decision be put on hold until further consultation.

Clare Griffin, from Freshwater, said:

“Why has there been no public consultation on the proposal?”

Cost versus savings
A consultation by Southampton Solent University revealed for every pound spent on the LAC service, the council saves £4.30.

Speaking after the decision, Cllr Gill Kennett, chair of Freshwater Parish Council, said:

“It’s not cashable savings, I know, but if you could see what they do in our local community, I can’t think how anybody would want to get rid of this service.”

Mosdell: Budget cannot sustain cost
However, Cllr Clare Mosdell, cabinet member for adult social care, said the study was only based on 21 people.

She said the public health budget could not sustain the cost of the service — at just over half a million pounds each year.

Cllr Mosdell said she acknowledged the comments made by the scrutiny committee — which recommended the decision be delayed for a year — but added:

“We are not in a position to delay this for a year as the problem we have is immediate, and I cannot and will not have clinically unsafe services for the Island population.”

Savings go to other services
The money saved from the cuts would be put into other services, including sexual health and the drug and alcohol service, she said.

Scrutiny also questioned whether the licence could be tweaked, to make it more flexible to the Island.

Responding, Cllr Mosdell said:

“The comments we can tweak the licence have only been reported to the press, and have made me seriously question what benefit do we get from paying that licensing and being part of that network?”

Community builders will be put into Ryde and Freshwater, and an expansion of the council’s Living Well scheme, will replace the LAC service.

Speaking after the meeting, the chief executive of Aspire Ryde, Heath Monoghan, said:

“We will see a rise in deaths following this decision.”

Revised recommendations
The revised recommendations in full read:

a) To cease funding the Local Area Coordination Service in whole by 31st March 2019

b) Local Area Coordination Service will review all active cases to ensure safe transition to other services, information or signposting services or self-care as appropriate by this date.

c) No new cases to be accepted by the Local Area Coordination Service from the date of this decision.

d) To support provision for a transition fund whereby the voluntary and community sector can be supported to expand their current offer via the Living Well Service.

e) A task and finish group, overseen by the cabinet member, be tasked to review the work of LAC and other similar programmes and make recommendations to the Local Care Board about how future investment in programmes to prevent demand and develop community resilience is effectively used.


This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some additions by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: © Tom Stroud

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11 Comments on "Cabinet vote unanimously to scrap Local Area Coordinators"

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Colin

This is the council that has just committed £400,000 per year on new management posts which they say might possibly save money eventually. This is the council that have cut the LAC service costing £400,000 per year that has been shown to save money. This is the don’t care Conservative council.

Shame on you all.

profoundlife

LAC cost reported as £400k. Floating bridge overspend reported as £3.2m. I know which one I’d choose for the next 8 years.

jess
It’s the Tourist Information Service from Pugh’s era once again – changes to important and valued services at short notice. Why can’t there be some forward planning, the same as a commercial business would need to do? If this announcement had come with 12 months extra lead time then it would be easier for the third sector to pick up the slack. I really do wonder what… Read more »
Jim Moody
On Monday, Ryde Town Council voted overwhelmingly against scrapping Local Area Coordinators. Of the two bodies – IWC Cabinet and RTC – it’s RTC that represents what’s of benefit to the people of Ryde and the Isle of Wight as a whole. Will other councils around the Island take a similar view to RTC’s? There certainly needs to be a groundswell of public opinion against yet another… Read more »
davimel

You could almost hear those little voices saying ‘who cares, its just another bunch of sick people,, they get enough help,, and we will just tell them they will be better off and they will believe us because we are all powerful.. and they aint’ which has most definitely become the Tory Mantra!

holdmyheadinmyhands

Do residents realise that our public health is actually run by Hampshire ? Hampshire don’t believe in the LACs so that’s why funding was not forthcoming this time ! They don’t have the service themselves which means they don’t want it for us even though all evidence says how beneficially it was to our island and how well it worked ….. disgraceful

chartman

I’ll make a small correction to your comment… As I found out recently, I had an elderly Uncle living in assisted accommodation in Hampshire (mainland). When it comes to finding a care home, mainland Hampshire and IOW are two different entities and the two shall never talk or meet.It might as well have been in two different countries….

ashtree

“Community Builders will be put into Ryde and Freshwater “ What is a Community Builder and how does it differ from a LAC? Does anyone know?

Geoff Brodie
There is a ‘community builder’ currently operating in the Pan and Barton areas of my Newport East ward, funded by Public Health for 3 years I would have great doubts about that sort of post addressing the needs of vulnerable residents in the same way that our superb LAC has. The community builder is a post that I see as entirely different, focused on building community resilience… Read more »
holdmyheadinmyhands

They haven’t talked to the one in Ryde

Geoff Brodie

I don’t believe there is a community builder in Ryde yet.