Law Centre say IWC’s response over funding cuts is ‘meaningless’

The row over a funding cut to the Isle of Wight Law Centre carries on with the IWC saying they can bid for new contracts. The Law Centre respond.

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The Law Centre have disputed a statement from the Isle of Wight council – over the loss of their core funding – as meaningless.

As reported by OnTheWight yesterday, the Isle of Wight council will cease core funding for the Law Centre from June 2019.

The Law Centre say it will result in a loss of 12 jobs and could end up costing the Isle of Wight council between £1.5-£1.9m per annum.

IWC: Necessary to recommission AIG agreements
In response to yesterday’s report, the Isle of Wight council issued a statement this afternoon that read:

“Legally, the Isle of Wight Council has an obligation it must comply with when buying goods and services.

“Part of this legal obligation is to ensure that contract opportunities are advertised.

“The existing agreements for information, advice and guidance, including those with the Law Centre, will expire and it is necessary to ensure these are recommissioned so that valuable services for the Island can continue to be delivered.

“The procurement process is open and transparent and the Law Centre can bid for the contract, either alone or in partnership with other voluntary organisations, should it wish to continue to deliver these services.

“The current actions are not about stopping the support available but instead looking at better ways of delivering them and aligning them across the board.”

Law Centre: IWC’s “proposed intention is meaningless”
However, this has been slammed by the Law Centre who say,

“All the Isle of Wight Law Centre has received is notice terminating our core funding in June 2019, and that’s it.

“The Isle of Wight Council is now saying it intends to re-commission Advice, Information, & Guidance (AIG) services, but as the Law Centre doesn’t deliver AIG services, that proposed intention is meaningless.

“We’re not aware that any appropriate tenders have been published by the IOW Council?”

IWC: Law Centre can bid for the work
OnTheWight asked the IWC whether based on the services the Law Centre currently provides, would they be qualified to bid for providing AIG services?

The reply was:

“Yes, like anyone else who can meet the specification that’s required.”

The Council say the tenders are due to be published in the next week.

Petitions to save the Law Centre
There are two online petitions running to save the core funding for the Law Centre.

The first petition is from Island Labour and reads:

The Isle of Wight Law Center provides invaluable help to islanders at their most vulnerable, helping them navigate often complex systems and access legal advice. The services it provides are sadly more necessary than ever following years of austerity, cuts to all core local services and national cuts to legal aid funding.

The Law Centre demonstrably saves Island tax payers millions each year, and provides help to islanders who find themselves in desperate situations and with nowhere else to turn.

The Law Centre estimate their interventions last year (2017) saved the Isle of Wight council between £1.5 to £1.9 million. It receives just £70,000 core funding.The Law Centre successfully prevents evictions, at a time when homelessness is increasing at alarming rates.

You can read more about how the Law Centre helps locals, and why it is under threat, at On The Wight, here: https://onthewight.com/saving-of-70000-per-annum-could-cost-isle-of-wight-council-between-1-5-2m-say-law-centre/

At a time when Islanders are suffering the effects of an NHS crisis, a mental health care and social care crisis, a housing crisis, and poverty is at record highs, it is unthinkable that the Isle of Wight Council could consider cutting core funding to the Law Centre.

We cannot lose this service. We cannot afford not to fund this service.

Sign this petition to demand the Isle of Wight Council vote against ANY proposed cuts to funding for The Law Centre.

Write to your councillor and express your concerns by going here and entering your postcode: https://www.writetothem.com/

The second petition is by Sarah Price and can be found on the Change.org Website. It reads:

Save the Isle of Wight Law Centre’s Funding

The IOW Council strike again and cut the Law Centre’s £70,000 core funding to save money??

Cutting the funding from the one place on the IOW who help the most vulnerable people on this Island..They deal with mass housing issues including eviction, rent arrears, debts, attending Court with you to stop you losing your home!

It’s disgusting that the Council feel this is a service the IOW do not need.

12 staff will be redundant on 30th June 2019 and the IOW will be in chaos!!

Image: graficmedia under CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, 5th December, 2018 3:18pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2lW9

Filed under: Budget Cuts, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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