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Bid to delay day centre funding tender denied
4:00am Monday 30th September 2013 in News
Day centres and charities supporting vulnerable adults are still unsure of their futures and could face closure.
Community services such as Linden Hall in Hampton and Elleray Hall in Teddington, could lose grant funding after Richmond Council forced them to enter a competitive bidding process.
Richmond’s Liberal Democrats called on the council to suspend the tendering process for scrutiny and to have discussions with charities on how services could be provided on a grant-funded basis.
The Conservatives said the opposition was scaremongering and the Lib Dem motion was turned down at an extraordinary council meeting on Tuesday, September 24 - the day before the deadline for bids.
The council said only one provider would be funded for community independent living services in each of four areas of the borough, threatening some existing groups with closure.
Leader of the opposition Councillor Stephen Knight said there had been no proper needs assessment or audit of services and he described the move as “unprecedented” and “frankly astonishing”.
He said: “There is no guarantee at all that the existing day centres will survive. The reason that there was no guarantee is that what’s very clear from this process is that day centres will close.
“This is not a way to conduct a major change. The reason that this is important is that we will see casualties. We will see day centres in our borough close.
“You forced this to happen at the 11th hour in order to railroad this through.”
Councillor Susan Chappell said: “It smacks of opportunism of the worst kind. To suspend or stop this process now will leave both the voluntary sector organisations and their users in limbo.”
Councillor Jerry Elloy said the tendering process was a mess and was an example of “how not to go about working with the voluntary sector”.
He said: “If you intend to cull the voluntary sector you should have the guts to say so.”
Councillor David Marlow, cabinet member for adult services and housing, said pulling the plug on the process the day before the deadline would be unfair and said the aim was to provide better services.
He said: “We are not setting charity or voluntary groups against one another.
“We have no intention of passing this ridiculous motion which as I have said is quite extraordinary.”
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