East Sussex County Council will slash £9.6m from the adult social care budget next year, among other things it means the closure of the Isabel Blackman Centre in Hastings old town.
The County Council carried out a ‘consultation process’ and even though they received objections from 10,000 people cuts and closures are still going ahead.
In the next few weeks Hastings In Focus is going to be taking a closer look at what cuts in local authority spending means in terms of service provision to the people in the borough of Hastings and to the people of East Sussex, veteran Hastings councillor Godfrey Daniel said recently of East Sussex County Council that it was cutting everything, “except the grass.”
And we’ll be asking what is the point of a consultation process if the council has already made up its mind anyway?
In the meantime leader of East Sussex County Council Keith Glazier wrote this open letter to the people of East Sussex after the decision earlier this week to make those multi-million pound cuts to the adult social care budget.
Here’s what he has to say: “This week we made some decisions on the Adult Social Care savings proposals at the Cabinet meeting of East Sussex County Council. I want to stress that these have not been easy decisions.
“There is a national crisis in social care funding, and when the Council agreed its budget for this financial year (2018/19) at its meeting on February 6th this included a reduction for Adult Social Care and Health of nearly £10m. We are lobbying hard to get this problem addressed by Government, alongside other councils and all our partners involved in social care.
“The scale of response to the public consultation showed how important these services are to the people who need them. We received more than 6,000 individual responses from people who use services, their families and carers, organisations who provider services, our partners, MPs, and concerned members of the public.
“It’s also shown how much people understand the climate we’re working in, and the challenging financial situation we face.
“The public consultation has been an opportunity for our officers to work really closely with partners – statutory ones such as the NHS, Fire Service and Police, as well as independent, voluntary and community care providers, and the community to see how we could best work together to make these savings in a way that minimises the impact on vulnerable people. Thank you, to all those that took the time to respond.
“Today, we were able to use the one-off government funding to help soften the impact of some of the savings proposals. The £1.6m – which equates to roughly one per cent of our spend on Adult Social Care – will be used across a number of community and accommodation-based services which help people in crisis to live more independently.
“We were also able to make some decisions to consolidate services at Milton Grange, ensuring that the same level of service exists for those people who need intermediate care. However, that decision also means that our social care services at Firwood House and Warwick House will cease. As a result of the decisions we’ve taken today, many services will also see reductions in their funding, and we acknowledge that there are really challenging times ahead.
“Many people will be worried about their future care and support. I want to reassure people who use these services, their families and carers, that nothing will change without a review and a discussion about personal circumstances. In many cases nothing will happen until April 2019.
“Now that the decisions have been made, the hard and difficult work of bringing about these changes will start. Our staff will be working with clients, carers and service providers over the coming weeks and months, to support them.
“If you’re worried about what this will mean for you or someone you care about, please speak directly to your service provider or contact Health and Social Care Connect on 0345 60 80 191.”