Choice in Day Activities
Campaign Archive – Day Centres Campaign, Glasgow
Council staff hide problems with Day Centre closures
There has been a failure by Glasgow City Council to take Due Regard of its Equality Duties in relation to the decision to close 3 Day Centres for Adults with Learning Disabilities in Glasgow. Previous work by city council staff identified at least 14 reasons why day centres would be a problem for people with learning disabilities. But this information was not provided to councillors before they made the closure decision, it seems there has been a deliberate attempt to bury these negative impacts that senior council staff were aware of.
14 Reasons Why Even Glasgow Council Says It’s Wrong To Close Day Centres
- Service users with a milder learning disability may be pushed out of all services.
- Many community facilities do not have the resources to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities.
- People with complex needs will have less opportunity for social interaction.
- People with learning disabilities will face prejudice and stigma when they go out to access community-based facilities.
- Black and Minority Ethnic service users will face low staff morale, transport, communication and language barriers including prejudice and stigma.
- Older BME carers may not ask for help or access social work services.
- Service users may not get the right gender of staff to give personal care.
- Service users may lose networks of support and their friendships leaving them feeling isolated, vulnerable and discriminated against, especially women from a BME background.
- The sexual orientation of people with learning disabilities may not be recognised.
- Older people may be left behind in increasingly under-used day services.
- A lack of appropriate cultural awareness training could prevent BME service users and carers from having their specific religious and cultural needs met.
- There may be increased costs to service users and carers for subsistence and excursions, preventing them from having enough money to meet real needs.
- If service users and carers face additional costs, they may find it difficult to manage their finances and may be forced to give up control of them.
- New issues about safety of service users in the community with unsupervised staff may emerge.
The reasons published above were produced by Glasgow City Council staff and buried inside an Equality Impact Assessment published on 17th April 2013. This document was not presented to Councillors before they made their decision to close 3 Day Centres for People with Learning Disabilities in breach of the Council’s Equality Duties. Council staff are meant to provide information to councillors on what might happen to people from minority groups if a policy is passed. Vital information was withheld about Glasgow’s Day Centres which could have resulted in the centres being kept open.
Campaign Archive – Day Centres Campaign, Glasgow
Proposal for a 2 year moratorium on the day centre closure proposals
At the meeting on Wednesday July 3, the call for a moratorium was passed unanimously by over 200 family carers and service users campaigning to keep their Day Centres open
Since November 2012 the consultation methods applied to the closure of the three day centres has created a hostile relationship between the 520 families who depend on day centres and Glasgow City Council. For the past 7 months day centre families have unanimously & strongly opposed the Council’s closure plans. The response from elected members is to carry on regardless with little attention being paid to the concerns of elderly carers, ethnic minority service users or those who care for a profoundly disabled family member.
In particular, many elderly carers are reaching crisis point the closer we come to actual closure dates. Families that include a profoundly disabled day centre user fear the return to a regime that removes their loved one from the community environment they currently experience in day centre settings and places them in a situation that can only be described as social segregation.
This is a briefing paper that sets out the reasons for the reasonable request from day centre carers for a 2 year moratorium on the current closure plans
The Public Social Partnership (PSP) as set out in the memorandum of understanding produced by Enable Scotland is not a true partnership model as carers hardly merit a mention throughout the 30 page document. It is more accurately described as an agreement between service providers – no more than that.
A new PSP needs to change direction and space needs to be found within a 2 year period for a working group that includes not only day centre users and carers but also academic experts working in the fields of social work and disability. The participation of Mrs. Alexis Jay, as independent convener in a progressive partnership, can provide the impetus for fresh thinking and a positive approach to a range of new ideas – including those put forward from the families directly affected by the current proposals.
In order to create a constructive way forward from the impasse of the current situation we find ourselves in there needs to be fresh thinking applied with new ideas, vision, aspiration and a firm commitment from all appropriate parties to improve the life chances of the learning disability community in Glasgow.
This requires a partnership that has inclusion and equality as core components – that type of relationship is currently unavailable to the city’s learning disability community.
That is why the 520 families affected by the closure plans are calling for Glasgow City Council to agree a 2 year moratorium on the closure decision to include day centres as an option for consideration regarding the future of day service provision in Glasgow. In the first instance this requires the political decision that demonstrates strong and caring local government that genuinely listens to the people. There are a number of obvious benefits from the model suggested by carers:
- More intelligent thinking around the day centre estate – consider why the buildings are not open to local communities in the evenings and at weekends – this is an opportunity to maximize community involvement.
- In-depth consideration of a Carers Trust that embraces an extended partnership model and includes Glasgow City Council as lead partner with day centre users, carers, health, education, social work and DWP (employability) working together – requires a properly resourced feasibility study – and the political will to succeed .
- An innovative attitude to day centre development should include a more open environment. Where appropriate, for example, open/re-open community cafes to increase local inclusion and provide work experience for the learning disability community.
- As above, where appropriate, re-introduce horticulture, arts & crafts, music and other options to seriously take on board the views and aspirations of day centre users.
- Encourage the participation of expert organisations including Learning Disability Alliance Scotland (LDAS), PAMIS (profoundly disabled), Down’s Syndrome Scotland (DSS) and others in an advisory capacity moving forwards.
- Develop a strategy for day centre users and carers to have easy access to financial advice & support to address the impact of welfare reform that many families will experience.
In order to produce an improved day care service for the learning disability community in Glasgow it requires a 2 year moratorium to engage a short-life working group to scope and develop potential outcomes emanating from a fresh approach to partnership working in Glasgow. This would include examination of the feasibility of a Carers Trust and forensic accounting of the economic elements of any proposed changes.
A working group under the leadership of Mrs. Alexis Jay to bring about positive change should include, Glasgow City Council, service users, carers, and day centre staff, third sector partners, Carers Champion, LDAS and expert academic advisers working in the fields of social work and disability. This steering group could report to a broader advisory body within an agreed time frame and fully utilise the benefits accrued from a 2 year moratorium on the current closure plans.
- Cathy Paterson
- Evelyn Maciver
- Tommy Gorman