Union leaders attack Norfolk County Council over cuts

Union leaders have criticised Norfolk County Council bosses after the value of a care contract was cut. Union leaders have criticised Norfolk County Council bosses after the value of a care contract was cut.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
6:00 AM

Union leaders have claimed vulnerable people will suffer because Norfolk County Council has cut the value of a contract which provides specialist health services for those with learning disabilities.

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And leaders at UNISON say staff who work for the Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust are facing pay cuts and redundancies because of the council’s actions.

However, bosses at Norfolk County Council hit back, saying government cuts left the authority with no choice but to pare back budgets and reduce the funding for the specialist community learning disabilities health service.

Jeff Keighley, regional organiser for UNISON accused the county council of taking away dedicated money for specialist services.

He said: “They have placed the existing health provider in the position of making cost saving of £960,000 to cover the loss. This has lead to the NHS trust planning pay cuts and redundancies.

“They have had to downskill the workforce’s job descriptions to reduce their pay. It will not be the same service and vulnerable people will suffer.”

He said the unions had invited commissioners Stephen Rogers and Clive Rennie to discuss the issue at a meeting last week, but they declined to attend.

But Harold Bodmer, director of adult social services at Norfolk County Council, said the budget was not ring fenced and, in tough times, the service could not be exempt from scrutiny.

He said: “Faced with a £91m cut in government grant and a rising demand for services, the county council has had no choice but to examine all budget areas in order to plug a predicted £189m funding gap.

“A public consultation called Putting People First on options for budget reductions was held in late 2013 which examined various ways in which the council could prioritise services and save money in the light of its own budget reductions.

“In February, the council confirmed the decision that funding for the Specialist Community Learning Disabilities Health Service would reduce by £960,000 per annum.

“This is a 14pc reduction of the Learning Difficulties specialist health-commissioned services. The remaining budget is around £3.84m.”

He said the council and the health and care trust had agreed an updated service specification. That changes the current arrangement where people with a learning disability will get home visits from health staff, whether or not they can use mainstream services.

He added: “Both the county council and Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust are fully committed to providing a safe, high quality service which is sustainable within the funding available.”

Mark Easton, interim chief executive at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, said: “In light of the reduced funding now available, we remain fully committed to providing a safe, high quality service, which is sustainable and delivers the best possible care.

“An extended staff consultation is currently underway to ensure we are able to fully gather their views and we continue to work with our staff and unions to do all we can to find the best solution for local clients.”

• Do you have a story about a local council? Call public affairs correspondent Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

11 comments

  • actually they are very well qualified to run an "UNSUCCESSFUL" whelk stall as you put it. It is a successful one that would trouble them

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    alexis55

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • Unfortunately, just another example of councillors and officials trying to cover up their past mistakes and total unswerving allegiance to empire-building, just like the unions actually. Who pays.....Joe Public naturally, however you people who voted them in must share the burden of responsibility

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    alexis55

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • Let's be honest here. Neither the officers or the councillors could run an unsuccessful whelk stall even if they tried very hard. They need to stop forming companies and lavishing them with our money. Public funds are there to ensure that the public are looked after. I don't really benefit from the Council dipping its hand into my pocket at regular intervals apart from driving on some really shoddy roads. But I don't object to paying into the pot for the greater good. But £3.5 million into some silly energy company? I want my money back. And Canary Boy, that stupid and boring rag that drops through the door? What a complete waste of money.

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    alecto

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • All unions are worried about is there members and the subs they pay, they really should keep there snouts out of day to day runnings. If NCC were to grow a back bone and reduce staff they would save a fortune, several borough councils have done so and are doing well so why can't NCC do the same?

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    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • Canary Boy, the information that you have helpfully posted causes me to want to submit questions generally about the funding of Norfolk Energy Futures Ltd to the relevant NCC Committees when they next meet. However, I think that I read that the constitutional right that members of the public previously had to submit such questions has now been stripped away.

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    Nemesis

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

  • And another total waste of public money has just hit my doormat Your Norfolk! Why oh why are NCC still paying much needed funds to Archant to self promote themselves. All council meetings and the website tell us that the authority are moving towards a paperless system. The bbc and edp communicate or publish all positive promotional PR virtually on a daily basis for them do why throw money at this useless paper which mostly is immediately put into the recycle bin. Save our money to use on education, care, roads, staff while reducing municipal waste and inappropriate use of public funds.

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    Canary Boy

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Thanks Canary boy for your sleuthing, so these 3.5 million so dearl;y needed in children services and mental health provisions are being lavished on inhouse pals. GNobbs is clearly putting his kind of people first.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • Hah, sorry in my previous post I forgot to mention the Directors of Norfolk Energy Futures Ltd. The companies house reports show Mark Allen, hence my focus on his name and the incinerator debarcle, Harvey Bullen (that will set HJ off) and Philip Thomas Bennett-Lloyd, who I have no knowledge of.

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    Canary Boy

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • For those who are unaware. Norfolk Energy Futures is a private ltd company set up by NCC on 22.11.2011. NCC are named the parent company and hold 100% of the shareholding. The current company stats published on companies house show that NEF ltd has assets of £70,431., Liabilities of £18,566, Cash £67,931. and a net worth of £-2,088. Explains why we council tax payers have had to gift them 3.5 million out of the funds that should pay for our public services! Those of us involved in the incinerator debarcle know that Mark Allen was a key player as follows in an extract from a gov transactors report The project team currently consists of Mark Allen (Project Sponsor – 40%), Joel Hull – Project Director (100%) and Adrian Tyas – Project Manager (100%) with additional dedicated resources (finance, technical, communications and admin) and ad hoc support from members of the waste management team as and when required. The SRO is Mike Jackson as Director of Environment, Transport and Development. Anyone trust any of the names mentioned within that report to run a company?? Personally I wouldnt trust them with my grandsons piggy bank! I have heard that Mark Allen is no longer at NCC, we know Jackson departed. We all had the pleasure of Tyas at the inq.uiry day after day last year but I have no idea if he is still holding out to make another contract with CW. Do you know HJ?

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    Canary Boy

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • NCC lent £3.5 million to Norfolk Energy Futures Ltd in the budget, their own wholly owned company that deal in wind turbines for NCC farms. Remember that every time GNobbs said there was no choice but to make these cuts for vulnerable people and services and every time he mentions this ridiculous Putting People First consultation.

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    Honest John

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

  • All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men and good women to do nothing.

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    Peter Watson

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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