Bromley council to carry on with privatisation of home care
PUBLISHED: 16:23 27 October 2010
Care workers took one step closer to redundancy when councillors voted to take no action on their petition to save home care services.
The Conservative majority on Bromley council voted against taking action to halt the privatisation of domiciliary care in the borough at a full meeting on Monday.
Staff representative Glen Kelly had earlier been given the opportunity to make a five-minute plea to council members after he and care workers gathered the signatures of more than 2,000 anxious residents.
Confronting council leader Stephen Carr before the meeting at the civic centre, in Stockwell Close, Mr Kelly said: “You have £43million in the bank that belongs to the people of Bromley, if you don’t spend it now on the most vulnerable people in our borough then when, and on whom?”
Shortly afterwards, Mr Kelly told the chamber: “The fact that over 2,000 residents from the borough signed this petition s hows the anguish and anger that exists.
“If these vulnerable people are not provided with a regular carer it means that they will not be able to get out of bed in the morning, they will not be able to get dressed. They will not be able to eat. The managers of this council know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”
Mr Kelly was supported in the public gallery by a dozen current home carers, who all stand to lose their jobs under the current plans.
The head of adult and community services at Bromley council, Terry Rich, and the portfolio holder for the department, Graham Arthur, believe that the 3,000 hours of care still provided in-house by their workers should be phased out as private providers can provide the care for up to 30 per cent less. The plan’s opponents say that the private companies are cheaper because they pay lower wages and that training is not adequate.
Mr Graham said to the chamber: “Consultation with users is taking place on one to one basis, which is the appropriate way to do it.”
Labour councillor John Getgood, who voted in favour of delaying the decision on out-sourcing care, told his colleagues: “We really should not be rushing into this matter. Those of our residents who are still dependent on the services are the most vulnerable.”