Monday, 25 April 2011


12.30 pm Thursday 28th April George Square.
Last summer Glasgow City Council started a process called ‘personalisation’ and ‘self-directed support’ across services provided by Social Work. We support the principles of personalisation, which are about providing people with more independence, control and dignity. However, this is not what is happening in Glasgow. Right from the word go, the council was explicit in its ‘working assumption’ that at least 20% savings would be made.

The process is well advanced for learning disability services, but will be rolled out in time to those with physical disability, children with disability, mental health and eventually older people. In the autumn of last year providers of services, mainly charities and private companies, were asked to fill in Self Evaluation Questionnaires (SEQ) on behalf of the people with learning disabilities they support.

Defend Glasgow Services is aware from speaking to union members involved in providing care services, that on many occasions these forms were completed without direct input from the service user (not always possible), their family or guardians or their key worker. The forms were then put through a resource allocation system, which allocates individual budgets to those who need support, resulting in some seeing a cut of almost 80%. Most providers in the city are facing overall budgets cut of 35 to 40%. Additionally, in most cases, the Individual Budget now has to cover provision for activities and services during the day as the council will no longer provide day services to most people with learning disabilities, presenting a further strain on budgets.

There is no formal appeals process to these cuts in budgets. There is an opportunity to have matters looked at again by a Risk Enablement Panel, however, there is little evidence so far that this process is substantially altering the overall picture of massive cuts.

What does this mean for individuals with learning disabilities?
Wide scale loss of sleepover provision: people with learning disabilities often need someone available at night to assist them with toileting, helping them get in and out of bed, and generally to be on hand should anything untoward occur. Having a presence at night also stops vulnerable people being a target for those who would seek to exploit them.

Massive reduction in care packages: People who previously had 24/7 care are now going to have care for only a few hours a day. There is a danger people will become isolated in their homes with no support to lead a full and active life. Beyond this the level of cuts are so severe that independent living will no longer be viable for many and people will be forced to move in with other people in order to pool support, this is completely contrary to personalisation and for many will be a regressive step.

Lost education opportunities: Many people with learning disabilities need support to attend college courses and access other training. Without the money to pay for the support needed they will not be able to go. As a UNISON member put it ‘this is an accident waiting to happen’.
What does this mean for workers?

Workers providing care and support to those with learning disabilities in Glasgow are seeing a range of attacks on their terms and conditions. This is creating widespread concern among care workers. So far we have seen:
• Redundancies;
• Cuts to sick pay schemes;
• Reduction in hours;
• Threats to hourly rate;

The wider cuts agenda
Like us all, people with learning disabilities depend on other public services (e.g. Department of Work and Pensions, Further Education)and indeed often need them more, so as well as their own services being cut they will suffer from reduced public provision. Add to this the onslaught on benefits and the welfare state and it is clear that we are not all in this together. The cuts hit the poor, vulnerable and voiceless the hardest.

What can we do?
• Lobby the Council against these cuts: on 12.30 pm Thursday 28th April 2011, Glasgow City Chambers, George Square

It’s time to unite workers, service users, their families and friends to show mass opposition to these attacks on some of the most vulnerable in our community. The council needs to halt the process, maintain funding and engage in meaningful and genuine consultation with service users.
• Raise the issue with politicians they are chasing you vote for the Scottish Parliament elections and go and see your Councillor or write to them, details available from
your library of visit
• Ensure someone is sticking up for people with learning disabilities If they can’t themselves, workers will be restricted in what they can do for clients they support, but there are groups such as Learning
Disability Alliance Scotland ( 07920 141823 ) and the Coalition of Carers in Scotland (  01786   825529) that can help those with learning disabilities and their families. There are also a number of advocacy organisations that can help people in these situations, more information on local groups can be found via the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance (  0131 260 5380).
• Get active, get organised, get involved. Join a union and join the campaigns!
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