Councillor N Hoy introduced a report, which had been circulated in advance of the meeting, informing Cabinet of the response to the consultation on the future delivery of day opportunities for people with a learning disability and/or who are autistic, including the possible redesign, proposing a way forward.
In response to question one asked by Councillor Dixon, Councillor Hoy responded that the purpose of an Equality Impact Assessment is to consider carefully the impact of any proposals on those with protected characteristics and whether mitigations can be put into place to reduce adverse impact. Through the in-depth completion of the Equality Impact Assessment, it is considered that sufficient mitigations are in place to ensure this is not adverse.
In response to question two, Councillor Hoy assured that members of the Cabinet had read the report and discussed it at great length.
In response to question three, Councillor Hoy advised that Human Rights had been taken into in depth consideration through the preparation of the Equalities Impact Assessment and legal officers were satisfied the proposed changes to the service will not infringe the Human Rights Act.
In response to question four, Councillor Hoy said that she had not received negative reports from any scrutiny committee members or officers following the recent meeting that considered the report. She added that the role and influence of the Scrutiny Committee is set out within the constitution, and this was followed in respect of this issue.
In response to question five, it was stated that during the pandemic there was a necessity to restrict access to day centres in order to ensure compliance with national legislation and guidance. To be absolutely clear, there was no waiting list, nor had the Council operated any policy of refusing access.
In response to question six, Councillor Hoy advised that transport would be provided as long as the person attended an alternative centre and that it was not possible to cost this until service users had made their choices.
With regard to questions seven and eight, Councillor Hoy advised that without knowing the exact details of staff members it was very difficult to provide a comment. She did, however, assure members that all staff that could be affected were being kept updated and the Council would continue to fully support them. The Council highly values its dedicated, skilled staff and should cabinet agree to the proposal, everything would be done to retain them.
The Director of Legal and Democratic Services advised Cabinet that a petition of approximately 2,300 signatures had been received which asked the Council not to close all Adult Day Services in the Bolsover District. The Director explained this was important that Cabinet had an update on the current position and was able to take this into account when making the decision. It was pointed out that not all of the signatures would be counted as it could not be confirmed whether or not the signatories either lived or worked in Derbyshire and there were a number of addresses as far afield as London and Florida. Additionally, there were no contact details for the lead petitioner, which was a requirement under the petitions scheme so signatories would be contacted to agree who would act as petition organiser. The Director confirmed that the number of signatures fell below the threshold to trigger a council debate.
1) Approve the redesign of day opportunities in line with the new model as outlined in the report; and
2) Note that a formal consultation with colleagues and trade unions representing colleagues affected by this redesign will commence and every effort be made to assist employees in seeking alternative roles to minimise the number of redundancies.