This is a copy of my online submission to RCT Council regarding the phase 1 proposed cuts. Views can be submitteed by following this link.
Comments Pages 1 & 2 General & Nursery Education
Whether I have a child in nursery education or not is immaterial, we are talking about the provision of services across RCT and whether they are fair and equitable. That opinion can be formed whether or not there is a personal interest involved.
To add to my responses to the multiple choice questions:
Q1. There should be no presumption that the Council needs to reduce services, instead it should first look at alternative means of providing those services and making savings not cutting services. This is a leading question.
Q3. The proposals will not in my opinion result in a reasonable level of service in all instances. I think part time nursery education is far from reasonable given the long history we have in RCT of full time provision.
I am not convinced they will be sustainable over the medium term, there has been no real evidence produced of that. As has been said by the First Minister and The Local Government Minister RCT has failed to take adequate note of the warnings they have had about financial cutbacks over the past three years, there is no evidence lessons have been learned.
The question of whether the services will be as good or better than elsewhere is impossible to judge and is, like many of the questions, a misleading question. You could ask whether the level of provision will be the same but not if it will be as good.
Q7. Just because RCT will provide the same level of service as other Councils does not make it fair.
Comments Page 3 Meals on Wheels.
Again whether I am a user of this particular service or not is immaterial, we are talking about the provision of services across RCT and whether they are fair and equitable. That opinion can be formed and is valid whether or not there is a personal interest involved.
My concern here is that there are a small number of vulnerable people who may not be capable of heating a meal themselves, and I would want to be assured that there will be adequate provision made for these.
Comments Page 4 Libraries
I would agree that it is not financially viable to keep open libraries that are not being used sufficiently. I would hope that alternative provision would be looked at i.e. more widespread mobile provision and the possibility of locating smaller units in other buildings.
Comments Page 5 Youth provision
I am not a user of these services, however I am a Secondary School Governor and have seen how valued the E3 provision is. I am very concerned by the removal of transport associated with E3 as this will make it impossible for many to attend as they will not be able to get home afterwards.
The Estyn survey last year identified that there were issues around youth provision and it was not always reaching the right people. There is no evidence in the report to Cabinet that this has been addressed with the proposed changes instead they appear to be purely financially based.
Comments Page 6 Day Centres
I would agree that it is not financially viable to keep open centres that are not being used at the substantial cost they incur. I also think that the provision is unnecessary for all over 50.
Additional Comments about other services.
There should be a substantial cutback in the PR department which is a luxury this Council cannot afford.
The use of consultants must be cut out, why pay specialist Officers if they cannot provide the advice the Council needs on such issues as HR and legal matters.
Look at cutting a tier of management, front line staff are more vital to the provision of equitable and adequate services.
Look at ways of using the third sector, community businesses and private companies more for delivery of certain services if they will deliver the same or a better standard of service at a lower cost eg leisure services, catering across the board, child care (there should be no need for Council run child care services and the back-up teams involved in running them. CSSIW regulate the provision, there is no need for RCT back up.
Without knowing what is planned for future phases it is very difficult to comment fully. It would have been much easier ha this Council followed the same route as others and laid out all its proposals in one go.
Q35 – equality
Whilst these proposals will not affect me personally because of any of these reasons they will affect others unfairly.
Pupils at Welsh Medium and Faith schools will be disproportionately hit by the removal of transport to schools and the cut to part time education.
Women will be unfairly hit, as they are the ones statistically more likely to be in lower paid or part time jobs which they will have to give up if they cannot find or afford childcare. Also the large proportion of Nursery school teachers and teaching assistants who stand to lose their jobs are female.
Children in poverty will be hardest hit as they will lose out on essential education and the social benefits that being in school full time and having a hot meal at lunchtime brings.