Council challenged over care plans

About 200 people flocked to Edinburgh City Chambers in protest against proposed changes to the provision of care services.

Edinburgh Council’s plan for the re-tendering of some care services was blocked and a final decision was postponed to 3 December.

The Council plans to auction-off some care services to the lowest bidder whilst many care providers and care beneficiaries would prefer to continue with the Direct Payment scheme.

Direct Payment allows beneficiaries to independently source their carers and then be reimbursed.

Care services organisation Share Scotland, charged Edinburgh City Council with using “bullying tactics”. It also accused the Council with denying right of Direct Payment to some and offering it at a greatly reduced budget to others.

Share Scotland said that these tactics have made locally provided, quality care unaffordable and are driving people into the hands of low cost, large scale private companies with questionable track records.

Choices Care, one of the companies set to benefit from re-tendering, refused to comment on recent developments at the City Chambers.

Provision of care, from companies such as Choices Care, has been described by the Learning Disability Alliance Scotland as “barely adequate” and in need of improvement.

Following the defeat of the plans for provision of social care reform, Edinburgh Council Housing and Social Care Leader, Paul Edie has declared that the decision will force the council to “find urgent savings elsewhere and even face legal action over the decision”.

Share Scotland responded, saying that: “Share and others have always stated their availability to work in tandem with the council to cut care service costs.”

The group maintain that they are not opposed to savings but to the methods proposed by the Council.

Indeed they suggest that the legal action bemoaned by Paul Edie would be directed at the council on behalf of families who have seen their right to Direct Payment reduced or rendered ineffectual.

Edinburgh City Council declined to comment further on the issue.