Disability service staff and users to lobby Somerset council over threat to care

Staff and service users of Somerset’s learning disability service (LDS) will this Wednesday (15.02.17) attend the county council meeting to pressure their representatives to stick to promises made over the transfer of the LDS to Dimensions.

Cabinet members previously assured stakeholders that sustainable, quality care was the driver of any handover, not cost-cutting. But plans have been revealed that would see jobs lost, pay and conditions cut, and day centres potentially closed.

Dimensions, the national company which ended up as the only bidder for the disability service, sent letters to staff last Friday (10.02.17) claiming that insufficient funding means a cuts package is necessary.

Over 800 people in Somerset have signed a paper petition against the cuts, which will be presented at the council meeting. Concerned individuals have also submitted questions for the cabinet and will be lobbying councillors on their way into the meeting.

UNISON organiser for Somerset Tom Kennedy-Hughes said:

“Dimensions ought to be building on the best of the council service, not undermining it with attacks on staff and facilities for the people who use it.

“If the Tory cabinet is serious about protecting and improving the LDS, they need to give time and funding to make the handover work, not railroad it through in a last gasp before the elections.

“Dimensions are claiming that the £4m squeeze on funding they’ve agreed with the cabinet means they have to hit staff, risking the quality of the service. But Somerset county council could raise the money needed if the full social care levy was used.