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Changes made to the way funding is allocated to Bexley’s adult day centres

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 February 2020

Brad Smith says a new funding system for centres that run disability learning sessions has been agrred to increase cost-effectiveness. Picture: Steve Hickey

Brad Smith says a new funding system for centres that run disability learning sessions has been agrred to increase cost-effectiveness. Picture: Steve Hickey

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A change in the way funding is allocated to help care for a group of vulnerable people in the borough has been agreed by the council.

Bexley Council said a decision has been taken that will change the way it funds day centres for adults with learning disabilities.

Cabinet member for adult services, Cllr Brad Smith said the council took the decision following a detailed consultation with centre users, carers and residents who may have an interest in the future of day centres.

He revealed that consultation focused on the block contracts the council held with the centres, which were approaching their end.

These contracts gave guaranteed funding for the centre provider no matter how many people attend, and the council felt this was an inefficient way to spend the public's money and a change was needed to tidy up the system.

Cllr Smith said: "We had a great response to this consultation that focused on our 'block contract' with our day centre providers.

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"In common with councils up and down the country we are tasked with making difficult decisions around our finances. As such it would be wrong for us to continue to fund spaces that were no longer being used when the funds could be better spent elsewhere in Adult Social Care.

"Our research showed that only 21 per cent of service users with learning disabilities currently use the day centre places in Bexley.

"Going forward we have a responsibility to promote choice and look at alternatives for those who prefer not to use day centres, but we also recognise the need to provide day centre opportunities for those who want them."

He said current service providers have indicated a willingness to bid to run day services under the proposed contracting arrangements.

The consultation ended on January 6 with 342 people taking part in the exercise, either over the phone, online or at 13 public consultation events including at day centres and colleges.

Cllr Smith's decision will be subject to the usual 'call-in' period that allows other council members to consider the decision.

The full decision is available here http://democracy.bexley.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=2878


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