REPORT OF THE PEOPLE SCRUTINY COMMITTEE: CALL-IN OF TUDOR STREET DAY CENTRE
The Chair of People Scrutiny Committee presented the report in order to refer the Individual Cabinet Member Decision taken on 30th November 2022 on Tudor Street Day Centre to full Council, as the formal outcome of the calling in of the decision and the subsequent scrutiny undertaken by the People Scrutiny Committee at the Special Meeting held on 3rd January 2023. The report sought to provide Council with an overview of the public contributions to the scrutiny process via the Public Open Forum, prior to presentation of the Call-in and the subsequent debate by the committee held on 3rd January 2023.
The Chair read questions submitted by members of the public:
Can the Council give an assurance that the Tudor Street building in question will be reopened to provide a service for adults with learning disabilities unless and until alternative provision is made which is considered to be acceptable by service users?
My Day My Life has been open for decades you are letting the people of Abergavenny down. Abergavenny won’t have its original creations, like they did. Where is the next landmark of disabled friendly place, as I don’t see one in Abergavenny?
The admission by Councillors Tudor Thomas and Sarah Burch at the Scrutiny Committee on 3rd January that the WC facilities for people with severe disabilities in Abergavenny are completely inadequate is just one reason why a service "in the community" will not work for everyone. Given that people with a wide range of complex care needs and their families have been without a much valued service for more than 2 years, surely the Tudor Street Centre should be reopened without delay for a minimum of three days a week while the review and wider deliberations continue?
Can you outline the specific ways in which learning disabled people have been informed about and engaged with directly up to this point please? Can you outline the ways in which you will do this in the future?
Why they chose to get rid of a building before asking people in reviews if they wanted to still use it? The scrutiny committee agreed that this should have gone to full committee, not be one man's decision, and our petition to save the centre has reached over 900 signatures. Surely that shows what this place means to the community and from these statistics it's clear Tudor Street Centre needs to stay. People want this hub. When Tudor Thomas said the number of people using Tudor Street had decreased, I think this is inaccurate. In 2014 I was still working there, and I worked with a lot of service users then. Also, Adults with complex disabilities had been moved from Coed Glas to use Tudor Street and now they have nothing. This isn't acceptable. These people need somewhere safe and warm to spend their day within our community.
Why were vulnerable people not supported during the pandemic and since coming out of lockdown not been allowed back to Tudor Street? Adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems should be supported. That Hub is the perfect place to have to develop activities and social interaction with people in a safe environment. It has disability access, and disabled toilet facilities. Vulnerable people should have a choice to spend their day in and out of the community. There needs to be somewhere vulnerable people can go when it's raining to spend time with their friends.
What other facilities in the area of Abergavenny have everything that is required for disabled people to use.
To enable people with severe disabilities to be out in the community rather than at the Tudor Street site, community locations will need to offer specialist toilet facilities. These would feature not only accessible toilets, but also adult-sized changing benches, hoists, curtains, and space for carers. Is the Council confident that sufficient toilet facilities of this type will be built around the community? Otherwise, despite best intentions, service users who could previously attend the Tudor Street site may not be able to leave home.
County Councillor Tudor Thomas, the Cabinet Member for Social Care, Safeguarding and Accessible Health Services was grateful to those in attendance and was pleased to hear their views. He went on to explain that the closure of the centre was part of a wider review of facilities. The review commenced in October 2022 and was due to close in March 2023, at which point a report would be taken to Scrutiny Committee for consideration, after which it would be taken as a full Cabinet decision.
The following points were highlighted in response to the questions raised:
· The current My Day My Life review will make recommendations for the future of the service including the buildings. It was not possible to commit to the reopening until the review is published.
· My Day My Life came into being in 2014 and the ethos of My Day My Life is to be fully involved in communities, and not only about accessible buildings.
· The centre had been limited to 3 days per week, since March 2020, and support in the community has been provided through a number of different activities.
· It was accepted that there were no other changing facilities other than the Leisure Centre and that should be looked into.
· The review would cover a number of buildings.
· Tudor Street Centre has a tracked hoist which could be transferred to another location.
Members of the public were invited to ask supplementary questions which highlighted the ongoing concerns of the service users, and their families.
People were assured that there is no development or planning in place, and nothing would be considered until the review had been published and been considered at Scrutiny and Cabinet.
We heard that the building is not in a good enough conditioned to be re-opened and would have to be recommissioned.
In response to a comment around the lack of easy read documents it was confirmed that the review outcome would be published in an easy read version and a conversation could be had with Practice Solutions around other easy read material.
The Chair reminded the chamber that the matter would come back for future scrutiny and invited Members to comment.
· There was disappointment regarding the decision process, and it was not considered an appropriate decision for a single Cabinet Member.
· My Day My Life is about empowering people, and this process has had the opposite effect.
· The decision was undemocratic and immoral and could be open to legal challenge.
· Clarification was sought around the wording in the review regarding service users.
· There was disappointment that the facility had been earmarked for closure.
· Members need to see a full and detailed review.
· It was important to take accessible public transport into consideration when making the decision.
· Families of service users had expressed their disappointment to Members which was expressed in the Chamber.
· Was the review just a paper exercise given that the decision had been made before the review was completed?
· Why had there not been a quicker decision to why the centre had nor re-opened?
· There was still a need to provide a central, safe, and fully accessible and equipped venue to support people with complex needs in North Monmouthshire and as per the request from users, Tudor Street should be reopened and operational whilst due process takes place.
· A lack of pre-decision scrutiny.
· A weak integrated (Equalities and Future Generations) assessment which failed to highlight all the potential disproportionate negative impacts on people with complex physical and or learning disabilities and users with mental health issues. Disability is a protected characteristic under the equalities act 2010.
· There had been no formal and comprehensive engagement and consultation on the specific matter of Tudor Street Hub.
· Service users should be fully involved in developing and shaping the future service offer.
County Councillor Mary Ann Brocklesby, Leader of the Council thanked the public in attendance for their contributions. She apologised and admitted that they had got the process wrong. She added that the call-in process had shown how democracy should work and how all comments should form part of the review. County Councillor Brocklesby stated that no action would be taken, and no proposals would be looked at until the review is complete, published and debated, and current and future needs were addressed.
County Councillor Tudor Thomas joined the Leader in apologising and regretted the decision being taken ahead of the review.
Upon being put to a vote Council resolved to accept the recommendation:
That Council considers the discussion held at the People Scrutiny Committee and refers the decision to Cabinet for reconsideration.
- Report of the People Scrutiny Committee on the Outcome of the Call-in of Tudor Day Centre, item 6. PDF 157 KB
- Report of the Chair of People Scrutiny Committee ~ Call-in of Tudor Day Centre Decision, item 6. PDF 488 KB