Future of Morley care homes to be discussed by council chiefs

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The future of two Morley care homes will be discussed at a meeting with council leaders next week.

Leeds City Council’s executive board will be asked to approve the start of a comprehensive consultation process which will look at proposals to decommission Siegen Manor in Morley along with Middlecross in Armley, The Green in Seacroft and their associated day centres.

If approved, the phased consultation will form part of a four year strategy for how adult social care can continue to be provided in Leeds in the face of unprecedented budget cuts which will see the council save £48m over the next year alone.

Aimed at moving further away from long-term, institutional care, the next phase of the Better Lives Strategy would also see permanent admissions to Knowle Manor in Morley and Spring Gardens in Otley cease once a suitable alternative has been identified.

A progress report and business case will also be drawn up for Home Lea House and Dolphin Manor in Rothwell, where local community groups have expressed an interest in establishing social enterprises to take over services there.

The first two phases of the Better Lives Strategy allowed the council to invest in new community facilities including the South Leeds Independence Centre, Holt Park Active and Assisted Living Leeds.

They also allowed the council to continue to provide a high standard of adult social care across the city.

If they progress, proposals for this next phase would save the council £4m over the next four years, contributing to overall budget savings.

Coun Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for adult social care, said:“It is important to emphasise that this is the start of a consultation process. No decisions have been made and we need work together to gather the views of everyone involved before any further steps are taken.

“These are incredibly difficult options to have to consider, but the council’s current financial situation means they are not something that we can shy away from.

“We are acutely aware that any consultation concerning the future of care provision can create a great deal of uncertainty and worry for those who receive care as well as for their family and loved ones.

“However, the harsh reality is that government cuts to our budget mean we simply cannot afford to continue to provide adult social care in the same way that we have in the past and we must look at new ways of doing things both now and in the future.”

Consultation on the next phase of the Better Lives Strategy will include one-to-one interviews with all service users, relatives and carers, group question and answer sessions, meetings with community groups and discussions with staff.

Coun Ogilvie added: “We need to be clear that whatever the result of the consultation, nobody will be forced to leave their home or day services until an alternative has been found nearby that they are happy with and which fits their individual needs.

“Those taking part in the consultation will of course be supported every step of the way and we will make sure they are fully informed and involved at all stages.”

New city-wide contracts for the provision of home care, which are planned to be introduced during 2016 and commence in January 2015, will also see consultation on proposals to cease the provision of the in house community support service begin if approved by the executive board.

Further reports to next week’s meeting will also look at the provision of housing for older people across the city.

Coun Ogilvie said: “Increasingly, people are telling us they want to remain in their own homes, living independently for longer and taking up community-based day services which they have more choice and control over.

“That has seen demand for the traditional model of residential care, day services and home care fall dramatically in recent years, which has in turn allowed alternative models like our Neighbourhood Networks and more personalised, tailor made care packages to flourish.

“Whilst we know there may be some difficult periods of adjustment along the way, we firmly believe that the Better Lives Strategy represents the best and most sustainable model for the future of adult social care in Leeds.”

To view a full copy of the report, visit: www.democracy.leeds.gov.uk/documents/s123870/Better%20Lives%20Cover%20Report%20111114.pdf.