Day centres in Stamford and Bourne may not close, says councillor

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LINCOLNSHIRE County Council’s head of adult social care has admitted council-funded day centres earmarked for closure would have to stay open if private providers do not come forward.

The Government wants all adult social care users on the personal budget scheme, which lets them choose where to spent their publicly-funded care grant instead of councils providing services for them, by April 2013.

More than 40 per cent of service users in Lincolnshire, about 7,000 people, are already on personal budgets.

The county council is trying to stop what it calls “double-funding” of services, where care users are spending their personal budgets on council services.

It has launched a consult-ation on the issue and intends to close all its in-house services, including the Stamford Day Centre and the Stamford and Bourne Learning Disability Services in Bourne.

The council does not know how much money this will save.

Coun Graham Marsh (Con), portfolio holder for adult social care, hopes private providers and charities will come forward and offer more specialised care tailored to a user’s needs. But he admitted if providers did not come forward, the council would have to keep its centres open.

He said: “We will not close any services down or stop services until we are satisfied that we have got an additional choice of services available for people to spend their personal budget on.

“If no-one comes along to replace the service then we will have to keep it open.”

The council has a statutory requirement to provide care for vulnerable people in the community.

Coun Marsh says by moving people to the personal budget scheme, they will have a greater choice of care.

He said: “We will assess a person’s needs and then attribute points to these needs, which will be equated into money. People can go and get the services that suit them.

“Once we were satisfied a plan met their needs we would agree with that and they would spend the money on services they knew they needed to live a more independent life in their own home.

“This allows people to choose a lot more innovative services. People can tell us how they want to spend money to improve their life.”

Coun Marsh is hopeful providers will come forward and says that will benefit places like Stamford and Bourne, where only one care option is available.

He added: “The problem is that there is only one service down there for them. We will get a service more tailored to people’s needs if we get more interest from providers. It will drive up the quality.”

Coun Marsh said: “Some service providers in some areas are already coming forward. But there could come a time where it was no longer viable to keep putting time into finding other services.”