Charity Should Begin at Home

The cuts which this uncaring government has imposed on the disadvantaged has reached depths that we could only imagine. To save some money Surrey County Council have withdrawn funding from a Walton based charity which looks after carers by offering advice and handed it to a countywide organisation which has not operated in Walton. In spite of pledges to cut costs the organisation involved, ACS, has just appointed a new chief Executive at a salary up to £60,000 per annum.
Sensing that something stinks within this scenario I have written to the Leader of Surrey County Council with copies to County councillors for our area. A copy of the letter follows.

Councillor David Hodge
Leader, Surrey County Council
Penrhyn Rd,
Kingston upon Thames
KT1 2DW                                                                                                             14th November 2016

Dear Councillor Hodge,

We were surprised to learn from a local resident that Surrey County Council will withdraw all funding from Carer Support Elmbridge on the 1st Apri 2017, it’s forever not just one year. CSE is a local charity which specialises in offering support to carers in the borough and to advise vulnerable members of the community of the support available which they may not be aware of. Currently it caters for 2,633 carers living in Elmbridge. It operates with two full time Carer support advisers, a part-time specialist Parent carer adviser, a part time fundraiser (more than self-financing) and a part time bookkeeper/admin. It is currently receiving an average of 30 new carer referrals a month.

The Walton based charity has been advised by SCC that it is awarding the contract to Action for Carers Surrey, whose headquarters are in Burpham, Guildford. This effectively means that CSE will cease operations from 1st April 2017 having served the community since 1995.

What is particularly disturbing is the way SCC has handled the whole bid scenario. It is alleged that the council did not comply with the statutory rules concerning consultation prior to the announcement and handed down a ‘decree’ instead. Also, SCC refer to ‘back office savings’ without providing any details of what and how ACS are going to achieve them. ACS did not have to consider the costs associated with TUPE as the bid document confirmed it was not applicable and need not be included in the bid. No explanation has been received from the council as to how ACS will fund this TUPE cost which has now been confirmed as applicable.

There are many more alarming aspects to this decision, clarity from SCC being one of them.

The full council is considering this matter at its meeting on Tuesday the 22nd November.

We would welcome a postponement of this decision, at least until such times as Carer Support Elmbridge is in possession of the full facts from SCC. We look forward to receiving your response. We will be monitoring the situation closely together with residents.

Yours sincerely,

Richard Leonard
Secretary,
Walton and Hersham Labour Party

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