Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Moreton Community Centre Maryland Lane Moreton CH46 7TS
Contact: Tracey Smith Consultation Manager 0151 691 8026
Welcome, Introductions and Apologies
Councillor Chris Blakeley welcomed 54 members of public and thanked them for attending the meeting. Apologies were received from Councillor Simon Mountney, Councillor Ron Abbey and Community Sports Development Officer Julie Smith.
Cllr Blakeley explained this was the last neighbourhood forum and were being replaced with constituency meetings with Leasowe, Moreton and Saughall Massie falling within the Wallasey constituency. He then introduced Cllr Ian Lewis who had been newly elected due to the recent by-election. Cllr Lewis asked for a moment of silence as a mark of respect for Cllr Ann McCardle who recently passed away.
Minutes of last meeting and matters arising
As there were no matters arising Cllr Blakely agreed the minutes from the previous neighbourhood forum meeting in October 2012
United Utilities Update
No representative was present at the meeting, however Cllr Blakeley commented on the amount of current United Utilities activity in the local area.
Update on Moreton Youth Club
Cllr Blakeley introduced Caroline Laing Deputy Head of Wirral Youth & Play Service and asked her to provide an update on the current situation around the youth service. Caroline said that officers had been asked to look at making savings of 1.2 million which were submitted in a report to Cabinet on 18th February outlining proposals to consolidate Youth Provision.
Tuesday 5th March is the full budget meeting for final decisions to be made which may involve closing 11 satellite centres, Moreton Youth Club may not close however Leasowe Youth Club may be one of the satellite centre being proposed to close. The Council is in contact with a number of providers including Leasowe Housing Trust, Leasowe Community Homes and a locality manager will be available to advise on the outreach provision in Leasowe which will still continue however with a more targeted approach.
Cllr Blakeley asked if the proposed hub in Birkenhead goes ahead will Moreton Youth Club will remain open until the new centre is built.
Caroline replied that is what Cabinet had recommended
Q: What criteria is being used? And will there be any consultation?
A: Caroline Laing: Managers have been asked to engage in each district.
A general discussion then followed with some of the following point being made.
Cllr Blakeley responded Cadbury’s have made major contributions to the club, Wirral Council and Cadburys have joint ownership and expressed his full support in keeping the club open. He then thanked Caroline for the update.
Update on Moreton Adult Centre
Cllr Blakeley then introduced Graham Hodkinson Director of DASS and Chris Beyga Head of Personal Support DASS who had been invited to the meeting to provide an update on Adult Day Centres.
Graham gave a brief overview of the current situation:
The Council needs to find savings of over 100M. Wirral is in the top 5% for its spending on the number of people with learning disabilities with a cost of £500 per head of population.
The Council’s total expenditure is six million with five being spent on in-house services and 1 million on transport costs. The challenge is to protect vulnerable groups of people however to balance public resources.
There is a proposal to close one Adult Day Centre and although he was aware the public would not agree with this proposal he explained there is spare capacity at all three centres, Eastham, Heswall and Moreton. The service can be run more efficiently by downsizing which would mean closing one centre to reflect levels of demand.
The key saving would come from reducing staff (a saving of 2M over three years) and transferring people to other centres. He made reference to responses received from both consultations “What Really Matters” and “Transforming Day Services “ however a detailed 12-week consultation will be done if the proposals are agreed at full Council meeting on the 5th March.
A general discussion then followed with the following concerns and issues raised:
Q: Are you confident you will get your way with these proposals?
A: Graham Hodkinson: This proposal is subject to a final Council decision, I have no vote however there will be contingencies in place should the decision be made to close one centre.
Q: The figures show large centres more efficient than small centre, where is the rationale to close a day centre?
A: Graham Hodkinson: The cheapest model would be to operate one large day service.
Q: Pensby Wood has less spare capacity and won’t be able to take any dispersals
A: Graham Hodkinson: Consultation from 2012 highlighted people wanted smaller services so we are trying to balance legacy of larger centres with what people want.
Q: We contest the costs for Dale Farm, we can provide you with savings without closing the centre.
A: Graham Hodkinson; There is a three month window for consultation, we would be happy to respond to you directly.
Q: We have written to Chris Beyga and Graham Burgess however not to you so would like to meet with you.
A: Graham Hodkinson: I would be happy to meeting with you
Q We would ask you to treat people as human beings, the closure of Riverside where asbestos was found resulted in a building closing down and not being used. Also the current transport system makes no sense.
A: Graham Hodkinson: We must carry out individual needs assessments and will deal with people as people. I wasn’t here when Riverside closed so can’t make a comment on that. In relation ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Partner Organisations Update
Graham Hodkinson explained he had been asked to raise awareness of the new approach to Neighbourhood Working and referred to a report which had been agreed at last week’s Cabinet meeting looking at the current relationship between the Council and residents. This report refers to how the work is organised across Wirral, and contained ideas on basis of having a different relationship working between the Council and residents, and alongside that to promote an improved public sector partnership.
The proposal will see the current eleven area forums abolished and replaced with a neighbourhood structure based on Wirral’s four Parliamentary constituencies; to have a Public Service Board in each of the four areas, with a strategic director from the Council taking responsibility for delivery. There would be a resident-developed constituency plan and a constituency committee with elected members and members of the community, and the elected Member of Parliament for the constituency.
A member of the public made reference to approaching boundary changes, however it was felt this would not affect the four constituencies overall.
Cllr Blakeley explained that although neighbourhood forums had not been well attended, they had kept local people informed about local decisions.
Julie Mann explained that the Council has asked the libraries to have a representative attend each of the neighbourhood forums to raise awareness of the contributions that volunteers are making in libraries in Wirral and in other parts of the country. A handout was available to take away after the meeting, listing activities in each of the local libraries. When asked about opening hours, she confirmed Moreton Library is open 9-5 Mon to Sat and 10-5 on Wednesday
· Merseyside Fire and Rescue
Natalie Hayes highlighted the fire service’s initiative to visit vulnerable residents in their homes to offer free fire home safety checks.
She also stated that the figures for Road Traffic Accidents had been reduced and anti-social behaviour bonfires were down on Bonfire Night
A member of the public said she was allergic to smoke alarms and was looking for alternative appliances; Natalie assured her she would investigate this for her.
A member of the public asked if home safety checks are free, which Natalie confirmed the first check is free and advised any additional checks are available for a nominal fee. She then responded to a member of the public who had asked about carbon monoxide assessments saying she would talk to him at the end of the meeting.
· Merseyside Police
Inspector Peter Kolokotroni then passed around the latest newsletter which contained an update on local police activity and initiatives. Since 2002 there has been a gradual reduction in most categories of crime however lately there has been a slight increase in burglary dwellings ie sheds and insecure properties. There has also been an increase in common assault, defined as someone having no visible injuries.
Two initiatives are ongoing: Operation Stay Safe: extra officers on duty due to lighter nights approaching and Operation Martin: underage sale of alcohol.
Inspector ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
General Public Question Time
Cllr Blakeley then invited additional questions from the audience
Q: How will the recovery of the Council’s bad debts affect the current spending situation?
A: Graham Hodkinson: There is a report going to Cabinet which will factor in the budget setting process.
As there were no further questions Cllr Blakeley thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting at 8.15pm