Here is an open letter from a city sheltered housing tenant to a council support manager about the unbearable effect of budget cuts (or, from a ‘stakeholder’ to a support manager about the regrettable but necessary effect of ‘budget savings’, to use today’s spin-soaked jargon!)
Support Services for Older People
Birmingham City Council
1 Lancaster Circus
20th July 2015
Dear Support Manager,
As a result of cuts to services a support officer only attends Fleetwood House Sheltered Housing Scheme on Mondays and Wednesdays rather than Monday to Friday. I have discovered by chance that there will be no support officer covering the Scheme at all this coming Wednesday (22 July) where I am not aware any written document exists to explain the situation to the service users you surely have a duty of care towards.
I am strongly in favour of support officers being able to take their legal annual leave entitlement but this 22 July absence strongly suggests even more cuts to services may be on their way and that cuts and shortages to remaining support services mean there are clearly not even sufficient support officers to cover the city’s Sheltered Schemes at the current time.
I also understand tenants at Fleetwood House who had their support officer visits on Wednesdays have been asked to switch their visit day to Monday. Furthermore, whilst a support officer may be at Fleetwood House on future Wednesdays I am led to believe this will only be for administration work where they could be called to cover another scheme at any time.
I am a very concerned service user and I seek clarification re the above as people can simply not bear any more cuts to support services. Why is this new Wednesday arrangement being brought in if it is not to pave the way for a further reduction in support officer presence?
I request a reply at your earliest convenience. Thank you.
Sheltered Housing Tenant