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Care staff welcome Council u-turn

posted 14 Feb 2010, 13:02 by Alistar Frater
A campaign group representing voluntary sector care and support staff have welcomed the decision to halt Edinburgh City Council care cuts but say they still feel some accountability is needed.

Danny Oliver, a member of Edinburgh Support Workers’ Action Network (SWAN) said

“ We are happy the Council has finally seen sense on this issue and we welcome the apologies ourselves and our service-users have received from Cllrs. Dawe, Wheeler and also Cllr Norman Work, who apologised personally for his misunderstanding of voluntary sector pay for frontline staff . We hope that the Council will now fulfil their promise to move forward in a spirit of co-operation with all stakeholders”.

There is still anger from service-users and workers over the handling of the process by Council officials and Councillors.

Mr Oliver of SWAN said

“After the motion that was passed by Council on Thursday and the apologies we have received we are all very optimistic that fair funding for these vital services can be secured through an honest and open dialogue with the administration. However, we are disappointed that Cllr Edie, the driving force behind the disastrous tender process, has so far refused to apologise for all the stress and anxiety he has caused to our service-users and ourselves. Despite apparently being urged to stand up and speak by Council leader Jenny Dawe during Thursday’s meeting, he refused to do so and has not taken any responsibility for his actions. All stakeholders will be looking forward to working together with the administration to improve damaged relations but on this evidence it is difficult for us to see a place for Cllr. Edie in this process.

We would also like to see the overpaid and unelected Council officials who have wasted taxpayers money on this flawed process and kept Councillors “in the dark” (according to finance leader Phil Wheeler) to be held to account for the actions”.

Lib Dem Health and Social Care leader Paul Edie has drawn anger and criticism from service-users and campaign groups for his behaviour towards them at meetings; for describing the tender process as “robust” weeks before it was found to be flawed and now for failing to apologise for his actions.

In the latest twist a Facebook Group has been set up entitled “No confidence in Paul Edie” and has already attracted around 100 members.

Edinburgh Support Workers' Action Network (SWAN) is a network of care and support workers set up to fight the budget cuts and competitive tendering being imposed by Edinburgh Council which threaten our jobs and our service-users' quality of care.