Anger as Bromley Council councillors cull deferred until at least 2018

Chislehurst Active Age Centre users are preparing to fight

Jan Pearce thinks the councillors are disgraceful.

First published in Bromley
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

‘DISGRACEFUL’ Bromley councillors are prepared to cut frontline services for children, elderly and disabled people but have deferred a plan to cut their numbers – which could have saved more than £360,000 a year.

The idea of cutting the number of councillors from 60 to 40 was introduced two years ago and the change was expected to be brought in for next year’s local elections.

But now despite swingeing cuts to services across the borough the number of elected officials at the council is set to stay at 60 until at least the 2018 local election.

The announcement about the delay to the councillor cull comes in the same year as the council is proposing to stop providing the Care Link emergency call service for elderly people – to save £50,000 – and decommission a care home for people with learning disabilities – to save another £50,000.

Another one of the proposed savings for the year is to cut the costs for day care for elderly people by 50 per cent by concentrating on dementia day care – to save £500,000.

This cut is set to lead to the closure of several day care centres across the borough, including Age Concern Active Age Centre, High Street, Chislehurst.

News Shopper: Jan Pearce thinks the councillors are disgraceful.

Jan Pearce (pictured) has worked there for 14 years and it is disgusting the councillors have decided to keep their jobs rather than the ‘lifeline’ for elderly people.

The 74-year-old said: “I think it’s terrible, we are being cut off.

“It is as if they want us to die.

“The age centre is supposed to be helping the aged and they are just closing us down.

“I think they should cut the councillors or at least cut their earnings, I’m sure they do not need as much money.

“I think it’s disgraceful of them.

“Some of the people who use the centre will be stuck at home and won’t see anyone once it closes.

“There is nowhere else round here where they can have a social conversation and meet their friends.

“I will be protesting about it, I’m going to fight for it.”

A Bromley Council spokesman said: “Work is ongoing regarding changes to the makeup of the council.

“However, because of the electoral cycle it was not feasible to implement changes in 2014 and as such proposals will now be considered for 2018.”

The spokesman says it was not possible to change the system in time for the 2014 election because the council has to undertake a governance review.

They say there was also an issue of getting an allocation of time from the local government boundary commission to undertake extensive consultation and consideration of the proposals within the necessary timescales.

HERE'S THE MATHS

In the 2011 budget document it says having 60 councillors comes at a cost of £1,093,000 for the financial year 2010-11.

Taking the mean average as £18,216.67 per councillor, cutting a third of them would save around £364,333.33 per year.

Comments (8)

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9:02am Wed 6 Feb 13

goldenbroomboy says...

They need some time so as to ensure any new boundaries suit themselves.
They need some time so as to ensure any new boundaries suit themselves. goldenbroomboy
  • Score: 0

10:19am Wed 6 Feb 13

Peony says...

Lets be fair about this. If councillors are being asked to reduce their numbers, some of them will lose their status in life. It could lead to many of them going down with depression or worse still becoming mentally ill.

We all know that when people lose their jobs they can lose friends and a reason to get of bed in the morning. We should show more empathy for them. Although I must add that in my experience I have never seen any empathy from them when they decided to close down day centres which were a lifeline to many people with learning disabilities. They said ' we make no apology for saving money'. Perhaps they can start making apologies for the rise in mental health problems in these people. They fill their management with toadies who doing their bidding even though many of them are supposed to be making these people's lives better. 'Valuing People' I think the PR was all about. The only people getting any value is the council. What a morally redundant lot they are.
Lets be fair about this. If councillors are being asked to reduce their numbers, some of them will lose their status in life. It could lead to many of them going down with depression or worse still becoming mentally ill. We all know that when people lose their jobs they can lose friends and a reason to get of bed in the morning. We should show more empathy for them. Although I must add that in my experience I have never seen any empathy from them when they decided to close down day centres which were a lifeline to many people with learning disabilities. They said ' we make no apology for saving money'. Perhaps they can start making apologies for the rise in mental health problems in these people. They fill their management with toadies who doing their bidding even though many of them are supposed to be making these people's lives better. 'Valuing People' I think the PR was all about. The only people getting any value is the council. What a morally redundant lot they are. Peony
  • Score: 1

10:41am Wed 6 Feb 13

Cllr Colin Smith says...

Don't let the facts get in the way of a totally misleading article about the Council though hey....


From: maureen Falloon
Sent: 25 January 2013 17:02
To: Payne, Ian, Cllr; Bosshard, Eric, Cllr; Kate.Boughey@bromley
.gov.uk
Cc: Rideout, Charles, Cllr.; Charsley, Roger, Cllr
Subject: Active Age Centre Chislehurst


Dear Cllrs Payne, Bosshard, Boughey, Cllrs Rideout and Charsley



As local Councillors I am writing to inform you of a decision my Trustees have made regarding the use of our premises at 85 High Street, Chislehurst. At present our Active Age Centre is open four days a week for lunches and refreshments and we hold a weekly exercise and computer course during the day and hire the premises out to other community groups during the hours we do not use the premises.



However, the number of customers using the cafe for lunch and refreshments does not generate sufficient revenue to meet the costs of running the Active Age Centre. Our Trustees have continued to monitor the financial viability of the activity and unfortunately have reached a decision that it is not sustainable to keep subsidising the activity from our unrestricted charitable funds. Therefore, it has been decided to use our premises for another purpose, the provision of our Day Opportunities as of the 28th March.



We presently provide a specialist dementia service on a Monday at Chislehurst for self funders and people with individual budgets. We have agreed with the Commissioning Officers at Bromley Council that when our Day Opportunities block contract with Bromley Council expires 31st March, we will provide a service from Chislehurst rather than the leased premises at St Edwards Church Hall in Mottingham. This will enable us to be flexible in the hours the service is available for both ‘legacy placements’ funded by Bromley Council and for self funders and people with individual budgets.



It has not been possible to inform everyone at the same time of the proposed changes as we have consulted with our clients and carers who attend the St Edwards Day Centre in Mottingham and our staff team – and all parties are positive about the relocation to Chislehurst.


I have also informed our volunteers at Chislehurst who support the paid cook, whose position will be retained and we were due to have a meeting last Friday with our volunteers which had to be postponed due to the snow. A notice for informing customers at Chislehurst will be on the noticeboard on Monday also inviting them to meet with me on the 13th February so we can address any questions they may have and explain to the more vulnerable customers about the Day Opportunities service, as they may wish to attend once the service transfers to Chislehurst.



Unfortunately, someone today arranged for the Newsshopper to send a photographer it is likely to be covered in the paper next week before everyone has been informed.



As it is likely that some local people may attend one of your surgeries or write to you, I thought you would appreciate knowing the facts from me about the change in use of the premises. We will be making arrangements for the exercise and computer courses we run to be held elsewhere and all our other hirers will be able to continue to use the premises in the way they have been and Age UK Bromley & Greenwich will continue to be actively involved in the local community.



If there is any further information you would like please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes



Maureen Falloon

Director
Don't let the facts get in the way of a totally misleading article about the Council though hey.... From: maureen Falloon [mailto:mFalloon@age ukbandg.org.uk] Sent: 25 January 2013 17:02 To: Payne, Ian, Cllr; Bosshard, Eric, Cllr; Kate.Boughey@bromley .gov.uk Cc: Rideout, Charles, Cllr.; Charsley, Roger, Cllr Subject: Active Age Centre Chislehurst Dear Cllrs Payne, Bosshard, Boughey, Cllrs Rideout and Charsley As local Councillors I am writing to inform you of a decision my Trustees have made regarding the use of our premises at 85 High Street, Chislehurst. At present our Active Age Centre is open four days a week for lunches and refreshments and we hold a weekly exercise and computer course during the day and hire the premises out to other community groups during the hours we do not use the premises. However, the number of customers using the cafe for lunch and refreshments does not generate sufficient revenue to meet the costs of running the Active Age Centre. Our Trustees have continued to monitor the financial viability of the activity and unfortunately have reached a decision that it is not sustainable to keep subsidising the activity from our unrestricted charitable funds. Therefore, it has been decided to use our premises for another purpose, the provision of our Day Opportunities as of the 28th March. We presently provide a specialist dementia service on a Monday at Chislehurst for self funders and people with individual budgets. We have agreed with the Commissioning Officers at Bromley Council that when our Day Opportunities block contract with Bromley Council expires 31st March, we will provide a service from Chislehurst rather than the leased premises at St Edwards Church Hall in Mottingham. This will enable us to be flexible in the hours the service is available for both ‘legacy placements’ funded by Bromley Council and for self funders and people with individual budgets. It has not been possible to inform everyone at the same time of the proposed changes as we have consulted with our clients and carers who attend the St Edwards Day Centre in Mottingham and our staff team – and all parties are positive about the relocation to Chislehurst. I have also informed our volunteers at Chislehurst who support the paid cook, whose position will be retained and we were due to have a meeting last Friday with our volunteers which had to be postponed due to the snow. A notice for informing customers at Chislehurst will be on the noticeboard on Monday also inviting them to meet with me on the 13th February so we can address any questions they may have and explain to the more vulnerable customers about the Day Opportunities service, as they may wish to attend once the service transfers to Chislehurst. Unfortunately, someone today arranged for the Newsshopper to send a photographer it is likely to be covered in the paper next week before everyone has been informed. As it is likely that some local people may attend one of your surgeries or write to you, I thought you would appreciate knowing the facts from me about the change in use of the premises. We will be making arrangements for the exercise and computer courses we run to be held elsewhere and all our other hirers will be able to continue to use the premises in the way they have been and Age UK Bromley & Greenwich will continue to be actively involved in the local community. If there is any further information you would like please do not hesitate to contact me. Best wishes Maureen Falloon Director Cllr Colin Smith
  • Score: 0

10:30pm Thu 7 Feb 13

Peony says...

Bromley council have been vindicated by Maureen Falloon. This letter has spelt out why they are changing their use of the Chislehurst premises.

Who is going to vindicate them for telling outrageous lies to people with learning disabilities when they closed down their day centres. They were given thousands of pounds by the government of the time to modernise services. It was wasted on lavish consultations which were really fairy stories. To promise so much and to deliver so little is despicable especially when you think these people are innocents relying on goodwill and good practise from a council who profess to be a caring council, but did in fact trick them into believing they were getting a better service.
Bromley council have been vindicated by Maureen Falloon. This letter has spelt out why they are changing their use of the Chislehurst premises. Who is going to vindicate them for telling outrageous lies to people with learning disabilities when they closed down their day centres. They were given thousands of pounds by the government of the time to modernise services. It was wasted on lavish consultations which were really fairy stories. To promise so much and to deliver so little is despicable especially when you think these people are innocents relying on goodwill and good practise from a council who profess to be a caring council, but did in fact trick them into believing they were getting a better service. Peony
  • Score: -1

9:09am Fri 8 Feb 13

Mangetout says...

Peony wrote:
Bromley council have been vindicated by Maureen Falloon. This letter has spelt out why they are changing their use of the Chislehurst premises.

Who is going to vindicate them for telling outrageous lies to people with learning disabilities when they closed down their day centres. They were given thousands of pounds by the government of the time to modernise services. It was wasted on lavish consultations which were really fairy stories. To promise so much and to deliver so little is despicable especially when you think these people are innocents relying on goodwill and good practise from a council who profess to be a caring council, but did in fact trick them into believing they were getting a better service.
Well said Peony.
Why anyone is surprised that Councillors don't wish to reduce their numbers is a mystery. They would miss their 'mates' to chat to and would hate to be minions like the rest of us.
[quote][p][bold]Peony[/bold] wrote: Bromley council have been vindicated by Maureen Falloon. This letter has spelt out why they are changing their use of the Chislehurst premises. Who is going to vindicate them for telling outrageous lies to people with learning disabilities when they closed down their day centres. They were given thousands of pounds by the government of the time to modernise services. It was wasted on lavish consultations which were really fairy stories. To promise so much and to deliver so little is despicable especially when you think these people are innocents relying on goodwill and good practise from a council who profess to be a caring council, but did in fact trick them into believing they were getting a better service.[/p][/quote]Well said Peony. Why anyone is surprised that Councillors don't wish to reduce their numbers is a mystery. They would miss their 'mates' to chat to and would hate to be minions like the rest of us. Mangetout
  • Score: 0

11:59am Sat 9 Feb 13

Gipsyrose-lee says...

The decision by councillors to cut frontline services for children, elderly and disabled people and not their own numbers is disgraceful. So many of the councillors have a main job and the council wage is a second income they receive for doing very little. On the front page of the News shopper giving the list of councillors isn't.it surprising how many family members there are on the council,. noses in troughs spring to mind.
The decision by councillors to cut frontline services for children, elderly and disabled people and not their own numbers is disgraceful. So many of the councillors have a main job and the council wage is a second income they receive for doing very little. On the front page of the News shopper giving the list of councillors isn't.it surprising how many family members there are on the council,. noses in troughs spring to mind. Gipsyrose-lee
  • Score: 0

12:34pm Sat 9 Feb 13

goldenbroomboy says...

Gipsyrose-lee wrote:
The decision by councillors to cut frontline services for children, elderly and disabled people and not their own numbers is disgraceful. So many of the councillors have a main job and the council wage is a second income they receive for doing very little. On the front page of the News shopper giving the list of councillors isn't.it surprising how many family members there are on the council,. noses in troughs spring to mind.
I am going to disagree slightly.

This borough has been run for decades by a few wealthy families & their equally wealthy friends,with a short intermission in the late nineties courtesy of John Major's government. They really don't need the extra money, they just like the power.
[quote][p][bold]Gipsyrose-lee[/bold] wrote: The decision by councillors to cut frontline services for children, elderly and disabled people and not their own numbers is disgraceful. So many of the councillors have a main job and the council wage is a second income they receive for doing very little. On the front page of the News shopper giving the list of councillors isn't.it surprising how many family members there are on the council,. noses in troughs spring to mind.[/p][/quote]I am going to disagree slightly. This borough has been run for decades by a few wealthy families & their equally wealthy friends,with a short intermission in the late nineties courtesy of John Major's government. They really don't need the extra money, they just like the power. goldenbroomboy
  • Score: 0

10:01am Tue 12 Feb 13

Eonick says...

I wonder just how many Diversity and Equality Coordinators, Social Inclusion Officers and LGBT counsellors have been cut ? Hmmm?
I wonder just how many Diversity and Equality Coordinators, Social Inclusion Officers and LGBT counsellors have been cut ? Hmmm? Eonick
  • Score: 0

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