The Councils Labour leadership are apparently visiting the Windsor House Elderly Persons Home (EPH) this week. The Home is trialling some new techniques aimed at helping people with dementia.
The Councillors will no doubt also be seeking to persuade staff that the ill fated social care modernisation programme has overcome the chronic delays that have dogged it since Labour took office in 2011.
In July 2011 Labour embarked on another, ultimately fruitless, consultation. This was to appease UNISON who had funded their election campaign.
The consultation results were reported to a Council committee on 1st November 2011
A further reports was made on 10th Jan 2012 when the opening date for the Lowfields Care village was confirmed as April 2014. At that stage, Labour had already lost 6 months compared to the LibDem programme.
An update was given on 15th May 2012
The Cabinet finally admitted on 4th June 2013 that they could not complete the project until 2016.
That is nearly 3 years later than originally envisaged (The planned Fordlands replacement was abandoned and eventually replaced by a Burnholme school site alternative).
The meeting resolved to “proceed to tender (in a single procurement for both sites) to procure an external provider that will Design, Build, Operate and Maintain the Burnholme care home and the Lowfield Community Village for Older People”.
They agreed to spend £500,000 on the procurement exercise
Tenders are scheduled to be received in May, nearly a year after the new Care Village at Lowfields had actually been due to open.
It now looks like any project completion will be in the winter of 2016/17.
The scheme is estimated to cost between £25 and £30 million. Its day to day funding will depend on the economies being made at other homes like Windsor Garth which will close.
The Council have got themselves in a major fix on a project which was expected to help control escalating social care costs. They have been forced to add another £2.5 million to their budget next year.
The budget being considered today however makes no reference – or provision for – the EPH scheme.
The lack of an update since last June is even more surprising given that it is one of the three highest value changes which will have been implemented by the Council during the last 25 years.