NO cost to taxpayers for “shop4support” web site …..yet

click to access

click to access

The York Council is saying that it is not paying for the web site which provides Eaccess to some services for disabled residents.

However it may have to contribute £15,000 a year to maintain the site which lists a mixture of public and private sector service suppliers.

The “shop4support” web site became available earlier in the year but has received little publicity. It bears the City of York Council logo.

Lib Dem Councillor Lynn Jeffries asked at the last Council meeting “how the Cabinet member was ensuring that the information contained on the website is accurate, accessible, comprehensive and up to date?”

No detailed response was provided other than to say that the “family Information service” is responsible for the content.

It remains unclear how decisions are made on which organisations to advertise on the site.

The web site is apparently to be formally launched later in the year

shop4support York website questions

Residents accessing a new York web site have questioned the York Councils role in the initiative.

Although available since May, the shop4support site has had little publicity and there is no explanation on the site of the Councils role or the standing of the site.

click to access site

click to access site

It appears to advertise services for disadvantaged people in the City but representatives of some voluntary organisations say they have only just found out about its existence.

It appears that the site is aimed at personal budget holders – residents who have opted to manage their own social care needs from a budget allocated by the local authority. This is a growing number of people in York where the number of direct payment holders has increased from 99 in 2008 to around 300 today. In addition many elderly people also chose now to arrange their own care.

The web page is clearly marked as being a City of York Council supported initiative, but there is no record of the Council having formally discussed its involvement. No Council contact telephone number is advertised on the site. There is no link to the site from the Council’s own web page.

Many of the services offered involve a payment. Although some of the advertisers are voluntary groups, there are others which appear to have a more commercial background.

Elsewhere on the web site, Councils are being offered the chance to get join the network in return for a payment of “from £45,000”.

Questions about the Councils involvement with the web site are likely to be asked at the next Council meeting which is taking place on 10th October.

Social care costs in York click to enlarge

Social care costs in York click to enlarge

South Park (Gale Lane) care home inspection report published

The Care quality Commission has published a worrying report on conditions at a local care home.

A copy of the full report can be downloaded by clicking here
South park

The inspector’s summary reads

We had previously received concerns about the home with regard to staffing levels and the administration of medication. We followed those concerns up as part of our inspection. The home had a high level of staff vacancies this meant that approximately 60% of the current staff were provided by an agency or the providers own staff were completing overtime. We found that this had a major impact on the consistency and quality of care and support people received.

People told us that care was improving and some of the staff were excellent. Others expressed concern and did not feel confident that the care they were receiving was good enough. We saw staff responding to people in a kind and patient manner but we also saw some circumstances which demonstrated a lack of respect for people’s privacy and dignity. Some people had consented to their care and treatment.

However, on Ebor unit, we saw few attempts to offer people choice about the care and support they experienced. Some people were not given a choice of meal and were not supported with dignity. Recording and administering of medication were unsafe which meant people were at risk of not receiving their medication as prescribed.

Information contained in people’s care records was inconsistent; which increased the risk for people not receiving care according to their needs and wishes. Poor auditing and record keeping meant that people’s health and safety was being placed at unnecessary risk of harm.

Oliver House – £30,000 taxpayers bill for property empty for 18 months

It has become clear why the Council’s leadership were so reluctant to answer questions about the future of the former elderly person’s home at Oliver House in Bishophill at the last council meeting.

Oliver House York

A Freedom of Information response has revealed that the building is costing taxpayers nearly £2000 a month to keep empty.

The building has been unused since April 2012.

The only “occupants” are a firm called “ad hoc property management” who – in return for access – offer a “free” security service.

No rent or other income has been received for the property.

Discussions with the York CVS, which might have led to the building being sold to them, started in May 2012. They stalled several months ago.

The value of the prime site has been put at over £1 million with offers having apparently already been made, to the Council, by housing developers.

The Council has spent £30,000 over the last 18 months paying rates and on maintaining the empty property.

There are currently over 4500 people on the waiting list for social accommodation in the City. Many of these require single person accommodation

NB. The Guildhall has also now been empty for 8 months and is costing Council taxpayers around £160,000 a year in maintenance, rates and other costs.

York Council empty home shame

Oliver House York

The York Council is refusing to say when the former elderly person’s home at Oliver House will be brought back into use. The last residents moved out in April 2012.

Freedom of Information questions

Freedom of Information questions

Oliver House is located at the end of Priory Street in a prime City centre location near the Bar Walls. It has been valued at over £1 million.

Labour Councillors have refused to explain why the home has not been brought back into use.

It appears that the only occupants were a “secured by occupation” group who – in return for free accommodation – provide a security presence at the site.

York CVS announced in October 2012 an ambitious £1 million plan to house “22 charities” in the building. Media report

The planning application for the project was approved in February. The cost to remodel the building had by then increased to £1.3 million with most apparently to come from ”loans, grants and local businesses”.

It was unclear who would pay for the running costs of the project.

Despite being asked for an explanation of the delays at two successive Council meetings, Labour Councillors have remained tight lipped.

Now a Freedom of Information request has been submitted to the Council. This will force the Authority to reveal its plans within the next 4 weeks.

With over half the people registered on the housing waiting list requiring single bedroomed accommodation, many residents are puzzled why prime sites like these are not being scheduled for residential use ahead of green field sites.

To leave a building like this empty for over 18 months, and apparently with no prospect of occupation for at least another year, is shameful.