Voluntary and community groups and people using their services are being encouraged to have their say on proposals to stop their grant funding.
Derby County Council currently grant more than £2.5m from their adult care budget to voluntary and community groups providing a range of services across the county to older and vulnerable people.
While some services must be provided by law (statutory services) others such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (non-statutory services) do not.
The council has been paying grants to dozens of community and voluntary organisations for more than 15 years and despite budget pressures they have so far been able to continue the payments in the last three years by using money from their reserves and from the Public Health Resource Fund.
However, proposals are now in place to change the way funding is given to groups and organisations due to year-on-year budget pressures resulting from cuts in the amount of money the DCC receive from central government.
In March their Cabinet agreed to hold a 12-week consultation in to proposals to stop funding to voluntary and community groups providing non-statutory services, and this has now been launched.
Non-statutory services include counselling for adults with relationship difficulties, bereavement services, furniture projects, voluntary action centres and exercise classes.
Groups and organisations providing non-statutory services and people who use them are now being encouraged to take part in the consultation and give their views on the proposals.
The groups will also have the opportunity to demonstrate they are offering services which contribute towards meeting our priorities and have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of local people.
The consultation runs until Sunday 24 July 2016 and you can give your views by filling in a questionnaire online or by writing, emailing or phoning for a paper copy of the questionnaire.
Voluntary and community groups have also been sent paper copies of the questionnaire which they can give out to people using their service, and can be returned in a pre-paid envelope.
If the cuts are approved by the Cabinet later this year some services currently receiving this funding may need to stop altogether, but no decisions have been made about that at this stage.
People using services are being advised to speak to the organisations providing them to ask what consequences they believe there will be if the cuts are agreed.
Some organisations also receive funding from NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), and a separate engagement is being held by the CCGs to gather people’s views about these services. Following this engagement, the CCGs will make their own decisions on future funding.
The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care Councillor Paul Smith said:
“We have been talking to dozens of groups and organisations across the county about the severe budget pressures facing the council and the need for some services to change.
“We don’t think we can continue to fund all these groups to the same level we have done in the past, especially if we don’t have a legal duty to do so, but we won’t make any decisions about this until we hear what the groups themselves and individuals have to say.
“We recognise the valuable work being carried out and ask that anyone using one of the affected services, and the groups and organisations themselves, take the time to give us their views during the consultation.
“We want as much information as possible from people about how any changes would affect them and the service they use so we have all the facts before we make the difficult decisions we’re faced with.”
Decisions on the proposals will be made by the Cabinet at a meeting in September 2016.
For a paper copy of the questionnaire people should:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- tel: 01629 533365
- or write to: Derbyshire County Council Stakeholder Engagement and Consultation Team Adult Care Derbyshire County Council County Hall Matlock DE4 3AG