Bid to overturn Rondel House decision fails

A MOTION calling for changes in daycare services at Rondel House in Barry and Gardenhurst in Penarth to be reversed, has been rejected by Vale councillors.

At a full council meeting last Wednesday (September 28) the proposal – which also suggested a full investigation into what campaigners call the ‘unsatisfactory’ consultation process – was shot down by 23 votes to 16.

It means Gardenhurst will merge with Rondel House to provide a single daycare complex, with the Penarth site transformed into a day service for adults with learning disabilities, as per the council’s plans.

More than 60 campaigners opposing the changes held a protest outside the Civic Offices in Barry ahead of the meeting.

And the decision was met with fury inside the gallery, with protestors shouting ‘shame on you’ at the councillors.

Cllr Mark Wilson was one of those who proposed the motion to reverse the changes.

“The Vale is the wealthiest council in Wales, but it is still cutting daycare for the elderly,” he said.

“Is it appropriate in the 21st century for the former users of Rondel House to be advised to use the local pub for their daycare?”

Campaign leader Sue Phillips said it was ‘little more than she had come to expect’ from the Vale Council.

“Rondel House seems to be regarded by the cabinet as some kind of tardis that can accommodate all the social services-assessed elderly people across the Vale,” she said.

“This despite the fact that the original proposal referred to it being able to accommodate 14 to 18 people maximum, in its new use as a specialist unit.

“Cllr Dorothy Turner said in her speech, ‘we had two similar units at Rondel House and Gardenhurst so we decided to merge them into one’ – evidently reducing day care when the need is increasing all the time.

“And the fact that the centres were well used and loved by their former clients and family carers appears to have no relevance.

“She also said the authority had informed service users, trade unions, staff and affected stakeholders about the changes, to which there was an unanimous, and deafening ‘no’ from the gallery,” she added.

“It’s disgraceful and disappointing and our elderly deserve better. We feel totally betrayed.”

A Vale Council statement said that combining the day services ‘made best use of resources’, while continuing to provide all those who have been assessed as needing a service with one, in a way that reduced the council’s costs.

Cllr Dorothy Turner, cabinet member for Social and Care Services, said: “Adult Services is doing everything it can to protect frontline services in an extremely difficult financial context.

“It has already managed to save money by cutting its senior management costs through joint appointments, such as those advertised recently. It is also working with Cardiff and Vale UHB to reduce any duplication between health and social care services.

“Any change can be difficult, but these changes need to be made to try and protect services for the most vulnerable in our society.”

The campaigners plan to complain to the public service ombudsman, to challenge the decision and examine the public consultation which preceded.