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Councillors have been banned from Girtrell Court – the dedicated care and respite centre in Saughall Massie under threat of closure.
Following concerns raised two weeks ago over the accuracy of the ‘Cost Benefit Analysis’ of closure, the three Ward Councillors asked to meet with staff, service users and their families at Girtrell Court to listen to their views.
Now, in a surprise move, the Town Hall has said no meeting will be allowed.
And, in a further blow to the promise by Leader of the Council for full and open consultation, Senior Directors have also refused to share data on who uses Girtrell Court with the three Councillors, in spite of the Town Hall paying for the three councillors to be registered under the Data Protection Act.
Councillor Chris Blakeley said: “I feel that the promises made by the Leader are not being kept.
“The three councillors offered to put Party politics aside and work with the Labour Administration and the unions to find a solution that is best for the people who use Girtrell Court.
“Yet, when we get to the nitty gritty of coming up with such a plan, at such an early stage, every avenue is blocked by Senior Directors.
“I have now asked for the Town Hall to agree to circulate a letter from the three councillors to the service users, their carers and families. We’ll print the letter and we’ll provide the stamps!”
Copy of email sent to Graham Hodkinson, Wirral’s Director of Adult Social Services appended below.
I understand the Council’s Senior Directors, through yourself have imposed a ban on the three councillors for Moreton West & Saughall Massie (myself and councillors Berry and Williams) meeting at Girtrell Court with residents, staff, service users and their families.
Such a ban is unprecedented – even during the ill conceived ‘Strategic Asset Review’ meetings took place between residents and their ELECTED representatives at venues across the Borough.
I am also disturbed that, even at this stage, as a senior Director you are giving misleading and inaccurate information about this facility:
1. A week before closure was proposed, Councillor Berry was promised an alternative was being considered but no mention of closing Girtrell Court
2. When myself and Councillor Berry met with you after closure was proposed, we were advised there was only one permanent resident, albeit with non-resident 120 service users. In fact, there are SIX residents and 120 service users.
3. The Leader of the Council pledged a full, open and transparent consultation. Yet, in view of decisions taken since, this consultation will exclude any meeting between service users and ward councillors and will not be held on site.
You have also advised me that, due to Data Protection legislation, you are unable to share their contact details with me for the purpose of this exercise. I should inform you that Wirral Borough Council has paid for each elected Councillor to be registered with the Information Commissioner in order for us to be compliant with this legislation and bound by it, as you are.
As such, I have contacted the Information Commissioner’s Office in Knutsford to seek advice and clarification of this issue.
In light of these serious issues, I am asking that you agree in the meantime to circulate to the service users, their carers and families as well as all staff, a letter from the three councillors seeking their views on what is being proposed.
I look forward to your response
Cllr Chris Blakeley
Moreton West and Saughall Massie Ward
Wirral Borough Council
0151 677 9040