In a lengthy statement from Glasgow City Council, some of the information given out at the Accord centre by users’ families to Alex Salmond, was disputed.
Following dicussions and consultations from October 2007, a sub group to examine how to reform Learning Disability Day Service provision was set-up in May 2008.
At that time, around 850 people with a learning disability were signed up for day support at 11 day centres across the city. Two areas were highlighted – building -based activity to help to encourage therapeutic interventioins for those who need and benefit from them. And encouragement of participation in community based activities and opportunities.
Among the reforms noted was: To provide a balanced service with less emphasis on specialist buildings and greater emphasis on community focused/ connected care.
By 2010 the 850 service users of 2008 had been reduced to 693 service users.
At least 90 events were held between October 2007 and April 2008 as part of the consultation process. And Service users and carers were ‘directly involved ‘ in a number of strategic workstreams.
The City Council’s Executive Committee agreed in October 2010 to implement Self Directed Support. This meant that every person registered with a learning disability and funded by GCC would complete a Self Evaluation Questionnaire and be responsible for deciding how to spend their funding allowance.
An up-date on learning disability service reforms, was recentlybefore the Health and Social Care Policy Development Committee.
Commenting on Alex Salmond’s visit to the Accord Centre on Tuesay 17 May, Councillor Matt Kerr, the council’s Executive Member for Social Care, said: “We have been working closely with the Accord carers for several months to find a solution which is acceptable to everyone.
“Alternative day care support has already been identified for a significant number of service users who have the highest and most complex support needs. They will move to this centre on Monday 23 May.
“The remaining services users have all been offered places in another centre and we are extremely confident there will be a positive conclusion for those who continue to attend at the Accord Centre .
“It’s disappointing the First Minister didn’t feel able to accept our invitation to meet when he was already in Glasgow to discuss the Accord Centre , but the offer remains open.
“It is also regrettable the SNP government seems intent on treating this issue as political football when they appear to have no real understanding of what needs to be done.”
A spokesman for the Council added: “We have been working on reforms to our learning disability service for well over three years now and the closure to the Accord Centre has to be seen as part of those reforms.
“The changes being implemented will see service users continue to receive appropriate and tailored levels of support while also providing greater scope and flexibility for individuals to follow their interests and aspirations.”
“Plans to move to an alternative centre were shelved earlier this year because of financial difficulties connected to those alternative premises.
“Service users will be able to remain in the Accord Centre while a solution is found, but it is still the intention to close the centre as part of on-going reforms to our learning disability service. On Monday 23 May, 22 of the Accord service users with profound needs, will attend Riddrie Centre where significant investment has been made to ensure they can be accommodated as they require building-based care.
“Options for those who remain at the Accord are being explored and we hope to have this matter resolved in the near future.”
Those still at the Accord have been offered places at the Glenburn Centre in Easterhouse, which meets Care Commission standards, otherwise it could not be considered.
This offer is open to all 62 service users who still attend at the Accord, many of whom will have their support largely delivered in the community via voluntary and charitable groups in any event.
Thirty-four individuals who previously attended the Accord Centre have already moved away from council-operated day centre provision following receipt of their own care budgets through the personalisation process.
The Accord Centre is one of two learning disability day centres in east Glasgow – the other being the Riddrie Centre. As part of the modernisation of LD services, the council was expected to move away from reliance on day centres as a means of support and this led to the decision to close the Accord Centre. This has coincided with developments around the Commonwealth Games.
The Accord Centre is a mixed-use community venue, which is also a base for a GPs’ surgery and was also formerly a day centre for elderly people until it was closed as it did not meet Care Commission standards. The condition of the building is poor while health and safety concerns have also been expressed in relation to transport arrangements for the Accord.
As part of the modernisation programme, two other day care centres in Glasgow for people with learning disabilities closed in October last year with service users taking up places in alternative premises as required and appropriate. There has been lengthy and detailed consultation with service users and their carers and the changes have been broadly well received.
The move away from day centre support is entirely consistent with national policy initiatives, which hope to see people with learning disabilities enjoy far greater integration into mainstream society, and also the expectations of national regulatory bodies.’