We Con-Dem Northamptonshire County Council’s Wellbeing Community Organisation Proposals

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MarionTHThis is the speech given by Marion Turner Hawes Regarding Northamptonshire County Council’s Well-being Community Organisation Proposals on the 19th February at County Hall.

“My name is Marion Turner Hawes and I am the Green Party PPC for Wellingborough and Rushden. I am a Director of the Community Housing Network, and was one of the lead officers that helped create the Supporting People Programme

(1) The Council’s commissioning of Prevention services since 2010 has been a shambles.  In an area of people’s lives where it’s important to have consistency, interim contracts have been extended 4 times in the past 5 years.

(2) The Supporting People programme had a fund of £17 million pounds and helped nearly 17,000 people in Northants to live independently at an average cost of £20 per week.   It saved the public purse millions by staving off homelessness, reducing the need for people to move into care or preventing the breakdown of families.

(3) Since 2010 these services have been decimated, and less than half of the people supported are still getting help.  But their needs have not gone away, they are still struggling in our communities.

(4) In Wellingborough 30 local partners have come together, via Support Wellingborough, and despite reductions in funding, have helped hundreds of people get the extra support then need.

(5) Support Wellingborough won the Community Wellbeing Tender last November, only to see it withdrawn on 18th December, days after the Council released its ‘Next Generation’ plan.   which included a completely new vision for wellbeing, and one that NO ONE had been consulted on.  Indeed, this was being drafted even as the Council was awarding the contracts.  This is completely indefensible.

(8) Third sector partners spent almost £1.3 million pounds taking part in that process and I feel there should be an investigation into its collapse.

(7) Now the Council proposes to run these services via the Wellbeing Community Organisation. But there is nothing proposed, in service terms, which wouldn’t have been created had contracts been let and many would have been ready to operate by April.

(8) As a result the Council has completely alienated many of its partners and ignored the 1000’s of people using these services.

(9) As for the new Wellbeing Company, it’s not clear how it will actually save money nor if it’s financial assertions are realistic, or if the business is even viable.  The potential for even more public money to be wasted is very high.

(10) To me the whole thing is a shambles and should act as a blueprint of how NOT to work with people and communities.

(11) I call on the Council to abandon this project, and encourage it to support the people and organisations who do have a clear vison to improve Wellbeing, to get on with the job.

Thank you

Marion Turner Hawes”

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