14:30 Thursday 09 January 2014

Fears raised over disability plans for kids

Written byMARK MCKAY

A FORMER social worker has accused child’s services leaders of ‘ignoring’ the public after they went against the results of a public consultation.

Last week Staffordshire County Council announced proposals to switch the provision for children with learning disabilities from a purely county council-led service to joint provision between the county council and the private sector.

The county council is now poised to approve the changes to education, employment and day activity provision despite just 18.8 per cent of those consulted backing the plans.

It is a move which led to Susan Adey, of Burton, who worked in a social worker for 30 years, accusing the county council of conning the public.

She said: “I disagree with what the council had done because I don’t think it’s what people who have everyday contact with children with learning disabilities want.

“I think this is a bit of a con. They are ignoring public opinion.”

Following a three-month consultation, 71.8 per cent favoured leaving the county council in charge of the service while 0.7 per cent voted for the service to be entirely private sector-led.

Burton was the only town where more support was received for the joint approach.

But Mrs Adey said this could be down to the low voter turnout – just eight in Burton – and a lack of faith in the consultation process

Allan White, the county council’s boss for care, said he understood the concerns but believed the changes would improve choice and the quality of life for those affected.

He said: “Many people have already experienced the more personalised, individual support of the joint approach.

“In that area, the majority of people taking part in the consultation chose this option.”

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