In their alternative budget today, Liberal Democrats on Northamptonshire County Council have made provision for the creation of two “Service User Advocacy” positions – independent of the Council’s care services.
Cllr. Sally Beardsworth, who seconded the proposal, commented “I’m incredibly worried that the budget pressures on this Council are currently taking priority over quality of care for vulnerable adults and children.”
The posts would not be part of the Council structure, allowing genuine independence to investigate quality of care and stand up for service users, without any regard for budgetary pressures or politics.
“Unfortunately, officers, who do a magnificent job, have a number of masters when it comes to the delivery of care – the budget it one of them, and so it the embarrassment to the Council of finding out or admitting it when things go wrong.” Sally added.
At the budget meeting, Cllr. Robin Brown, the Conservative portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, pointed out that there are “other organisations” who are concerned with care, and the Council therefore need not be. Liberal Democrats responded that outside organisations had failed to pick up on 10 years of life-threatening failure within Children’s Services.