OPINION: Manchester's Money Tree

24 January 2018

A letter submitted to the Manchester Evening News  on 21.10.17 by Manchester Green Party member, Sam Darby, based in Burnage.

The City Council policy of city centre growth has seen the proliferation of tower blocks for businesses, private apartments and hotels.  It has also led to the subsidy the National Football Museum, cultural projects at Home and the Factory for tens of millions and a pop concert for 425,000 pounds. Money is available for what our Labour councillors think is important.

It all sounds quite dynamic and perhaps exciting until you look at the condition of the public services for vulnerable adults and children in Manchester. The MEN reported on 3rd of January that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected the City Councils Hall Lane Resource Centre in August and found that the service was understaffed and that despite the staff having raised concerns about this “there was no evidence that these concerns had been acted upon by the management team”. The CQC found that “This placed vulnerable people at increased risk of unsafe and inappropriate care.” and that the centre was “inadequate” in terms of management, safety and responsiveness to needs.

On 11th of January the MEN reported that the CQC had found care for the elderly in Manchester “of poor quality” and social workers, carrying out high and complex caseloads, were leaving older people waiting longer than they should for assessments.

The MEN reported (12th January) that the Councils Seymour Care Home in Clayton was put into special measures by the CQC after an unannounced inspection following reports by two whistle blowers. The home has been judged to be “inadequate” and could be closed if improvements are not made in the next six months. The CQC indicated that they believed that a resident had been abused by being locked in their room. There were also allegations of physical and emotional abuse of residents. The CVQ said staff did not respond appropriately to residents needs and there was a lack of leadership and staff support.

Three years ago Ofsted found Manchester's children's services to be inadequate. Ofsteds latest report last month (MEN 22/12/17) found the children's service no longer inadequate, but that it still requires improvement of the overall service, child protection and support for children in care or leaving care. Ofsted has issued further recommendations to make progress.

The MEN (3rd of January) reported that Ofsted found “the number of secondary schools rated good or outstanding fell sharply in Manchester last year”. Councillor Rahman, Executive Member for Schools, Culture and Leisure said that despite improvements “there is still a gap to national levels”.

In December Grange School in Gorton, which deals only with autistic children was placed into special measures by Ofsted and Councillor Rahman had to come up with proposals for improvement. The problems identified were “weak” leadership and teaching, as well as governors not effectively holding school leaders to account.

It's evident that Labour's priorities are all wrong in Manchester. It's notable that Burnage Councillor Bev Craig is the Executive Member for Adult Services, responsible for The Hall Lane Resource Centre. 

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