Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Funding decisions on mental health services

On 15th January, I attended the Operational Scrutiny Committee of Glasgow City Council to speak as a signatory of the Call-in Request in to Review and Reform of Mental Health Services. This meeting enabled councillors to re-consider a report approved by the Executive Committee on 11th December 2014. The key issues that I raised for councillors to consider included;

1) The perception that there has been a lack of transparency in decision-making process

A reduction of 40% in budget allocation for Glasgow Association for Mental Health is to be implemented based on the approval of the report to the Executive Committee on 11th December 2014.

The overall sum of £14.2m is stated in the report at point 3, the section on policy and resource implication. The report referred to a review and its conclusions, but this did not provide councillors with the detailed breakdown of how the £14.2m is to be spent.

Reference is made in section 2.5 of the report, I highlighted "a review of services delivered by GAMH through its three Community Service Centres and Clubhouse has highlighted a clear need to improve the performance of the provision.."

It is my understanding that the performance of the GAMH has been consistently reported verbally and in writing through monitoring meetings, quarterly returns and service reviews. The ongoing monitoring feedback has indicated that the performance of GAMH is satisfactory.

2) Lack of reference to benefits of partnership working and integration of health & social care as part of the review.

There is mention of potential duplication of services at point 2.3 of the report. GAMH has repeatedly indicated that it is willing to co-operate with SWS, NHS and other providers to ensure that the most appropriate and effective support opportunities are available to people who need support with their mental health. There is anecdotal evidence which suggests that NHS staff make referrals to GAMH because they are confident that their training, supervisory and management arrangements are robust. The Service Centres of GAMH are registered with the Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) and have achieved consistently high scores (5 and 6) when inspected.

3) Lack of reference to the council policy to support living wage pay rates by contractors

The official statement of the council website is "The Council is keen to widen the impact of the policy and will work within the current legislative framework to encourage contractors to pay the Living Wage.  It is important that companies who benefit from public money can demonstrate that they are putting something back into their communities and we intend to use our procurement to raise standards of pay across the city." It should be noted that GAMH is a registered Living Wage Employer.

4) What about support for equalities and human rights based approach?

There is a statutory duty on the Council to carry out equality impact assessments.
The report makes recommendations which are likely to a negative impact on groups or individuals who access mental health services across Glasgow. It should be noted that GAMH is a membership organisation and on average 90% of the Principal Members of the Company are people who use their services.

I am particularly concerned about the proposed cut to funding on members of the Scotia Clubhouse. Since 1998, this has provided resources which are dedicated to the recovery of people experiencing mental health problems. It is providing opportunities for their members to develop skills and contributing their talents through a community of mutual support. The aim is a high quality of life for all members, ongoing recovery and the ultimate elimination of stigma surrounding those with mental health problems.

After a vote, the decision of the Operational Scrutiny Committee was to refer the report back to the Executive Committee recommending a 30% not 40% cut to GAMH.

Update: 22nd January 2015 
The Executive Committee has maintained the cut of 40% at a meeting today.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.