Change of heart on running of Peterborough day opportunities for disabled adults

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The running of day opportunities for adults with learning or physical disabilities will not be sent out to an external provider after concerns were raised.

Peterborough City Council’s cabinet will now look to City College Peterborough to run the service after receiving feedback from worried residents.

The cabinet will discuss the new model on Friday, March 20.

The council currently runs two traditional day centres for adults under 65 with learning or physical disabilities.

These are Fletton Day Centre and Kingfisher Day Centre.

In addition, employment support is available from centres at 1-2 Westcombe Square, 441 Lincoln Road and 49 Lincoln Road.

In December, cabinet agreed to consult on a proposal which looks to reduce the amount of time people spend in traditional leisure-based day centres.

This would be by providing them with the skills to become more independent at home and in their communities and to access employment opportunities.

The original proposal, which was consulted upon in January and February, was for all services to be transferred to one provider to run on the council’s behalf.

However, the consultation responses showed that although people were by and large happy with the proposed shape of the future model, the biggest concern was that services would be transferred to an external provider.

Overall people’s preference was for the service to remain part of the city council and to be modernised.

As a result, the new proposal to be considered by cabinet is for services to be provided by City College Peterborough, which is operated by the council at arm’s length.

Currently the council-run day opportunities cost £1.7 million each year.

The new proposed model would generate savings in the region of £292,453 in 2015/16.

Further savings of £307,547 are also expected to be achieved each year on the day opportunities commissioned by the council from the independent sector through contract negotiation.

In addition, the council would invest £500,000 in ensuring that buildings and appropriate facilities are able to deliver the wider range of services it wants to offer.

Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, the council’s corporate director: people and communities, said: “The whole point of the consultation was to find out what people thought to the original proposal so that we could see if it was the best way forward.

“I’m delighted that we have found a way to provide a more modern day opportunities programme in a way that keeps services in-house and provided by a range of different sectors.

“In addition, City College Peterborough is able to apply for funding under its charitable arm that we are not able to as a local authority.

“The new model will better support people to reach their full potential in life.

“It will support people to develop skills which will help them to gain employment and/or skills which will support them to live independently.”

Investment will also be made in up to four new community based satellite centres which will offer people the chance to develop their independent living and employment skills and socialise with people and groups in their community who can support them.

Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, cabinet member for adult social care, said: “We want our day opportunities to support people to reach their full potential in life.

“The new model will better support people to gain employment and earn a living, to live independently and to make links in their communities, thereby reducing their dependency on adult social care.

“This is good for the individual as it will offer them new opportunities in life and it’s good for the council as it means fewer people will require our care and support.”