To note, that no requests for deputations have been received for presentation to this Cabinet meeting.
1. No formal requests for deputations had been received for presentation to this Cabinet meeting.
2. In response to a request from members of the deaf community in attendance, the Leader agreed to listen to concerns in respect of the Enfield Disability Association (EDA) – Deaf Project.
3. Spokesperson for members of the deaf community Laurence Banks presented the deputation to Cabinet, including the following points:
? He was involved in the Enfield Deaf Image Group (ENDIG) which had been campaigning to save the Deaf Project for about three years.
? He thanked the Cabinet for permitting this opportunity to share the deaf community’s feelings and concerns.
? The Deaf Project was very valuable to the deaf community and had helped so many people to be supported in calls, emails, etc which could not be done by themselves because of a lack of access. Face to face contact with real people was a necessity, and professional explanation in language which could be understood.
? It was a problem that different services did not offer the same access.
? When the community heard that the Council was cutting funding for the Deaf Project it was such a loss. People were anxious and did not know where they would find support.
? Cabinet was asked to recognise the strength of feeling and that the deaf community were trying to save a service which was of high value to them and to the Council. Cabinet were asked to reconsider the decision, to recognise the need, and to provide funding and support for the Deaf Project to continue.
4. Councillor Alev Cazimoglu, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, was invited to speak in response and advised:
? She had met the members of the deaf community in attendance many times previously and had worked closely with them and would continue to do so, and gave assurance that no-one was going to be forgotten about.
? The present situation was confirmed. On 18/10/17 Cabinet had approved the Prevention and Early Intervention funding tender award. Outcomes Three and Six were deferred and referred back to Cabinet on 24/1/18. Given the delays in confirming the transition, funding had been given until 31/3/18. Procurement of voluntary service contracts were long overdue, but now there would be sustainable arrangements in place.
? The voluntary and community sector would now be able to provide longer term services.
? This had been challenging to organisations and there had been changes to what they were doing, and bringing in of new organisations and Council partnerships.
? The anxieties of users was recognised and that was why things were being taken slowly and the new contracts were being worked through to ensure users’ needs were going to be met.
? There were ongoing meetings between partners. The lead organisations had funds to allow start up. The new model aimed to continue provision of a wide range of support and services as had previously been provided, but there may be different providers in the current constrained financial environment. No services would be taken away. Work would continue to ensure a sustainable voluntary sector community service.
5. Further information in response was provided by Bindi Nagra, Director of Adult Social Care, including:
? The final decision on award of contracts to voluntary sector organisations was made in January.
? Transitional funding was made available to provide services up to the end of March.
? New organisations were working hard to make sure that new services were put in place as quickly as possible.
? The new arrangements would respond to people with sensory impairments including deaf people, and officers were having talks about needs being met going forward.
? He offered his personal assurance that the issues for the deaf community had not been forgotten and work was going on to bring in new arrangements as quickly as possible.
? He was aware of the forthcoming closure of the Deaf Project office, and acknowledged users’ anxiety during the transition, but it had to be understood that existing services were stopping and new services that responded to the needs of all the community within the budget envelope of the Council were going to be provided, and that did mean change.
6. Councillor Taylor stressed the need for a seamless transition, and ensuring that the transition was monitored. Bindi Nagra confirmed that there were regular meetings with the new providers, and that conversations continued with Enfield Disability Association. Once the final agreements were signed and it was proper to give the information, the details of the new arrangements would be provided. Councillor Cazimoglu and Councillor Brett were also monitoring closely to ensure that the transition happened as seamlessly as possible.
7. Councillor Alessandro Georgiou on behalf of the deaf community thanked Councillor Taylor for permitting the deputation and for his and Councillor Cazimoglu’s response this evening.
8. Councillor Taylor thanked the deputees and recognised the passion and concern among the deaf community. It was important to get services right for people, and good to know that Councillors Cazimoglu and Brett would be keeping a close eye on the issue and would want to maintain dialogue about the situation. He thanked the members of the deaf community for attending and for powerfully raising their cause.