Agenda Item No




The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting : 21st September, 2011


Report of the Cabinet Member for Social and Care Services


Responding to the British Red Cross decision to stop providing day care services in the Vale of Glamorgan


Purpose of the Report

1.             To inform Cabinet of strategic decisions made by the British Red Cross which mean that they will stop providing day care services in the Vale of Glamorgan and to seek Cabinet approval for the Social Services Directorate response.


That Cabinet:


1.             Notes the decision made by the British Red Cross.

2.             Agrees the proposal for urgent action to maintain appropriate day care service provision for those who have an assessed need.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To ensure that Cabinet is aware of the potential consequences for social care service users.

2.             To ensure that plans are in place to maintain appropriate day service provision for those users whose assessed needs are currently met by the British Red Cross.


2.             For many years, the British Red Cross has supported frail older people and those with dementia-related illnesses in the Vale of Glamorgan through the provision of two day care facilities situated at Barry Island and St. Athan.  On 23rd August, following informal discussions between relevant staff, the British Red Cross notified the Director of Social Services that they would cease providing the Barry Island day service from 31st October, 2011 and the St. Athan day service from 31st March, 2012.  The letter made clear that the decision had not been taken lightly but that the provision of day services does not fit in with the organisation's strategic plans, which involve concentrating on crises response services.

3.             The Barry Island day centre can support up to 18 people a day, Monday to Friday.  In the current financial year, actual attendance has been 9 people per day on average.   A total of 31 service users use the service, including a number of self-funding clients.  The Council has procured the service on a spot purchase basis.

4.             The St. Athan day service is run from the Gathering Place, a building leased from the St. Athan Methodist Church.  This service offers up to 10 placements a day, Monday - Friday.  Average attendance in 2011/12 is 6 per day; a total of 23 people use the service.  It is provided on the basis of a contract with the Council and the Red Cross has given appropriate notice of their intention to withdraw from the contract on 31st March, 2012.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             The Vale of Glamorgan Council has valued the support provided to older people by the Red Cross.  Staff from both organisations have met regularly to consider options for developing the services but the financial context is exceptionally challenging and it is understandable that the Red Cross wishes to focus more on its core business.

6.             The Barry Island day centre previously received funding from the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board for 10 places a day.  When this funding stream ceased in March 2010, the centre's longer-term sustainability was threatened.  The Council stepped in to examine ways of increasing the number of placements and the income generated.  To ensure service continuity, the Social Services Directorate agreed to pay an increased daily charge per service user from April, 2011, to support the British Red Cross in meeting the costs of providing the service.

7.             Ensuring that current service users continue to receive the level of day care provision that they need, when the Barry Island centre closes at the end of October, 2011, will require urgent action from the Social Services Directorate.  It is anticipated that the work done to reconfigure the service at Rondel House and the availability of some capacity within the block contract at the Gathering Place will mean that the needs of existing assessed service users attending Barry Island can be met within these two facilities.  This will involve some changes to capacity and travel arrangements.

8.             Each service users and their significant adult will be involved in the decision about which of the two facilities they will attend.  The Directorate will need to ensure that appropriate choices have been made based upon needs and location.  Following completion of the transfer process, individual reviews will be undertaken, as and when required, to ensure that services continue to meet service user requirements.  Where self-funding clients are attending the Barry Island service, the Council will look to help them find a suitable alternative day service provision, to allow an informed choice to be made on the support they wish to receive.

9.             The Council and British Red Cross are working together constructively to manage the sensitive process of transferring service users from Barry Island to their new facility.  A communication strategy has been developed.  A number of meetings are to be held with service users and their families to inform them about the planned closure and to provide them with assurances over future services.  The Red Cross has met with their staff affected by the decision.  A joint media statement will be issued to inform the general public of the decision and the response made by the Council.

10.        The decision by the Red Cross to cease providing services in the Western Vale is linked strongly to the closure of the Barry Island centre.  However, because there is more time available to deal with the consequences and because of the different contractual arrangement for the Gathering Place, a different strategy has been developed to manage the changes to this service.

11.        The Council is having discussions with the Methodist Church about continuing the lease.  There is good reason to believe that there will be a positive outcome.  If this is the case, the Council plans to run a competitive tendering exercise to ascertain if it is possible to contract the service at the current location to a suitable provider from 2nd April, 2012.  There are tight timescales involved with such a tendering exercise.  For this reason, the British Red Cross would be willing (should the need arise) to continue providing the current service for a short fixed period of time beyond March 2012, to ensure the full completion of the tender process and to maintain continuity of service for users.

12.        If the Gathering Place does not remain a viable option for holding day services because of disputes about the lease, the Council will search for alternative accommodation.  However, suitable properties are known to be in short supply and so there is a risk that the Western Vale would not have a day care facility in the area for this group of service users.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

13.        If current service users from the Barry Island Centre transfer to the day service facilities at Rondel House and the Gathering Place, this will help to ensure that the capacity within these services is used more efficiently.  Ending the spot purchase arrangement for the Barry Island centre will assist the Social Services Directorate to deliver the action set out in its Change Plan 2011 - 2014 which involves achieving better value for money by reducing the extent to which this practice is used in procuring services.

14.        There are no direct staffing issues for the Council anticipated as a result of this report as the staff in both centres are employed by the British Red Cross.  Any tendering process for day services in the Western Vale will be managed within existing resources.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

15.        TUPE arrangements will need to be considered for staff currently employed by the British Red Cross should the Western Vale day service continue at the Gathering Place in St. Athan.

Crime and Disorder Implications

16.        There are no crime and disorder implications as a direct result of this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

17.        The plans made to meet the needs of current service users as a result of the decision made by the Red Cross have been the subject of an Equality Impact Assessment.  There is an impact on disabled people in that their service provider will have to change.  We will endeavour to minimise this impact by providing a similar service to them as locally as possible.  The loss of the facility in Barry Island does reduce overall service capacity in the Vale of Glamorgan at a time when demand may increase because of socio-demographic trends.  The Council will need to take this into account within its new commissioning strategy for older people services.

Corporate/Service Objectives

18.        This report contributes to the following corporate objective:

·               "working with partners to meet the diverse needs of our residents in ways that will safeguard and support those who are most vulnerable and in greatest need; help people to keep fit and healthy; and increase social cohesion and equality of opportunity for all."

Policy Framework and Budget

19.        This is a matter for executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.        As this is an urgent matter, it has been possible to consult only with elected members for the individual Wards most directly affected.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

21.        Social Care and Health.

Background Papers



Contact Officer

Lance Carver, Head of Adult Services and Locality Manager


Officers Consulted

Corporate Management Team


Responsible Officer:

Philip Evans, Director of Social Services