Mexborough First Councillor Andy Pickering, disgusted at the motion in the Council Chamber, that allowed elected members of the Council to abdicate their responsibilities, effectively leaving the decision to Cabinet Members , joined with the thirteen other members who had voted to keep the homes open, and signed a ‘Call in notice’, This notice forced the decision to be brought back before the Overview and Scrutiny committee, where those members who object to a decision get an opportunity to question and raise doubts about the proposed action.

Andy questioned the process of consultation, suggesting irrelevant questions had been asked of irrelevant groups. Of the groups ‘consulted’, one was a group local to Leeds, one was a Cancer support group, not relevant to the closure of OAP homes or disabled day care centres, the other groups all had addresses in Waterdale….some even had Councillors on the committees !!

There were no consultations with Age Concern or Help the Aged,no consultations with Mencap or Mind. It is difficult to believe the most well known and expert groups in their respective fields were omitted accidentally, it seems more likely they were omitted because they would have exposed this excuse for consultation for what it was.

The original document for consultation is 32 pages long and only mentions a possible ”reduction in the numbers” of care homes, not wholesale closure, on page 16. These words are of course the key words in the whole document, but the consultation question that follows only asks

”how strongly do you agree with our plans to enable people to have greater choice and control and live more independently”

This question is totally irrelevant, in view of the outcome surely the question should have been:

”how strongly do you agree that we should reduce the number of care homes”

Despite having this and other disgraceful flaws highlighted, The Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted to disregard the evidence and allow the Care home closures to go ahead……a very shabby decision that brings no credit to the Labour members who have allowed our elderly and disabled people to be very badly treated.

The Local Council should be the last body on earth to allow it’s needy citizens to be disregarded, sadly Doncaster MBC has done this. We have much sympathy with the Council that Govt. cuts have more than played their part in this decision, but we believe that, had the Council Officers who designed this plan of ‘modernisation’ worked as hard at saving the homes, as they seem to have worked at closing them, some if not all could have been spared the axe.