Groups which represent the voluntary sector in Hastings and Rother have slammed a consultation into plans for brutal budget cuts as ‘not fit for purpose’.
Adam Chugg, chief executive of 3VA, Martin Fisher, chief executive of Rother Voluntary Action, and Steve Manwaring, chief executive of Hastings Voluntary Action, say they are ‘extremely concerned’ at proposals to cut £40million from the East Sussex County Council’s Adult Social Care budget.
In a joint statement, they said: “The scale of the planned service reductions are unprecedented and will impact severely on the lives of the most vulnerable service users across the county. Because of this we believe it is necessary for these planned cut-backs to be accompanied by a clear risk, equalities and impact assessment.
“We are extremely concerned that the current consultation information has provided so little clear and consistent information about the specific impact of the cuts and who they will affect.
“This makes it very difficult for individuals and organisations to submit to the consultation from an informed perspective as the information provided is both incomplete and superficial.
“For these reasons we have determined that the information provided as part of the Adult Social Care (ASC) consultation process is not “fit for purpose” and have made immediate representations to senior politicians and officers to demand an opportunity to discuss the current position together with pressing for the publication of any impact statement as soon as it is available and for comments to be invited on it.”
They added they had “major concerns” over the lack of collaboration between Adult Social Care and voluntary groups to discuss how the cuts would impact on services.
They said: “We have expressed these views to the leader and chief executive of ESCC and will continue to make representations about the consultation process and the lack of information from ASC to enable groups to make informed responses to it.
“We are also extremely concerned that the impact on our organisations who may have their funding reduced or withdrawn has neither been properly understood or assessed.
“We are working with SPEAKUP to agree a position and response on behalf of the entire voluntary and community sector about this process and will be making a formal response to the consultation.”
They are currently writing to each organisation whose funding may be affected to offer support or advice if needed. Mr Chugg, Mr Fisher and Mr Manwaring said the next period is likely to be an “extrememly difficult and uncertain one” for voluntary groups.
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