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Cabinet To Consider Phase Two Proposals

Cabinet To Consider Phase Two Proposals

The Council's Cabinet will consider the Phase 2 service change proposals on Wednesday, May 14.

At this meeting, Cabinet will consider the detail of the original proposals presented to it, the detail of the responses received through the consultation process and the findings of the Equality Impact Assessments. Cabinet will then decide how to proceed with these proposals.

County Borough Councillor Paul Cannon QPM, Deputy Leader of the Council, said:

"We demonstrated through our responses to the initial Phase 1 proposals that the consultation process is a meaningful one and, where appropriate, Cabinet will respond to the issues raised.

"However, so severe are the cuts from the UK Government that we cannot avoid making tough decisions and inevitably these tough choices will affect services and, ultimately, our communities and there is no way of avoiding this scenario.

"When considering the detail of the consultation and the equality impact assessments, Cabinet will seek to take a pragmatic approach to the very difficult, yet very necessary, decisions it needs to take in these services areas.

"Cabinet is currently reviewing the content of the vast number of responses it received through the consultation in advance of this special Cabinet meeting, where these proposals will be discussed further and where a decision will be reached on how to proceed with proposed services changes.

"There is no easy solution in these circumstances. Our funding has been dramatically reduced by the government in London and this will mean that further difficult and, unfortunately, unpopular decisions will be required in the future. “

Summary of Phase 2 proposals:

ADULT SOCIAL CARE CHARGES

LEVELS OF DISREGARD ALLOWED FOR DISABILITY RELATED EXPENDITURE (DRE)
Rhondda Cynon Taf currently operates a DRE rate of 40% of any attendance / disability living allowance received by a service user and it applies to everyone irrespective of what extra expenditure they may incur. There is no statutory requirement to apply any disregard. It is proposed that the disregard rate for Disability Related Expenditure (DRE) is reduced to 5%.

This proposal would generate additional income of £0.790M per year (full year impact).

CHARGING RATES FOR THE COST OF CARE SERVICES PROVIDED TO THE SERVICE USER
The current charges are £12.05 per hour and £13.40 per visit respectively. It is proposed that the hourly charge is increased to £17 per hour and that the day rate for day services is increased to £17 per visit. This compares to the cost to the council of providing the services of £17.50 per hour and £77.37 per visit respectively.

This proposal would generate additional income of £0.134M per year (full year impact).

CHARGING FOR “TIER 1” TELECARE SERVICES
It is proposed to increase the charge to £2.35 per week, reflecting the cost to the Council of providing the service.

This proposal would generate additional income of £0.118M per year (full year impact).

INTRODUCING A CONSISTENT APPROACH FOR CHARGING FOR EMI RESIDENTIAL CARE
The maximum charge for EMI Residential Care provided in an externally provided home is £533 per week. The Council pays the home £533 and then charges the client in line with an assessment of their ability to pay.

The rate charged to residents in Council run homes is a maximum of £503 per week which is clearly not consistent with the rate charged to those clients receiving EMI Residential Care from external providers. This rate is also subsidised in that it currently costs the Council more than this to provide the service. It is proposed to increase the charges to EMI residents in Council run care homes to the same level as the agreed rate for external home providers.

This proposal would generate additional income of £0.060M per year (full year impact).

INTRODUCE A CONSISTENT APPROACH TO RESPITE CARE CHARGING

The Council’s current charging policy is not consistent in its treatment of service users receiving respite care across external and in-house care home providers and in many cases is not based on a user’s ability to pay.

It is proposed that the Council introduces a consistent and more equitable model for charging for respite care services based on a financial assessment of a service user’s ability to pay in line with the relevant guidance.

This proposal would generate additional income of £0.032M per year (full year impact).

SUMMARY – ADULT SOCIAL CARE CHARGES
The implementation of the aforementioned charging arrangements would provide additional income to the Council of £1.134M per year (full year impact).

THE HERITAGE SERVICE
The current service is centred predominantly around two venues, namely the Cynon Valley Museum and Gallery (Aberdare) and the Rhondda Heritage Park (Trehafod). The service also has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place with Pontypridd Town Council for heritage services in association with the Pontypridd Museum.

It is proposed that the Rhondda Heritage Park is retained and becomes the hub for the retained Heritage Service for the Council, with outreach work supported across the County Borough. The existing opening hours will be reduced but the on-site catering service will be retained (with responsibility for catering services to be transferred to the Council’s Internal Catering Service “Catering Direct”).

It is also proposed that the Cynon Valley Museum and Gallery is closed and that the Council ends the SLA with Pontypridd Town Council.
Implementation of this proposal would deliver savings for the Council of £0.350M per year (full year impact).

ARTS AND CULTURE SERVICES
The Council’s Arts and Cultural Services currently operate 3 theatres, namely the Park and Dare (Treorchy), the Muni (Pontypridd) and the Coliseum (Aberdare). The service also contributes to arts development and collaborates with other authorities through the “ArtsConnect” initiative.

It is proposed that there is a reduction in the number of theatres to two, with the Muni proposed for closure. The remaining service will continue to be part of the “ArtsConnect” initiative, with a revised management structure comprising appropriate levels of technical resources and arts development resources, delivering a balanced but reduced programme centred around the two remaining theatres supplemented with greater outreach activity.

Implementation of this proposal would deliver savings for the Council of £0.4M per year (full year impact).

SUPPORTED BUS ROUTES
It is proposed that the Council budget in place to support bus services be reduced by £0.4M to £0.441M per year. An impact assessment has been undertaken to prioritise the routes that would be supported now, based on the current commercial and subsidised network. The assessment has included usage, subsidy levels per passenger, availability of alternative services, impact on commercial services, shift workers, healthcare / hospital links and education / training.

Implementation of this proposal would deliver savings for the Council of £0.4M per year (full year impact).

PADDLING POOLS
The Council currently has 12 Paddling Pools. The maintenance requirements across all remaining paddling pools to ensure their continued operation is in the region of £100k. It is proposed that all Council paddling pools are closed.

The implementation of this proposal would deliver savings for the Council of £0.181M per year (full year impact).

LEISURE CENTRES

There is no statutory requirement to provide leisure facilities, the core purpose of the service being to provide affordable opportunities for the residents of Rhondda Cynon Taf to play sport and keep fit. It is proposed that the service be redesigned around :

• Retention of three Core Centres (Llantrisant Leisure Centre, Rhondda Sports Centre and Michael Sobell Sports Centre including Aberdare Swimming Pool)
• Retention of four satellite centres with opening times reduced and aligned to demand (Abercynon Sports Centre, Tonyrefail Sports Centre, Hawthorn Leisure Centre, Rhondda Fach Sports Centre)
• Closure (Llantwit Fardre Leisure Centre, Bronwydd Swimming Pool)
• Transfer Ownership to school (Hawthorn Swimming Pool)

The implementation of this proposal would deliver savings for the Council of £1.2M per year (full year impact).

STREET LIGHTING
There are currently 28,500 streetlights across Rhondda Cynon Taf in Non residential areas (car parks, by-passes, industrial estates etc), Residential areas and potentially sensitive areas (town centres, road junctions etc).

The proposed change would see all streetlighting maintained during times of peak road usage with some being switched off between the hours of midnight and 5am. This would result in :

a) Part night lighting of all streetlights in non residential areas; PLUS

b) Part night lighting of alternate streetlights in residential areas; PLUS

c) Maintained lighting in potentially sensitive areas but to review the level of provision and implement alternate options between midnight and 5am where feasible;

The implementation of this proposal would deliver savings (net of the cost of implementing) for the council of £0.3M per year (full year impact).

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