RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Spartacus on Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:13 pm

Thanks, Mojo Hill.


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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:27 pm

I am sure the council can find £300 000 to prevent the cuts that they propose. The question is not 'can they' but 'will they?
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Spartacus on Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:17 pm

I think there are a number of issues here. Once again, any comments I make are as an individual rather than as a member of Chill-Out.

1. Strategic Review of Homelessness

Chill-Out has been offered a seat at the table as a result of their involvement with the previous policy changes and the input they have been able to give as to how people are/may be effected by past/future policy changes. Hinch and I were asked to take part and agreed to do so if that is what the members of Chill-Out want.

However, since yesterday, I have had some serious doubts as to whether or not I am willing to be involved. I initially thought that I may be able to contribute positively to the review but I am willing to step down and let someone else take my place if they feel they have the skills to make a better job of it.

2. Proposed Cuts

I believe, rightly or wrongly, that Councillors Linden and Hornby have striven to limit the cuts to the homelessness provision as well as they are able to. I also believe that the proposed cuts would have been a hell of a lot worse if it was not for their hard work and commitment on homelessness issues as well as that of Ian Jolley.

I do not know if RMBC are able to prevent these cuts to homelessness provision taking place. If they can I hope they either decide to do so or can be persuaded to.

3. Taking the Chill-Out Campaign Further

I personally think Chill-Out achieved what it set out to do. Since then, the goal posts have been moved due to further savage cuts being imposed on the Council by central Government. My own opinion is that any opposition to further local cuts or Government policy should be a united effort directed against the cuts and Government policy effecting the Borough as a whole rather than purely from the homelessness standpoint. I think that if there is a drive to push a campaign forward on this basis than it would be more effective if it was a completely new campaign rather than an attempt to push the Chill-Out campaign further.

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Guest on Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:12 pm

Spartacus, you are falling for the oldest trick in the book.

Local council blames central government - don't fall for it. Every council in the country is having to make cuts, we could not continue to live beyond our means, the choice of what to cut is up to the council, not central government. Now £100,000 of our money has just been spent on a free concert, that money was not ring fenced and could have been used to help vulnerable people, and there are many other less important areas that could and should be cut, as well as management salaries and councillors and their allowances, instead of the vulnerable of this borough being put more at risk.

As for being invited to the table, been there, done that and realised it was a ruse to shut me up and get me on side, beware!

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:55 pm

I, as you know, was present at the meeting with the Chief Exec when Chill-Out was offered a 'place at the table' as Spartacus mentions.

I understood that that table, at which chill-out would have a place, was to look at issues to do with homelessness provision.

I have lost touch with the discussions since then. However it strikes me that one of two things has happened.

Either Chill-out has been given a place at the table and therefore has been fully party to discussions as to the need to save £300 000 next year by slashing provision - which I think unlikely

OR

RMBC has at the same time talked about giving chill-out a place at the table and at the same time drawn up in secret plans only now published to slash homelessness provision.

I accept totally the valuable work that officers such as Ian Jolley are doing. I hope this is not lost when responsibility for homelessness provision is given to the non-democratically accountable body, RBH. I worry whether the politicians involved have been too political. I worry that they may have bought us off. What I see is that they offered to work with us to try and ensure that the vulnerable became no worse off and yet at the same time have secretly drawn up plans which their own reports admit may well make people worse off.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Spartacus on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:04 am



Last edited by Spartacus on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:11 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:08 am

Despite assurances given to homelessness organisations and the ‘Chill-Out’ campaign, a further £300,000 is planned to be axed from the budget for homeless people. This despite the 200% increase in number of the borough’s homeless and calls from Simon Danczuk MP for a ‘rethink’ on the issue.


Indeed, it makes it very clear that RMBC have gone back on assurances given to Chill-out among others. So the place at the table has been of limited benefit to the homeless and to Chill-out but of great benefit to leading councillors who can claim to be 'consulting?'
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Spartacus on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:13 am

‘Chill-Out’ organisers gave a statement to Rochdale Online: “We are extremely concerned about the way in which these cuts will affect the most vulnerable people in the borough. ‘Chill-Out’ has acted in good faith and has worked hard with the council to ensure that those in the most acute need are not made to bear the brunt of cuts in service.

“We will be studying the proposed changes in detail and discussing them with our supporters before participating in the consultation.

"This will be the second review of the homelessness situation within a few months and this, coupled with major changes to the benefits system coming in from next year, make this a particularly unsettling time.

“We have strong evidence that homelessness in the borough is continuing to rise and the council needs to get its policy right.

"We remain committed to working in partnership with RMBC on these issues but these cuts are bad news however you look at it.”

Chill-Out has yet to take up a seat at the table because the review has not begun.


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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:17 am

If the review into provision for the homeless in the light of the cuts that led to the formation of chill-out has not yet begun, and RMBC were open to a genuine review, how come they have proposed deeper cuts? Isn't that prejudging the review?

When is the start date for the review? When is the first meeting scheduled to take place?
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:22 am

I am genuinely staggered that the review that we were promised before the summer has not actually met and that, before the review even begins, extra cuts are proposed.

I am more convinced that we have been used as a delaying tactic and I feel bad that I fell for it.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Spartacus on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:31 am

Heywoodpp wrote:If the review into provision for the homeless in the light of the cuts that led to the formation of chill-out has not yet begun, and RMBC were open to a genuine review, how come they have proposed deeper cuts? Isn't that prejudging the review?

When is the start date for the review? When is the first meeting scheduled to take place?

A review did take place following the formation of Chill-Out - this was discussed in depth on the old forum at the time.

http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/news-headlines/71613/town-hall-hosts-homelessness-event

A quote from my post above:
"This will be the second review of the homelessness situation within a few months and this, coupled with major changes to the benefits system coming in from next year, make this a particularly unsettling time.

The second review has been necessary due to the second round of Government imposed cuts plus the proposed Government changes to the way housing benefit will be calculated and paid in future.

We have not been advised the start date for the review or when the first meeting is scheduled and are waiting to find out.

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  cyfrifia on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:46 am

Negotiating with a council can be very stressful. Best believe nothing that is said. Not that they are bad people, it's just the way they work. Delays, excuses, holidays, procedures, lost documents, etc.

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:48 am

So will the review happen before the cuts are voted in or after?

It sounds as if the purpose of the review is to legitimise the council making further cuts?

Will the second review ask about the significant rise in the number of rough sleepers in Heywood seeking help at my door? Will it ask about the significant rise in needy families that our own food-bank helps? Will it ask about the complexity of needs people who self-present have and their frustration and inability to access assistance from RBH etc? Because the first review never came to ask about that. I suspect they only ask the questions that will give rise to answers they can accomodate within their cuts.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Spartacus on Fri Nov 02, 2012 1:03 am

I have absolutely no idea HeywoodPP because I am not psychic.

However, from the comments posted on here I have discovered that I have been wasting my time and efforts these past few months.

Good night.

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Guest on Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:36 am

Spartacus wrote:I have absolutely no idea HeywoodPP because I am not psychic.

However, from the comments posted on here I have discovered that I have been wasting my time and efforts these past few months.

Good night.


Spartacus: You have gained a great deal of respect and admiration from so many readers, including myself, who have never met you, including those from the old forum 'establishment.' Some learning experiences are certainly naff.

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Poppyanna555 on Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:18 am

I have never met you either Sparky but, like Mojo Hill, I too have the utmost respect for you in your endeavors. It is never easy to front up to the bureaucracy that is RMBC. Don't let anyone make you question your ability to 'make a difference'.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  cyfrifia on Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:55 am

The only time I've observed anyone change the way a council behaves was with the help of an ex council officer who understood the way the council thinks and works. Doing things by straightforward and fair methods was a complete waste of time, it had to be a frankly ruthless campaign to get anywhere, all smiles above board. An unpleasant business I would not want to be involved in.

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:07 pm

This isnt about anyone wasting their time. Working for the vulnerable and for justice is never wasted. RMBC asked us to call off the sleep out. They amended their protocols for emergency access to accomodation. That was a good result. Channels of communication have now opened up which is very hopeful.

And yet they just as we are trying to find ways of plugging the gaps from last year's cuts, they propose further cuts which they admit will have harmful consequences. Let us get used to the current crisis before plunging us into a deeper one. Delay the cuts for two years so we have time to prepare.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  cyfrifia on Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:38 pm

Well said Heywoodpp. Working for the good is always worth doing. However, to get results, it's a bit like walking in the Lake District, it may be a sunny day, or it might be a blizzard and a sprained ankle, you have to be realistic and prepared for it.

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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Hinch on Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:26 pm

Have been offline since yesterday doing grandfatherly stuff and read all this.

1. 'Chill-Out' has been extremely diligent in sharing information with its supporters.

2. Sparky and I are reasonably bright and are well aware ofthe dangers of being wheeled into meetings and fed hogwash We are not stupid. As a former joint trade union convenor, I am keenly aware of these sort of tactics and am very well prepared for them.

3.It would be oh so easy to describe the councillors and council officers we have worked with as being crooks and charlatans but they are not and if they were we would not have done business with them.

4. We have attended no meetings where a report has not been shared and in fact, made very plain tothe CEO that we are essentially a blogging group and are responsible wholly to our supporters.

5. A further meeting is being arranged as we speak. I understand HPP's concerns re the current situation and we share some of these. However,I am amazed and disappointed that he has at no stage picked upthe phone or emailed me to ask or discuss the issues he now raises on an open forum.

I will be discussing with Sparks where,if anywhere we go from here. Our credibility is important to us and if we don't have the trust and confidence of those we are supposed to be working with then perhaps 'Chill-Out' would be best with someone else at the helm? Our focus has always been on the plight of the borough's homeless and we have certainly been up against it as seemingly endless waves of cuts come in.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Fri Nov 02, 2012 3:30 pm

My concern is not principally chill-out's participation in the talks. My concern are the cuts themselves and that RMBC admit the harm they will cause to vulnerable people. Yes the vOluntary sector will have to step in and try to plug the gap. But what with? I think with time me ways of working can emerge but that will take time and advice. We need that to be in place before there are any more cuts. Otherwise we end up like King Canute on the sea shore.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Hinch on Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:48 pm

The lesson about King Canute, oft forgotten, is that he was acting from realism rather than of arrogance.

He never tried to stem the flow of the tide but used his shoreline stunt simply to demonstrate to his followers his earthly limitations.

'Chill-Out' always accepted the inevitability of the cuts but sought to influence the way and manner in which these were applied. The initial success we had was obviously and disappointingly time-limited in the light of further savage cuts and providing that we are showing a reasonably united front, our mission-statement remains the same.

Nobody wants dead bodies piling up on their watch and that is very clear from the stance of those we have worked with so far.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Hinch on Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:00 pm

... and of course RMBC HAVE admitted that the cuts will cause damage. Prior to 'Chill-Out' they were in total denial. I would rather negotiate with people who are honest and realistic rather than try to feed us full of bullsh*t.

The council have also admitted that the cuts are forcing them to fail to deliver their statutory obligations in terms of low-risk food and health & safety inspections.

By denying that the central government cuts will cause any harm then they would be falling into the government trap of accepting that 'painless savings' can be made.

Think on that next time you get 'Delhi-belly' from eating a carelessly-prepared kebab!
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Heywoodpp on Fri Nov 02, 2012 7:11 pm

I do agree with you that RMBC admitting rather than denying the very possible result of the cuts is a welcome and huge leap forward. BUT if every household's Council Tax went up by £1.50 those cuts would not be needed.
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Re: RMBC admitting its cuts may increase homelessness!

Post  Guest on Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:55 am

Councillor Duxbury wrote:The initial success we had was obviously and disappointingly time-limited in the light of further savage cuts
The council knew what money it was getting from the Government, they therefore knew long ago what was in store financially. I reiterate the council choose what cuts to impose.

Senior council officers were very fond in the 'good times' of saying how they deserved their grossly inflated salaries due to the number of people employed and the size of the budgets managed (even incredulously seeking to compare their roles with that of private industry!) but have they cut their salaries in proportion to the number of people employed and the size of the budgets now they have been reduced?

Do we really need 60 councillors when the reality is that many are simply nodding dogs? Should they get allowances paid regardless? What happened to the proposal to reduce the number of councillors? That one got quietly shunted into the long grass.

In opposition Labour, and in particular Colin Lambert made a big deal about the number of cabinet posts being too many, and hence too costly, and at first reduced them but then later increased them back up again (http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/news-headlines/69723/new-cabinet-more-posts-increased-cost).

Do we really need a media department at all? Their job is propaganda, to ensure that the people only get to hear about what the council want them to hear about - do you think they would ever issue a media release or a statement that would be critical of the council? Not a chance, and so reality is distorted by these spin doctors. They cost a lot and there are a lot of them. Ask yourself why they have now decided to tweet from council meetings when the Rochdale Observer has been doing so for a couple of years - could it be they want people to read their spin and not some independent reporters? Why do they refuse to respond to questions from Rochdale Online? Could it be they don't like being challenged?

Again I ask should Rochdale Council be spending £100,000 on a free concert whilst cutting provision for the most vulnerable in our borough? I think not, it is to my mind (and I love the free concert and was instrumental in it starting) it is indefensible. Manchester Council was recently criticised, and an investigation is being carried out, for "squandering" £425,000 on a free concert in these difficult times (http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/waste/2012/10/manchester-council-squanders-425000-putting-pop-concert.html). Now bear in mind that Manchester's budget is around three times more than Rochdale's, our council's £100,000 free concert is in a similar league.

Ask yourself also how the tens of thousands of pounds squandered on celebrity culture over the past few years can be justified? One celebrity was paid the princely sum of £10,000 - and they say they have no money?

And the amount of your money that is frittered is staggering and even when it is highlighted the council tries to close down legitimate enquiries and when these can't be closed down the "lessons will be learnt" mantra is trotted out but not much else. For example: http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/news-headlines/66398/explore-falinge-project-breached-councils-procurement-rules - what happened to the officer who authorised over £10,000 on a website (and I use the term loosely) that the average school child could have built, and done a better job, and those who saw it will know that is no exaggeration? Nothing is the answer.

There simply is no need to cut services to the vulnerable of this borough, instead obscene salaries need pruning, unnecessary jobs need getting rid of, the number of councillors and cabinet posts needs reducing and there needs to be complete and real transparency in all financial matters so that waste can be highlighted and cut out.

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