Intro: Caring services
Croydon has a long history of caring for its vulnerable, whether they are older or younger. For decades we have been home to most of Britain’s unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. But with an ageing population, London’s largest population of children and increasing poverty in the borough, the system is under strain.
Last year, for the first time ever, Croydon failed an Ofsted inspection of the work of its children’s safeguarding teams. There is widespread dissatisfaction amongst parents of children with special educational needs and mental health support needs about the quality of service they get. We need to do better.
In late 2017 it was announced that Croydon had achieved the lowest possible outcome in the Ofsted inspection of its safeguarding, fostering and adoption service, it being rated ‘Inadequate’. The inspectors highlighted the failure of leadership of the elected politicians responsible for overseeing the service.
Until the failed Ofsted, no opposition councillor was appointed to any of the bodies which monitor safeguarding performance. This meant they didn’t have the information to hold the administration to account.
Caring for the vulnerable
Croydon has a long history of caring for its vulnerable, whether they are older or younger. For decades we have been home to most of Britain’s unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Last year, for the first time ever, Croydon failed an Ofsted inspection of the work of its children’s safeguarding teams. The poor quality of service causes widespread dissatisfaction amongst parents of children with special educational needs and mental health support needs. Our residents deserve better - we will:
Start building council houses again. Other than completing a few which were under way when we left office, Labour has not built a single council house.
Every local election Labour spreads the scare story that the Conservatives intend to sell off the council housing stock: it never has been true and it’s not true this time either!
Support the Community Land Trust movement where local people get together to create a housing model which is genuinely affordable and is the type of housing desired by the community. The rent or price to buy of CLT properties is based on the average wage in the area, not on the market price. Where CLTs create housing to buy, the purchase price is also based on local wages and will be again when the prperty is sold on. We think this a very exciting way to get people into homes they own at an affordable price.
Offer a scheme to allow people who can afford to pay rent but haven’t enough for a deposit, to have that underwritten by the council, to help them become housed.
Give veterans from the armed forces priority on housing to help them rejoin civilian life at the end of their service.
Set up a number of ‘temporary tenancy’ blocks for the homeless, with support to help them get back on their feet.
Drive up standards in the private rented sector by cracking down on rogue landlords, but also help licensed landlords manage their tenants better, by offering them free bulky waste removal at change of tenants, to keep fly tipping down.
Invest properly in our children’s social care service to ensure that social workers have manageable case loads and are properly managed, supported and equipped to do the job well.
Make it easier for smaller charities to bid for and receive funding to support their work. At present only a small number of large charities get any meaningful support.
Show carers how much their work is valued by offering council tax discounts for people giving time to care for someone other than their spouse or child, with many being exempted altogether from paying council tax. This idea was launched late last year at a Council Meting. In spite of the Council voting for this proposal (Labour abstained), the current administration has failed to put it in its budget or the recently-published 'carer strategy'. We think this is a great shame.
Push the concept of ‘Dementia Friends’ where people are trained to better understand and support residents suffering from dementia.
Appoint members of the largest opposition party to the Children’s & Adults’ Safeguarding Boards, to enable them to properly monitor how well the council is safeguarding the vulnerable.
Appoint a member of the opposition to be one of the two vice chairs of the Health and Wellbeing Board for the same reason.
We will give the voluntary sector, who Labour axed from this committee, every opportunity to feed into the work of the Health and Wellbeing Board and involve them in shaping services.
We will develop the work of the autism board and expand its remit to provide a platform for all age disability with an emphasis on opportunity for all.
We will set up a task force of councillors and parents/ carers of children with special educational needs to help us redesign the service they get.
We will review our mental health strategy working with SLAM, the CCG, MIND and all other partner agencies to ensure that the service is fit for purpose.
We will increase the membership for Croydon Adult Social Services Users Panel to include equal membership from the majority party and the main minority party.
We will commission a voluntary organisation to support EU nationals with the process of securing residency, to include a telephone helpline, access to legal advice and a passport checking service. EU citizens are welcome in Croydon and we will do everything we can to ease their passage through Brexit.
A Conservative Administration will continue to work closely with the government to ensure improved and enhanced services at Croydon University hospital, as it has done over the last few years to deliver a brand new A&E and a newly refurbished maternity unit which rates as one of the best in the country (when Labour spread the inevitable scare story that the hospital is closing, it’s not true).
We will take forward at pace the work that we initiated through the Alliance to ensure that there is no divide in the provision of health and social care between the North and South of the borough, ensuring that we will address all inequalities.