Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Sheltered housing wardens: the campaign is just beginning!

You still have until 5pm today to fill in the consultation on the proposal to cut sheltered housing wardens! You can do it online here.

I would urge you to look at the consultation document, even if you are not going to fill in the questionnaire, in order to familiarise yourself with the proposals and the council's arguments. Because... the campaign to save the warden service does not end here!

The responses to the consultation have to be compiled and then, according to the consultation document:
"A detailed report of the responses to the consultation will be considered by the council's cabinet, which will have the first decision on whether or not the proposals should be accepted. The Cabinet's decision will be reported to all organisations and individuals affected by the proposals, and the decision will then be referred to the full council."
The Cabinet will take a decision at their meeting on 8 June. I am trying to get clarification of whether or not the full council will afterwards vote on this proposal as it suggests here, because some people think it won't. In any case, you would think it should, rather than the Cabinet taking such a potentially controversial decision all by themselves.

Of course, it would be a strange world indeed if the Cabinet were only guided by the results of the consultation. (As it happens, I have a strange inkling the consultation will show an overwhelming thumbs-down from Barnet residents to the proposals.)

What else could help the Cabinet to make up their minds against the proposal?

1. They have already agreed a provision in the budget to plug any gap should the cuts not go ahead: they'll offset the gap by the fact that there is lower than expected inflation this year. So even from the narrowly financial point of view they do not need to make this cut.

2. Barnet residents can and should continue to express their opinion on this matter, to elected councillors in the first place. Find your councillors and their details here.

Other things you can do

Sign the online petition at 10 Downing Street, begun by a resident in one of Barnet's sheltered housing schemes.

The cuts proposed by Barnet are only part of a wider picture of such cuts around the country. Read about the campaign against this here.

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