LETTER: Shutting up shop on our social services

It looks as if Lancashire County Council is shutting up shop on services (“Social Services offices to shut”, Colne Times, December 16th).

Not only is Pendle to lose its social services offices with access to the public in need, but also Lancashire County Council is withdrawing its welfare rights office in Nelson, having already cut back this advice service in Colne.

To add insult to injury, it has confirmed Colne household recycling centre is to shut despite a massive protest with 3,000 petition signatures, nearly 700 letters and 100 emails. Let us be clear this decision was already a done deal – made primarily on economic grounds in spite of the obvious need.

The lack of services is further compounded by the failure of social services to ensure high standards of care are maintained in residential homes for the elderly. What’s the point of giving prior notice before inspections by the council’s quality and contracting team? This gives time for the home to clean up its act.

Evidence nationwide shows this partnership with providers does not work. Incidences of abuse and neglect of vulnerable people are mainly exposed when concerned relatives or conscientious members of staff report or blow the whistle on bad practices. The only way to rectify the situation is unannounced on the spot inspections.

Social services have also closed down Stanley Villas in Colne as a support centre for those with severe and enduring mental health problems. Such people are often deprived and isolated - cut off from family and friends in the community. So much for care in the community! In addition, LCC has slashed youth services.

Such draconian cuts to save money are not protecting front line services. Their policies amount, in my view, to a dereliction of duty to the public and council tax payer. Their actions should not be forgotten when it come to the next county council elections.

DAVID PENNEY

Noyna Street, Colne