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The proposed changes to its in-house services, issued last week, follows news this month that the council faces a projected £7m overspend in adult social care, including £3.8m in in-house services.
Liverpool is planning to save money by closing nine buildings. Twelve day centres and three residential care homes would be amalgamated into three round-the-clock centres for intermediate care and crisis beds and three community hubs open 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The changes, subject to an imminent 12-week consultation, would be implemented over three years.
The proposals would cut staff across in-house services by one-sixth, from 1,014 to 850. The council has not ruled out compulsory redundancies though said it would seek volunteers. Other options include putting staff on to lower grades with reduced salaries.
The changes could generate an estimated £3m in savings over the next three years.
The council said growing numbers of personal budget holders in Liverpool had led to a huge drop in the demand for in-house services such as day centres, some of which are half-empty. It estimates that by next year more than 4,000 people will be using direct payments in the city.
The changes to in-house services will be accompanied by a city-wide programme, called Liverpool Cares, to implement personalisation.
As part of this, a new team of “person-centred planners” will carry out assessments and help people identify and secure care and support. The proposed community hubs, which would replace day centres, would provide intensive health and social care for people with complex needs, and guidance and support on employment and training.
The council believes that the changes will lead to more people being suported – up from 1,756 to 2,200.
Roz Gladden, cabinet member for adult health and social care, said: “People are already voting with their feet and the demand for our traditional services has been shrinking for several years.
“We must respond to that and change the way we operate and deliver the type of services our residents want and need.
“We can no longer go on providing services in the 21st century that were designed in the 1940s. Doing nothing is simply not an option.”
Angela Blundell, of Unison Liverpool, described the job losses as minimal but said the union was keeping a watching brief on the changes. She was more concerned for service users who preferred traditional services, such as day centres, questioning whether they would have more choice.