Trust loses contract after rejecting cuts

Westminster Council is putting its mental health services out to tender after the trust currently managing them refused to accept a 25 per cent budget cut.

Julie JonesCentral and North West London Mental Health Trust was told by the council it wanted to introduce a new model of working involving a significantly reduced number of qualified staff.

It is understood the trust refused to co-operate with what would have been a budget cut from £2m to £1.5m because it believed it would render the service unviable.

An anonymous letter from service staff claimed the cuts would leave the service “unsafe for people with mental health problems”.

The trust’s chief executive Peter Carter said: “Westminster has said to us that they want to change the model and are putting it out to tender as it thinks there’s an alternative way of running these services. The trust is committed to working with Westminster until it transfers to another provider.”

Julie Jones, Westminster’s deputy chief executive children and community services, said the contract had been in place for 12 years and it was time to look at it again with more of a focus on housing support.

Jones, who is also  president of the Association of Directors of Social Services, said she could not comment on the budget as the council was in the process of tendering.

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