Recovery plan

Ian Davey, Wiltshire’s interim director of adult and community services, has a hard act to follow. Former director Ray Jones was liked by disabled people’s organisations for the work he did to promote independent living.

But when Davey took up his post in early July, the council had just decided to end direct payments for leisure opportunities.

Although he was not in the post when this decision was made, he will have to make more tough choices. He says the savings needed to offset a projected £6.8m shortfall will mainly come from reviewing contracts and achieving efficiencies.

He is keen to listen to the views of disabled people’s organisations. “Wiltshire has built up a good reputation for involving service users and their carers and it would be crazy to destroy that,” he says.

Davey plans to enlist the help of volunteers to enable people who have lost direct payments to be able to access other support so they can continue to enjoy activities. He also says Wiltshire has no plans to withdraw other direct payments, such as those for personal care.

Davey defends other cuts made by the council, such as the reduction in funding for transport for people attending day centres.

He says it would be better for people with learning difficulties to travel independently to day services if they are able to, and that the council will set up a “bus buddies” scheme to help people travel.

Despite the cuts, Davey says morale is “pretty good”, although it would be “disingenuous” to claim staff are “comfortable with the situation”.

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