Wirral Evolutions, as a service wholly commissioned by Wirral Council, along with many other essential services have been impacted by the significant financial challenges faced by the Council. We have also acknowledged that we need to modernise and continue to improve our service provision for people we support and their parents/carers and ensure that the care and support enables them to meet their agreed outcomes.
The first stage of our modernisation programme commenced in April 2021 with a staff consultation process around proposals to redesign our workforce structure. The second stage involved the people we support and their parents/carers. The proposals were outlined in the letter below:
You may be aware of the delays that have since occurred in the process. Details of this, and an update on the outcome of the Modernisation Engagement can be found in the letter below from Jean Stephens:
This letter has been circulated to our mailing list and shared with each centre, if you are a parent or carer and you would like to receive a copy, please contact your centre for information. If you wish to receive future email correspondence you can sign up to receive updates here.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some of the engagement sessions needed will happen via Zoom. Support will be given by our locations and we have also produced an Easy Read guide to using Zoom to help people access these.
Please note, the survey is now closed while we collate and review feedback. You can find an ongoing list of FAQ's from our engagement sessions and responses below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Last update to FAQs 18/06/21
Will my loved one still get the same number of days support?
Yes. The number of sessions/days your loved one currently receives will remain unchanged.
Will anyone be forced to move centres?
No. There will be one to ones which will form an integral part of the process and we are committed to a deeply personal approach. We do not want to cause any additional anxiety for people. Everyone will have an input.
Do you have a target or number-based need for moving people around locations? Will there be capacity for everyone who wants to remain where they are?
We remain committed to being person centred rather than number centred. We will not force people into situations they won’t be happy in.
Will an impact assessment be done to look at the impact of these decisions on our loved ones?
When you have spoken to people supported what allowances have you made for their mental capacity to know what is good for themselves?
We are committed to supporting people to make their own decisions wherever possible. The valuable contributions from parents and carers, staff and people who know them will also be drawn upon. Ultimately, decisions will be based on the individual and their desired outcomes.
If at the end of the process, you make a decision for my loved one that I'm not happy with, will there be an appeals process?
We do not envisage a situation where we would make a decision that would result in that scenario. A decision would not be made that you would not be comfortable with.
When you talk about transitioning, is it only those whose day centre is closing, or will there be a transition for everybody into a new service?
There will certainly be a transition for those whose centres are closing but the transition may also affect people we support in the remaining locations depending on their needs. They may be better suited to a different location for example. Any proposed changes for an individual will be discussed during the one to ones with yourself.
If my loved one is unlikely to move or be affected much by the changes, will we still get a transition personalised one to one?
More than likely yes. We really want everyone to have a personalised meeting regardless of what level of change their loved one might experience. It will be a good opportunity to review how you and your loved one feel.
I am concerned with the timescales, why is the 13th June a cut-off point?
The 13th June is the end of the engagement process for parents and carers to give feedback on the proposals. The transition and personalised meetings for people will be a longer process which will take place in July and August 2021. We have set a date in September 2021 by which we have to implement the changes which is linked to the reduction in the contract price.
What is the date by which all the planning, including one to ones will finish?
If we assume that the plans we have put forward will progress, we will move quickly at the end of June to organising one to ones with people at the locations they currently attend. The one to ones will include people’s circle of support and family. Following this there will be a transition period where options will be considered, and parent/carers will be given the opportunity to look at centres and options available. We hope that we will be ready to fully implement everything in September 2021.
Will people get plenty of notice about when one to ones will be?
We will endeavour to give as much notice as possible and to also be as flexible as possible.
Do you have a projection for this transition, is there a 5 or 10 year plan for service growth?
We have a five-year strategy, not around assets, but around outcomes. These documents can be found on our website.
Regarding the older persons service, please define 'older person'. Is there a retirement age from day service, for example the pension age of 66 years?
Wirral Evolutions acknowledges that people with learning disabilities are living longer, and as they age their needs change, and this may require specific services.
Over 60 is the age group we are looking at, however we are also mindful not to be rigid about age limits as people with learning disabilities typically experience age related difficulties at different ages and at a younger age than the general population. Our primary aim will always be a personalised approach.
What will be the age range of the younger person’s service?
Up to age 40
Is it going to be compulsory for people to transfer locations based on age?
Each individual will have a personalised meeting where they will have the opportunity to express their choices, accompanied their circle of support and input from staff. Their choices will be considered, as well as any friendship groups. If someone’s needs can be better met where they are at present, this will also be considered. The length of time people will spend on transport will also be a consideration. Decisions will not be rigid in relation to age – other options will be considered.
What are the physical plans to accommodate profound and multiple complex needs at Eastham?
Eastham is a large building which can accommodate separate services and we are hoping to work in partnership with the Council to remodel and provide a multi-use space promoting an accessible, dignified, safe environment for people with PMLD.
Will there be any building work going on while people attend Eastham?
There may need to be some adaptations to the building, but we only envision minor work at present and we would aim to work with Wirral Council to have this carried out during evenings and weekends as to minimise disruption.
It is proposed that Eastham will be a specialist unit, can you give me some criteria for this?
This goes back to the individual one to ones and decisions around where the person’s needs will best be met.
Where is the scope for new blood coming into the service? My fear is that things will start to stagnate.
Physically, we have the footprint to grow up to 20% in some locations in terms of capacity and space. The block contract given by the Council is unlikely to grow but we do have the freedom to seek contracts from other authorities or companies. But the foundations of the restructure and modernisation need to be in place before we can start making those connections.
You say that the Pensby model will lean towards more one to one. My loved one currently only has a one to one for 4 hours a day. Will she still be able to stay there for a full day as she does now, or will she only remain during those one to one hours?
No one is going to have a reduction in their service. Your loved one will be able to carry on attending just as they are now. This level of personalised concern will be addressed in one to ones in the next stage of this process.
Are you aiming at a more one to one service provision, or will it be group based?
Some people we support will need one to one support and they will get that, but we do want to still have group-based activities. This is all down to what will best suit the individual in question.
What is the position regarding staff following the closure of Cambridge Rd? What about continuity for individuals?
As part of the restructure, we will be losing some staff through their own choice. They have been offered EVR. But the confirmation of this has not been released yet. through the transition we will be keeping the same staff but those that stay are being asked to give a preference for the location they want to work in, so that will be down to them. The likelihood is that there will be some new/fresh staff across locations.
My loved one attends 2 locations, one of which is closing. What effect is this going to have on his provision for those days?
This will be picked up in the one to ones, but your loved one will not be losing any days of provision. We will work together to find where his needs will be best met, the number of their days will not be reduced.
Is the plan to have a reducing service?
The current contract has a 20% capacity in it now. Anything above that would involve conversations with the shareholder (Council) in order to increase the contract price.
Are the hours that people attend centres going to be reduced?
No, everyone will keep the same level of provision as before.
Where is the money coming from for the modernisation of the day service?
The restructure will enable us to use the contract value more efficiently and will fund the modernisation and stay within budget.
Due to funding and the leaving of three locations, does this mean there will be a reduction in staffing as well?
There is going to be an overall reduction. Some of the posts taken out of the structure are management posts, which are not operational posts. With the restructure, there will be more actual staff on the floor delivering services.
Currently there are 40 keyworkers for 360 people, in a role which also requires a lot of time spent completing paperwork. The new structure will involve upskilling of Service Support staff which will result in more people with an equitable workload. No staff member will be a keyworker for more than 6 people.
We will also be introducing a new information management system that will streamline processes and reduce paperwork to allow staff to have more operational hours on the floor with people we support.
Can you elaborate on the savings made on management costs?
The staffing structure was not equitable over the locations and spans of control were not appropriate. By consolidating locations, we have managed to remove some management posts. Instead of a manager overseeing two locations, each location will have a dedicated Locality Lead.
Given that you are Council owned, and your funding comes from the Council, is the funding information in the public domain?
While we are wholly owned by the Council, we are also set up as a limited company. Our finances are displayed on Companies House as per company financial law. The contract we have is a block contract for service provision given to us by the Council and it is that contract that has seen the half a million-pound reduction.
The plans mentioned securing capital investment, where is that coming from?
As a commissioned and Council owned service we do not own any of the buildings. We are trying to secure, via the Council, capital investment into building assets, such as Leasowe.
Will capital investment be used to support upgrading facilities in all centres for all levels of ability?
Our aspiration is to enhance the environments to enable us to deliver high quality services which are fit for purpose, and we hope to work in partnership with the Council for capital investment.
Are there any dates for the new centre in Leasowe opening?
The money for the centre is still in the Council budget. Before COVID-19 the location was being stripped out and modernised but unfortunately COVID-19 has caused delays. We are currently waiting for a statement from the assets team. As soon as we get a response it will be shared.
Will the same type and range of activities still be available after the restructure?
We are aiming for them to continue and also to expand the selection on offer, particularly out in the community.
Will there be a structure/timetable to activities? My loved one needs a high level of structure.
As this is a very individual issue for your loved one, it will be raised and discussed during the one to ones.
Can you please give an example of what is meant by ‘community integration’ and how it is different to what is currently on offer?
If several people we support have a shared interest – for example drama, our future vision is that would link into community opportunities to enable them to take part in that activity. In the example of drama, we would link to local drama groups, theatres and develop partnerships to enable people we support to engage in activities in a space designed for that activity.
What vocational services are you thinking of?
We will be building on those currently available -including horticulture, hospitality and catering, confidence and skills building, and ICT. We will also be setting up focus groups to co-design ways to work ensuring people get improved opportunities going forward.
What will happen with transport if someone moves location?
If that person is receiving transportation as part of their current support package, then that will be maintained regardless of location. The length of time someone will spend on transport will inform part of the consideration and is certainly a factor in the decision-making process.
Will the cuts have any effect on transportation?
The transport that is used is commissioned from the Council and unfortunately it's not in our ‘gift’ to control. But as far as we are aware there are no changes made to the transportation service.
Would it be fair to say that due to the COVID-19 pandemic a number of people have left the service and do not plan to return?
Yes. Approximately 37 people have left the service during the pandemic and have made the personal choice not to return.
Some people may not be able to access Zoom – small meetings in person at each centre should be considered, especially at the main centres affected.
Alternative arrangements have been put in place to enable people to be engaged in the process. The loan of tablets and small (COVID-19 compliant) meetings at The Grange have been offered to individuals.