Council ‘cannot meet Achievement Bute’s terms’

Children, parents, carers and supporters of local charity, Achievement Bute, at a rally in Guildford Square on Saturday, March 14.
Children, parents, carers and supporters of local charity, Achievement Bute, at a rally in Guildford Square on Saturday, March 14.

The executive director of community services in Argyll and Bute Council has said the authority cannot meet the financial terms proposed by Achievement Bute which would allow the local charity to continue providing support services to families on the island.

Clelland Sneddon was replying to an urgent email from Bute Community Council on the subject, after a number of concerned parents attending their meeting on Monday evening asking for support.

The island charity will cease to provide care to disabled children and their families after March 31 due to changes in the way funding is provided via Self Directed Support (SDS), which Achievement Bute says will not meet their running costs.

Bute Community Council’s secretary, Mick Common, said in an email to Mr Sneddon: “Achievement Bute is a very successful organisation which is highly regarded on Bute, and has the full support of Bute Community Council.

“The Community Council was shocked to learn that, as things stand, the services that it provides to children with special needs will cease to be available 12 days from now. It is the Community Council’s view that if this were to happen it would be a major setback for the whole Bute community, as well as a tragedy for those directly affected.

“Bute Community Council requests that, as a matter of urgency, you arrange to meet with the affected parents here on Bute, so that you can discuss with them how a way out of the current impasse may be found before the end of this month.”

In response, Mr Sneddon said: “The council’s Children and Families Service have offered funding in 2015/16 that allows for the transition in funding model and I understand clarified that Achievement Bute would receive the same level of funding as in 2014/15 - this would be on the basis that the provider moves to the unit cost model.

“We have received confirmation from Achievement Bute’s board that they will not accept those terms and intend terminating their contracted services on March 31. The council has made a request of Achievement Bute that they extend their service provision by three months to allow for a planned transition and continuity of support for the children they support to an alternative provider - this to be paid at the same rate pro rata.

“Again, at this time, the board has indicated they cannot agree this request.”

Mr Sneddon continued: “There have been further discussions with Achievement Bute this week, however, the terms they indicated they require to continue to operate are unable to be met - whilst the financial details are confidential to that provider, these are very significantly greater than that paid to providers elsewhere in Argyll and Bute.

“The council has indicated that it would be able to support a higher unit cost for services on Bute to reflect the location and the existence of Achievement Bute however the requirements are well in excess of this enhanced rate.

“The Children and Families Service are making arrangements to re-contact all of the affected families to explain the position and what actions we now need to put in place to secure an alternative provider able to offer services on Bute and to make the transition in support arrangements.

“These discussions will also outline the options available to those families in relation to self directed support.

“Additionally I have made arrangements to speak with the manager of Achievement Bute and the Children and Families Locality Manager tomorrow [Friday, March 20].

“I trust the above information is helpful and that we are seeking to ensure a continuity of support for the children supported currently by Achievement Bute.”