Independent providers easy scapegoats

Date: Tuesday 29th January 2019

I NOTED in your article “Benefits roll-out total disaster” (Herald, 19th January) that county council leader Stewart Young decided to blame independent providers of children’s services for some of the budgetary overspend, going so far as to state that “the local authority is extremely concerned about the profiteering taking place at the expense of the most vulnerable children. It is distasteful and extremely expensive.”

All Mr Young needs to do is to ensure the council provides children’s services itself, but he most likely knows that the local authority could not do it for the fee it pays independent providers.

I note that the figure in your article is £4,000 per month. If that is the case, then that is amazing. I work for a provider and in some cases we have to charge £4,000 per week.

Let’s look at the situation. Many of the vulnerable children Mr Young talks about have been incredibly damaged by what has happened to them. In many cases we are required to have one to one staffing 24 hours a day, and in some cases 2:1 staffing.

Let’s say we pay these highly trained professional staff £10 per hour and ignore the additional costs of national insurance, etc, for the employer, and there are 168 hours per week (there is no such thing now as sleep-in at £25 per night). Therefore a one-week charge for staffing will be £1,680 for one to one support and we haven’t even looked at training cost and the costs of accommodation.

Mr Young, aim your concerns at the real issues here rather than easy scapegoats.

GRAHAM LEWIS

Winskill.