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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Council causing harm with its decision making process

Liberal Democrats say that Ealing Council keeps on following the same process which is causing great harm and distress for many carers and users.

Their process has been to rush through to make quick decisions despite carers and users having lots of valid complaints and questions, only to see the decisions are the wrong ones, then the Council has to make U-turn after U-turn.

In some cases, pride has led them not to reverse a bad decision but plough on with a successful outcome not being achieved. This was the case with Chiswick’s Carlton Road Day Centre which had happily provided severely disabled users with a great careering service.

Then the Council chopped it, forcing users to find alternative arrangements, some paying much more for a worse level of care. What is also gutting for residents is that the site has not been used. They should have kept the centre open longer or had proper, acceptable plans for the site.

Other controversial and more recent decisions were to close the Solace Day Centre which provides a much needed mental health care facility. After a huge campaign, the Council agreed to look at the plans again and then found the money to save the well-loved service.

Heller House – although not in Chiswick - is a residential children's home which provides a short break for the young as well as parents and carers. The Council rushed to close the centre despite a huge borough wide petition.

Then last week agreed to create a new replacement respite centre for up to 12 users at one time. Again Ealing Council initially ignored carers views, who said there was a real need for an in-borough respite service, before making the U-turn.

This shows that Ealing Council is failing residents and users by not thinking through its plans fully. They have caused much distress in the process.

Crime – Prevention is better than allowing crimes to occur

Clearly any crime committed is one too many but in the past few years there has been a move away from preventing more common crimes such as burglary and theft.

We have been left in a situation where too many people have their bikes stolen or cars broken into. Many crimes are either avoidable or severely reduced by a proactive input from both residents and local safer neighbourhood teams in Ealing borough.

Southfield Police team
Liberal Democrats say that part of this was due to the Mayor of London reducing the number of local police, meaning that there are fewer police who are dedicated to a local area. These teams played a vital role of liaising with residents’ associations and residents to gather intelligence and to sort out the problems affecting a particular ward or borough.

Now with smaller police teams, it means that less proactive advice is given for residents to reduce crime.

In the ward where I live, the local Southfield police team do a magnificent job. But this is only possible because groups of residents work together with the police to engage residents to pass on crime reduction advice. Some of the initiatives include:

  • Promoting the take up of SmartWater which is used to mark valuables to both reduce burglary and if items are taken, they are more likely to be traced by the police.
  • Having the largest Safer Neighbourhood Watch active schemes in the borough which means that police advice about local crimes or how to reduce crime is spread amongst residents more quickly.
  • Free property surveys by the local police team. I had one of these when I moved into the area and the police gave lots of free advice on how I can easily reduce being a victim of crime.

Liberal Democrats say that cuts to the local police are bad and in many areas have led to increases in many types of crime. Ensuring we have enough local police is vital if we are to reduce many of the more easily preventable crimes.

I am proud that crime in Southfield is the lowest in the area. It would be wonderful if other areas of Ealing repeat what is working in Southfield so we can all have lower crime rates.