Sunday, 8 September 2013

Concern over Brent Meals on Wheels transferring to community providers

Brent Council is proposing to end Council provision of the Meals on Wheels service for the elderly and vulnerable and hand the responsibility over to community organisations. They will end the contract with the present provider Apetito which will also lose the contract for meals provision at day centres.

The Council projects that it will save more than half the costs of the present service in 2014-15 although the budget may be overspent this year because of set up costs.

One issue of concern is that the proposals are based on a pilot with Harlesden Methodist Church which eventually involved evaluations by only six users. The total number of residents receiving meals on wheels currently is 187 and 1345 have meals at day centres.

The need for meals on wheels on a geographical basis is

South (Kilburn; Queens Park; Kensal Green; Brondesbury) 27
Central East (Dollis Hill; Mapesbury; Dudden Hill) 16
Central West (Stonebridge; Harlesden; Willesden;Cricklewood) 49
North East (Alperton; Wembley; Preston; Tokyngton; Sudbury; Northwick Park) 59
North West (Barnhill; Fryent; Queensbury; Kenton; Kingsbury) 36

The day care meal requirements break down as:

 Kingsbury Resource Centre 384
John Billam 430
Elders Voice 118
Hibiscus Club 24
Aspects Unit 38
Asian Disability Alliance 5
Wise Project 250
Rendezvous Club 96

The Council suggest the following provision:

Cricklewood Homeless Concern – can cover the whole of Brent, and provide Western European/Caribbean/Indian meals
- Early Bird Catering – can cover the Wembley/Sudbury/Kingsbury/Tokyngton area and provide Western
European/Caribbean meals
- Harlesden Methodist Church – can cover Harlesden, Stonebridge and Kensal Rise and provide Western European/Caribbean/Indian meals
- Catalyst Catering – can cover Harlesden, Stonebridge and Willesden and provide Western European/Caribbean meals
- Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre – can provide for day centres only and provide Western European/Caribbean meals
- Jalaram Foods – who can cover the whole borough and provide Asian Vegetarian meals

Residents will contribute £3.50 per meal as at present but payments will be via pre-paid cards with help for those who find the system hard to manage. The Council also currently contribute £3.50.

The current meal charge to the Council via Apetito is £8.52 and they project that this will be cut to £3.50 for door to door provision and £2 for day centre provision.

The Council will put aside a contingency in case of failures by any of the new providers. Apetito staff are unlikely to qualify for TUPE so will become redundant. No redundancy costs will fall on the Council.

A risk assessment is provided by the Council.

I hope councillors give this very serious consideration. I know from personal experience with my mother that both the meal itself and the person delivering it are vitally important to the housebound. The meal and visit are often the day's major event. The quality and suitability of the meal are important to maintain physical health and the friendships that develop with the deliverer, however fleeting, are socially important. Maintaining quality of meal and quality of service across many providers is going to be a major challenge.


Trevor said...

I Feel sorry for those Elderly People because either way they will suffer great indignity because if you Look at the way the council has neglected litter collection
then you can be certain they would eventually do the same to elderly people that depend on meals on wheels services.
the council allow street drains to be left blocked solid, they allow pavements to be used as new style ashtrays and dustbins for empty cigarette boxes along with the usual empty fast food boxes and soft drink tin cans and empty crisp packets along with chocolate bar wrappers and bins are allowed to be left overflowing for days on end
and even when it attracts flies etc it does not appear to bother the council.
all they care about is getting the council tax etc from the public and when we pay we get a laughable lousy unacceptable extremely offensive return for our money.
Thanks Mr Butt!!!

Michael Calderbank said...

The Risk Assessment actually regards the danger of a "Lack of market capacity" leading "to service users going without meals" to be "High"! But they're pressing ahead anyway?