Wednesday 31 January 2018

Will voluntary groups at the Willesden Centre get a lifeline tonight?

Tonight's Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee has an item on the use of space by voluntary organisations at the Willesden Centre for Health and Care. I hope councillors will take the opportunity to try and get a positive outcome for organisations that contribute a great deal to provision but cannot afford market rents, such as Brent Advocacy Concerns LINK.

This letter  to Cllr Sheth, from Sheik Auladin, Interim Chief Operating Officer of the Brent Clinical Commissioning Group could enable the Committee to focus on some possible solutions and give voluntary organisations some reassurance regarding costs and space ahead of the end of March deadline.
Thank you for your letter dated 6 th November 2017 regarding the progress the CCG has made in respect of supporting voluntary sector organisations, working within the NHS estate in Brent and specifically at the Willesden Centre for Health and Care. 

The CCG has continued to work to identify tenants for the void space across the Brent sites in line with its commissioning intentions . As you will appreciate our priority has to be ensuring the statutory services we commission can access fit for purpose and appropriate accommodation; however, where voluntary services are already in occupation at such sites, or where voluntary organisat ions express an interest for space, we will proactively work to establish requirements and where possible accommodate. 

There has been a long standing need to provide the Burnley Practice - at the Willesden Centre for Health and Care - with an appropriately sized and located space within the building. The practice has been successful in securing NHS England funding to support its relocation within the building to space previously occupied by the Brent Association for Disabled People. The CCG is aware that some voluntary services previously operating under the auspices of BADP continue in occupation of part of this space, albeit they are not being charged. 

The CCG has met with each of these organisations over the past few weeks to explain the plans, establish their ongoing space requirements and reassure the services it will seek to secure an alternative arrangement for them within the building. As you acknowledge, charging market rent is the policy of NHS PS over which we have no jurisdiction; but we will draw on this relationship and try and ensure the organisations can meet rental costs through the same or favourable terms. 

Brent CCG is committed to supporting the valuable work of the voluntary sector in Brent. It is not possible to develop a formal policy for the use of NHS estate by the voluntary sector, due to the CCG having no direct property interest; however we do commit to the principles set out by Sarah Mansuralli previously, and will continue to support the occupation of void space by voluntary organisations where this space is not required for the delivery of statutory or directly commissioned services. 

Yours sincerely,
Sheik Auladin
Interim Chief Operating Officer
Brent Clinical Commissioning Group


John Healy said...

Thanks for posting this for us Martin. Our potential relocation process will reach 22 months by tomorrow. In all that time, we have been told that we have to move but we are still waiting to hear the financial details from our NHS Landlord. I have emailed the interim COO of the CCG asking him if there was any news for us, resulting from last night's meeting but he has not replied yet.

John Healy said...

The scrutiny committee chair replied to my request for information about last night's meeting by telling me nothing and advising me to contact the CCG. I have already contacted the CCG interim chief but he has not replied to my email yet. This has been going on for 15 months and I cannot get anyone to provide the information I need. Cllr Butt said that he needs to plan ahead in an interview he gave about increasing the C.T. and I would like to plan ahead as well but how can I when no one involved in our re-location will tell us anything.

John Healy said...

The CCG interim officer has now replied saying he knows nothing either, as he did not attend the meeting. I have decided not to waste any more time on this matter, as anyone reading this might feel as I clearly do, that neither the council or the CCG have any interest in giving us the financial information we need. As Cllr Butt says "we need to know how much income we will have in 2018/19 so that we can plan ahead" and on a smaller scale, so do we.