Agenda item

Public Speaking/Open Session

In accordance with paragraph 2.24 of the Council’s Committee Procedure Rules and Appendix on Public Speaking, set out in the Constitution, a total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to put questions to the committee on any matter relating to this agenda. Each member of the public will be allowed up to two minutes each to speak, and the Chair will have discretion to vary this where they consider it appropriate.


Members of the public wishing to speak are required to provide notice of this at least three clear working days’ in advance of the meeting.



Mr Steve Nichols attended the Committee meeting on behalf of the Rossendale Trust, to speak in relation to item 5 - Medium Term Financial Strategy Consultation 2024/25 - 2027/28 Provisional Settlement Update. Mr Nichols requested that care providers receive the appropriate level of financial support in respect of Cheshire East Council’s 2024 - 25 budget setting process. The Rossendale Trust and other care providers has a special relationship with Cheshire East Council with 86% of service users located in Cheshire East and without the financial security of large businesses with a wider geographic disposition this made the Trust particularly vulnerable to the low fees paid by the Council.


The cumulative underfunding over the past five years was having a detrimental effect on sustainability which made it difficult to do any meaningful future planning.
The Wirral and the Cheshire West and Chester Councils were consulting providers on provisional 24 - 25 supportive living rates which were higher rates for both day and night compared to Cheshire East. Mr Nichols stated that the local authority paid significantly different rates and was unjustifiable and the markets were not fully comparable.


The impact of the demise of Rossendale Trust on its staff and service users was unthinkable. As well as placing a huge burden on the Council’s social care teams, the reputational risk to Cheshire East Council would be massive. Mr Nichols asked if the Council had the financial resources and manpower to meet the CQC regulations If the Trust was to fail. Cheshire East’s strategy of underfunding their complex care and supported living providers in comparison to both surrounding local authorities and its own care home and domiciliary care rates, is putting all of this at extreme risk.


Mr Nichols asked the Council to address the unfair strategy before the 24-25 budget was set in stone.

Mr Jeff Dawson attended the Committee meeting on behalf of 1st Enable, to speak in relation to item 5 - Medium Term Financial Strategy Consultation 2024/25 - 2027/28 Provisional Settlement Update. Mr Dawson requested that care providers receive the appropriate level of financial support with regards to the 2024 and 2025 budget.

Mr Dawson described the very positive relationship they had with the Council, in particular with the commissioning contracts, legal and social work teams. The support previously given was outlined and there was a willingness to do whatever they could for its local authority colleagues.

Mr Dawson expressed his concerns in respect of all Councils and the NHS feeling the same pressures therefore it was no longer appropriate or viable for them to continue to subsidize the work they do in Cheshire East for much longer.

The  organisation was recruiting, managing and training staff whilst waiting for the Council to come good on previous conversations had in respect of  services being put on an equal footing for those local authorities, with almost identical or even demographically less challenging conditions in supplying safe, responsive, well led effective and caring support, a pre requisite for maintaining their regulatory duties.

In response, the Executive Director for Adults, Health and Integration thanked Mr Nichols and Mr Dawson for attending and acknowledged the work that care providers do and how valued that work was. Officers would be in touch to discuss the 2024-25 budget and how a negotiated position could be reached, although it was emphasised that Cheshire East Council would not be able to match the rates that were being paid by Cheshire West and Chester and Greater Manchester.