03:51PM, Friday 31 January 2020
Maidenhead Town Hall (Ref: 132084-6)
A mother has spoken of the importance of an employment support service as it faces cost cutting measures.
Ways into Work (WIW), which became independent from the council in 2015, helps people with a disability or disadvantage gain employment.
Council budget proposals for 2020/21 include plans to transfer WIW employment services to the Royal Borough’s adult social care provider Optalis.
Since 2015 WIW has been on a five-year contract with the council and under new proposals the value of this contract will be reduced from around £241,000 to an estimated £166,000.
Addressing the Adults, Children and Health Overview and Scrutiny Panel at Maidenhead Town Hall on Wednesday, Windsor resident Janet Hayes-Brown said: “Our son has been supported by WIW for some time and it is an experience which has been truly life-changing.
“While we understand the need for the Royal Borough to balance the books due to historic mismanagement of funds, it is concerning the budget cuts will affect vulnerable services.”
Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill), deputy chairman of cabinet and lead member for adult social care, children’s services, health and mental health, responded: “In this proposal we are not looking to cut services but transform how we are providing services.”
Becky Beechen, managing director at WIW, commented: “I know the borough is in a difficult financial position, but I’m sure we have all got the same objective of delivering the best service we can.
“It is difficult to understand how the scale and quality of the service will not be affected and it is harder still to understand how services could be more effective, efficient and responsive.”
Cllr John Story (Con, Ascot and Sunninghill) said: “The focus in this project is not on cutting services, it is on doing things differently.”
The budget proposals will go to cabinet on Thursday, February 6.
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