Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Monday 19th May 11.30am



There were two main issues that provoked discussion at this meeting: a report back from the Sutton Partnership Board about the Draft Commissioning Framework, and an issue raised about Malvern Ward by Ken Fish under ‘Any Other Business’.


A Draft Commissioning Framework had been prepared on commissioning from the Third Sector in Sutton and is currently out for consultation. The stated aim of the draft is to increase the transparency and consistency of future funding agreements between LBS and the third sector. The third sector refers to voluntary and not-for-profit organisations.


Marilynne Burbage our rep. on the Sutton Partnership Board had some concerns about the draft which she had written down to be circulated at the meeting as she was unable to attend. Of particular concern was the statement that from 2008/9 the starting assumption for all contractual inflationary increases is 0%. There were fears that this would result in significant financial pressure for third sector bodies. Personally I suspect that the measure refers to ‘zero-based budgeting’ which can be a way of ensuring value for money when allocating funds, and would represent a change from what appears to be the current practice of adding a percentage increase year on year to cover inflation. Obviously this point requires clarification and Marilynne was right to question it.


Generally board members welcomed the aims of the new commissioning framework but wanted greater reassurance that services actually would be designed around need and that current services would not be lost.


Simon Latham stated that the commissioning framework would require ‘third sector’ organisations to produce efficiency savings in a similar vein to those required by local authorities & other public bodies. I stated that whilst I appreciate the need to demonstrate value for money in our dealings with third sector bodies, it also had to be recognised that we were talking about voluntary organisations, and questioned whether it was appropriate to expect the same level of efficiencies as we would for public sector organisations. All interested members were encouraged to submit their comments on the draft and I certainly intend to.


Ken Fish the vice chair raised the subject of the proposed closure of Malvern Ward. Claire Shearer, chair of the Carers Action Group expressed the concerns of carers of patients currently on Malvern Ward. Aziz Salim as joint commissioner for the PCT & LBS had been closely involved with the consultation and was able to provide a clear update on the current situation. Claire stated her understanding that of the options proposed the carers would prefer their relatives to remain on Malvern Ward until the service could be reprovided in upgraded NHS facilities. Aziz had pointed out that it may be some years before such facilities were ready and there was currently no certainty that they would be given the go ahead. I enquired whether the carers would have the opportunity to present their views to the Board considering the proposals, and was told that it was a public meeting so they could attend and on previous occasions special interest groups had been invited to speak.


The Carers Partnership Board meeting was followed by an agenda planning meeting as was suggested at the chair’s briefing. The idea was welcomed by the key individuals and I was able to feed back our agenda requests for the next meeting immediately following this meeting.


May 27, 2008 - Posted by | Committee Meeting

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