Decision comes with ‘significant risks’ warns new report.

PUBLIC service union Unison vowed to challenge Devon County Council’s decision to shut care homes, saying it would result in more than 1,000 job loses and leave more 400 vulnerable adults facing an uncertain future.

A report published today (Monday), calls on the county council to ‘rethink its strategy of pulling out from service provision altogether’.

Steve Ryles, Devon branch secretary said: “This decision comes after months of campaigning by Unison, meetings with councillors and our members and today we learn that these crucial front line services and the vulnerable adults the council is there to protect are to be left with an uncertain future and our valuable public service employees left without jobs.

“Unison has made it clear to the council that when considering whether to close the homes, councillors would need to consider whether the risks associated with a total withdrawal from direct provision are worth taking for what is a small marginal overall cost reduction, a warning they have clearly ignored.

“Many of the vulnerable adults within these homes live in remote rural areas, they are now faced with a huge upheaval which will see them ripped away from the communities where they have lived for many years.”

A report by the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE), commissioned by Unison, highlights ‘significant risks’ and warns that rather than enhance choice, it will leave some people to ‘fall through the gaps’.

Joanne Kaye, Unison South West regional secretary added: “This shameful decision made by Devon County Council is yet another shocking example of the devastating cuts being placed on the shoulders of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“These vulnerable adults are likely to face confusion and anxiety about today’s announcement and the council will be left without a valuable and crucial service.

“It is clear that the council had already made their minds up, they had a strategy in their sights.

“The hard working front line staff that now face redundancy is just shocking news. Unison will be asking serious questions about the impacts considered in this decision which is likely to see rural local economies hit hard where these residential homes are the main employer in the area.”