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News and Comment March 2012

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8 March (Part 1) - We’re all in it together

Bexleyheath ChronicleLast December I reported how it was likely that care home wardens in Bexley would be given notices of dismissal for their Christmas presents and sadly it all came true. Now that the wardens are actually leaving their jobs the story is making it to the local news media. The News Shopper reported the story on its website and in yesterday’s issue. Avante’s chairman is quoted as saying “We have been working with the London Borough of Bexley over a number of months to try and find alternative ways of providing the service based on the funding now available but without success”. Well he won’t succeed will he? Bexley council made the funding cuts and when challenged will tell you they have the overwhelming support of residents.

The Shopper tells how wardens save lives and gives an example. My informant within Avante says that it isn’t a particularly rare event. She also reminds me that while around 60% of accommodation is dependent on Bexley council there are some people who pay all the rent themselves and expect to have a warden - others opt out of the warden service. She hasn’t seen any sign of the rent being reduced or people being forced into the opt out situation.

The same source tells me that when Bexley council announced the loss of funding Bexley’s Deputy Director Kelly Gaddes told Avante to recruit wardens who would be prepared to do the job at a lower rate, but it seems she was talking drivel. You cannot get responsible people with some medical knowledge at any lower price. It’s not the same situation as Kelly and her boss Mark Charters find themselves in; lots of people could do their jobs at far less than £167,000 a year but when you get near to minimum wage levels you cannot go much lower. Ironic that Kelly is supposed to have told Avante to cut wages when council executives won't even accept a petition from 2,219 residents asking that they should do the same.

There was a reader’s letter on this subject in the Chronicle last July (Page 3), click the Editor’s comment above to read it.

PS. Someone in the know has said that Kelly Gaddes is no longer employed by Bexley council.


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