Demand for answers on 'super care homes' plan

Dr Paul  Edmondson-Jones, director of Public Health and Wellbeing

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of Public Health and Wellbeing

Updated in News

ANSWERS will be demanded tonight over delays and secrecy around a multi-million pound project to build two "super care homes" in York.

Seven City of York Council care homes are due to be replaced by new homes on the former Lowfield and Burnholme school sites at a projected construction cost of £25 million to £30 million.

But councillors will tonight demand answers about what is happening with the Elderly Persons' Home projects at a full council meeting, amid claims there are problems and they are being kept in the dark.

The new care home facilities will offer specialist support for elderly people with dementia and high dependency needs.

The Press has asked the council numerous questions over the past four months about the project's cost, timescales and progress but has not received answers, with health director Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones saying it would be "irresponsible" to debate timescales or costs during the competitive dialogue process.

Westfield councillor Lynn Jeffries, of the Liberal Democrats, said: “We already know that Labour’s Elderly Persons’ Homes programme will be late, over-budget and deliver fewer beds than originally promised. We also know that the failure to deliver this programme is having a significant impact on the adult social care budget as Labour were banking on the programme delivering £800,000 in savings before 2015. We therefore need urgent answers over the latest timetable and budget situation."

Cllr Jeffries and Conservative Paul Doughty say councillors are being kept in the dark. It is unclear whether the matter will be allowed to be discussed tonight, in light of Dr Edmondson-Jones's stance.

Cllr Doughty, vice chair of the health overview and scrutiny committee, said: “I am fed up of hearing the same guarded 'going through the procurement process' answer with no further information. After questioning in January and April, I was told that the council would be in a position to give more information in June but it is now mid-July and still no news.

"To 'pacify' me presumably, I was even told information is not shared with the cabinet member which I find astounding.

“It's now time to quit with the secrecy. The council needs to give some honest answers. We are not asking to see who gets what in the contract stakes, not yet at least, but I was elected to represent the people of this city and I do not accept we cannot be given simple answers such as how long will the process take, when will building begin and when can some of our city's most vulnerable residents finally be given 21st century facilities?”

Conservative leader Chris Steward added too much information was hidden from the public, and said: "There is a vast difference between publicising individual procurement tenders which would clearly be wrong and merely updating on the process."

When questioned, Dr Edmondson-Jones said the council was bound by a strict duty of confidentiality during the procurement process so could not comment.

He added: "It is worth stressing that any debate around the potential cost or timescale or the number of bidders at this stage is irresponsible and may have a significant impact on the final cost and viability of the scheme, and therefore on York taxpayers.”

Building on the project, which will provide 162 beds, should start in 2015 and be finished by 2016.

Last month, Conservative councillors said adult social care in the city was in "meltdown" following the departure of social care assistant directors Kathy Clark and Graham Terry.

Around the same time, Cllr Linsay Cunningham-Cross took over cabinet member responsibility for health, replacing Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing.

Cllr Cunningham-Cross said: "There is no secrecy regarding the EPH re provision programme. The council is in competitive dialogue and therefore there are some things that cannot be shared at this time due to commercial sensitivity. This is quite usual for a project of this scale.

"I am holding regular cross-party briefings with representatives from across the political parties in York in order to keep them fully informed of all aspects of my portfolio including elderly persons homes and am more than happy to share information with my fellow councillors and welcome their support as we tackle the significant challenges that all local authorities face in relation to adult social care."

Earlier this year it was reported York was among the worst performing places in the country for hospital bed blocking, where patients were ready to leave hospital or care but could not because there was nowhere for them to go.

Comments (11)

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10:25am Thu 17 Jul 14

Oaklands Resident says...

Nice of Mr Edmondson to answer (photo title) an entirely different - but very telling - Council question about delays to the Community Stadium Project.

So many major capital projects in York are in delay or confusion it must be difficult to keep track of the questions let alone the answers!

Complete shambles!
Nice of Mr Edmondson to answer (photo title) an entirely different - but very telling - Council question about delays to the Community Stadium Project. So many major capital projects in York are in delay or confusion it must be difficult to keep track of the questions let alone the answers! Complete shambles! Oaklands Resident
  • Score: 6

10:31am Thu 17 Jul 14

BethFoxhunter96 says...

The secrecy is very worrying. Whilst there is need to protect the commercial interest of the Council, the type of procurement route chosen does not stop anyone from answering things like: 1) total likely cost of project 2) changes of cost from initial feasibility to overall range of prices received during the various rounds of discussion with builders.

What needs to be kept secret (quite rightly) is number of builders (in order to keep the process competitive and prices down), builders' bids and costs, designs, schemes etc.

However at the very least each stage of the process should be available - any information given to bidders should be made publically available in terms of numbers of beds, requirements, staffing levels etc. Anything which CYC has given out to contractors can be made public.

Certainly as I understand it initial stage proposals by the builders "outline feasibility" or "outline proposals" can be released. There is a weak public interest test there but one I believe the ICO would rule on the side of disclosure on.

Beth
The secrecy is very worrying. Whilst there is need to protect the commercial interest of the Council, the type of procurement route chosen does not stop anyone from answering things like: 1) total likely cost of project 2) changes of cost from initial feasibility to overall range of prices received during the various rounds of discussion with builders. What needs to be kept secret (quite rightly) is number of builders (in order to keep the process competitive and prices down), builders' bids and costs, designs, schemes etc. However at the very least each stage of the process should be available - any information given to bidders should be made publically available in terms of numbers of beds, requirements, staffing levels etc. Anything which CYC has given out to contractors can be made public. Certainly as I understand it initial stage proposals by the builders "outline feasibility" or "outline proposals" can be released. There is a weak public interest test there but one I believe the ICO would rule on the side of disclosure on. Beth BethFoxhunter96
  • Score: 8

10:34am Thu 17 Jul 14

BethFoxhunter96 says...

Oaklands Resident wrote:
Nice of Mr Edmondson to answer (photo title) an entirely different - but very telling - Council question about delays to the Community Stadium Project.

So many major capital projects in York are in delay or confusion it must be difficult to keep track of the questions let alone the answers!

Complete shambles!
I think that is a bit strong but we should know which consultants have been used to guide the procurement processes forward. A relative of mine who works at the Council said that the head procurer recently left under a very dark cloud indeed! Was she asked to leave or was she pushed - it would be very interesting to know!!
[quote][p][bold]Oaklands Resident[/bold] wrote: Nice of Mr Edmondson to answer (photo title) an entirely different - but very telling - Council question about delays to the Community Stadium Project. So many major capital projects in York are in delay or confusion it must be difficult to keep track of the questions let alone the answers! Complete shambles![/p][/quote]I think that is a bit strong but we should know which consultants have been used to guide the procurement processes forward. A relative of mine who works at the Council said that the head procurer recently left under a very dark cloud indeed! Was she asked to leave or was she pushed - it would be very interesting to know!! BethFoxhunter96
  • Score: 10

12:24pm Thu 17 Jul 14

tessah-York says...

My screen says there are three comments - but they are not shown? have they been removed?
My screen says there are three comments - but they are not shown? have they been removed? tessah-York
  • Score: 4

12:46pm Thu 17 Jul 14

inthesticks says...

Take the lack of answers as `We don`t know what we are doing`.
Take the lack of answers as `We don`t know what we are doing`. inthesticks
  • Score: 9

3:14pm Thu 17 Jul 14

oi oi savaloy says...

tessah-York wrote:
My screen says there are three comments - but they are not shown? have they been removed?
Normally when anybody says anything bad or questions P E-J they get removed pretty fast, or the comments get closed. The whole bunch at York council are incompetent including P E-J!
[quote][p][bold]tessah-York[/bold] wrote: My screen says there are three comments - but they are not shown? have they been removed?[/p][/quote]Normally when anybody says anything bad or questions P E-J they get removed pretty fast, or the comments get closed. The whole bunch at York council are incompetent including P E-J! oi oi savaloy
  • Score: 6

3:42pm Thu 17 Jul 14

TheTruthHurts says...

My initial comment was going to be that this is in TSL remit. But it appears in the article that Linsay Cunningham-Cross is looking after this now...... Who it seems is getting well and truly stitched up!

Why has TSL been moved does anyone know any details about this?

I have had a quick search but dont get many references. Its not important but it still says that she is Currently the Cabinet Member for Health Housing & Adult Social Services on the York Labour website.
My initial comment was going to be that this is in TSL remit. But it appears in the article that Linsay Cunningham-Cross is looking after this now...... Who it seems is getting well and truly stitched up! Why has TSL been moved does anyone know any details about this? I have had a quick search but dont get many references. Its not important but it still says that she is Currently the Cabinet Member for Health Housing & Adult Social Services on the York Labour website. TheTruthHurts
  • Score: 5

4:23pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Digeorge says...

Wow! 162 beds, sounds like a modern replacement to Bootham Park and take your money 'before you die' plan rather free care at York District Hospital.

I guess when 'legalised' dying comes on board, that gives every excuse to go to that place rather than to hospital.
Wow! 162 beds, sounds like a modern replacement to Bootham Park and take your money 'before you die' plan rather free care at York District Hospital. I guess when 'legalised' dying comes on board, that gives every excuse to go to that place rather than to hospital. Digeorge
  • Score: 3

6:15pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Jack Ham says...

TheTruthHurts wrote:
My initial comment was going to be that this is in TSL remit. But it appears in the article that Linsay Cunningham-Cross is looking after this now...... Who it seems is getting well and truly stitched up!

Why has TSL been moved does anyone know any details about this?

I have had a quick search but dont get many references. Its not important but it still says that she is Currently the Cabinet Member for Health Housing & Adult Social Services on the York Labour website.
James removed TSL after numerous complaints from senior officers and other politicians that her lack of knowledge and general ability was causing them problems.

He was worried her continued presence in such a high profile role would cost votes at the election.

He took a long, long time to reach that decision. Had he acted sooner the adult social care budget might not be in the mess it's in now.
[quote][p][bold]TheTruthHurts[/bold] wrote: My initial comment was going to be that this is in TSL remit. But it appears in the article that Linsay Cunningham-Cross is looking after this now...... Who it seems is getting well and truly stitched up! Why has TSL been moved does anyone know any details about this? I have had a quick search but dont get many references. Its not important but it still says that she is Currently the Cabinet Member for Health Housing & Adult Social Services on the York Labour website.[/p][/quote]James removed TSL after numerous complaints from senior officers and other politicians that her lack of knowledge and general ability was causing them problems. He was worried her continued presence in such a high profile role would cost votes at the election. He took a long, long time to reach that decision. Had he acted sooner the adult social care budget might not be in the mess it's in now. Jack Ham
  • Score: 2

6:17pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Dave Ruddock says...

one question, well sort of confusion. It is, is the council called a "Council" or a press/council keep stating a (Cabinet). I am under the understanding that its The Government Cabinet , not the Council "Cabinet" delusions of grandeur or what.
second Do anyone that is a council member, not worker, have the slightest idea of work, competence, of t grown up world
one question, well sort of confusion. It is, is the council called a "Council" or a press/council keep stating a (Cabinet). I am under the understanding that its The Government Cabinet , not the Council "Cabinet" delusions of grandeur or what. second Do anyone that is a council member, not worker, have the slightest idea of work, competence, of t grown up world Dave Ruddock
  • Score: 2

6:21pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Jack Ham says...

Jack Ham wrote:
TheTruthHurts wrote:
My initial comment was going to be that this is in TSL remit. But it appears in the article that Linsay Cunningham-Cross is looking after this now...... Who it seems is getting well and truly stitched up!

Why has TSL been moved does anyone know any details about this?

I have had a quick search but dont get many references. Its not important but it still says that she is Currently the Cabinet Member for Health Housing & Adult Social Services on the York Labour website.
James removed TSL after numerous complaints from senior officers and other politicians that her lack of knowledge and general ability was causing them problems.

He was worried her continued presence in such a high profile role would cost votes at the election.

He took a long, long time to reach that decision. Had he acted sooner the adult social care budget might not be in the mess it's in now.
Actually. I should qualify my statement. I haven't heard the reasons TSL lost her cabinet post directly from James Alexander but rather other who are close to him.
[quote][p][bold]Jack Ham[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]TheTruthHurts[/bold] wrote: My initial comment was going to be that this is in TSL remit. But it appears in the article that Linsay Cunningham-Cross is looking after this now...... Who it seems is getting well and truly stitched up! Why has TSL been moved does anyone know any details about this? I have had a quick search but dont get many references. Its not important but it still says that she is Currently the Cabinet Member for Health Housing & Adult Social Services on the York Labour website.[/p][/quote]James removed TSL after numerous complaints from senior officers and other politicians that her lack of knowledge and general ability was causing them problems. He was worried her continued presence in such a high profile role would cost votes at the election. He took a long, long time to reach that decision. Had he acted sooner the adult social care budget might not be in the mess it's in now.[/p][/quote]Actually. I should qualify my statement. I haven't heard the reasons TSL lost her cabinet post directly from James Alexander but rather other who are close to him. Jack Ham
  • Score: 1
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