Trade unionists, service users, carers and community groups lobbied Glasgow City Council against damaging social care cuts in the city on the 28th June under the banner of Defend Glasgow Services. A UNISON spokesperson for Glasgow City branch, said that the union supports the principle that everyone should have choice and control over their care but cuts were being carried out on the pretence of providing choice.
The Defend Glasgow Services campaign has called for an end to the personalisation process (also known as Self Directed Support), for no cuts in funding and for proper consultation to take place.
Campaigners argue that council changes to personal social care are being introduced without adequate funding and with a view to ‘reducing the cost of supporting individuals and reducing the proportion of provision in the public sector and potentially the voluntary sector.’ The council intends to cut 20% (£10 million) of the current funding of the Social Work Department to meet cuts targets for 2012/13.
Personalisation is supposed to give those who need it a choice in how they receive support, either through statutory services or via their own personal budgets and purports to promote choice and independence. In fact personalisation is one of those spurious concepts that lead some people to say ‘its all very good in principle but it is not working in practice.’ This is naïve. The idea was deliberately introduced to enable privatisation and cost cutting. It has resulted in fragmentation and indeed the elimination of services and has been used to divide up and casualise the workforce and deter unionisation. Finally a major aspect of self directed support is based on the idea that the individual can be separate from the collective and the pretence that somehow they will be the stronger and better off for it.
This market driven approach places public money in the hands of private providers and leads to a race to the bottom in terms of both services and wages and conditions. Private employers who need to make a profit give scant training to their workforce and staff turnover is high.