MORE than half of jobs in Portsmouth City Council’s learning disabilities service are to be cut.
The service, which is based in four daycare centres, is being shaken up to both save money and provide a better service for those who use it.
But it means 92 posts will be cut down to 43 – although the city council says it is working with staff to avoid compulsory redundancies.
Mark Stables, service manager for the integrated learning disability service, said: ‘This is horrible for all those people involved, but we are trying to provide a better kind of service and mitigate any compulsory redundancies. We’ve started a 45-day consultation period with staff over plans to transform our learning disability day service.
‘We’re consulting on an overall plan to transform day services to support people to achieve outcomes such as finding work, independence, social inclusion and better health.’
The council says it wants to work more closely with private providers, charities and voluntary organisations, to provide services in community hubs.
Day services are run from Henderson Road Centre, Ferry Road, Eastney; New Road Day Centre, Balliol Road, Buckland; a centre in Warren Avenue, Southsea; and Loewood Day Centre, in Sixth Avenue, Cosham.
Under the plans, the centres in New Road and Henderson Road would remain to help those with more complex learning needs.
Other adults would be supported and encouraged to get help from the hubs that would be created.
Mr Stables added: ‘We effectively segregate people with learning difficulties and that shouldn’t always be the case.
‘It’s great they can go to a day service and give respite to a family, but the service user should get something from it too. That could be getting voluntary work or building independence.
‘The budget is £4m, but I can deliver this with a 10 per cent saving.’
Changes are due to come into effect in March next year.
Councillor Ben Dowling, Lib Dem spokesman for adult social services, said: ‘This is very disappointing.
‘Taking this service away risks families not getting support and if they can no longer cope the council will have to provide expensive care.’