Respite Care policy challenge defeated at a meeting of the full council

An attempt by a group of councillors on Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to further delay implementation of the authority’s new Respite Care Policy for Adults and Children, was rejected at last week’s meeting of the Full Council.

Saturday, 13th February 2021, 9:57 am
Updated Sunday, 14th February 2021, 12:02 pm
Cllr Gordon Murray

SNP group Leader, Cllr Gordon Murray proposed that the policy be sent back to the council’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee [ESCSC] for further consideration after that committee had backed the policy at its last meeting.

The ESCSC decision on the policy was up for ratification at the meeting as it backed the committee’s decision reports, but Cllr Murray proposed an amendment that would see the policy being returned to the committee.

It emerged during debate, that Cllr Murray had proposed a raft of changes to the policy itself, but his motion missed the deadline for consideration by councillors in line with the standing orders.

In a statement Cllr Murray said that he and a ‘number of councillors’ had received ‘many representations from parents and carers’, and further commented that changes were sought ‘to stop the capping of respite, encourage support plans to be drawn up in partnership with families and also to take into consideration travel when making financial assessments for respite’.

Opposing the amendment, the Chair of the ESCSC, Cllr Paul Steele, said that the committee had considered the policy at its meeting the previous week and that no members of that committee had raised any concerns about the policy being passed, and highlighted it had already been referred back to the committee by councillors at the meeting of the council in December.

The Leader of the Council, Cllr Roddie Mackay, said that the changes being proposed by Cllr Murray with regard to complaints procedures and eligibility for services would require debate and changes to other Comhairle policies, and stated that Western Isles Integration Joint Board, which is responsible for planning and funding of a range of local health and social care services had already backed the policy in December.

A vote of members was taken with the motion agreeing the minutes of the ESCSC receiving 16 notes, and Cllr Murray’s amendment to send the policy back to the ESCSC receiving 12 votes.