Burnside Day Centre report six weeks ‘overdue’ says UNISON

GV of The Burnside Centre, Victoria Road, Burgess Hill. Picture : Liz Pearce. LP030914WB05 SUS-140310-142237008
GV of The Burnside Centre, Victoria Road, Burgess Hill. Picture : Liz Pearce. LP030914WB05 SUS-140310-142237008
  • West Sussex County Council began a consultation into the future of the centre
  • The centre was branded ‘beyond economical repair’
  • Union UNISON is calling for the report to be published

People with learning disabilities are still waiting for a consultation report over the future of a day centre – which a union has branded ‘overdue’.

Burnside Day Centre in Burgess Hill was scrutinised by officers at West Sussex County Council, after it was deemed to be ‘beyond economical repair’, with fewer people making use of the service.

Now is not the time for obfuscation or delay.

Dan Sartin, branch secretary

Trade union UNISON has called for the publication of the ‘long overdue report’ which it claims was due on March 3 – however West Sussex County Council said it did not have a fixed date to publish the results.

Branch Secretary, Dan Sartin, said: “It is very unusual for the outcome of a public consultation which started in October and finished in January not to be known by now, it is six weeks overdue. What do they have to hide?”

A public consultation to gauge opinion on the fortune of Burnside started in October, with councillors proposing three options: to do nothing, improve the building and services, or find alternative services for customers and close the building.

The plans were shared with customers, carers and staff at a public meeting in November.

A spokesman for UNISON said the union is now seeking publication of the consultation results and for serious consideration to be given to the views of all stakeholders.

Mr Sartin added: “The customers at Burnside Day Centre have a unique relationship with our members, who care passionately about the service they provide.

“If the outcome favours an in-house option, then we expect West Sussex County Council to respect the views of service users and their carers at Burnside and go about implementing their preferred option. Now is not the time for obfuscation or delay.”

The consultation ran from October 20, 2014 to January 20, 2015.

A spokeswoman for West Sussex County Council said: “The whole reason we have been looking at the future of Burnside Day Centre is so we can improve services for customers in the future.

“We wanted them and their carers to be the first to hear the consultation results and we are meeting with them this Friday. A range of meeting times have been made available to ensure as many customers and carers as possible are able to attend.

“Unison were made aware of these meetings and our plan to share the consultation results with customers and carers.

“After the meetings on Friday, the consultation results will be published on the County Council’s website at www.westsussex.gov.uk. We didn’t have a fixed date to publish the consultation results.

“Since the end of the consultation we have taken the opportunity to gather more information in response to some of the issues raised by the consultation process. We will be discussing this at Friday’s meeting.”