After Edinburgh Council's plans to tender care and support services descend into chaos the City's health and social care no.2 commits e-mail gaffe leading to increasing calls for resignations.
Anger is growing over the behaviour of Councillors and Council officials in the increasingly heated debate over social care cuts.
Last Thursday the competitive tendering process for care and support services in Edinburgh descended into a shambles as a specially convened Council Finance meeting ended about 2mins after it had started.
The meeting was expected to see the Lib Dem / SNP plans to make a 21% cut to the Capital's care of vulnerable adults pushed through by virtue of their majority on the Finance and Resources Committee.
Instead it lasted just long enough to announce that the whole tender process would have to be externally evaluated before being considered again next year.
This led to immediate calls for the resignation of Cllr Paul Edie, the Council's health and social care convener, who faced criticism for his handling of the process, in particular, the personal nature of his remarks levelled at service-users and their allies during a meeting of the full Council on the 19th November. It was revealed in the Edinburgh Evening News on Friday 4th December that Cllr. Edie is set to face a vote of no-confidence.
Now both service-users and their social care workers have been further angered by a written response from SNP Cllr Norman Work to a question from the family of a service-user affected by the cuts. Cllr. Work concluded his e-mail by saying
"Indecently ([sic] incidently), I wouldn't mind working for £12.65 an hour. I also would like to get over time, extra pay for nights and weekends not to mention double time on public holidays, maybe I could get you to help me campaign on my behalf".
Itay Idan, a support worker from SWAN (Support Workers' Action Network) stated
"this response from Councillor Work shows a complete disrespect for both servce-users and their care and support staff. More alarmingly it demonstrates that one of the main councillors behind the tendering process, Edinburgh Council's vice-convener for health and social care, does not have a simple grasp of the facts. He clearly implies that he believes the Council to be offering £12.65 per hour to frontline staff. In actual fact the companies that the Council intended to award contracts of £12.65 an hour to pay their support workers less than half that amount - little over minimum wage.
We think it is only appropriate that both Paul Edie and Norman Work resign from their positions in health and social care. We are not just being malicious. Hundreds of vulnerable people's lives were set to be ruined by this process. When those who led it are shown to, at best, have mishandled the situation and, at worst, to have no idea of the facts involved it is only right that they should stand down".
For more information contact Edinburgh Support Workers' Action Network (SWAN) at firstname.lastname@example.org