Age UK Solihull Statement
Published on 18 April 2019 01:58 PM
Age UK Solihull was awarded the contract as the lead provider of the Solihull Community Advice Hubs in December 2018. This was part of a larger Local Authority tender for Community Wellbeing Services including support for people with a Sensory Loss and those living with Dementia also Advocacy, Lifestyles, Older People, Carers, Direct Payments and Specialist Employment. Over 60 organisations bid for these contracts. Age UK Solihull has successfully delivered the Solihull Community Advice Hubs since 2014 and bid to continue this service in partnership with Solihull Mind. Age UK Solihull is a local, independent and impartial Charity, and has been delivering services in Solihull since 1983.
Age UK Solihull has not ‘taken money’ off any other organisation; the Local Authority undertook a complete redesign of Community Wellbeing Services and, as per the tender documents, removed duplication and made efficiencies. We have no doubt that cuts and savings were made but the tender itself was a level playing field for all those bidding. Citizens Advice and DIAL made it clear they did not want to bid with Age UK Solihull and instead took the decision to enter into a competitive tender in the full knowledge that there could be only one successful bidder.
Since the award of the contract, Age UK Solihull, our staff and volunteers have been faced with a nasty and unnecessary backlash from certain sectors and there have been attempts to discredit our ability to deliver the Community Advice Hubs, a service we have more than successfully delivered for 5 years to all residents of all age groups and all needs. At the heart of our work is older people and older people are the main users of services in Solihull and we have a number of services specifically dedicated to the support of older people however, our service in the Community Advice Hubs is universal - for everyone.
The Community Advice Hubs cannot replicate the intense one to one support of a small local charity but, working with our Community Wellbeing partners, as a whole service we can provide the information, advice and specialist support residents need and deserve. Our staff, volunteers and our partners deliver amazing services and support to residents. We’re not perfect, we’ve never said we are and we will make mistakes but, not even 3 weeks into the new contract, we’re evidencing excellent outcomes for many people.
Unfortunately it appears that the people being most affected by the backlash are those most vulnerable in our communities, those who most need support. We hope moving forward that those responsible for this continued attack on our Charity put people first not their own personal or political aims.