Young people met with Shirley Woods Gallagher who is the Assistant Director for Commissioning and partnerships. Shirley came to speak to the young people about the current budget consultation.
Shirley made the young people aware of the proposal to reduce out of borough placements and to try and bring these young people that are placed out of borough back if possible to do so.
Young people asked Shirley questions around how this will impact on the young people, why this saving needs to be made and how work should already be taking place to ensure the placements for young people meet their needs. Shirley spoke about how during the first lockdown there was hard to get any placements for young people due to places being reluctant to accept young people. This is the reason why out of borough placements were more expensive during the lockdown. Shirley mentioned this is a national issue not just an Oldham issue.
Shirley told young people going forward they are checking care plans and some young people are safe to return home or there is another package of support available to them. They are currently reviewing care plans to bring back young people to Oldham from far places in a safe and risk assessed manor. Shirley expressed how this will ensure savings are made but with the best interest of young people at heart. Shirley also mentioned looking at care plans and ensuring health and education are contributing as they should if there is a need in certain care plans.
Shirley explained how this was unfortunately due to the impact of COVID. All local authorities are currently having to look at budgets and make cuts. Shirley said that they would not put this saving forward if it meant that they put young people in vulnerable positions. Young people are at the heart of everything and the aim is to have their best interests at heart.
Young people asked Shirley about our current providers and private homes within the borough. Shirley replied that they go through a rigorous process when looking at providers – asking them questions and ensuring their is a strong focus on the quality of the workforce. Looking to the future Shirley mentioned they are working with partner agencies to ensure all providers are regulated and acting as appropriately. Oldham wants to drive up the quality of where the young people are placed.
Some brilliant conversations with Shirley. Thank you to Shirley for attending and consulting with the young people.
Young people discussed the second podcast for CICC. Young people discussed including another interview section with Councillor Eddie Moores, celebrating our young people that we know and just doing this is a fun way. Young people come up with some questions they would like to put forward for the interview to.
Thank you to all who attended this meeting.