Harrow Borough Council needs to listen to carers says independent councillor

Harrow Borough Council has been accused of snubbing a project to help carers that it helped set up.

Councillor James Bond says the council is not listening to the issues faced by unpaid carers in Harrow.

The council launched the Carer Champion project in January and Cllr Victoria Silver was due to present a report into the experiences of some of the 26,000 carers on Harrow in March.

But when the report was due to be discussed by the council's health and dellbeing committee last month, it was not heard.

Councillor Bond, who represents Headstone North, said: “Quite frankly I am appalled that this has happened. The council likes to boast that it listens to people and says it welcomes feedback and here was an opportunity for it to do just that.

“The Carer Champions’ real life stories must be heard if the council and its partners are to learn from their experiences and are to tailor support accordingly.

“It is only by listening to carers that those in authority can have any hope of getting the kind of support they need right.”

A council spokeswoman said: “The health and wellbeing board, which is made up of cross-party members, decided that this report had been submitted too late to be heard at their meeting, as there was not enough time to review it beforehand.

“This is far too important an issue to rush a report through; it needs to be read and digested properly before it can be commented on.

“We will be meeting with the carers champions soon to discuss this report and the options for where it can now be presented.”

Portfolio holder for adults and housing, Cllr Barry Macleod-Cullinane said: “As part of our fairer agenda, the council is fully committed to supporting carers and, together with our partners, we already provide a full range of training, respite support and advice and information.

“Harrow was one of the first councils in the country to give carers a personal budget.

“Our administration fully recognizes the vital role played by carers in Harrow; that’s why we agreed an extra £30,000 of funding to improve the carers’ champion scheme in this year’s council budget.”

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