It has been widely reported, if not always fully understood, that local authorities are taking a massive financial hit. This is especially true in Lambeth, where over half of our core budget will be gone in ten years. Labour-run authorities are the hardest hit too. More recent headlines have been dominated by the financial difficulties which the NHS is experiencing right across the country. At a time when local residents have greater needs, health and social care services have to do a lot more with a lot less.
This is not just about scary headlines and worrying statistics but real life individual stories experienced by residents living in Prince’s and Oval wards. For some residents, the problem is now, for others it is what could be round the corner. Successive governments have serially reorganised structures and systems in order to promote effective integrated health and social care services. Most attempts are never given the time to succeed. There has never been a more important time for the NHS, social care and other vital services to work together to make the most of a diminishing resource and meet the needs of residents with seamless precision.
One of the roles of a local councillor is to bring together and link up what services are available. Signposting what exists and connecting up busy people unaware of what others are up to. A supplementary role is spotting where the gaps are, which are often hidden by statistical analysis which works on averages and the majority of experiences. Councillors in Prince’s and Oval wards are currently undertaking a major exercise in consulting residents, businesses and local organisations on how best to spend the money which the Council gets from residential and business developments. One clear message being heard loud and clear is that local people and local organisations want to know more about what is available and to work more closely together.
Local councillors have already knocked on hundreds of doors and approached dozens of vital local organisations in order to see on what people want the Council to spend the Community Local Investment Panel (CLIP) money. This activity is not only generating lots of ideas but also helping to connect people up, in turn building stronger communities as part of the process. If you would like to give your views please do contact one of your local councillors or complete the Council’s survey at www.lambeth.gov.uk/op-wards. We really want to hear from you.