Plans to close eight buildings that provide services to people with learning disabilities are out of order, says UNISON

Over the next 12 months the council proposes the closure of centres at Whitemoor (Amber Valley), Carter Lane, Oxcroft and Whitwell (Bolsover), Ashbourne and Wirksworth (Derbyshire Dales), Coal Aston and Renishaw (North-East Derbyshire), and Newhall (South Derbyshire).

People who need services will instead have to attend one of the four remaining centres at Alderbrook (High Peak), No Limits (Chesterfield), Outlook (Erewash), and Parkwood (Amber Valley).

Staff at the properties marked for closure have been left in the dark as to how these changes would impact their jobs as Derbyshire County Council has failed to consult them, says UNISON. Instead, employees have been asked to attend public consultation sessions being organised by the local authority.

UNISON East Midlands regional organiser Emma Roberts said: “First it was the closure of care homes in the county. Now it’s vital day services that face the axe. What’s best for vulnerable people doesn’t seem to even figure in this process.

“Council staff have once again been placed in an uncertain and unfair position while they wait for the outcome of a process from which they were excluded.

“There’s still time for Derbyshire County Council to talk to staff directly and reassure them that their jobs are safe.

UNISON Derbyshire County branch secretary Jeanette Lloyd said: “This is another unpalatable cut for vulnerable adults in Derbyshire. Day centres play a vital role in promoting wellbeing among users and supporting people to retain independence. They also provide essential help to unpaid carers struggling in times of austerity.”

The 12-week consultation process is due to start on 28 March 2022.