What’s this all about and what does it mean for you

So what’s the problem?

Real is run by and for disabled people and those with long-term health conditions in Tower Hamlets. We are a local organisation, and we do a lot more than just direct payments support. On a separate page we explain a bit more about why we think we are unique. All of this is in jeopardy because of a funding decision that London Borough of Tower Hamlets is about to make.

For a number of years Real (or its predecessors) has delivered support to local people like you around your direct payments and your care package. Unless we persuade the Mayor to overturn the decision the Council are going to give this contract to a different organisation, called POhWER. This other organisation is not based in Tower Hamlets. In fact they are a national organisation, based in Stevenage. They can’t have Real’s local knowledge and expertise.

We now know that Real were scored by council officers as the leader for quality out of the eight organisations in the recent tendering process. But we are not being offered the new contract because POhWER bid £154,000 less each year to run the service. That doesn’t even cover the cost of Real’s locally-employed staff, so we can’t see how they can deliver as good a service to you.

In the past Tower Hamlets Council have been very happy with the service that Real has provided. So have the vast majority of our clients. We have amazing client feedback, so we know that we are doing a good job for local disabled and older people.

We’ve been told that POhWER have taken similar contracts off other disabled people’s organisations in other parts of the country. We’ve also been told that disabled people are usually not as happy with the new service provision. Here is what we understand will probably happen to your service if we don’t get this decision changed:

  • There will probably no longer be a drop in service – We know that this other organisation has not promised to have a local office.
  • Most support will be information leaflets available online, video conferencing or phone calls – This is great if you have access to the internet, or if these communication channels meet your communication needs. We know from experience that many local Tower Hamlets people don’t have access to a computer or often find this difficult or impossible, and especially those from the Bengali and Somali communities.
  • Most of our local team will probably get made redundant – If this goes ahead most of our staff will transfer across to the other organisation. When this has happened with other organisations in the past, we’ve been told that most of them got made redundant anyway. The remaining staff will get cut down to a minimum.

What does this mean for you personally (if you currently use this service)?

If we do eventually lose this contract then obviously we will work to support you as best as we can on the transfer to POhWER. We will be required to handover our files and records that we have used to support you to POhWER. We will answer your queries and help you where we can.

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