Talkswindon Archive - 2005 to 2010

Big Local Issues & Enquiries => Swindon Dial A Ride => Topic started by: d8189661 on May 29, 2010, 03:55:25 pm

Title: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: d8189661 on May 29, 2010, 03:55:25 pm
I would like to say a big thank you to Swindon Dial A Ride. Swindon Dial A Ride provides transport for people of any age who are unable to use public transport due to mobility impairment or disability, whether permanent or temporary.

I became an unpaid volunteer driver for Swindon Dial A Ride in order to offer my services to the community, and in particular the Council Sheltered Home of Elsie Hazell Court.

My disabled mother recently relocated to Swindon so that I could help care for her in the fabulous independent living offered at Elsie Hazell Court.  So impressed with the services the Council have provided I now spend some of my free time helping out where I can, be it a social function or as I have done this week a free mystery tour out. 

By volunteering as a driver and being trained to Midas (Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme) Standard I was able to hire at my own cost a vehicle and take out some of the residents to Bourton On The Water and a garden centre.  They had a lovely time out and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of going out.

Without the provision of Swindon Dail A Ride who are a registered industrial and provident society that are not part of Swindon Borough Council, but do however receive a grant from the Council this would not have happened. 

Thank you to all of those that help to make this service available to our senior community members.

Kevin
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Geoff Reid on May 29, 2010, 04:20:30 pm
 
Welcome to Talkswindon Kevin.  :)

I very much look forward to learning more about your experiences as a member of the '3rd Sector', a huge swathe of the population from whom so many receive so much.

 
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Richard Symonds on May 29, 2010, 07:30:17 pm
Hi Kevin I am very pleased to see you posting following our chat at Sainsburys Bridgemead yesterday afternoon. 

What is the Charity's reaction to the reported removal of the £331,000 subsidy to Dial a Ride?

It is very important that we do everything possible to protect Dial a Ride and the service it offers, so any information you can provide on the operation of your charity would be greatly appreciated.

How could another organisation possibly provide the service less expensively without volunteer drivers?
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Bogomil on May 29, 2010, 09:46:20 pm
It is very important that we do everything possible to protect Dial a Ride and the service it offers, so any information you can provide on the operation of your charity would be greatly appreciated.

How could another organisation possibly provide the service less expensively without volunteer drivers?

I don’t always agree with Richard but here I must.  :agreed:

On a brighter note for the future I bet Bluh &Co are less than happy with the ConDem Coalition programme for government plan to give residents the power to instigate local referendums on any local issue.
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: d8189661 on May 30, 2010, 11:38:49 am
Thank you all for your replies.  As I said I am only an unpaid volunteer driver.  It was my aim to provide a free (at my own cost) service to the residents of Elsie Hazell Court to enrich their lives.
As to the reaction to the reported removal of the £331,000 subsidy to Dial A Ride there are many others that are better placed than me to comment.  From my point if it is true then the residents as those that I like to help may well miss out.  I have offered this but may well not be able to afford it should the cost of such of a service rise.
With the occasional weekday off once a month it was my intention to lay on other such trips as I did on Friday which was well attended and received.
Dial A Ride has helped me help others and that is what I was after.  No reward just the pleasure of helping others.  If more people stepped up as I have society would be much more beautiful.
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Ringer on May 30, 2010, 11:46:16 am
Thank you all for your replies.  As I said I am only an unpaid volunteer driver.  It was my aim to provide a free (at my own cost) service to the residents of Elsie Hazell Court to enrich their lives.
As to the reaction to the reported removal of the £331,000 subsidy to Dial A Ride there are many others that are better placed than me to comment.  From my point if it is true then the residents as those that I like to help may well miss out.  I have offered this but may well not be able to afford it should the cost of such of a service rise.
With the occasional weekday off once a month it was my intention to lay on other such trips as I did on Friday which was well attended and received.
Dial A Ride has helped me help others and that is what I was after.  No reward just the pleasure of helping others.  If more people stepped up as I have society would be much more beautiful.

Kevin if there are those better placed than you to comment please get them to do so their future very much rests on their engagement with the public, about what the service is.

On a brighter note for the future I bet Bluh &Co are less than happy with the ConDem Coalition programme for government plan to give residents the power to instigate local referendums on any local issue.

I agree but how local is local? If you need 10,000-18,000 signatures to stop a local school being closed like Northview it will be almost neigh on impossible. 10% of signatures in Wiltshire would be 50,000 a logistical nightmare for individual or group.
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Richard Symonds on May 30, 2010, 12:04:50 pm
A copy of the invitation to tender for Dial a Ride would be helpful so we can ensure that like is being compared with like.

Don't let the Council shovel this under the carpet please Kevin or you could lose your facilities by default before you realise what is happening.
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Bogomil on May 30, 2010, 12:48:45 pm
A copy of the invitation to tender for Dial a Ride would be helpful so we can ensure that like is being compared with like.

Don't let the Council shovel this under the carpet please Kevin or you could lose your facilities by default before you realise what is happening.

This is yet another role for the scutiny committee then, to make sure it is a like for like service and that what SBC considers is VFM is the same as what the service users want.
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: d8189661 on June 10, 2010, 06:00:54 pm
I understand that Councillor Peter Mallinson, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care and Tim Price, Head of Transport Delivery will be attending the Annual General Meeting of Swindon Dial A Ride on Thursday 24th June 2010 to answer questions. 
Swindon Borough Council (SBC) recently withdrew grant funding and has decided to tender "the Dial A Ride services".  In its simplest form, this means that other transport operators will have the opportunity to submit bids to run the services.

Well, I wish them well because Swindon Dial A Ride has been running the service for more than 20 years and are fully aware of the needs of the community.

Sorry that I won't be able to attend.
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Richard Symonds on June 10, 2010, 06:14:48 pm
I understand that Councillor Peter Mallinson, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care and Tim Price, Head of Transport Delivery will be attending the Annual General Meeting of Swindon Dial A Ride on Thursday 24th June 2010 to answer questions. 
Swindon Borough Council (SBC) recently withdrew grant funding and has decided to tender "the Dial A Ride services".  In its simplest form, this means that other transport operators will have the opportunity to submit bids to run the services.

Well, I wish them well because Swindon Dial A Ride has been running the service for more than 20 years and are fully aware of the needs of the community.

Sorry that I won't be able to attend.

This is a very interesting development!!  All very worrying Kevin because wishing them well is one thing and losing it is another.  You and your colleagues need to satisfy yourselves that what you are tendering for is one and the same as everyone else.  Otherwise you will find that you have lost this invaluable service and I am reasonably sure that paid and voluntary drivers do not mix, so it will be one or the other.

One very basic question remains though how can a commercial organisation possibly offer this service more economically with paid staff rather than volunteer drivers?  Is this a further example of creative accounting?

Please persuade as many of your colleagues to attend as possible.

I shall be there on the 24th as I know many elderly and infirm people who use this service which needs to be protected, because once it is lost it will not return.

and one further point if we can afford to lend Digital City £450,000 without guarantees why can't we work with Dial a Ride who cost only £331,000 pa presently?

Conservative Councillors are quiet aren't they?
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: poemogram on June 25, 2010, 10:35:27 am
Due to a hospital appointment I only managed the last hour of DAR AGM.

Would welcome any brief factual accounts and viewpoints as to where we are and what supporters of DAR's options might be.

One initial view I had was that the open Q&A was not sufficient for answering in detail and bu conversation and consideration - the points raised from the floor.

Hopefully the notes of meeting by DAR will be produced shortly on here to reflect the issues and answers so far.

One point made in conversation after wqas that by publishing their accounts DAR has given what in the private sector would be 'private' info re costings...however, as a charity they have no choice on that matter.

Also, could someone please clearly explain the difference and implications odf there being at least 2 sections to DAR ie community transport and taxi-type service ?

Many thnaks and

Let's not let Dial a Ride, and its supporters, be taken for a ride !
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Des Morgan on June 25, 2010, 06:35:23 pm
I agree that SDAR should nto be 'taken for a ride' but neither should the Swindon taxpayer.  SDAR is a charity with a management committee and a plethora of volunteers.  However, they do receive £360,000 of taxpayer pounds every year and as such that makes them 'political' (note the small p)

I would like to hear from SDAR why they are so unwelcome of suggestions which don't gel with their ideas. in fact they are singlularly dismissive of anything with which they don't agree.

I would like SDAR to explain what costs they think could be better controlled - if it's none let them say.  However, I would be surprised if they are 'big enough' to compete with SCS or Thamesdown Transport on such things a diesel purchasing, maintenance contracts, vehicle insurance etc.

This was the text of letter I wrote back in December 2009 so some things may have changed in the
past 6 months:

Quote
Sir – Bonny Walsh the Chair of Swindon Dial A Ride Management Committee outlines four areas which SBC proposed could be investigated as a means to reduce the amount of taxpayer pounds allocated to the service (SA 22 December).  Regrettably, Ms Walsh dismisses the four suggestions with an insouciance which is very odd given that whatever her legitimate concerns, the fact remains the Council is a major provider of funds to Dial A Ride and nothing is gained by ‘biting the hand which feeds you’.  Having looked at some other Dial A Ride schemes in Bristol, Oxford, Peterborough and Nottingham it is quite clear that some of the SBC proposals are already practised elsewhere. For example the idea of a ‘membership fee’ is quite common which raises the question, why should it be so difficult or expensive for Swindon to implement and administer a similar scheme?  Likewise, limiting travel to say two journeys a week, it might not be ideal but Bristol limits its Dial A Ride service to one return journey per week; others impose restrictions of a similar nature.  Of course there may need to be exceptions to the rule but is Ms Walsh being a little disingenuous to use the example of a person who might require DAR five days weeks to travel and from work or college. Nottingham Dial A Ride insist on a doctor certifying the user cannot use public transport, however Ms Walsh appears totally opposed to countenance any assessment process. With regard to raising fares – an absolute no no for Ms Walsh – it is very interesting to note the variations in charges made by five Dial A Ride providers. 
 
Oxon                £5 per annum      £4 return within West Oxon or to Oxford City £6 return otherwise
Peterborough     Â£5 per annum   standard bus fare
Bristol               Free                     Â£2.20 return under 3 miles otherwise £3.20 return
Nottingham        £6 per annum    £6 return within 3 miles otherwise £10 return
Swindon            Free                    £4 return within 3 miles

The grant made by SBC is £360,000 a substantial increase on the £280,000 Dial A Ride received in 2006 when three Labour councillors promised to donate their allowance increases to the charity.  The need for Dial A Ride is not in question, the fact that there are other similar services provided within the Borough is also not in dispute, however, it is also not unreasonable for the Council to ask the DAR Management team to evaluate ideas for income generation or cost savings.

As for safeguarding DAR from ‘politicians’ – sadly that is not possible as DAR is inextricably linked to the whims of ‘political’ imperative by dint of the primary source of funding coming from a body politic.  That is the reality DAR must face.

I support in principle the need for a DAR service but there are other providers and there most certainly are other potential providers.  Will it cost the user more - yes it might.  If it was run by a bus company then i presume over 60's would be able to use their passes.  What i am certain of is that SBC has categorically stated that the SDAR service will NOT be lost.  However, it may be subject to change.


Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: poemogram on June 25, 2010, 09:02:32 pm
Thanks for the useful post Des
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Tea Boy on June 25, 2010, 09:20:11 pm
However, it may be subject to change.

at a moment's notice no doubt.........
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Ringer on November 26, 2010, 07:24:09 am
1st Wifi

then, Dial A Ride

now Oasis

We know that the wifi was kept under a shroud of nods and winks

Have any of the councillors besides the chosen ones, seen the tender for Dial A Ride? It is I believe out presently.

The Oasis is on another thread so I will not post here except to cast around for some answers to the Dial A Ride question  :fish:
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Steve Wakefield on November 26, 2010, 08:34:14 am
I believe one cllr did ask about this, but was told that they would have to register their interest in it. That means apply and meet the criteria for applicants, it is the replacement of Democracy by a weak argument of  Beaurocracy. (Des has mentioned  something similar on another thread FS?).
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Des Moffatt on November 26, 2010, 11:27:51 am
Credit where credit is due.
The DAR tender documents are available to me.
Qualifications though. Colleagues with that responsibility have been asking about the situation on this on a regular basis without much success.
When we realised that tenders had been invited my colleague demanded sight of the tender documents and was refused. He did not accept that refusal and made sufficient noise that it was provided in the end.
He has shared it with me to be analised, not yet finished that.
Reader's will I hope understand that it is a commercially sensitive document and must remain confidential and that I will not at any time share any concerns that I might have with anyone other than designated elected colleagues and the officers responsible.
It is my duty to ensure a level playing field and that the service is not compromised and I will do that or make public any failure to deliver to that objective.
I did check that the PAG proposal that the detail on standards of service had been shared with the Disablement Alliance, and they were.
Further qualification, officers were expected to share their thinking on the tender document with Cllrs Martin, Dickinson and me.
Others can speak for themselves; officers did not share anything with me voluntarily.
Des Moffatt
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Martin Wicks on November 26, 2010, 11:38:55 am
When is the decision going to be made Des?
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Des Moffatt on November 26, 2010, 11:41:49 am
Early next year
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Steve Wakefield on November 26, 2010, 04:07:53 pm
Thanks Des, very clear.
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: thinktank on December 28, 2010, 07:50:06 pm
An old lady I knew used this a lot she is now in a home because she could no longer get about and now I am told paying a vast fortune for her health care. Do they not keep people in their own homes so that they can pay for all the new care homes  that pop up in the town? Is caring for elderly or granny farming as I have read somewhere referred to, now a big business that has to be kept going?
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Mellon on December 28, 2010, 07:58:06 pm
An old lady I knew used this a lot she is now in a home because she could no longer get about and now I am told paying a vast fortune for her health care. Do they not keep people in their own homes so that they can pay for all the new care homes  that pop up in the town? Is caring for elderly or granny farming as I have read somewhere referred to, now a big business that has to be kept going?

standard practice i think for care homes, seize control of accounts for the elderly
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Muggins on December 29, 2010, 09:05:20 am
Is the Oasis going to be a care home then? :santa_cheesy:

The first of the grand sell off............whats next?
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Ringer on December 29, 2010, 10:07:25 am
Council Offices will be the new Register Office and Museum? It would make a nice shopping mall for small shops and a small  cinema with coffee shops. Swindon the new Knightsbridge of Wiltshire all flowing out from the former council offices  :santa_cheesy:
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Muggins on December 29, 2010, 11:17:35 am
All they will have left to do will be able to be done from a pratten hut around the back.  No swank then!
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Bobby Bingo on December 29, 2010, 11:42:28 am
Or a telephone booth!
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Muggins on December 29, 2010, 11:47:15 am
Yes, I forgot it only needs room for one!
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: bobwright on December 29, 2010, 02:27:53 pm
I think there needs to be a balanced debate on ‘care in the home’. Not so long a go there was a big push to reduce journeys, to improve and use public transport, reduce pollution etc. The council even had officers encouraging bicycle use and car sharing. If we accept these views and actions have merits why are we now going to be reliant on increased home visits, increased movements and increased vehicle use? The improved use of new technology in the home helps with the policy however it will also mean additional fuel costs in the home.

The recent poor weather has led to some services stopping completely. Staff will have to consider the risk to themselves as well as those they are visiting. I am not saying the new policy is wrong however there will be a cost to the environment which does affect people’s health. Whilst some overheads of large buildings may have been removed there will also be the loss associated with economic scale. The new model is built around the individual so there will be fewer saving from shared resources. Dial-a-ride type journeys will inevitably increase as individual’s journey to resources. I believe a health care service reliant on vehicles has inherent risk.
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: thinktank on December 29, 2010, 03:19:59 pm
I think there needs to be a balanced debate on ‘care in the home’. Not so long a go there was a big push to reduce journeys, to improve and use public transport, reduce pollution etc. The council even had officers encouraging bicycle use and car sharing. If we accept these views and actions have merits why are we now going to be reliant on increased home visits, increased movements and increased vehicle use? The improved use of new technology in the home helps with the policy however it will also mean additional fuel costs in the home.

The recent poor weather has led to some services stopping completely. Staff will have to consider the risk to themselves as well as those they are visiting. I am not saying the new policy is wrong however there will be a cost to the environment which does affect people’s health. Whilst some overheads of large buildings may have been removed there will also be the loss associated with economic scale. The new model is built around the individual so there will be fewer saving from shared resources. Dial-a-ride type journeys will inevitably increase as individual’s journey to resources. I believe a health care service reliant on vehicles has inherent risk.

Good post the points you have made are somthing councillors should think about before making cuts.
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Muggins on December 29, 2010, 04:32:08 pm
It's really difficult choices, if you are talking about care for the elderly in their own homes, some, if not most older people would want to remain as independent as possible and not be institutionalised until they have to be.   

It makes sense that to have carers, medicines, food provision, qualified staff in one place looking after a number of older people, but!!!

My sister is partaking at present and it's all very pleasant, but it's still a prison.  And there are miserable old gits in there with her.
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: 20Eyes on December 29, 2010, 04:52:16 pm
I believe a health care service reliant on vehicles has inherent risk.

Bit strange. I don't think too many people walk to hospitals these days.

I believe people should be allowed to remain in their own homes for as long as they wish to (regardless of whether the 'experts' think otherwise). It should be up to the individual where they want to stay. Nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a person's home sold off and the money basically transferred to the bank account of old people's home operators or the State.
Title: Re: Dial A Ride, by new member d8189661
Post by: Mellon on December 31, 2010, 04:18:35 pm
I believe a health care service reliant on vehicles has inherent risk.

Bit strange. I don't think too many people walk to hospitals these days.

I believe people should be allowed to remain in their own homes for as long as they wish to (regardless of whether the 'experts' think otherwise). It should be up to the individual where they want to stay. Nothing more heartbreaking than seeing a person's home sold off and the money basically transferred to the bank account of old people's home operators or the State.

 :2funny: :2funny: :2funny:
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