Forty made redundant at Llandysul Awel Deg care home

Awel Deg sign An independent investigation into the homes' closure is due to start in June

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Forty staff have been made redundant at a residential home for the elderly closed by a council after care standards concerns.

But unions have accused Ceredigion council of a "hidden agenda" of selling Awel Deg home in Llandysul to the private sector.

They claim an internal council document said a sale could help refurbish the council's remaining homes.

The council has insisted the home will re-open as a dementia home next spring.

The unions have written an open letter to council leader, Ellen ap Gwynn, asking to put their case to all 42 council members.

The council-run home was closed in February following the suspension of 11 members of staff and concerns about standards of care.

'Private sector claim'

At the time the council said it intended to re-open the home as a dementia care centre within six months.

Unison and GMB unions claim that "no detailed programme of work has been evidenced".

They also claim the closure was a "pre-determined decision and hidden agenda with the deliberate intention of closing the home and making staff redundant"

Unison regional organiser Jeff Baker, said: "The council gave a commitment the home would re-open under local authority control and gave a clear impression that no other options had been considered.

"However we have seen a council document that shows discussions took place in December 2013 on selling off the home to the private sector."

The report was submitted during a Protection and Lifestyle department management team meeting.

The council papers seen by BBC Wales stated "there was an opportunity to dual register the home as a residential dementia and dementia nursing home and sell on to the independent sector".

Inquiry

The report added that the sale "could fund a refurbishment programme of the remaining homes".

The unions also claim senior council officers have refused to respond to their case for keeping staff employed in readiness for the re-opening.

Mr Baker added: "We would like to make our case to the full council on the home's closure."

Unions and the council have agreed terms of reference for an independent inquiry into the home's closure by a social care expert which is expected to start in June.

A Ceredigion council spokesman said the council leader was "extremely disappointed" and that she and her deputy had met with Unison on "a number of occasions".

The spokesman added that there were "valid reasons for the temporary closure of Awel Deg and it became imperative for us to respond swiftly and decisively to allay concerns that were raised regarding service provision".

"There were no other reasons behind the temporary closure of Awel Deg," said the spokesman.

"The council has no hidden agenda and the unions have received assurances from both the council's leader and deputy leader that Awel Deg will be re-opened in April 2015 as a Dementia Care Home."

The spokesman added the council was doing "everything possible" to seek alternative employment for staff but it did not "minimise the difficulties for individuals that unfortunately will have to face redundancy".

A Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales report in May last year criticised the home because "there was no structured activities programme being provided to people residing at the home".

The report added: "The impact for people using the service is that they are under-stimulated, uninterested and not fulfilled."

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