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Jura’s respite flat has been spared from plans to scrap the island care facility – despite concern it is not the best use of public money.
The decision – by a narrow majority – to keep it eventually came down to a casting vote at a virtual meeting of the integration joint board (IJB) of Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) on Wednesday March 31 as members determined the coming year’s budget and looked at savings options.
A service level agreement for a mental health advocacy service in Argyll and Bute also survived.
Agreement as whether or not to keep the Jura property open could not be reached and a first vote ended in a draw.
Because of HSCP’ standing orders, the IJB’s chairperson Oban North and Lorn Independent Councillor Kieron Green did not have the casting vote but committee members finally opted to suspend those orders because of the unusual circumstances of the meeting being held online, and Councillor Green was able to cast that all-important vote.
Councillor Green came down on the side of Kintyre and the Islands Liberal Democrat Councillor Robin Currie who wanted to keep the Jura facility open.
Helensburgh Central Conservative Councillor Gary Mulvaney had argued he did not feel it to be the best use of public money.
The meeting was told while it was discussing the issue, there were officials over on Jura at the same time talking to the community on how the issue could move forward with the island’s support of helping bring more money in.
The sum of money that could have been saved was £12,000 a year, the meeting heard.
The flat has been run as a joint project between the HSCP, West Highland Housing Association who own the building and the Jura Community Care Group. There was mention the flat had not been used much or for the purpose of respite for islanders.
However a report that went before IJB members said the lack of consultation over the respite facility closing had caused community concern. The meeting was told there had been ‘a mix up’ over communicating what was happening with islanders.
Councillor Mulvaney said he did not feel the facility merited still being in the budget. ‘We should have saved (the money) this a number of years ago,’ he said.
Councillor Currie said: ‘The flat has been used, not much, but it has been used. Everyone is accepting it could have been advertised better.’
It was Mid Argyll councillor Sandy Taylor who asked for the service level agreement for the advocacy service to be spared from the savings option list as ‘a contribution to mental health.’