Campaigners fighting the closure of the Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre in Dundee say they are determined to continue their legal action against Dundee City Council, despite further consultation over the centre’s future.
Following the Care Inspectorate report which criticised the council’s handling of the previous consultation process, legal aid was granted to the campaigners to take the council to court.
Social work convener Ken Lynn then announced that further consultation has been recommended in a report to go before councillors on Monday.
George Stewart of the Kemback Street Action Group said: “I think Ken Lynn’s statement is really rather simplified. If you’ve got flawed consultation, you’ve got flawed decisions.
“Currently it is not our intention to abandon the application for a judicial review.”
Dundee’s Labour group has accused the SNP administration of issuing a “watered-down” version of the Care Inspectorate’s report on the consultation.
Group leader Kevin Keenan is demanding that councillors are given a copy of the full report ahead of the meeting.
He said: “This report is an accurate illustration of how the SNP administration treated the families, carers and service users of the resource centre.
“It is therefore regrettable that the SNP administration have issued a report as a watered-down version of the actual Care Inspectorate report.
“The full report should be issued to every councillor to allow them the opportunity to reflect on how they voted, without giving any consideration for those affected by their actions.”
He added: “This embarrassing report highlights the SNP administration’s unhealthy determination to railroad through the closure of Kemback Street.”
Mr Keenan said that missing from the council report are an apology from Mr Lynn, his group and the council for the anxiety caused to the service users and their families, and an apology to the deputations who spoke in the city chambers previously.
He added: “Councillor Ken Lynn has no real alternative but to consider his position. After this report, does he consider himself the best person to lead social care in our city?”
Mr Keenan has also asked the SNP for full costings for the previous and forthcoming consultations, plus its position on the legal action looming and an estimated cost of defending it.
“Given the Care Inspectorate report and the council’s recent track record with regards to legal challenges, the Labour group would suggest looking for an arbitrary settlement as quickly as possible.”
The SNP group leader Ken Guild has reacted angrily to this, saying: “It is disappointing if not unexpected that Councillor Keenan is seeking to exploit the most vulnerable for political purposes.
“The Care Inspectorate report did not touch on the arguments for or against the retention of Kemback Street but on technical aspects of the consultation process.
“These remarks have been addressed in the council’s action plan in response to the report.
“The future of Kemback Street is not a matter of finance but of suitable care provision.
“I would remind Councillor Keenan that the SNP administration put an additional £4 million into the social work department at last week’s budget. Was any Labour administration able to make this claim?”
However, Ken Lynn accepted that mistakes had been made and said he “regrets” that.
“In an ideal world we’d always get it right but sometimes we don’t and on this occasion we haven’t,” he said. “I accept that is what has happened in relation to Kemback Street and the adequacy of the consultation process, and I regret that.
“That’s why I am proposing that we re-run the process at the February 25 meeting of the social work and health committee with a report in March detailing the consultation procedure.”