Warden service based on need should be kept, claims opposition

DONCASTER Council Labour leader Sandra Holland has slated Mayor Peter Davies's cabinet decision to axe the borough's warden service.

The cabinet voted to replace the wardens system with an electronic one which will be available to all elderly and vulnerable people.

Coun Holland said: "We have made representations to the Mayor that a warden service based on need should be retained by Doncaster Council, but he clearly isn't listening.

"This decision today will leave many residents who depend on the warden service as their lifeline to the outside world in a vulnerable position.

"We accept that the proposed electronic system has some advantages, but there are a number of disadvantaged residents who really do need a warden."

Mr Davies pointed out at the cabinet meeting that the proposals which were adopted were initially put forward in 2008 by the previous administration.

He also suggested opponents had "over-egged the pudding" by raising the issue of human contact, because wardens could usually only spend five to 10 minutes with a client.

The service will go in April, in a move which will save the council 1.5 million a year.

The council has proposed setting up a volunteer befriending service to reduce the risk of social isolation.

The warden service employed 195 staff but 135 of those have already applied for voluntary redundancy.

The remained will either be redeployed to a new service or lose their jobs.

Currently, only 3,000 tenants choose to have a warden.

Under the planned telecare system, residents who want to take the system up will pay 3.60 a week for it.

A total of 3,600 people had signed petitions to keep wardens.

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