Jenny Marra MSP : Councillors urged to reject independent report on Kemback Street or face Judicial Review

9 September 2013


 

Thompsons Solicitors is warning Dundee City Council to brace itself further for legal action should it decide to close Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre.

The facility has been part of an ongoing row which has seen the Council embroiled in controversy over efforts to close it down.

A North East MSP has now accused Dundee City Council chiefs of forcing the closure of Kemback Adult Resource Centre.

The council, which has been heavily criticised over proposals to close the facility for adults suffering from learning disabilities, will make a final decision on the centre’s future at a meeting on Monday evening.

A first attempt by the Council to close the centre was thwarted by a Judicial Review led by Thompsons solicitors who represent the service users. 

Thompsons showed that the council had failed to properly consult on the closure and were seeking to steam roller the closure through without proper checks and balances. 

The challenge led to the council backing down and ordering an independent report which is due to be considered by the council's Social Work and Health Committee on Monday 9 September 2013. 

Thompsons have uncovered evidence with the help of local MSP, Jenny Marra that the independent report has not been properly carried out as required by law.

The evidence uncovered suggests that the council have been 'running down' the centre throughout the review. 

They are accused of having encouraged service users to leave the centre, discouraging new service users and reorganising staff in a way that shows their minds were clearly made up.  

A significant amount of anger is focused on the Director of Social Work, Jenni Tocher, who stated in a public meeting during the independent review process that she favoured and would recommend closure. 

Addressing the Social Work and Health Committee on 25th March 2013 she is recorded as saying: “The Director of Social Work will also make clear to all consultees that she has recommended that Kemback Street Adult Resource Centre be closed”.

Jenny Marra MSP said: “I am shocked by the lengths that Dundee’s SNP will go to close Kemback Street.

“People were being turned away from the centre and sent elsewhere during the consultation when no decision was supposed to have been taken.”

Thompsons Solicitors has been assisting with the legal process in a bid to stave off closure.

Partner Patrick McGuire said: 

“Should the Council decide to close the centre Thompsons will have absolutely no qualms about using the full weight of the law to overturn this decision.

“The Council has a poor track record when it comes to adhering to its legal obligations and if our hand is forced we will not hesitate to reopen judicial review proceedings to challenge the closure of this much needed community facility.”

Chairman of the Kemback Street Action Group George Stewart said

“We are devastated to learn that Kemback Street could be closed before the end of the year but we have not yet given up hope completely and will be making vigorous representation to the council on Monday.

“By closing the facility the Council would be denying the service users access to something that has been a vital part of their lives for many years."

 

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