SASH was formed in December 2014 in response to the news that Haringey Council was planning to reduce its adult social care budget by 40% over the next three years. It was immediately apparent that these plans would have drastic consequences for people with autism and learning disabilities and their families and carers. Proposals included cutting care packages, shutting residential care homes and closing the borough’s three remaining day centres, including the dedicated autism service at Roundway.
SASH launched a range of campaigning activities.
- Lobbying councillors and council officials at every opportunity, at public consultations and private meetings;
- Making representations through partnership boards, the carers’ forum and other official bodies;
- Organising public meetings with parliamentary and council candidates during national and local elections;
- Articles and letters and interviews in local and national newspapers and on television;
- Our website featured a number of documents presenting a systematic critique of the Council’s policies and its justifications (including concepts of ‘reablement’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘de-institutionalisation’);
- Arranging deputations to council meetings, with supporters in the public gallery;
- Linking up with other groups affected by the cuts – in housing, children’s and mental health services, the frail elderly;
- Helping to launch the Social Care Alliance Haringey, in cooperation with local trade union and labour movement organisations;
- Joining protest marches to council meetings, featuring our campaign banner (which also appeared, carried by our youth wing, on national demonstrations);
- Organising an on-line petition (7, 000) signatories;
- Supporting legal action taken by families affected by the proposed closure of the Roundway centre.
- In October 2018 SASH submitted a report to the Council’s newly established Fairness Commission, detailing the impact of the cuts on people with autism and learning disabilities and their families.
Though SASH has not yet persuaded the Council to reverse all its damaging policies, we have had significant successes.
- In 2015 the Council abandoned its plans to reduce care packages across the board;
- In response to the threat of legal action over Roundway, the Council pledged to retain places for adults with autism at the Ermine Road day centre;
- In November 2018, in response to our sustained campaign, the new Council leadership announced plans to reopen the Roundway day centre.