Torfaen County Borough Council leader Anthony Hunt, today (Thursday) celebrated the contribution of members of the Torfaen’s social services in keeping vital services running for some of the most vulnerable people in society.
Councillor Hunt told staff at a lunchtime reception in the Civic Centre they are ‘local service champions’. Organised by UNISON, this is the first Local Service Champions Day, a UK-wide celebration to raise awareness of the important contribution council workers make to their communities. Cllr Richard Clark, Deputy Leader, Cllr Joanne Gauden and Cllr Kelly Preston, Executive members were also in attendance.
Social services staff organise home care packages for older people, those who are physically disabled, individuals with mental health issues and those with learning disabilities and difficulties. They aim to promote people’s independence, arranging meals on wheels and allow them to remain safe within their own homes.
UNISON says severe spending cuts driven by the UK government have deprived local government services in Wales of crucial funds at a time of rising demand yet the trade union argues the dedication of local government workers is often overlooked and they don’t get the recognition that they deserve.
Councillor Anthony Hunt said,
“I have been very inspired to hear from staff working in the council about the jobs that they do that are not necessarily seen by the public. I know many go above and beyond in the background making sure services run smoothly and supporting the community. Thank you to you all, you are our public service champions”
Rosie Lewis, UNISON regional organiser said,
“Local government workers undertake so many vital roles to ensure Council services meet the needs of the community they serve. They are the hidden workforce who are often forgotten, but are essential in binding these resources together.
“UNISON is celebrating all Local Service Champions. Today, we recognise those who work behind the scenes in making sure public-facing roles such as social workers and home carers can carry out their functions smoothly, such as setting up lifeline and telecare services and arranging meals on wheels – everything that goes towards guaranteeing that members of the community are properly served.
Jon Richards, UNISON UK head of local government said,
“Council staff work as hard as they can to deliver for the public. This is despite cutbacks meaning they’re working in challenging circumstances with fewer colleagues than before.
“Today is a chance to highlight just how much council employees improve people’s lives and a ‘thank you’ to the unsung heroes of our local communities.”
Notes to editors
- Councillor Anthony Hunt, leader of Torfaen council will met members of staff from the social services team in the Mayor’s parlour today (Thursday) at 12.30pm. Also present: Cllr Richard Clark, Deputy Leader, Cllr Joanne Gauden and Cllr Kelly Preston, Executive members
- Link to UNISON #LocalServiceChampions film
- Thursday 17 October is Local Service Champions day. Throughout the UK, council workers and members of the public will celebrate the contribution local services, and the people that deliver them, make to our lives.
- Local government workers are there for us, through every stage of our lives. From birth, through our youth and adulthood, to old age. We cannot live our lives without them. But local government workers are often forgotten. Refuse workers, trading standards officers, environmental health inspectors, youth workers, librarians, school cleaners, care assistants – and many more – deliver vital local services. The Local Service Champions campaign aims to raise the profile of these unsung heroes.
- Local government has been an easy target for cuts, with central government cuts of 50% according to the National Audit Office. Yet unlike the NHS or schools, people have been less likely to defend it. It’s time to recognise, celebrate and defend local government workers – they are champions.
- UNISON is calling for the UK Government to provide significant additional funding to Wales which could be invested in local government to prevent any further closures or cuts
Alastair Gittins, UNISON press officer 07816 53 83 97