Adult Short Breaks Consultations

6. Your questions and answers (FAQs)

Residential Short Breaks FAQs

On this page you will find answers to questions you may have about Short Breaks and the Residential Short Breaks consultation. If you would like to ask us a question please email put 'SHORT BREAKS QUESTION' in the subject line. We will do our best to give you an answer. This page will be updated throughout the consultation. 



Use the FAQ links to find information quickly


1. Questions about the proposal to move to AOC

2. Questions about Aylesbury Opportunities Centre

3. Questions about Seeleys House

4. Questions about location, travel and transport

5. Questions about assessment and transition

6. Questions about the proposed new service

7. Questions about capacity and alternative placements

8. Questions about the consultation and process



1a) What is your plan for the residential short breaks services?

If agreed, the plan is to move the service to Aylesbury Opportunities Centre. We will also commission a new service in partnership with health. This means both health and social care clients can use residential short breaks.

1b) Why move to Aylesbury?

The service is currently sited at Seeleys House in Beaconsfield. It offers overnight breaks for up to eight vulnerable adults at a time. Seeleys House has a limited life span, is not suitable for renovation and is too expensive to maintain. Aylesbury Opportunities Centre is under-used and offers an affordable opportunity to improve the service.

1c) Do you have an alternative plan other than moving the residential short breaks service to Aylesbury Opportunities Centre (AOC)?

Not at this point. We looked at other sites as part of our options appraisal and AOC was thought to be the most suitable.

1d) Why can’t BCC build two smaller 6 bed units; one in the South and one in Aylesbury?

The approximate cost of building two centres would be around £5-6 million. There would also be additional day-to-day operational costs running two services. This would exceed both our build and operational budgets.

UPDATED 13/3/19:

This is because we would not be able to make economies of scale and there would be duplication across the build process. In addition, the construction costs are continuing to rise due to various external factors.

The additional day to day operational costs and complexity of running two services cannot be underestimated.  There could be issues around service resilience from having a smaller staff team, managing turnover and individuals with very complex needs in a smaller space, duplicate interfaces with health and different recruitment contexts.

These complexities would exceed both our build and operational budgets

1e) Do you have a comparison of the air quality at the AOC site compared to that at Seeleys?


1f) Are you just doing this for the money?

No, but it is a consideration. Buckinghamshire, like most local authorities, has to provide adult health and social care services to an aging and ever growing population. This is at the same time as experiencing a 53% reduction in government funding. This means we have to make the very best use of what resources we do have.

The Seeleys House site could potentially raise around £4.5 million. No decision has been taken on the future of the site and it is not part of this consultation

1g) Could Burnham day centre be used as a residential short breaks centre in the South of the County?

We do not believe that Burnham would be suitable. It would need significant rebuild and modification work. See question 1d for why we believe two centres are not affordable.

1h) What effort has been made to involve the local community so that they can make use of underutilised facilities?

The previous intention of greater community involvement in day services as part of the ‘Having A Good Day’ Programme from 2009/10 hasn’t come to fruition.  Whilst there have previously been room hirers, links to local school (Pebble Brook) , BBQs and recruitment fairs, this has reduced in the last couple of years

Also, there are logistical and safeguarding considerations which may limit members of the public from accessing the centre when service users are in attendance.

1j) Does the valuation of £4.5m put on the Seeleys site take account of the restricted access?

This is an approximate valuation undertaken in line with the Council’s overall approach to undertaking periodic (5 yearly) valuation of its property portfolio.

It should encompass known requirements such as this, but this is only an estimate.

1k) How much would it cost to bring Seeleys 'up to scratch'? What is the difference in maintenance costs between Seeleys and a new build?

Currently the maintenance costs for Seeleys House are between £70-£100k a year.  We expect this to increase over time as the building continues to age. 

Seeleys House was formerly a school and not originally designed to be a respite service. Therefore  modifications required in order to make a new, purpose built service would be too extensive and costly compared with the AOC proposal.

1l) Why is the new build Short Breaks facility costing £3.4million, compared to the original AOC project only cost of £2.7million?

We are not comparing like for like. The proposed short breaks building is a partial rebuild that will be future proofed to ensure that it can be adapted easily in future should client needs change. The AOC was designed as a  day opportunities facility. The short breaks proposal has a completely different building specification to the original build. For example, the hoisting requirements and en-suite facilities require different mechanical and electrical solutions.

There are several other factors affecting costs such as:

  • Building regulations have changed in the intervening period as legislation moves towards more thermally efficient buildings, and the rules around fire safety have become more strict post Grenfell
  • AOC was built several years ago. Since then costs around construction, materials and labour have increased
  • Construction market nervousness, has increased tender prices. We have observed this across all our major capital projects. Companies are increasing prices as a reflection of the increased risk within the  sector.

If the move is approved, all work in connection with the project, will be awarded after a competitive tender process to ensure value for money.

1m) Have these proposals taken into account the move to a unitary authority. For example what other sites might become available from the District Councils?

As part of our options appraisal, alternative sites were considered as part of the One Public Estate Board. This includes various public sector bodies, including District Councils.

1n) Would moving all clients and staff back to the Bierton Hill resource centre in Aylesbury Town Centre be an option?

This building is already scheduled for alternative purposes.

1o) Is there a developers offer propelling the consultation faster? Is there a developers discount or advantageous contract price by starting sooner?


There is no discount or advantageous contract price. We would tender the works through our normal procurement routes. This would happen following the design work that has yet to be undertaken, as such we do not have a contract price yet.

1q) Is the Council seeking to avoid costs or penalties resulting from the cancelled Orchard House contract? For example by reallocating contracts within a certain time frame [before Aug 2019]?

There are no costs to be reallocated or avoided. New consultants and contractors will be procured through a new tendering process. This is a new project.

1r) Could the rooms in AOC be converted to make six respite rooms (leaving six rooms at Seeleys in Beaconsfield) to avoid selling the Seeleys site?

The proposed short breaks development at AOC is entirely independent of, and not reliant on, the sale of any County Council asset (including Seeleys House). Funding has been allocated from the County Council’s capital budget.

The design of a high quality respite provision is not linked to bedrooms alone. Consideration needs to be given to many other aspects of providing care including washing and bathroom facilities, hoists, quiet and circulation areas, and other specialist facilities.

1s) There are a lot of houses being built in High Wycombe as well as Aylesbury. With the true centre of Buckinghamshire being Princes Risborough, could we have one respite unit halfway between the two biggest towns county? Can other sites be considered like Orchard House in High Wycombe or land opposite Merryfields? 

The issue we considered for our proposal was accessibility. A town that is the true middle of a county may not, due to roads and transport systems, be the most accessible location.


Buckinghamshire has a growth strategy which will see 105,000 houses built between now and 2050. With Aylesbury being the fastest growing town in the county.

Over the past ten years, Aylesbury has increased in size by 17%. Since reaching Garden Town Status in 2017 it is set to increase in size by 50% by 2030.

0n 14 September 2017, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government launched a consultation on ‘Planning for the right homes in the right places’ with revised housing delivery figures for each local authority.

The proposed formula indicates the following yearly housing figures to be delivered by 2026 as:

  • Aylesbury Vale 1,499
  • Chiltern 316
  • South Bucks 432
  • Wycombe 729

We have commissioned a Housing Delivery Study to assess our capacity to deliver new housing. The study shows that, across the four districts, the current estimated delivery of housing units is 46,100 (between 2013-2033).

Most of this additional housing (around 60%) will be in Aylesbury Vale. 

1t) What reassurance can you give to people who are sceptical about an external provider after there experience with Buckinghamshire Care Ltd?

We will use the County Council’s procurement process to tender for a care and support provider. We will involve users and carers to help shape the design of the building and also to participate in the tender process for identifying a new provider.

1u) Is August a definite date and if so why? What is so key about moving people out of AOC in August?

No. August is an indicative date we put forward based on our project timeline.  This date could be influenced by a number of variable such as the outcome of the Cabinet decision making process.

1v) The possibility of building 'upwards' has been mentioned.  Wouldn't this limit access for wheelchair users? If you expand the service meet more complex health needs is a 12 bed unit big enough?

As outlined in the 2016 Orchard House analysis, the County Council is of the view that a 12 bed unit is sufficient for the respite needs of the county.

Detail around building upwards would be subject to further discussion and analysis as part of the design process.

Any new build would take full account of the access requirements of service users, including those who use a wheelchair.

1w) How can the day service at AOC focus on supporting people with complex needs when you will have less space?

The Major Projects team have advised that there is sufficient space to accommodate respite and complex day service provision on the site.

1x) Can the Orchard House project be re-instated in collaboration with CHC and one of the alternative providers to ensure this project is a success? 

The Orchard House project was cancelled at the end of 2016 and there are no plans to reinstate it. The site is larger than required for a development with the footprint of this service.

1y) How can the County Council justify the cost of some individual care and support packages, and not spending more on Seeleys? 

We cannot comment on individual packages of care. However, it is important to understand that the Council arranges care for people with very varied needs, with this comes different costs.


2a) What disruption will there be to Aylesbury day services?

Provision of the new service would mean temporarily closing Aylesbury Opportunities Centre for 12 months. This is so a partial rebuild can take place. We understand this is unsettling for service users and carers who are currently using Aylesbury day services. They will be fully supported to find other day activities that meet their needs.

2b) Will I be able to continue using Aylesbury day services?

Aylesbury day services will not be available during the build period. However, we will support all service users to find other day activities that meet their needs.

For some service users who need a buildings based service, this move will be temporary. They will return to Aylesbury when the building re-opens. Others may find that the interim placement meets their needs and choose not to return. (An additional letter was sent to all Aylesbury day service users on the 21 January 2019 clarifying these points).

2c) Will the capacity of Aylesbury day services change?

When the Aylesbury building re-opens there will be a reduction in day service capacity and it will focus on supporting people with more complex needs.

2d) Why are Aylesbury day service users affected?

This is part of a wider decision taken by the Council’s Cabinet on 23 April 2018. This decision was about how we will provide Direct Care and Support Services in the future.

(Please note: Direct Care and Support Services were formerly 'Bucks Care' services between 2013- 2016. They were brought 'in-house' by the Council in 2017 when its contract with 'Bucks Care Ltd' ended).

The Cabinet agreed with a new approach to the way we offer day opportunities support. This centres on supporting people to find activities that help them to remain independent and connect with their communities.

Cabinet said a need for some building based services would remain. This would be for those with the most complex physical and behavioural needs.

The Cabinet agreed to a phased review of all day centres and their service users. We wrote to services users about this July 2018 and began the reviews in August 2018.

In August 2018 we started to review clients using the Aylesbury Day Centre to support those who can access community alternatives to do so.

2e) What will happen to Aylesbury Opportunities Centre service users during the rebuild?

We will support current service users to transfer to alternative suitable day opportunities. This is likely to be a permanent move for many people whose individual needs can be met by community alternatives.

Those whose needs can only be met through a building based service will be supported to access a similar alternative, either from another provider or from one of the other existing Council opportunity centres.

2f) What will happen to the AOC staff while the rebuild is taking place?

We will involve staff as part of any transition and would look to help them access alternative work for Direct Care and Support Services during the period of build. 

2g) Do you anticipate HS2 will be an issue with AOC in the future?

HS2 is set to run within a mile of AOC. We do not believe that it will be specifically affected. Wider issues, such as traffic disruption, will need to be addressed as part of the overall response to having the line run through Buckinghamshire.

2h) How many people currently use AOC? How many are wheelchair users? How many have mental capacity?

There are currently 80 clients who regularly use AOC as follows:

  • 63 Aylesbury Opportunities Centre
  • 11 Spectrum (separate centre but based on the site)
  • 6 Branching Out (separate service but based on site)

There are 17 wheelchair users. 

There are 7 clients who have one to one support (e.g. a carer attending with them), including some wheelchair users.

Most people have the capacity to make some decisions. What is important is that we make sure people are supported to make their own decisions as far as they are able to do so.

The table below shows attendance [not capacity] at AOC for the week 18 - 24 February 2019. 




Number of wheelchair users



Total clients in



















































The average daily attendance in January was 29.59 clients 

2i) What is the current capacity of AOC? 

Previous figures provided around capacity at day centres were approximate based on fire risk assessments. These used the maximum number of able bodied people accessing the building at any one time.

Building capacity is dependent upon a range of variables. If we reviewed everyone before the proposed move and based capacity on that number, by the time the build was complete, 50% of the cohort may have decided to attend a different centre or type of provision.

However, we know that the number of people registered across our day services has declined significantly in recent years and people coming into ASC want to access different types of day opportunities provision.

2j) Can you confirm that AOC clients and their families/carers are aware that it will be closing for a year in six months time?

 We believe that we have made sufficient attempts to ensure every family has been made aware of the detail of the consultation.

Letters have been issued to all carers of attendees at AOC and Seeleys together with two pre-engagement and five consultation engagement events.

There has been an online presence as part of the Council’s consultation web page, press releases, social media, access to telephone answer service and dedicated email address which is monitored daily.

Staff in the centre also have routine contact with service users and families and would alert us if they felt anyone involved was not aware of the consultation.

2k) Is it true that, if the move to AOC goes ahead, only 50% of the building would be for day centre use? How many AOC day clients [on a daily basis] would you need to find other placements for so that AOC and Seeleys complex needs clients can be housed at AOC after the rebuild?

We have not specified what percentage of the AOC building would remain for day service and what would become respite. This level of details would be undertaken if Cabinet agree to the proposal. At which point we would begin co-production for the building transfer and design phases. 

It is not a requirement for clients to have both respite and day services on the same site. People currently using Seeleys Short Breaks may decide that they do not want to go to Aylesbury for day services (see Question 7d).

Question 2h outlines current numbers of clients at AOC. We do not have a set fixed capacity figures as this varies.

Our main aim is to ensure that the day service at AOC supports those with complex needs.  People who do not have complex needs will be supported to access other alternative provision in the community where there is capacity. Whether that is another building based service, or a activities tailored to meet their individual needs.

2l) What is the total number of service users at AOC on each day of the week? How many of these a) have mental capacity b) are wheelchair users with one to one carer attending and b) non-wheelchair user with a one to one carer attending?

We have previously explained the difficulty in outlining a specific and usable daily number as it does vary from day to day.

However, across the week AOC supports 63 services users [February 2019]. Spectrum and Branching Out, who have a base from there, have a further 17 clients.

This compares to AOC supporting 106 clients across the week in May 2016.

However, we must stress that this is a ‘snapshot’ of current activity. Capacity is subject to change depending on a number of variable, including an individuals assessed need.

There are 17 wheelchair users using the centre and most have the capacity to make some decisions. What is important is that we make sure people are supported to make their own decisions as far as they are able to do so (see Question 2h).

2m) How many of the current AOC day service users are going to be able to return after the rebuild?

Based on our previous experience of transitions to other day services. A number of people who moved to temporarily, preferred to stay with the new service.

This is covered in more detail in Q2k and Q5h

2n) Do you know the projected number of clients who will be using the service in 2020?

We have provided county level data of the number of people we anticipate will potentially need to access some form of care and support in our strategy. This may include short breaks. Our strategy sets out that short breaks will be provided in variety of different ways e.g. shared lives. This is so we can meet the need for a varied set of short break opportunities, particularly for people coming through Transitions.

The County Council will always meet its statutory obligation for the requirements of short breaks access, but it may not always be in a Council delivered service.

A 12 bed residential unit is considered to be sufficient to meet the County Council and CCG requirements for future short breaks provision.

2o) If the proposal to move to the AOC is agree by Cabinet on the 13 May, how do you propose to assess everyone and find them an alternative by August?

Everybody will be supported to transition in a planned and safe way. Reviews will be prioritised to ensure alternative provision will meet eligible needs. 

The deadline of August has been given as an indicative target date. We understand that sometimes these things can take longer. If necessary the timeline will be adjusted to enable a safe transition.  

2p) To support access to alternative opportunities could AOC staff be used to support some clients for the year of closure on a one to one basis?

We will need to look at the best way to deploy staff to support this transition, as well as consult with the staff who would be involved. 

2q) In its current footprint what is the maximum number of wheelchair users at any one time based on fire risk that AOC can have on the premises? If you remove 50% of the building, what would wheelchair capacity would you have?

We have not said that 50% of the building would be removed. If the proposal is agreed, all plans in relation to the new centre would be subject to the design process.

Wheelchair capacity is determined in proportion with overall attendance figures and staffing ratios are tailored appropriately to these numbers. This is outlined in more detail in Q2h, Q2i and Q2k.

3a). Will there be any disruption to the residential short breaks service?

We aim to keep any disruption to a minimum. A residential short breaks service will continue at Seeleys House in Beaconsfield until transition to the new service is complete. We will support service users and their parents/carers to move to the new service when it opens in August 2020.

3b) How many people currently use the service based at Seeleys House?

Currently (as 6 February 2019) there are:

  • 40 people using residential short break service
  • 28 people using Seeleys House day services
  • 6 people are using both services.

*Answer updated 13/2/19

3c) What is the mix of clients at Seeleys i.e. complex physical needs, limited mobility, challenging behaviour?

Currently our facilities shape the mix of clients able to benefit from the service. This is the wrong way round. In the future short break services are required that are flexible enough to support a mix of clients with complex physical needs, limited mobility and/or behaviour that challenges. 

Therefore, the aim is to design the new building so that different types of clients can use the service at the same time. This is likely to be in different purpose built areas. For example; individual facilities, quiet eating areas, and separate TV or communal areas.

Parents, carers and service users will be involved in this level of design to make sure varying needs can be met.

3d) What is the operational running cost of Seeleys per annum and therefore about how much is spent on average per client?

Seeleys House has an overall budget of c. £1.1m. As the number of clients using the service can vary and the number of nights they use the centre relates to their individual needs, it is not possible to calculate a single average cost per service user.

3e)  Will the possible gain from the sale of Seeleys land be ring fenced for Adult care?

No. It is council policy for the sale of any asset to go into the General Needs fund. In this way funds can be directed where they are most needed.

3f) Why does the number of Seeleys clients quoted differ in some of the FAQs?

The number of clients is not fixed. It depends on when the question was asked and from what period the figures were obtained. For example between end of December  2018 and Feb 2019, the number of Seeleys Short Breaks clients reduced from 43 to 41. Currently (21 February 2019) the number is 40.

3g) If the Seeleys House site is sold can the money be used for the care of and wellbeing of people with a learning disability?  If it isn't set aside for people with learning disabilities does this mean the budget is being reduced?

No decision has been made regarding the future of the Seeleys House site.

The normal process for the sale of council owned property is for to go into the general needs fund. As such any sale of property being used by adult social care goes into general funds and not adult social care funds


The sale of property is a capital receipt and not from social care revenue budgets such as the Learning Disabilities budget.

3h) What is the difference in cost between the current packages of respite at Seeleys and long term residential care?

This is a complex calculation and difficult to provide a like for like comparison without an individual assessment of need being undertaken. 

The individual assessment would determine the service user’s eligibility for each service and service provision would be personalised.

The duty of the local authority is to ensure that need is met in the most appropriate and safe manner taking due consideration to our legislative duty. This would take account of  Care Act 2014 which advocates for service user independence and enablement - and for any support offered to be the least restrictive option. As such we cannot assume [in the absence of individual assessment of need] that long term residential care would be a default offer. 

There are a broad range of costs associated between a service user who is supported in their home by a family member and accesses respite care and other community care services and someone who lives in residential care. Generally though, residential care is more expensive than someone who is supported in their own home by a family carer.

3i) Is the proposal to move being driven purely by finance with the sale of the Seeleys site being central to any decisions being made?

The money for partially rebuilding a short breaks facility has been identified from the current Capital Programme for the County Council and is entirely independent of the sale of the Seeleys site.

3j) Have potential access problems been taken into account in arriving at your valuation of the Seeleys sites? [ in reference to the 1994 outline planning permission to build eight elderly persons cottages]

The resource for partially rebuilding a short breaks facility has been identified from the current Capital Programme for the County Council and is entirely independent of sale of the Seeley’s site.

A current accurate valuation of the site is not material to our present plans.

However, just for information, planning consent is time limited and will have lapsed. Additionally, planning policy has changed significantly since 1994, encouraging greater redevelopment of ‘brownfield sites.’

4a) How much further would current service  users have to travel if the service moved to Aylesbury?

If the service moved to Aylesbury at this time:

  • 14 people would have to travel less
  • 29 people would have to travel further
  • Of the 29 people who would have further to travel:

4 would travel 5 miles or less further

15 would travel 10 miles further

10 people would travel between 15 to 20 miles further

This does not take into account the possibility that the current location has shaped its user profile i.e. does not account for people who currently do not access residential short breaks because of the location.

4b) Where in the county do current Seeleys service users live?

There are 41 Seeleys House clients (as of December 2018). They live in the following districts:

  • Aylesbury Vale - 14
  • Wycombe - 8
  • Chilterns - 13
  • South Bucks - 6

Although use of the service may currently have a bias towards the local population, it is important to remember that:

  • this is a countywide service
  • there are people who have stopped using the service because of its current location
  • people from locations throughout the county will need to use it in the future (especially as people are forecast to live longer with increasingly complex conditions).
  • there are 15,000 new homes to be built in Aylesbury Vale to address shortage unmet need across the county

NB: Due to the small number of service users involved and GDPR compliance, we cannot give more detailed analysis of location.

UPDATE: As of February 2019 there are 40 Seeleys House Short Break clients.

4c) What is BCC’s policy regarding maximum journey time for the disabled?

The Council aim to ensure that nobody is transported for longer than necessary; however, journey times vary depending on a number of factors e.g. whether the route involves other pick up points.

4d) If the move to AOC goes ahead, clients living in the south of county will travel further and for longer. How will the council keep journey time to a minimum?

Where Social Care Transport is provided to meet assessed needs for vulnerable adults we aims to ensure journey time does not regularly exceed one hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes).  This is subject to unusual disruption e.g. roadworks.

Social care transport users will be expected to share vehicles where possible and appropriate.  If sharing transport affects journey time, and this exceeds 75 minutes,  the council would provide an alternative. This is unless the journey itself could not be completed in 75 minutes e.g. because the physical distance is too great.

4e) Is there any travel cost help for people who will go to Aylesbury and currently pay their own travel costs?

Transport arrangements for individuals will be considered along with their assessment of need.

4f) Have you considered the carbon footprint additional travelling will create?

Our Transport Officers work with operators to plan the most efficient (and environmentally friendly) routes.

4g) How many staff working at Seeleys short breaks live in the North of the county?

There are three carers who live in the North of the county. 

4h) What consideration has been give to the impact on travel, of the construction of a new ring road for Aylesbury, the realigned Stoke Mandeville bypass and the temporary access roads that will go in order to give access to the new railway?

The potential disruption caused by major infrastructure projects is a consideration for

all parts of the County and not limited to its impact on AOC services, or the south of the


The disruption is not permanent and diversions and alternative routes will be in place to maintain traffic flows.  Journey length will be considered in developing care and support plans.

4i) What additional transport costs will there be if the service moves to Aylesbury?

This is a complex calculation and difficult to provide a like for like comparison without individual assessment of need being undertaken.

All decisions would take account of each service user’s individual circumstances. Transport provision would be personalised and be based on a service users eligibility to be supported to access services.

The Care Act 2014 advocates for service users to be supported to explore getting support from within their support networks, as this helps them to maintain relationships with people around them.

Any calculation of transport costs of moving to Aylesbury would be speculative as we would have to use single day negotiated rates. This means that it would not take into account:

  • individual transport requirements
  • shared routes
  • multiple pick up points
  • cost savings from combining routes
  • people attending on different days of the week
  • integration with existing taxi contracts.

The individual assessment process would determine eligible need, and the service users support plan would detail how this need would be met.

5a) What is the current timetable for social workers’ assessments of clients?

Reviews of Seeleys House clients are ongoing but any decisions from this consultation can only be implemented after the decision by Cabinet.

5b) Can you confirm there will be no change in the social worker assessment criteria?

This is national eligibility criteria, introduced as part of the Care Act 2014, we are legally required to adhere to it.

5c) How will the transition be managed to minimise adverse reactions and maintain relationships with clients and carers.

Stability and continuity are vital. Staff will be fully involved in supporting individuals through any transitions. We will put individual plans in place, tailored to each person’s or family’s needs. People will move at their own pace up until the proposed closure of Seeleys in August 2020. Plans could include taster sessions at other services, visits to the new build in Aylesbury, keeping contact with friendship groups and working out future transport arrangements.

5d) Can you confirm there will be a transition period between Seeleys closing and AOC opening?

We aim to keep any disruption to a minimum. A residential short breaks service will continue at Seeleys House in Beaconsfield until transition to the new service is complete in August 2020. We will support service users and their parents/carers to move to the new service. There are no plans for the service at Seeleys House to be open after August 2020. Any transition period will be included in individual care plans and take place prior to this .

5e) If the Residential Short Breaks service is relocated will there be a team dedicated to handling the delicate task of transitions for this vulnerable group?


5f) How can we be sure our vulnerable adult children will keep their friendship groups?   

As part of any transitions process, we would always work with you to identify friendship groups - and ensure clients were supported to maintain these as far as we possibly could.

5g) With some providers in the UK handing back contracts [news article] due to costs. How are you able to make use of other learning disability providers?

The care sector nationally has faced several challenges in recent years and this is no different in Buckinghamshire.  However, we work closely with contracted providers in order to ensure stability and continuity of service.  We have long standing relationships and partnership arrangements with several providers, whilst also looking to build relationships with new providers who come to market.

5h) How many clients currently using AOC would need an alternative placement?

All clients at AOC will require an alternative placement during the new build phase.  In their next annual review, when the build is nearing completion, it will be agreed whether they still require a building based service. As well as whether they would like to return to AOC.

Based on our previous experience of transition to other day services. A number of people who moved to temporarily, preferred to stay with the new service.

5i) Will BCC guarantee that existing AOC day service users who are entitled to support will be helped to access a replacement in good time before the closes for building work?

Yes the transitional plans will be carefully managed.

5j) What information do you have about the interim placements?

These will be determined based on individual need. We have space in Buckingham and Chesham but this will need to be assessed.

5k) What happens if there are no suitable alternatives and their day centre buildings have gone - where do these vulnerable clients go?

We have existing capacity within some of our day centres.   There are also third sector and voluntary providers. Some clients may choose community based provision. As part of the Council’s role to develop a fair and sustainable service over time we would expect users to access a broad range of activities other than they currently are able to.  This is an ongoing and long term piece of work.

5l) Can you confirm that AOC will not close for the rebuild until every client has been found an alternative in place?

We will plan out the transition process so that people have a much time as possible to find suitable alternatives.

We would not, or be able to, close AOC until this process was completed. However, we have to be mindful of deadlines and the implications of delays. Particularly when dealing with contractors who we would need to commission to oversee the design and build.

5m) You state that you will work with clients to find alternatives to AOC during the rebuild period and for some permanently. How do you intend to support clients and when will this happen?

If our proposal is agreed, we would work with clients and their carers over the spring and summer period to access alternative provision.  There will be a project team dedicated to supporting this transition, together with social work resource.

5n) What other centres are available for AOC clients to access? 

In line with the proposed reduction in day service capacity at AOC, we envisage that Council run day centres will focus on supporting people with more complex needs. 

The County Council Day Services including Buckingham, Chesham and Burnham have capacity to accommodate more clients including those in wheelchairs. They provide a similar type of service to that provided by AOC.

In addition to Council run day services there are also other voluntary and community sector day service providers who can support people with a range of needs.

The detail of how these can meet individual service user needs, and what suitable provision is in their local area, would be discussed as part of the review process

5o) Why are the Seeley assessments taking place in January-April 2020 when Aylesbury assessments are already taking place? Are Seeleys' clients going to get any allocation at all?

The review of the Seeleys' day centre clients is not related to this consultation. This is part of our Day Opportunities review.

Due to the potential 12 month closure of AOC, the review of AOC clients would be prioritised for completion.

Our proposal means that before AOC could close for building work, that assessments would have to be undertaken and completed.

The January-April 2020 timeline for Seeleys clients is an indicative date range where we would expect to undertake assessments on the run up to the completion of the new respite service.

6a) What is the projected cost of the new facility and how many more people can it take?

There is a capital budget of £3.4million, which includes money from health, to use on the partial re-build. We would prefer a 12 bed unit but this will not be decided until after the consultation when need has been fully assessed.

When the Aylesbury building re-opens there will be a reduction in day service capacity. However, capacity of the day centre will be maximised to ensure that we are able to provide services to those people with more complex needs who require a building based service.

6b) What is the projected capacity of the new respite unit and the day centre?

Capacity will not be finalised until after the consultation when need has been fully assessed. However, we are looking at a 12 bed residential unit. We hope to maximise use of space in terms of day centre capacity. Subject to our budget and planning permission this could include building upwards. (Although overall capacity of the day service unit will be reduced).

6c) How many CHC funded clients currently not provided with care, would qualify for care at the new unit?

We do not have a figure for the number of CHC funded clients who may be eligible as this varies depending on need and can change.  Previously at the start of 2017 there were 11 clients using Seeleys House Short Breaks, but the number of CHC-funded people now appropriate for this service  may have changed.  The new service will be used flexibly to accommodate both CHC and BCC clients.

6d) What are the projections of future demand for Residential Short Break facilities for both Social Care and Health funded clients?

This is detailed in our Adult's Short Breaks Strategy. There are around 5,870 adults (aged 18-64 years) with a learning disability currently living in Buckinghamshire:

  • The number of working age adults with a learning disability in Buckinghamshire is expected to increase overall by approximately 2% by 2033
  • Approximately 910 (16%) have complex and multiple needs relating to their learning disability which resulted in the provision of a health and/or social care service in 2015/16
  • The number of people with more complex needs relating to their learning disability is expected to increase by 37%
  • The number of people with a learning disability aged 65 years and over is anticipated to increase by 55% by 2033.

6e) Have you considered the younger people coming from Heritage House and Maplewood in your forecast?

Yes. We have looked at the transition from Children’s to Adult Services. A proposal of a 12-bed unit takes into account current and future requirements.

6f) What will be the ratio of nursing to care staff?

That is still to be determined.

6g) How will people with different needs safely use the service together?

If the proposal is agreed, our architects and designers will work with clients and carers to ensure issues like this are addressed. We will also make use of the designs from Orchard House - as this was considered during the previous design period.

6h) Why does Bucks only offer 12 beds respite for all the adults between 18-65 years in the county?

Short Break Services are not limited to residential stays. For example they can also include day activities, taking a break in the family home of a Shared Lives carer or a carer coming to the services users home. Residential Short Breaks (currently Seeleys House) are just one type of respite/short break services. They are for people with more complex needs who require a building based service.

6i) Will builders be ready to begin construction by August 2019?

Yes. If all is agreed we have been advised that this is feasible.

6j) When would the new residential short breaks centre be ready?

 If our plans are agreed it would be ready to use by August 2020.

6k) Can we see the plans or outline layouts for the new centre? Will there be a hydrotherapy pool?

Plans will be available if the decision to relocate is made.  However, a hydrotherapy pool will not be part of the plans.  We will involve parents and carers in shaping the new build

6l) What will you do to make sure there is sufficient experienced staff who understand the clients needs when AOC re-opens?

The quality and experience of staff is of key importance.   This would be an integral part of any care and support tender process. We would also make sure service users and carers were involved in the process.

6m) Will the new centre be properly equipped to care for disabled people with challenging behaviour? What assurance is there that the safety of users and staff has been considered?

Yes. Service users safety will be of paramount importance.

6n) If the residential short breaks service relocates it is likely that there will be different client groups using the service. The Orchard House project split short breaks into two 6-bed units.  Can we be assured the same consideration will be given at AOC?

Yes.  Service users and carers will be invited to join in the design phase as they were with Orchard House.  We would also aim to re-use parts of the Orchard House plans where possible.

6o)  If the service relocates to AOC will staff currently working at Seeleys short breaks meet CQC nursing registration requirements?

To meet health and registration requirements, the service will be nursing led. Suitably qualified staff will be required in a leadership role in order to meet this requirement.  Staff who do not have formal nursing qualification can work within a nursing led environment.

6p) You have said you want this unit to be run by a provider, is this achievable? 

Is there evidence that a provider will be able to run the service if the move goes ahead?

We believe we can secure a suitable, qualified provider. We work with a number of complex care providers and have had some initial discussions. However, we would gauge this through soft market testing and confirm through a formal procurement process

6q) This will be a joint health and social care unit. How can you be sure the needs of clients who have challenging behaviour and those with health or nursing needs can be met in one unit by one provider? Does such a provider exist?

Yes.  There are providers in the market who deliver support for both groups. Our pre-tender process would help us to outline what is needed. The tender process would then test the market's ability to meet our needs.

6r) What measures will be put in place to make sure the provider provides an excellent service and meets the standards of a CQC nursing registration?

Any provider has individual responsibility to meet CQC registration requirements. The Council and CCG have a duty to ensure that the services it commissions meets those requirements. We will ensure we meet this duty through robust contract management procedures.

6s) Will there be a robust assessment referral process put in place for the new service to ensure it is exclusively for the use of the learning disabled?

There will be a robust referral process to make sure the service is appropriately accessed by those with relevant complex needs. As a social care-led service we focus on eligible needs rather than diagnosis exclusions.

6t) There are recorded incidents of clients in wheelchairs being pushed over in their wheelchairs and hurt by clients with challenging behaviour. What measures will be put in place to ensure this does not happen? Are there units in the UK currently providing an integrated respite service?

We would undertake co-production during the design phase to ensure that crucial points such as this are noted and captured as part of the plans.

East Sussex provides an integrated respite service.

6u) Given the potential increase in number of families that will be able to use short break service. Will enough beds be provided in AOC?

Short break respite provision provided by the Council is not the only short break options for people.  We intend to grow capacity with alternative providers such as Shared Lives.

6v) The AOC could do with more parking space. Currently the car park is frequently overflowing into Thame Road South. Has parking been considered as part of the new build? 

If the proposal is agreed there will be further consideration of parking solutions as part of the design phase.

6w) The proposal is for a countywide service for clients who are funded by CHC or social care. Taking into consideration the recent closure of Jigsaw respite in Reading will a 12 bed unit at AOC meet the increasing demands for short breaks with the increasing number of clients?

Buckinghamshire County Council has not used Jigsaw respite in Reading for many clients. The clients affected by any decision which may be taken to close a service would be reviewed and suitable options identified.

6x) What is going to happen to speech and language therapy, stoma nurses, the Abbott nurse, physiotherapy and any other speciality support clients access in a building based service? What will happen to specialist equipment such as standing frames and chairs?

As an integrated Health and Social Care respite service, access to all necessary specialist equipment and staff would be made available.

7a) What is the current capacity at other day centres and is there availability for all AOC and Seeleys day opportunities users?

Yes. There is capacity within council provision across the county to meet the needs of AOC and Seeleys day service users. It is not possible to put a numerical figure on the capacity.  This depends on a number of factors such as individual/complexity of need, frequency and days of the week.

NB: This does not include the additional capacity available through third sector and voluntary providers.

7b) Where else other than the newly planned Aylesbury centre can people go in order to have a short break?

Any alternatives would be based on assessed need but possibilities include

  • in the family home of an approved Shared Lives carer
  • a paid carer coming to the service users home – so the parent/carer can sleep or go out for a break
  • at another day opportunities centre
  • being supported by a trained carer/support worker to access an activity in the community
  • commissioning an individual placement with an existing provider

If the proposal to move is agreed by Cabinet, we would work closely with service users and carers as part of any transition arrangements to ensure that they were supported to access alternative provision.

7c) What information do you have about the interim placements?

Placements will be based on individual need. We have space in Buckingham and Chesham, but this will need to be assessed.

7d) Will clients have to use the Aylesbury day centre when using the respite facility and their local one when they are not?

There is no requirement to use day opportunities at the same site as the residential short breaks facility.

7e) How many people have to be placed out of county or otherwise are not able to access the service?

When the Council does not have enough places or specialist provision in county, we have to purchase suitable out of county placements.  We support over 350 people out of county. This is for a number of different reasons, in a wide range of social care placements, including residential short breaks.

7f) What alternative activities are available in the community for wheelchair user clients in AOC? Can you identify community activities with appropriate “changing” toilets within the county?

People who need buildings based facilities such as changing toilets will be offered services that meet their needs

7g) What spaces are available at the other day centres? Are there restrictions on the type of client they can accommodate?

It is difficult to give fixed numbers. However, the managers who run the day centres for the Council have confirmed that there is capacity across our day service estate to support this transition from AOC.  Initially we would look at Chesham and Buckingham. They support a mix of need. We will also look to other day service provision in the community, of which there are a number who may be able to work with us.

7h)  The Cabinet paper states: 'the environment cannot support people with multiple and complex needs'. What does this mean? How many people fall into the category of people with multiple and complex needs and currently are unable to be supported at Seeleys?

This relates to the difficulties of people with complex physical needs being co-located with those with behaviours that challenge.

The 11 CHC funded clients who left Seeleys at the end of 2016 are an example of a group that were unable to continue to be supported there.

The new service at AOC will be designed to account for safe support of both health and social care clients

7i) How many people North of Bucks are entitled to use respite services at Seeley's and choose not to use it?

We cannot give that level of detail. It varies according to assessed need and eligibility.

As set out in Question 6d) we know that there will be an increase in the number of people with complex disabilities. This will be coupled with a large house building programme in Aylesbury Vale over the next 20+ years.

7k) What are the current spaces available at the other day centres and what restrictions are there on the type of client they can accommodate?

There are a variety of different day opportunity activities in the community and they have various levels of capacity which can fluctuate.

BCC centres do not have restrictions on the type of client they can support. However, we are moving towards focussing on people with complex needs. At the same time we are working with the market to develop a greater range of alternative provision.

If you have visited AOC, and other BCC centres, you may have notice that there is spare physical space.  This is one of the reasons why we are proposing to develop AOC.

7l)  Please list the non-county provision that is available to building based clients to access to allow us to see whether they are indeed suitable alternatives?

There are numerous day service activities across the county.  One source of information about what is available is

Another is the newly launched Bucks Online Directory. It is currently going through BETA testing but is live and you can give feedback.

For people with the most complex needs, we would support them to access a service which meets their needs.  AOC will have day service capacity for clients with complex needs who need a building based service.

7m) What are the current spaces available at the other day centres? Are their restrictions in the type of client they can accommodate?

We know that there is capacity in the county because the number of people using opportunities centres has fallen over the past few years. For example:


  • in May 2016 AOC supported 106 clients across the week
  • AOC currently supports 63 clients across the week [February 2019] - with Spectrum and Branching out also based there


  • in May 2016 – Chesham supported 58  across the week
  • Chesham currently supports 43 clients across the week [February 2019]


  • in May 2016 Buckingham supported 40 (and had potential to support 10 plus more)
  • Buckingham currently support 22 clients across the week [February 2019]

We cannot specify the actual number of current spaces available. This is because a ‘space’ would depend on many factors including; assessed need, frequency of attendance, and one to one support.

However, the difference between current usage and historical usage shows that spaces are available to meet current need.

We know that some people at AOC with complex needs require a building base and we would ensure that this need is met.

The size of the day service provision would be established as part of the design phase and tailored on individual assessment of need.

7n) How many people currently receive residential short breaks (respite) out of county and could potentially use the proposed new service based in Aylesbury? 

There are currently four people who use out of county residential short breaks on a regular basis. 

Another small group of young people who have some residential short breaks in residential college holidays in out of county services.  This is only for the period that they are at residential college.

Each year we may have a limited and changeable number of requests for one-off periods of residential short breaks (e.g. where family carers are ill). We are only able to find suitable services out of county.

7o) Is the Chesham day centre suitable for clients who use wheelchairs? What is the maximum number of wheelchair using clients that can use the centre each day?

The Chesham centre is accessible for wheelchair users. It can accommodate up to eight wheelchair users at any one time.

Currently there is capacity available to take more people with wheelchairs every day of the week, though this could change subject to demand.

7p) Do you know the projected number of clients who will be using the service in 2020 (including current clients, school leavers, CHC, Thrift Farm and Jigsaw)?

We have provided county level data of the number of people we project will need to access some form of care and support [may include short breaks] as part of our published Strategy. It is also included in these FAQs.

Our strategy sets out that short breaks will be provided in variety of different ways. This is in order to meet the increased requirement for a varied set of short break opportunities, particularly for people coming through Transitions.

The County Council will always meet its statutory obligation for the requirements of short breaks access, but it may not always be in a Council delivered service.

A 12 bed residential unit is considered to be sufficient to meet the County Council and CCG requirements for future short breaks provision.

7q)  Can you confirm that you will not force clients to attend the nearest alternative Council Opportunity centre to home and will allow them to choose the centre that is the most appropriate age mix?

Nobody would be forced to attend a service that they did not want to attend. We will work with people as best we can to access alternative services which meet their needs.

7r) Where will the 67 Aylesbury clients go when for the year of the rebuild? How many will return to AOC after the rebuild?

The County Council has a statutory obligation to meet eligible needs and will continue to do this. We will work with individuals affected by our proposal to ensure that they are safely supported to access alternative provision to meet their needs.

As stated in Q2e and 5k already, this could be a mix of Council day service provision and provision offered by the voluntary and community sector.

For some service users who need a buildings based service, this move will be temporary. They will return to Aylesbury when the building re-opens. Others may find that the interim placement meets their needs and choose not to return. 

7s) Is there currently space at Burnham for clients with complex needs to use during the proposed year long AOC closure and beyond?

If a client expresses a preference to attend Burnham Opportunities Centre there are spaces available for clients with complex needs.

7t) You state: 'People who need buildings based facilities such as changing toilets will be offered services that meet their needs'. Where are these services?  Can you reassure us that people will not be left without anywhere to go?

Nobody will be asked to leave the day centre without a suitable and safe alternative to access.

We envisage that the Council run day services will continue to provide support for people with complex needs.

People with less complex needs will be supported to access alternative provision which already exists or is being developed as part of our market engagement work with existing and new providers who want to be able offer greater range of short break and day opportunities for individuals

7u) How many clients do you need to “lose” to be able to house both AOC clients and Seeleys clients at AOC after the rebuild?

Our intention is to review individuals and ensure that any eligible needs are met in line with our statutory responsibility.

The limiting factor is related to the numbers of staff and complexity of client needs – the building has more capacity than we use.

8a) How long is the consultation?

The consultation is scheduled to run for six weeks. From 16 January to 27 February 2019.

UPDATE:  the consultation has been extended by two weeks and will now close on  Wednesday 13 March 2019.

8b) People already gave their views on Orchard House – was that a waste of time?

No. If our plans are agreed, these views and ideas will be used as a baseline when considering the design of the new site.

8c) Have you asked all current Seeleys House Short Breaks service users, if the move to AOC goes ahead, would they be likely to use the service?

No. If the move to AOC is agreed this will be asked as part of a later transition process

8d) Is Seeleys House Day centre part of the 'Residential Short Breaks' consultation?

No. Seeleys House day centre is not part of the present 'Residential Short Breaks'  consultation exercise.

8e) The final meeting is now on 26 February; will the end date be extended to reflect this to give people time to consider the findings?

We are not seeking to extend  the consultation. This meeting was added in on request and these meetings are a good way in themselves  of consulting with people. In other words, a way people can give their views without the need to write or email us. Comments and views given on the 26 February will be included, along with others, in the consultation feedback. People still have until midnight 27 February to follow up with an email response or phone call too. Rather than being disadvantaged, this would mean they have had two opportunities to give their views.

8f) What assurance is there that families of clients will be involved in the consultation, particularly, representatives supporting clients in group homes and respite clients using other day services in the county.

We have sent letters to all users of the service. These have given updates on the consultation and invited people take part in the consultation.  We know that these have been understood  because representatives from Shared Lives, as well as residential and supported living providers have attended engagement events.

8g) How are you communicating with carers whose first language is not English? Is there translated text provision?

As with any County Council information, where required, it will be provided in accessible formats on request. This could include translation into other languages, but also making information accessible for people with visual, hearing and learning difficulties e.g. text type.

We do not automatically translate text into other languages. The preferred method is to use a translator – in this way we can check that they understand the information and they can ask questions.

8h) What are the future plans for Hillcrest and Spring Valley?

These are not part of this consultation.  They are part of the wider day service review as outlined here in the April 2018 Cabinet report

8i) Why is there is no information about the future of day provision at Seeleys?

It is not part of this consultation. 

8j) Who is responding/viewing emails regarding the consultation?

All emails go to a generic mail box and are logged confidentially in accordance with GDPR. Those that require an individual response will be sent to the relevant team member to answer. Any responses will be from a named officer.

8k) How frequently will the FAQs page be updated? Will you respond to all the questions or only those questions asked more than once?

The mailbox is checked on a daily basis and questions are looked at every day.   Some questions can be answered immediately and some require input from other colleagues.  It is not possible to give an exact time as this depends on the number and complexity of questions asked.

We aim to respond to duplicate questions within the FAQs. Some may require a direct response.

8l) Why are letters about the consultation sent by 1st Class post, rather than 2nd Class post or other more cost effective means?

A number of letters have been sent out during this consultation. These are normally sent by 2nd  Class post. If the letter is deemed time critical then it would be sent via 1st Class post. The most cost effective (and easiest) method for us would be by email. This method does not seem popular with the majority of people we need to reach.

8m) Will the final decision be made by the Cabinet or the Lead Member for Health & Wellbeing?

Cabinet will make the final decision.

The Cabinet paper considered on 15 January 2019 asked for the decision to be made by the Lead Member for Health & Wellbeing. This was not agreed. Instead it was agreed for the decision to be taken by Cabinet).

UPDATED 21/2/19: For clarification his FAQ refers to the decision on the Residential Short Breaks consultation. 

8n) Cabinet minutes refer to "sessions held with two local charities SBAD & FOSH". There was no clear agenda for this meeting, what was discussed?

A meeting was held between SBAD/FOSH and Jane Bowie on 3 January 2019, the short breaks move was discussed. We apologise that this was not made clear.

8o) Have notes been kept of the consultation meetings and the meeting between Jane Bowie and FOSH/SBAD? If so can they be shared with the participants?

Yes. A summary of consultation meeting feedback to date has been posted on the consulted page and can be found here. The SBAD/FOSH meeting on 3 January did not have minutes taken but involved discussion around the proposal to move to AOC (see Q 8m above).

8p)  The Cabinet paper states 'Consultation must be at a time when proposals are still at a formative stage'. Why then are you a) saying moving to Aylesbury is your preferred option, b) not presenting any other options and, c) timetabled some new build design/planning before the consultation has ended?

The reasons for our proposal to move the current respite service to AOC have been outlined in the Cabinet paper and in Questions 1a - 1c. 

As part of our proposal, we are looking to continue our provision of residential short breaks and improve on it by building a brand new, integrated service and commissioning a new provider to operate it.

No decision has been made in relation to this other than the preparatory work that has been necessary in order for the Council to present its proposal for consultation.

8q) Question 8m says that the final decision will be made by Cabinet. What then did Councillor Hazell mean when she said the report would come to her?

Question 8m is correct. This is a Cabinet decision and will be detailed on the Council forward plan.

Councillor Hazell was referring to the importance of gathering and understanding all of the relevant information herself, before taking it to Cabinet to present for a decision. This would be normal practice for a lead member.

8r) Why has the consultation been extended by two weeks?

This is explained in our news release.

8s) What will happen to any questions that have not been answered by the time the consultation ends? How will these be treated in the Cabinet Report?

We will answer any outstanding questions. This means that all relevant questions that have not been answered by 13 March will still be included in the report.

 8t) Will the FAQs continue to be updated after Wednesday 13 March?

Yes. We will update the FAQs with any outstanding questions.



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Last updated: 25 June 2019

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