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The new Disability Advocacy Collective (DAC) formed recently in Stornoway has seen the first impact of its advice on local government policy.

That’s after it was announced today (Tuesday 4 October) that a review of respite policy at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar was approved at last week's meeting of full council.

A motion put forward by Councillor Gordon Murray and seconded by Cllr Malcolm Macdonald reacted to feedback from those people most directly affected by respite care policy, proposing that a review should be conducted to address any issues which have arisen.

Cllr Murray said that a respite policy agreed by councillors last year had caused ‘a few concerns’ at the time, but was passed nevertheless.

He said: "It is quite reasonable to have a review on policy and how it is performing and if it is achieving its aims…. and it would be helpful if we could be informed on how the policy has fared.

Some specific points about respite care were raised in the notice of motion put forward by Cllr Murray, and he paid tribute to DAC’s contribution in explaining how the policy was affecting them.

They included requirements that the carer and the cared-for person should be involved in the development and finalisation of support plans and that written decisions, with their rationale, should be automatically shared.

The motion also asked for a right of appeal for those dissatisfied with their allocation of respite and the assurance that all assessments should be determined by need

Cllr Macdonald welcomed the upcoming review and said: “This community has been a caring one over the years and I believe that we must uphold these values."

A report is to be submitted to the Comhairle following the review process.