Back door shut to two city advice centres

Guildhall
Guildhall

Derry City and Strabane District Council has refused a reprieve for advice centres in Galliagh and Rosemount that both failed quality audits earlier this year.

Independent councillors protested when Sinn Féin, the DUP, and the UUP, refused to back the deferral of a decision not to appoint Galliagh Women’s Group (GWG) and the Rosemount Welfare Rights Service (RWRS) as council-approved advice service providers for 2017/18.

Last month the council’s Health and Community Committee heard both providers had failed to meet the local authority’s quality standards following an audit.

Consequently, the committee unanimously agreed to appoint Dove House Advice Services, Carnhill Resource Centre and North West Citizens Advice Bureau as its official service providers.

Independent Councillor Sean Carr asked that the council defer the decision, complaining the unsuccessful applicants had not been afforded an “appeals mechanism”. Independent Councillor Warren Robinson said the decision had “very serious implications...not just for Rosemount but for the Galliagh Women’s Group who are in the same position”.

Sinn Féin Councillor Eric McGinley said it was “unfortunate some providers didn’t meet the threshold” but signalled his party would be guided by the assessment of the expert auditor. The committee’s original decision was approved.