DUDLEY Council officers are to be quizzed about why they failed to refer people to a special needs charity.

Councillors from the Ernest Stevens Trust Management Committee are calling for the authority’s Adult Social Care Select Committee to examine why people with special needs were not directed to services run by Emily Jordan Foundation Project (EJFP) in Quarry Bank.

During discussions at the Trust’s committee’s meeting on April 8 about renewing the charity’s lease for a building at Stevens Park, the project’s chief executive revealed her frustration about the council’s failure to send people to them.

Ruth Krivosic, EJFP’s chief executive, said: “We were not expecting any priority just that we had a contact at the council. 

“Between 2019 and 2022 that didn’t happen.”

The project, which is a spin-off from Kidderminster’s successful Emily Jordan Foundation, is a partnership between the council and EJFP funded by £1.4m from the National Heritage Lottery Fund and £400,000 from the council.

The cash was spent on restoring Tintern House at the park and the creation of schemes for service users with learning or physical disabilities to develop skills in work related activity.

EJFP relied on service users self-referred rather than being sent by the council which meant lower user numbers and reduced income.

The committee was told the Emily Jordan Foundation had to find more than £20,000 on top of its original contribution for the Quarry Bank project to maintain its viability.

Ruth Krivosic added: “Working in partnership with the joint venture is required, collaboration did not happen.”

“We are doing better now but not as well as we should be.”

Committee chairman, Cllr Ian Kettle, said: “This liaison is fundamental to the success of the project.”

Cllr Tim Crumpton added: “We can make a recommendation that a report goes to the adult services committee.

“We all know we are in difficult times but also know the stuff you are doing – we are desperate for it.”

Jim Deakin, head of service at Dudley Council, said: “We have provided support in a number of ways, and the more we can signpost this excellent facility the better. 

“We are looking to improve the way we work in partnership and engage with local communities which will benefit everyone.”