Concerns have been aired about the shape of a new head injury initiative planned in Renfrewshire amid claims service users have been “left in the dark” on the issue.

A new community-led model of support is in the pipeline to replace the Quarriers head injury service for people living with an acquired brain injury, which is set to close in June.

An “indicative” £90,000 has been found within the council’s Fairer Renfrewshire programme for the proposal, which a report said could ensure “holistic” help can remain for people with a brain injury and their families.

But some elected members have expressed worries about aspects of the change, including the process behind deciding against renewing the contract with Quarriers and how the new service would compare.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Labour group leader, submitted an amendment at last Wednesday’s leadership board, which sought to secure the future of the “much-valued” service in its current form, but it was unsuccessful after a vote.

The veteran politician, who represents Johnstone South and Elderslie, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “First of all, we’ve got concerns about how the decision to cease funding was made.

“It was done in the background without any knowledge of elected members or IJB members.

“We’ve got concerns that the service previously had funding of £131,000, it’s down to £90,000.

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“We’ve also got concerns that they’re using Fairer Renfrewshire funds which were designed to fight poverty. I’m not entirely sure it’s the correct use of those kinds of funds.

“Everything’s up in the air in terms of who is going to be running the service, where it’s going to be based, what kind of level it’s going to be when compared to the service before. We don’t know.

“There are so many unanswered questions. We’ll need to wait until we get further information but in the meantime the people who use that service have very much been left in the dark.”

Christine Laverty, chief officer of Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), confirmed at the board she would provide councillors “some detail” on how the decision on the contract was made in due course.

At the end of March, Dr Ron Culley, Quarriers CEO, said the charity was “extremely disappointed” the council and HSCP were “unable to continue” funding its head injury service.

The service, which provides support for people aged between 16 and 65, is not accepting new referrals because it will be closing on June 7.

A report to the leadership board suggested service users would be involved in developing the new model, which would include support ranging from employability and income advice to health and wellbeing and social isolation.

In a statement to the LDRS, depute council leader Jacqueline Cameron, an SNP representative for Johnstone South and Elderslie, said: “Ultimately both the amendment and the board paper were asking for the same thing, funding for a head injury service.

“Where the amendment was flawed, was in terms of commissioning and procurement, we could not guarantee exact replication of the service.

“Unfortunately these nuances were lost on the service users in the chamber and I’m afraid has raised their hopes when they were already anxious about losing their service.

“Hopefully a new service will serve them equally as well.”

Quarriers has provided the head injury service in Renfrewshire since 2003. Initially, this was through grants then funded through the council from 2009.

After the creation of the HSCP, the contracts were directed and funded through it – the first in 2018.

In 2020, the council sought to commission complementary support and guidance for children and families of people with head injuries.

After discussion, it was agreed a new contract would be put in place. This contract was awarded for three years from April 2021 to 2024 and was jointly funded by HSCP and council.

A council spokesperson said: “The council will work with stakeholders to develop options and transition arrangements for head injury support going forward with a report to the next board.”