Wirral Council Pants On Fire.
You may recall this case HERE with regard to the delay in care packages by Wirral Social Services ? You may note that Howard Copper interim Director of DASS stated “We strongly dispute the allegation that care packages have been, and continue to be delayed;- [NB. The reference to “continue to be delayed ” actually wasn’t part of the allegation and is more obfuscation on WBC’s part]. He finishes with a pithy - “Allegations around saving money are conjecture.”
It should be further noted that WBC took legal advice on this matter, but not to risk assess the impact of an illegal 4 week delay, because of course they claim it didn’t happen and it was illegal and they would never do such a thing and of course the whistle-blower must be “a bit mad” … the advice was from Weightmans Solicitors (whose Local Government associate also worked for Wirral Council between 1998 and 2003)
It is also noted that in the advice provided by Weightmans to the council they stated
“If the reason was to save money, then clearly it would be unlawful and the Council would be heavily criticised” It then goes on to state that there is no evidence of this and that Richard O’Brien’s (Head Of Assessment) explanation is entirely reasonable.
However below are minutes of an Access & Assessment BUDGET meeting to discuss savings. It states unequivocally that Richard O’Brien and Senior managers agreed to implement a 4 week delay in commissioning care from the independent sector. Something they have persistently denied. It would also appear that the legal advice taken was not as part of a through enquiry into the whistleblowers concerns, but rather a misuse of public money to cover their own voluminous arse!
Here are the minutes of the BUDGET meeting.
MINUTES OF ACCESS & ASSESSMENT EXTENDED BRANCH LEADERSHIP TEAM
DATE: THURSDAY 23RD OCTOBER 2008, ROOM 3 TREASURY BUILDING
Rick O’Brien Head of Service Access & Assessment (Chair)
Breda Dutton Principal Manager Homecare
Anne Bailey Principal Manager Homecare Re-ablement
Pete Gosling Principal Manager Older People
Phil Gilroy Principal Manager Specialist Services
Dave Carroll Service Manager OT
Chris Taylor Service Manager MH
Sheila Finnigan-Jones Service Manager LD
Steve Passey Service Manager OP
Ruth Page (Minutes) Secretary
Paula Neate Reform Unit Manager
Trish Iddon Brokerage
Note: Not for wider circulation until further notice.
RO’B outlined the aims of the meeting which were to identify additional proposals to manage increasing costs of community care budget. 2 critical areas were Domiciliary Care and Learning Disabilities.
Following discussion the following actions were agreed:
- RO’B to agree LD Panels outcomes
- Further discussion to take place re funding with Children and Young People’s Department.
- Increase LD Review Team resources by 2 staff
· Authorisation by Service Manager for all spending
· 4 week delay in commissioning care from independent sector
· Hospital Discharge to be priority
· Residential respite Care from independent sector– stopped
· Unscheduled reviews – agreement for time limited period then referral to HART - no long-term commitment
· Additional Team Manager to be assigned to check re-start packages – PN to look at activity.
· Focus on delays re complaint involving high-cost packages – RO’b to hear appeals.
· Respite Care suspended – SP to authorise any exceptions
· Increase Review Team resources by 3 staff
· Mark Jones to gate-keep and authorise decisions from Access/Review Teams
· Steve Passey to gate-keep and authorise decisions from Long-Term Teams
· Dave Carroll to gate-keep and authorise decisions from Hospital Team
· Set £320 pw limit on care packages provide residential care as alternative. TI to identify high cost packages. PN to look at ILF funding issues.
· Time reduction for double handling calls/hoisting – PN to investigate insurance issues raised by independent providers
· Meal provision – RO’B to write to providers re request for information – 24 hours to respond or suspension of account. Extra Admin resources to handle response. TI to draft letter.
· Track reduction in spend on a weekly basis.
· Provide information of numbers of Dementia cases for PCT funding.
RO’B to extend request for savings initiatives to all staff.
And so DASS Senior management DID agree to implement a policy which that effects vulnerable adults but of course they would have conducted a robust risk and impact assessment before putting this into practice. Erm apparently not