Men of Mystery : The Big Reveal Part 1

The answer to the first part of our ‘ Men of Mystery’ quiz is that it is indeed the most powerful politician on Wirral who uttered those very words to one of his constituents who he was trying to fob off! Fortunately that constituent had the foresight to realise that Frankenfield was bullshitting him and recorded him doing so !

Who’d a thunk it ?

 

Although we need to say for clarification that Frankenfield didn’t initiate criminal proceedings against the Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) as is alleged , as that would have implicated his hapless groupie Matron McLaughlin in a series of desperate cover-ups.

What he did do is pursue bogus allegations of Wirral Council misconduct with Merseyside Police and the Serious Fraud Office (for his own ends) – and even they couldn’t oblige as there was no misconduct to report. Nevertheless he has relentlessly pursued this matter – once again for his own ends and at our expense #Wirralgate.

The rest of the recording is most revealing when it comes to to considerations of public interest. We believe it demonstrates yet again that the MP for Birkenhead will only support his constituents if it is politically opportune.

Stay tuned for further extracts from ‘Frankgate’. A bit like  ‘Wirralgate’ but without the attempted bung!

And finally a message to Frankenfield – we are not seeking favours from you and never will. You’re here to serve us – not the other way round. Just sayin’ !

THIS POST IS DEDICATED TO JEANETTE STEWART .

Election Selection : Week 7

As we enter the final week of what has been an interminable general election campaign in the interest of political balance we’ve made some changes and additions to our original post.

Gone West

caldeira facebook.jpg

One of our readers has heeded our word and undertaken some research on local candidates before they cast their vote. As they themselves say it’s not exactly a ‘leak’ (as it’s all in the public domain if you know what to look for). The candidate in question is Tony Caldeira the prospective parliamentary candidate for Wirral West .

Our source writes :

Tony Caldeira over in Wirral West runs on the ticket of being a successful businessman  https://www.tonycaldeira.org.uk/about-tony. His Facebook page (1) states that he “will always be a champion for local business.”  (see pic) 

Looking at his business accounts, it seems that his principal business is Caldeira Holdings with, until last year, 5 subsidiary companies.

Picture 2 is from Caldeira Holdings most recent accounts (2).  Now I’m not experienced at looking at these things, but it seems to me that:

 – his main business (Caldeira Ltd) is losing a lot of money

 – his overseas subsidiaries seem to have accrued big debts,

 – one of his businesses (Caldeira Retail) went into voluntary liquidation

Caldeira Retail appears to have gone into liquidation owing £6.7m to employees, and small businesses, etc (3).

I just think that if being a great businessman is his ticket, he should be transparent about his own struggling business. And if he says he “will always be a champion for local business”, then people should know that he liquidated his multimillion pound debt to dozens of small businesses last year – not much of a champion for them, then?

Links are:-

(1) https://www.facebook.com/TonyCaldeiraWW

(2) https://www.thegazette.co.uk/company/07102829/filing-history/MzE3Mjk3Mzg0MWFkaXF6a2N4 , taken from https://www.thegazette.co.uk/company/07102829

(3) https://www.thegazette.co.uk/company/06576230/filing-history/MzE0MzUxOTgzOWFkaXF6a2N4 , taken from https://www.thegazette.co.uk/company/06576230

Perhaps Mr Caldeira could comment as to whether our source has given a fair reflection of his current business interests?

Mass Debate

Before the rains came 023

We don’t know about you but we feel this general election campaign has been going on for most of our lives. Debate after debate after debate. And all of them signifying nothing. But at least we should be grateful that Wirral had a prominent audience member at last week’s televised debate.

A few people contacted us to say they recognised DASS manager Peter Ferguson – particularly someone  who had dealings with him during the infamous ‘4 week delay ‘scandal. They weren’t impressed. However with the news that 220 DASS social care assessment staff are being ‘integrated’ with Wirral Community NHS Trust we can only hope that Wirral Community NHS Foundation Trust CEO  Karen Howell  delivers on her promise that ‘As one organisation, we will deliver a fully integrated social care assessment and health service to local residents – helping to deliver the right care, in the right place, at the right time.’

One thing that has occurred to us as Wirral Council slough off yet more staff that we can’t understand that with less and less services and fewer staff to manage as to why there isn’t a corresponding cut in pay for Wirral Council’s most senior managers?

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15324643.Dawn_of_a_new_era_for_social_care_in_Wirral/

Finally we’d just like to comment that judging by recent events and the divisive nature of general election campaigns that whichever way you cast your vote (or not as the case may be) that political debate and dissent is set to continue long after Thursday’s election result……..

 

The Inadequates

Inadequate 012

So it would appear like many before her  , Wirral Council has driven top notch Children’s Services troubleshooter Eleanor Brazil , nuts .

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/15319099.Now_top_Government_troubleshooter_quits_Wirral_child_safeguarding_board/

As we know Ms Brazil was brought in to share her considerable expertise in an attempt to turn round the deeply troubled council department.  We understand that Ms Brazil was fully prepared to challenge the powers that be.  As we know the powers that be don’t like that. They much prefer to be in denial. We can remember Michael Frater, the last straight talking troubleshooter Wirral Council had to call in when their Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) had brought them in into disrepute through a multitude of failings . He didn’t last long either.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/more-allegations-from-the-boiled-frog-council/

It’s such a great shame government commissioners weren’t called in then, but as we know, Frank Field did his string pulling thing to spare the blushes of bent,incompetent councillors and the rest is history. And of course, as we all know, if people don’t learn from history – they are bound to repeat it. And so here we are again – not only in Childrens Services, but also it would appear in DASS.

We’ve previously chronicled  that the parlous state of safeguarding of the vulnerable is not confined to children:

Carry On Matron

Indeed it is astonishing to think that whilst Children’s Services is subject to inspection of their safeguarding arrangements by Ofsted there is no equivalent for DASS.  The Care Quality Commission (CQC)  are now just responsible for inspecting individual services. Of course the last time CQC did check on Wirral Council’s safeguarding arrangements for adults – they were found to be ,yes you guessed it, inadequate!

Following an inspection by CQC the latest addition to the long list of inadequates goes to Acrefield House,  a care home for people with learning disabilities run by Mental Health Care (MHC) Ltd.

After reading CQC Inspection report which records that :

“There were repeated and targeted physical altercations between people living at the home. Many of these had been documented and there was a clear and recognised pattern that had not been investigated, or resulted in any safeguarding referrals being made. This meant that people were not safe living at the home.”

http://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/INS2-3237079974.pdf

Reference is also made to staff inappropriately restraining residents and that there was in -fighting between the staff team. Overall the report is a horrorshow and once again we have to ask whether DASS actually monitor the services we pay for and why does it take a CQC inspection to discover that vulnerable people are not safe?

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/constant-fights-unsafe-uncaring-ineffective-13113852

Could it be because they’ve previously ignored concerns  raised about Acrefield House. We’ve been informed that a member of the public did just that and nothing was done about their safeguarding concerns. And please,please ,please don’t tell us it’s about ‘cuts’ . Time to wake up to the fact that the calibre of people who are supposed to safeguarding the vulnerable either directly or indirectly on Wirral  – is INADEQUATE. We’re convinced that Eleanor Brazil recognised this. Therefore we’d invite her to comment on why she has quit and whether she endorses our view that Wirral is ‘ No Country For Old Men/Women/ Children & the Vulnerable. ‘   

Inadequate 010

Acrefield House : No -one knows what goes

Bernie The Bruiser Plays The Blame Game

Bernie in White

Bernie’s glare makes grown men weep.

The latest instalment in the scandalous Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) case which is mainly being played out by press release to the Liverpool Echo involves the new Cabinet lead for Children’ Services and also the new- frighteningly – Deputy Leader of the Council, Bernie Mooney.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/warning-more-heads-roll-wirral-13054956

Anyway Bernie the Bruiser has gone all gung ho on us and told us that she ” will leave no stone unturned” in finding out how opportunities were missed to protect young girls from abuse and “if that means heads will roll ,so be it”

Oh give over,love, we all know that’s never going to happen with Wirral Council’s senior managers . As we can see from the ‘resignation’ of  Director of Children’s Services, Julia Hassall . Now in the real world ,if someone resigns , they resign and go on to ‘greater challenges’, ‘spend time with their long suffering family’ or take up gardening/golf/alcoholism  and that’s the end of it. Not with Wirral  Council . Oh no – ‘resignees’  get a pay off to make sure that none of the culpability for myriad failures can lead back to the self serving power elite. Somewhat like a slug trail. Yes, best put the stone back in place and keep the slugs out of the glare of the sun. Has anyone noticed that after all the high profile departures in the officer ranks these past few years (and at our expense) that the same old incompetent,dishonest and corrupt councillors are still running the show?

And as for the claim that ‘heads will roll’  – that caused our eyes to roll.  Because if Bernie the Bruiser was true to her word she’d have her Labour colleague Cllr Moira McLaughlin’s head on the chopping block for starters. We have to await the publication of the forthcoming Serious Case Review into the CSE horror story to find out where agencies and which particular personnel let abused girls down.

However we know already that there has undoubtedly been a failure of scrutiny by Wirral Council. We also know that the Serious Case Review goes back to a time when their governance arrangements were found to be wanting  and which contributed to a series of damning reports involving Adult Social Services. So what did subsequent administrations decide? – give the scrutiny of BOTH Adult Social Services and Children’s Social Services to the political lead previously responsible for failing vulnerable adults. Step forward Matron McLaughlin! You really couldn’t make this shit up!

Told You So

Accordingly might we suggest that Bernie the Bruiser needs to go easy with the threats for now because if she’s  prepared to  batter already battered staff into submission and play the blame game she needs to ensure that the stone she’s unturning doesn’t get chucked back at her.

Carry On Matron

Simon says : ‘Carry on Matron’  (clip courtesy John Brace)

Now we admit to being late to the party on this one but one of our keen followers brought to our attention an ‘epic fail’ by one of Wirral Leaks regulars Cllr Moira McLaughlin (aka ‘Matron’) at last week’s ‘People Overview and Scrutiny Committee’.

Whilst the supine members of this particular Committee were quite happy to sit back and accept that Matron knows what she’s actually talking about , we’ve scrutinised the John Brace video we were guided to – and blimey! – our source was right about our Cab Queen councillor – and it seems she’s still taking us all for a ride!

Carry On Cabby

This time it concerns what may seem to be a throwaway comment made at last week’s Committee meeting. Watch with incredulity as after a dreary presentation from Wirral Council’s Safeguarding Lead Simon Garner – God help us one and all – Matron McLaughlin chips in just after 26:00 and comments that after reading the latest Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board (SAPB)  ‘annual report’  –  well when they say ‘annual’ – there have been 2 ( count’em) since 2012 .

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/s50039668/SAPB%20Annual%20Report%202015%20-2016%20final%20version%20PS.pdf

Matron tells us that prior to reading the latest magnum opus she thought that the highest number of allegations about abuse would implicate family members and that the alleged abuse took place in the vulnerable person’s own home. She pitifully asks whether it’s “a shift , a change in information being gathered”

Well if you’ve been in a coma, maybe ! Really Matron ? you actually said that OUT LOUD and IN PUBLIC and none of the Committee members saw fit to challenge you and say ” WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? But then why have scrutiny when you can resort to that old standby – denial ! In fact we remember last time round the reason given for the rise in referrals about alleged abuse in care homes by care workers was because the SAPB were doing such a good job raising awareness about abuse!

Take a look at this graph from the ONLY previous Safeguarding Adult Partnership Board (SAPB) report (June 2014) :

SAPB 013

We’ll just leave it there for the Committee to have a look at . An expression using the words ‘elephant’ and ‘room’ springs to mind. However Director of Adult Social Services Graham Hodkinson chips in at 28.00 to tell us not to worry it’s all in the hands of his QA ( Quality Assurance?) Team – which based on their past history doesn’t exactly reassure us –  and asks the pertinent yet evasive question:

” What does that say about care home quality”

What the information tells us is that care services on Wirral are more than a bit of a worry. Whilst that shouldn’t come as a surprise to Wirral Leaks followers perhaps it will to sleepwalking members of the ‘People’ committee.We’ll spell it out for you Graham the quality of too many care homes on Wirral is S-H-I-T …..shit,crap,turdacious or whatever Care Quality Commission (CQC)  excrement scale you care to choose! Too ‘disasteful’ for you Mr Hobgoblinson?, try living in one of the care homes you’ve got a contract with at discounted rates even though there known ‘quality’ concerns and get back to us! Just sayin’ !

How prescient of us to write in anticipation of the latest SAPB report in February 2016 (!) :

Meanwhile we anticipate that in it’s long – awaited and much delayed report Wirral Council’s self – congratulatory Safeguarding Board will kiss its own arse and claims it is doing a good job protecting vulnerable people.

Retirement Home

As you can see from the above post the quality of Wirral’s ‘care’ providers is something we’ve been banging on about for years . Indeed from when the CQC told Wirral Council way back in 2010 they couldn’t safeguard a dead hamster to the calamitous Independent Review in 2012 that didn’t only tell the council they were safeguarding failures that they themselves were actually perpetrators of abuse!

This small detail was of course omitted from the only previous SAPB report

http://www.wirral.gov.uk/sites/default/files/all/Health%20and%20social%20care/adult%20social%20care/safeguarding%20adults/SAPB%20Annual%20Report%202012-14%20FINAL.pdf

Indeed we’re appalled to discover that they’ve resumed business with a particular organisation who were redacted out of the Independent Review – whilst some other So & So’s it was a case of carry on regardless  –  and yet we’re supposed to be as surprised as the Matron that vulnerable people are potentially at more at risk of being abused in care homes and the greatest number of allegations is against their ‘carers’!

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/shamed-carer-who-stole-4k-12153256

It might also explain why the Director of Services of this organisation has stopped contacting us to tell us how appalling Wirral Council are . Might also explain his reluctance to expose historical financial abuse of vulnerable people in his ‘care’ when he knows there are lucrative Wirral Council care contracts to be had if he keeps schtum about their mutual dirty little secret ( which we promise to get round to one day).

 

Happy Halliday

 

Happy Halliday

Spookily, we were about to follow up our story about one of Wirral Council’s new ‘transformation’ gurus , Stewart Halliday,  when we were sent the above story from Private Eye with exactly the same title that this ‘excellent local blog’ was about to run with ( great minds etc;). We say ‘one of’ as we understand there have been two new highly paid ‘interim transformation ‘ council appointments to push through the further dismantling  of public services.

Astonishingly it has been suggested to us that ‘Happy Halliday’ could be in line for a significant  increase on the estimated £90K salary that he received at City of York Council despite leaving a trail of destruction in his wake.Talk about rewarding failure!

We’ve already reported on his previous involvement in a series of irregularities at City of York Council involving procurement and contract procedures and the use of consultants.  Among the allegations made against Halliday were that he failed to get proper tenders, quotes or contracts for £174K worth of work that he commissioned and he didn’t draw up business cases or monitor the work that was paid for.

Wirral Council – Where Transformation Means More Of The Same

Halliday had previously also been implicated in criticism that City of York Council had not been very good at publishing its data according to a report compiled by Spend Network, which forms part of the Spend Small campaign by the Centre for Entrepreneurs :.

“They ( City of York Council) are bad at publishing data that we could use to analyse what they are doing. It’s obvious they don’t think anyone is going to run the data against an algorithm. They have got dirty data, and manage it in a poor way. It’s not very helpful for people to use the data, and not helpful for people to read it as a human, it’s very hard to interpret.”

http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/11463826.Council_criticised_over____dirty_data________report/

And so with Wirral Council pleading poverty at every turn and imposing a 4.99% rise in Council Tax it doesn’t sit well with us that they are potentially appointing two further people on six figure ‘interim’ contracts,one of whom at least , has a chequered past. This of course hasn’t prevented Halliday securing a big cheque future at the rogue’s paradise that is Wirral Council. As we know all too well Halliday follows a trail of local government garbage who have cleaned up at our expense.Who can forget Rob Vickers – the social care consultant who was paid £180K for 18 months ‘work’ which essentially involved helping to cover up two Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) scandals (‘the 4 week delay’ disgrace and, a thus far unreported, further unlawful overcharging of vulnerable people). And there have been plenty of others just like him, jumping on and off the endless money-go-round that is the Wirral Council consultant carousel.

We can only predict that one day we will look back and reflect that these were the darkest days in the history of public services – not just in terms of public finance, but in respect of the calibre of people who are running them and/or running them down.

 

smug-halliday

A compiler of an illustrated dictionary may find a use for this picture of Stewart Halliday next to the word ‘smug’.

 

The Morton ‘Incident’ – Revisited

overcharging-008

Whilst our focus was on the Nigel “Highbrow” Hobro question raised at the Wirral Council meeting on 19th December – and to which we presume he is still awaiting an answer from council leader Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies – we missed this seemingly innocuous little question from Tory leader  Cllr Jeff Green.

As you can see he , all other councillors and the Strategic Leadership Team  were given an answer to his question about ‘overcharging for care services’ which was directed at the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care Cllr Chris Jones earlier today.

Now we don’t know – yet anyway – what was behind Cllr Green’s question but we suspect he’ll be making a media statement shortly about how ‘outraged’ he is about a case of ‘overcharging for care services’ that has been brought to his attention.

We know he certainly knows of one already – as do many councillors and council officers who have chosen to cover up a quite scandalous case of overcharging.

We know this because we forwarded this email to Wirral Council whistleblower Martin Morton himself (and we were quite amused to hear he’d already received a copy !)

Morton must be so relieved that as he rots on the dole unable to find a job and with very little prospect of ever getting another job again his experience has now been redefined as an ‘incident’. That’s if you can call systemic bullying and harassment , cover ups , lies , £1 million pay offs,  £31 million toxic debts, the council  doing business with drugs money launderers, turning a blind eye to the abuse of vulnerable people , covering up of a death and the paying back of £736,000 to disabled people as an ‘incident’.

Morton maintains there is an outstanding case of over charging and that money was not paid back ‘as soon as possible’ as Cllr Jones claims or indeed at all. This allegation   follows the publication of the ‘Independent Review of Allegations Made by Martin Morton ( & Others)’ cobbled together by compromised consultant Anna Klonowski in 2012. Now we don’t know whether this is what Cllr Green is hinting at (and frankly we’re not that interested in his political point scoring) but we do have a mountain of material from Morton evidencing this further allegation of overcharging and which was not reported on his now sadly defunct blog.

We are currently working through this simply astonishing archive and will be bringing you all the tawdry details of this long running and ongoing cover up and the names of all those involved. From what we’ve seen already it makes a monumental lie of the claim that ‘lessons following the Martin Morton incident were learned and implemented’.

We will also be reflecting on the fact that almost exactly 5 years after its publication that the  so-called shockwave of Klonowski’s Independent Review can now be more accurately described as a slight tremor and failed miserably to drain the poison from the body politic on Wirral.

Oh No ! – It’s The LGO!

 

lgo

An interesting and disturbing case has arrived at Leaky Towers via a source on Twitter which we think gives a telling insight into how Wirral Council’s Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) still works when it comes to the way they treat people with disabilities  – despite their repeated cries of ‘lessons have been learned’ ‘transformation’ and ‘ choice’

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) made a ruling on a case involving a disabled woman from Wirral in February of this year. Publishing the report on their website some time later they found that :

The Council was at fault in reducing Ms B’s care hours without a reassessment of her needs. It has now agreed that she can receive care again from her previous (preferred) provider, and will restore her care hours to the previous level assessed to meet her needs. The Council agrees to reimburse Ms B’s representatives for the costs they have incurred in paying privately for care for some hours she has missed, and make a payment to them in acknowledgement of their time and trouble in pursuing the complaint. It will also offer Ms B a payment in acknowledgement of the distress this matter has caused her, which will equal the cost of the care hours she has missed.

http://www.lgo.org.uk/decisions/adult-care-services/other/15-003-163#point1

This is a particularly significant ruling and testimony to the perseverance and determination of those seeking justice in this case. We stress this as it should not be under-estimated just how hard historically it has been for a complainant to get a ruling of maladministration from the LGO . Written evidence submitted by LGO Watch and Public Service Ombudsman Watchers to the Communities and Local Government Committee in 2012  is particularly critical of the LGO’s poor record on rulings in favour of complainants and cites Wirral Council as a case study. Although we do need to acknowledge that this was 4 years ago and it was the year that saw the publication of the damning Independent Review of Wirral Council , unfortunately there is very little to suggest that the conclusions reached about how Wirral Council operated then are any different now (see below).

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmcomloc/431/431vw12.htm

Talking of which we were particularly interested to see the reference in the LGO ruling to Wirral Council having to make a payment amounting to £500 for the ‘time and trouble’ of the complainants. The phrase reminded us of a story we published earlier this year where we made reference to the Wirralgate complainants being offered a much more generous £3,000 (presumably x 4) by Wirral Council for their ‘time and trouble’ despite the fact that there has been no published report upholding their complaints.

https://wirralleaks.wordpress.com/2016/01/20/time-and-trouble/

Surely this begs the following questions : Firstly, if the Wirralgate complainants were not happy with a 3 grand bung , why weren’t they advised to take their complaint to the LGO ?  and secondly ,  why instead did they get a bespoke inquiry which is seemingly concerned primarily with a potentially even larger compensation payment?.

We suppose the answer to these questions  brings us back to the conclusion submitted in written evidence to the CLG Committee referenced above : No wonder councils like Wirral can get away with cover-ups and maladministration for years….until of course someone else does the LGO’s job and exposes council cover ups and maladministration.

 

 

 

Private Sector / Public Interest

Private Sector 2

We said we’d return to the matter of the inevitable closure of Girtrell Court. And sure enough at last night’s Wirral Council meeting – despite the impassioned and eloquent appeal on behalf of the Save Girtrell Court campaign by carer Bernard Halley – the Council pressed on with their proposed “we know best” shiny new respite scheme  (with much reduced capacity ) in Tollemache Road.

Now we know nothing about the proposed housing and support provider Sanctuary Housing who are associated with this new scheme but what we’ve raised time and time again is this headlong rush by a Labour controlled Wirral Council to gleefully hand public money over to the private sector.

Perhaps when it comes to emptying the bins and mending the roads we don’t get quite so animated but we do when it comes to services for vulnerable people. We want to state for the record that we don’t think services for vulnerable people should always be subject to the vagaries of the free market. Putting profit before people is never a good thing – especially when those people are particularly vulnerable.

We have pointed out before that the same people voting to close public services are the same people wearing ‘I ♥ NHS’ badges and who wouldn’t dream of selling off health services so private enterprise could get a piece of the action . Or perhaps they would…

If history has taught us anything that when you put profit before people the result is often (if not always) that services are costly and the quality is poor. It’s a LOSE-LOSE situation – as anyone who’s keeping track of the appalling state of care homes and familiar with the news of yet another care home closure on Wirral will tell you – although judging by the following report that doesn’t include  Wirral Council’s Department of Adult Social Services  (DASS) !.

http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/wirral-care-home-left-elderly-11590048

A  DASS spokeswoman says of this latest closure and how it will affect elderly residents  : “Their health, wellbeing and future care is our most pressing and important priority” .

Yes , but where were you when there were allegations of abuse, that 25 residents were sharing one bathroom and untrained staff were administering medication ?. No doubt making plans to close Girtrell Court and hand services over to the private sector!. Talking of which we’d particularly like to know how that little experiment is going with the privatisation of drug and alcohol services agreed in 2014  when services were handed over to registered charity Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI).

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/privatisation-of-nhs-drug-and-alcohol-service-in-wirral

Perhaps we should ask Cllr Angela Davies who worked for Wirral Drug and Alcohol Service before becoming a Project Manager with Crime Reduction Initiatives for 4 months in 2015 before swiftly getting back on board with Cheshire & Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

We’re being informed  that CRI  may have reduced the costs by reducing the level of input for people with drug and alcohol issues . If this is the case this could mean an increase in risk and potentially an increase in deaths and serious incidents associated with this service. We’re hearing about some worrying (if unconfirmed) statistics associated with CRI but I’m sure Cllr Angela Davies would be well placed to reassure the people of Wirral that all is well  and continuing privatisation of critical services is the way to go (even though clearly it wasn’t the case for her!).

 

Navigators

Dass on the rocks

DASS on the rocks

Last night Wirral Council confirmed the predictable outcome of postponing the closure of disabled respite centre Girtrell Court until  a “consultation ” process had been completed. Whilst this may primarily serve the purpose of avoiding adverse publicity in the run up to the local elections might we suggest that the Save Girtrell Court campaigners won’t be going away any time soon.

The Department of Adult Social Services (DASS) are allegedly helping disabled people and their carers through this stressful “consultation” period by engaging the services of Penderel’s Trust http://www.penderelstrust.org.uk/ who are providing a “brokerage” service assisting people towards the brave new world of “choice”.

Whilst Penderel’s Trust may be a not-for- profit organisation it should be remembered that they are in receipt of money for work that used to be done by social workers (or at least should have been) and however good their intentions the fact is that it is another example of public money being spent on external consultants.

The process of steering disabled people and their carers to where Wirral Council want them to go is further assisted by Council staff known as “navigators”.

We swear we are not making this up.

“Navigators”  – we’ll leave that there on the page for you to ponder for a moment.

However the problem is that some of these navigators are feeling a bit sea-sick and have been expressing the view to carers that Girtrell Court shouldn’t close . However the sad fact is that these unqualified social workers know they’d be back flipping burgers if they expressed this view to DASS managers as what’s left of DASS has very much returned to the bad old days.

Of course DASS have a long and inglorious record of undermining the professional status of social workers by hiring people to the work of social workers without the qualifications , experience  and knowledge. It’s cheaper and comes with the added bonus of staff not being concerned with having to comply with a professional code of conduct.

Might we suggest that the powers that be at Wirral Council could do with their own set of navigators over the next few weeks as they’re heading for choppy waters.