We think a Facebook post by Save Girtrell Court posted a couple of days ago needs highlighting as it further demonstrates the way things work with Wirral Council.
We’ve commented before on their relentless and ruthless privatisation of public services .We will be returning to the matter in time for the grand opening of new respite facilities in Tollemache Road now that we know the battle to save Girtrell Court has been lost and Wirral Council will now surely be planning to make a nice capital receipt out of the land to add to the real estate bonanza that will follow the sale of the Lyndale School site.
We note how Eric “Feeble” Robinson has finally fitted in nicely having been well tutored in the use of spin as carers/campaigners claim that he has misrepresented them in statements to the press. We also note the continuing tactic of browbeating people into keeping quiet by shrieking “confidentiality!” and thereby not so much manage the message but control disclosure.
Therefore can we advise the named carer representatives not to hold their breath waiting for an apology or a retraction from Stressed Eric or a Wirral Council media spokesperson.
Once again – read it and weep.
To all Supporters of Girtrell Court
Various officers of Wirral Borough Council have tried in recent correspondence to claim that the closure decision was made “in partnership” and with the support of carers. This is simply untrue and a fine example of “spin”.
It is true that I and other carers contacted through the Wirral Carers Association have sought repeatedly to convince council officers that their policy on Girtrell is wrong and unnecessary but you are all aware of council intransigence – they simply will not listen to logic or social justice arguments.
When all of our pleading fell on closed ears, the only option was to salvage the best solution for all of our loved ones from this train wreck. To this end, we have assessed the options being pursued by the council and have rejected the most unsuitable ones. The only potentially credible offering was Tollemache Road (over which there are still unanswered service questions) and so we have, with great reluctance, made the best out of the proverbial bad job.
I am sorry if you disagree with our actions but we were unable to “go public” due to council commercial confidentiality requirements.
Equally, if you feel that I and others have let you down then I am content to accept your censure but I assure you that I could not have tried harder for the result we all wanted SAVE GIRTRELL COURT.
The text of the email to Chief Executive Eric Robinson follows to set the record straight :-
Dear Mr. Robinson,
You have recently replied to Councillor Blakely regarding the future of Girtrell Court and its possible replacement service.
Your response is a clear misrepresentation of the position and of the involvement of parent / carers since it clearly indicates that users of the current service are content and have willingly collaborated with the council and its officers in agreeing the privatisation and closure of Girtrell.
This interpretation of events would be considered too far-fetched even for an episode of Yes Minister. It is best likened to an executioner claiming that the deceased committed suicide when he opted for execution by lethal injection instead of the alternatives of being burnt at the stake or fed live to a pack of ravenous wolves.
• Not one of the current users of Girtrell Court wish to see the current service closed and privatised;
• Parents and carers have not consented to, colluded with or supported the council voluntarily but continue to oppose the closure of Girtrell Court;
• It is only the complete and unremitting obduracy of Wirral Borough Council in railroading through the closure of a vital and valued facility against the wishes of its users, their hard pressed carers and the general public which has forced carers with great reluctance to assess the credibility of a number of proposed replacement options;
• Our motives in making these assessments have not been to assist in, collude with, sanction or otherwise underwrite this unwanted and mean spirited closure.
Rather our motivation has been and remains solely to ensure that our loved ones on whom this change is being forced by an uncaring council end up with the least worst of the proposed replacements. Never has the term “making the best of a bad job” been more appropriate;
• We were clear in advising Council Officers that potentially suitable accommodation was only one aspect of a complete respite solution and that we would not and could not underwrite any replacement respite service until we had clarity on the complete package on offer. The package remains incomplete – there is no information regarding :-
o the term of the proposed contract,;
o the staffing ratios which will apply;
o the nature and extent of activities available to service users;
o the arrangements for safety of occupants of the first and second stories in the event of fire (when the proposed lift will be out of action);
o confirmation that service users will receive the same time allocation:
all of which are legitimate concerns for parents / carers when being asked to entrust their loved ones to a third party. Merely identifying a possible building does not address these qualitative issues and your officers responses to these issues are awaited.
You cannot justify your council’s wilful refusal to listen to carers, to respect our concerns and to deliver a service in which we have confidence by claiming us as your political cover.
That you should now represent our act of desperation as proactive support for the closure of Girtrell Court and the redundancy of its magnificent staff is truly unworthy of you and adds to a catalogue of shameful behaviour of the council in this matter. Your statement that you “can therefore confirm that the decision to close Girtrell Court has been taken in partnership with carers that use the service” is a blatant misrepresentation and has caused us significant reputational damage within the Girtrell Court carer community.
We hereby go on public record as totally rejecting these statements and inferences contained in your response to Councillor Blakeley and require both a retraction and your apology for the distress caused.
Signed by the following as volunteer carer representatives:-
Angela Harrison and