Safeguarding Concerns of Wirral Vulnerable Residents

Farooq Bukhari made this Freedom of Information request to Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

The following is already in public domain, which I am going to list next.

Following Andy Campbell whistle-blowing of "4 week delay of Care to Wirral vulnerable to save costs" policy since 2008 And Martin Morton whistle-blowing of long running disabled abuse since 1997, there was a CQC damning report of May 2010, which was delivered to WBC in September 2010 and as a result, the Director of DASS, John Webb, took early retirement (some claim it was a resignation) in October 2010 and walked away with £152,339 of public money.

Its a known fact, already in public domain about the tenure of John Webb as a Dir of DASS which was from 2007 to 2010, with Rick O'Brien, Mike Fowler and Maura Noone at the helm, when many known mishaps and maltreatment of Wirral vulnerable took place, many different inquiries have revealed now. I would be grateful if you can answer the following questions in the above context.

1. How many safeguarding cases, relating to disabled abuse have been identified so far. There was a mention of 16 disabled vulnerable in different media. Please state.

2. How many cases have been successfully concluded.

3. How many are still pending?

4. What's the total amount of money which was paid back to disabled vulnerable residents, who had been overcharged for years. There's a mention of £700,000 in the media. Please confirm.

5. There was a case of rape, reported in the media when disabled abuse revelation by Martin Morton rocked the Wirral peninsula. Without naming the victim, please disclose what was the outcome of that police inquiry. Was the culprit punished for this heinous crime?

Referring to the old people (beyond the ages of 65 including all categories), please state the followings:

6. How many safeguarding cases were reported to DASS during John Webb's tenure (2007 - 2010)

7. How many cases were vigorously pursued by DASS to successful completion.

8. How many culprits were found guilty and punished.

9. How many accused were exonerated due to lack of evidence, proof. List any other reason for not prosecuting the accused.

10. Please state, how many care homes/agencies were forcefully closed by DASS on allegations of abuse (financial, physical, sexual) without pursuing to successful conclusions for the aforementioned tenure.

And lastly, as the former WBC leader, Jeff Green, publicly acknowledged in March 2012 and I quote "Everyone who should be held to account will be". Please state

11. How many DASS officers were held accountable for the malpractices, mentioned above? How many were punished? Please do mention what was their punishment.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours faithfully,

Farooq Bukhari

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Safeguarding Concerns of Wirral Vulnerable Residents'.

This request should have been answered by 8th May, which is now late.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sa...

Yours faithfully,

Farooq Bukhari

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning

Wirral Council acknowledges your request below and is currently in the process of compiling a response to be sent to you in respect of your queries.

Wirral Council would like to apologise for this delay in response and thanks you for your patience in this matter.

Kind Regards

Tracy O'Hare
Information Management
Wirral Council

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may involve licensing and the application of a charge.

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Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT, 18th June 2013

I made the above request on 9th April 2013, which should have been dealt with by 8th May, but it wasn't addressed. A reminder was then sent on 14th May for internal review. As a result, the above reply was received dated 15th May, which was more than a month ago. I am still waiting for your full response.

Failure to respond within the next 5 working days, I would have no alternative, but to report this issue to Freedom of Information office.

Yours sincerely,

Farooq Bukhari

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Apologies for the further delay in responding to you, we are currently
putting together information to answer your enquiry.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
Transformation and Resources
Wirral Council

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Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

This request was made on 9th April 2013, but when there was no reply or even an acknowledgement by you, an "Internal Review" was then asked for on 14th May. We got the acknowledgement from you dated 15th May, saying you were compiling a response.

When we did not hear anything from you for more than a month, the next reminder was sent on 18th June, which you acknowledged on 21st June, saying you were currently putting together information to answer my query - that was more than 11 weeks ago.

As a last resort, I have made a written complaint to ICO today for you not complying with any of the guidelines (answering queries within 20 working days), despite allowing you ample time to do so.

Yours sincerely,

Farooq Bukhari

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

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    FOI 644990 Farooq Bukhari Safeguarding Concerns of Wirral Vulnerable Residents.doc

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Good Afternoon

Please see attachment as Wirral Council’s response to your Freedom of
Information request.  Please accept our apologies for the delay in
responding to you.

Kind regards,

Jane Corrin

Information and Central Services Manager

Transformation & Resources Department

Wirral Council

[email address]

 

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to
use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may
involve licensing and the application of a charge.

 

 

 

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Martin Morton left an annotation ()

Here we go again with the rewriting of history.

This is not about "overcharging".This is about "disability discrimination" ( Equalities & Human Rights Commission) "unlawful charging" ( former Director of Law Bill Norman) and "financial abuse" ( former CEO Jim Wilkie).

Even when the game was up Senior DASS Officers and particularly Webb,Noone & Fowler were abetted with Senior Council Officers from other Departments to minimise the reimbursement.

A plan to pay back £78,000 was made in October/November 2008 until the "Once we go for a reimbursement the covers blown...." email was revealed.
Even after this the plan was to pay back just over £100K and then in 2010 Cabinet agreed to pay back just over £240K.
Only through my sheer persistence over a further FIVE YEARS was the full reimbursement of £736K agreed.
I understand from Cllr Adrian Jones that all the evidence to support these assertions is currently with Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess.

Unfortunately the issue of unlawful charging is particularly ill served by the Independent Review report undertaken by Anna Klonowski Associates.

Moreover it was not Ms.Klonowski's brief to make recommendations about potential disciplinary action. Ms.Klonowski stated to me that " no -one will lose their jobs because of this ,you know how how hard it is to dismiss people".

As I wrote in a report about the unlawful charges which I provided for Ms.Klonowski "It’s not hard at all Anna you just bully them out of their jobs...".

Indeed Webb,Noone & Fowler found themselves nearly £380K richer and I lost everything.

A complete travesty of justice.

Dear Corrin, Jane,

Thanks for your reply, which was not answered within the first 20 working days but took more than 6 months. As everyone making a FOI request to Wirral Borough Council(WBC)is very familiar by now that WBC was put under strict ICO monitoring spotlight, but no improvement has been forthcoming.

Your reply, revealing how much money has been earmarked , and how much money has already been paid out, raises some very grave questions, indeed. Please help me to understand and the worrying public by answering the following questions:

12. You acknowledged that there has been a disabled financial abuse (a water down interpretation is overcharging)between 1997-2011, but Martin Morton raised this disabled abuse, reported to be between 1997-2006. Did it continue until 2011. Please state.

13.Its been reported, Martin raised this issue internally within DASS in year 2000 and many times later for years to his superiors, but nothing was done; they turned a blind eye. The senior Managers of DASS, on public payroll, why did not they stop this disabled financial abuse immediately, within the first 9 days, 9 weeks, 9 months, but went on unabated for at least 9 years (1997-2006),if not more. Please state the reasons and any justifications.

14. Instead of listening to Martin Morton seriously raised concerns and acting on it, its been reported they turned against him and bullied him; Former Dir of DASS, Kevin Miller wanted to sue Martin for defamation. There has been an inquiry conducted by Martin Smith looking into the affairs of bullying Martin Morton. Please provide the findings of that bullying inquiry report and the costs of producing such a report.

15. Initially it was given the impression there was no such disabled financial abuse, and if there was, very little amount of money, £78,000 was incorrectly charged, a council spokesman said. The Councillor Simon Mountney, who championed the Martin Morton cause, told the globe "I really believe that we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg on this issue" He believed the amount could be around £1m(12th November 2008, Wirral Globe). The Senior Managers, who were overseeing this type of abuse, were they very incompetent (could not add) or wanted to incur hardship on vulnerable residents. Please explain.

16. Martin Morton went public (5th November 2008 Wirral Globe)with this story of Disabled financial abuse, and as a direct result, 2 Senior Managers of DASS, were suspended on full pay for 9 months. After that, both of them were then exonerated of any wrongdoings and welcomed back by former Dir of DASS, John Webb and the current Council leader, Phil Davies. It later transpired these 2 officers were earning over £73,000 per annum in January 2012. Please provide the exact amount these 2 officers were paid per month and in total for 9 months out of the public purse.

17. As this disabled financial abuse public debate started to rage, WBC former Dir of Law, Bill Norman (who was suspended in 2012 over allegations of WBC financial corruption)argued that the discrimination did not occur because the residents were not overcharged for reason relating to their disability. The Equality Commission Disability Chairman, Mike Smith,did not agree with Bill Norman and said current disability law clearly establishes that motive and intent are irrelevant to this issue. There are two important points are: A) Was this attempt by WBC to limit the financial damages accruing from a public inquiry, which would have meant a damage control exercise; B)And then to restrict Anna Klonoswki Associates (AKA) by writing such terms of reference for the upcoming inquiry. Please provide AKA terms of reference and answer both parts of the question.

18. Please state when exactly AKA was hired at the costs of £250,000 plus legal costs to conduct such an inquiry at WBC. Did AKA have any prior affiliation with WBC, and if so, was it declared? Please provide proof.

19. Why AKA never looked at the disabled financial abuse taking place at Balls Road and North Road, which was identified, and talked about at a later date. Please explain.

20. AKA preliminary inquiry report into disabled financial abuse was given to WBC in September 2011 - for all the concerned officers to agree to what was said. Why did it take this long, not forgetting this disabled financial abuse started in 1997,Martin Morton was then bullied out of his job in April 2008, and the Wirral Globe press release of 5th November 2008 - nearly 3 years. Please provide reasons.

21. As a direct result of AKA preliminary inquiry report, both of the same Senior Managers of DASS were suspended again, presumably on full pay. Please confirm, and state how much were they paid per month and for how long, out of public purse, the 2nd time round.

22. Just hours before, AKA full report came out to waiting public, these 2 Senior Managers left WBC on 9th January 2012 with compromised agreements and walked away with £220,539 of public money between them, without any knowledge of the then Council leader, Jeff Green. The Chief Executive, Jim Wilkie (he himself went off sick on full pay in March 2012 after allegations of financial corruption rocked the Wirral Peninsula which suspended 4 topmost Senior Managers, and took ER at the age of 58 and walked away with £111,054 of public money) authorized the sudden departure of these 2 Senior Managers? Why did they leave all of a sudden; they had been exonerated in 2008 of the same allegations. Please explain.

23.Was the first inquiry in 2008 not credible then? The sudden departure in January 2012 with loads of public cash, does it mean most of our vulnerable in society were left with these 2 Senior Managers to abuse again from 2008 to Jan 2012? Please name who conducted that inquiry of 2008, costs, as well the inquiry report to answer the public worrying concerns, in detail.

24. Why is it, WBC held number of meetings regarding the hurried departure of these 2 Senior Managers since, but public have not been allowed to see any inquiry findings. Were they guilty of any wrongdoings, if not why have they left and why were they asked to agree to compromised agreements, which they signed? Please answer.

25. You pointed out (your point 4) that a colossal amount of £736, 756.97 has been earmarked to settle this disabled financial abuse, out of which £466,145.84 has so far been reimbursed. Not forgetting this had been going on since 1997, please explain why has it taken this long to pay up what amounts to their, vulnerable money?

26. Referring to question 8,9,10 of Safeguarding, and forcefully closing Care Homes/Agencies, you mentioned these powers reside with the Police and CQC, but the local authorities play a very important roles in our lives; the public pays high council taxes/commercial rates plus income received from Central Government Income taxes which end up in the local authorities to perform many different functions, including providing care for its most vulnerable residents. Why is it the CQC damning Inspection report of May 2010 declares WBC as follows:

A) CQC concluded that WBC was performing poorly in safeguarding adults (May 2010)

B) CQC concluded that the capacity to improve in Wirral Council was uncertain (May 2010).
Please explain the reasons why CQC is saying this.

27. You further pointed out (point 11) that AKA does not conclude DASS officers were quality of malpractice and does not recommend any punishment. First and foremost, it comes down to Terms of Reference, scope of the inquiry etc, but what the organisation wants to do with the information later received. After many years of painstaking efforts and struggle, how is it possible, that no one should be blamed and punished for this disabled financial abuse. This is travesty of Justice. Please fully explain as to why the responsible Senior Mangers were not brought to book by WBC. Martin Morton had been telling WBC about this for years.

I look forward to hearing from you, in due course.

yours sincerely,

Farooq Bukhari

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

I am away from the office today and tomorrow.  If you have an urgent query
please use the contact details below, related to the service area you
require:-

Freedom of Information email  [Wirral Borough Council request email] 
or call 691 8201

GIS enquiries call 606 2026

Records Management enquiries call 606 2923

Archives enquiries call 606 2922

Postal enquiries or Wallasey Based Records call 691 8414

Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information and Central Services Manager

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john hardaker left an annotation ()

Dear farooq If you think it took a long time to answer your previous request I bet this request will have the usual Wirral ducking & diving & exempt due to this that & the other but as you have cleverly named names that one excuse the duckers &divers cant use. No doubt by this time next year you may have a few half truths. good luck

Dave rimmer left an annotation ()

Very much doubt it, John

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,

Thank you for your further email below.  The majority of your email below
comprises a statement and then a request for an explanation.  Because of
this I am unable to answer the majority of your enquiries below under FOI
as they are not requests for recorded information.  If you are seeking
explanations, rather than recorded information, then you would have to
direct your questions; outside of the FOI regime, to the appropriate
service area of the Council.

 

To try and assist you further, there is recorded information published on
our website with regards the Martin Smith and AKA reports. This is
available by searching documents and I have given links below:-

 

[1]http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieSearchR...

 

 

 [2]http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieSearchR...

 

 

I believe the best way forward is for you to review your questions and
queries below and then resubmit a request for recorded information, which
we will be happy to review for you.  

 

Kind Regards

Jane Corrin

Information and Central Services Manager

Transformation and Resources

Wirral Council

 

This information supplied to you is copyrighted and continues to be
protected by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. You are free to
use it for your own purposes, including any non commercial research you
are doing and for the purposes of news reporting. Any other reuse, for
example commercial publication, would require our specific permission, may

involve licensing and the application of a charge.

 

 

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Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

I have had an acknowledgment of my request exactly a month ago today, but then a complete silence.

I am requesting an internal review again for you to promptly answer the questions raised.

Yours faithfully,

Farooq Bukhari

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Morning,
I posted a response to you on 18th November 2013; it is on the WDTK
website directly above your latest email to the Council.
Kind Regards
Jane Corrin
Information and Central Services Manager
Wirral Council

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