WBC - DASS - 4 week delay investigation

Pete Sheffield 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,

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Please see the following newspaper article from the local newspaper
the Wirral Globe

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/962386...

The article commences with 'A WIRRAL man whose late mother was a
victim of the council’s adult social services’ delay scandal, has
received a full letter apology after he told his family’s story to
the Globe.

Now he intends to take the letter and place it on his mother’s
grave.'

The delay scandal can be traced back to minutes of a meeting
chaired by Rick O'Brien - Head of Branch Admission and Assessment.

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/wb...

This delay had been part of a whistleblowing disclosure but denied
by the council:

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/958625...

The whistleblower quotes the folllowing:

"It took months for the council to respond, they failed to observe
their own timescales set out in their own whistle-blowing
procedures, and when they finally did furnish me with a reply, it
stated: 'I am satisfied that from an operational point of view
there was no blanket delay'.

http://www.wirralglobe.co.uk/news/958501...

When it was proved that there was a delay the Leader of the Council
was quoted as saying:

'“After a series of denials from the Department of Adult Social
Services, I am giving my personal guarantee that everyone who
believes that they have been let down by the council will be given
the opportunity to have their cases properly considered and dealt
with.'

Please see the following link to the satirical website
'WirralLeaks':

http://wirralleaks.tumblr.com/post/18899...

On this site it reports to disclose legal advice from Weightmans to
WBC as follows:

'If the reason for the guidance was as AC alleges, namely to 'Save
money' then clearly it would be unlawful and the Council would
undoubtedly be heavily criticised. However, there is no evidence in
any of the papers to suggest that this is the case and the
explanation given by Mr O'Brien appears to be entirely reasonable.'

This is at odds with the the minutes of the meeting 'BUDGET
MEETING' chaired by Rick O'Brien on the 23rd October 2008 in room 3
Treasury Building.

Highlights include:

• Authorisation by Service Manager for all spending
• 4 week delay in commissioning care from independent
sector
• Residential respite Care from independent sector– stopped
• Respite Care suspended – SP to authorise any exceptions
• 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.
• RO’B to extend request for savings initiatives to all staff.

This was clearly part of cost cutting measures and presented
posibilities of harm without evidence of risk assessment or impact
assessment. This was a wide ranging policy affecting all within the
borough but no equality impact assessment was undertaken, no
consultation with carers, advocates or families took place, also no
consultation took place with the independent sector. It is also
presumed that no legal advice was sought at the time.

In conclusion:

1. There was a whistleblower who disclosed the 4 week delay
2. WBC failed to follow their own whistleblowing procedure
3. Wirral Borough Council denied any 4 week delay
4. WBC got legal advice after the implementation of the policy
based on a description of Rick O'Brien that it was not to save
money
5. The actual fact was that it was a money saving issue as per the
minutes of the BUDGET MEETING on the 23rd October 2008 in room 3 of
the treasury building
6. As per Weightmans legal advice - this was illegal
7. The Council have acted unlawfully and recklessly

My FOI request is:

Following this shameful policy implemented by Rick O'Brien who continues to be in position as head of Branch Assessment, despite appearing to be acting unlawfully, and where the leader of the council has apologised for the deterioration and death of a vulnerable adult in relation to this policy:

1. What date was an investigation into the matter initiated
2. Who is the officer leading the investigation
3. What timeframe is the investigation to be completed
4. The Elected Member who will be reported to with the outcomes, conclusions and actions of the investigation.

Yours faithfully,

Pete Sheffield

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 'WBC - DASS - 4 week delay investigation'.

This request is now late.

Yours faithfully,

Pete Sheffield

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

I have passed this to the ICO.

Yours faithfully,

Pete Sheffield

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Could you please advise when you intend to ackowledge this request and what timeframe you may be intending to answer this within.

Yours faithfully,

Pete Sheffield

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

Another month has now passed and you have failed to acknowledge this request since 24th May 2012.

The information is not complex to disclose if you do hold it.

1. What date was an investigation into the matter initiated
2. Who is the officer leading the investigation
3. What timeframe is the investigation to be completed
4. The Elected Member who will be reported to with the outcomes, conclusions and actions of the investigation.

Yours faithfully,

Pete Sheffield

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

I would suggest in following link there is a report regarding the helpline set up following the 4 weeks delay to Community Care Packages of Support.

This explicitly states:

The helpline was established to enable complaints to be expressed regarding the implementation of the 4 weeks delay into Community Care Packages between October 2008 and August 2010.

In order for the department to admit to this unlawful policy prudence suggests that there was an investigation.

Please disclose the investigation. Possibly Mr Vickers the Independent Reviewer could assist in its disclosure.

Yours faithfully,

Pete Sheffield

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,
Thank you for your enquiry. This report is now in the public domain on
the Council website, please see link
http://www.wirral.gov.uk/downloads/5564

Kind regards
Jane Corrin
Information Manager
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

show quoted sections

Dear InfoMgr, FinDMT,

Thank you for the link included. Could you disclose why this report has taken over 9 months for it to be released from the time it was completed?

Yours sincerely,

Pete Sheffield

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

Good Afternoon,

Thank you for your enquiry below. The report was made available in April;
however there was a delay in it being published publically on the Councils
website due to internal publication/communication delays.

 Kind regards

 Jane Corrin

 Information Manager

 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.

    

 

 

show quoted sections

Pete Sheffield left an annotation ()

Paul Cardin left an annotation ()

The report into the Four Week Delay was not however "Independent".

According to senior manager Steven Rowley (now departed from Wirral) the person selected to carry it out, Rob Vickers, failed to declare beforehand that he had no prior association with Wirral Council. His findings are therefore invalidated as he did not prove his independence.

He found that there was no case to answer.

When the 'dust had settled', Rob Vickers' company was provided with work, one could even say "rewarded", at a day rate of £515 - which equates to over £100,000 per year.

There is much more analysis here:

http://wirralinittogether.wordpress.com/...

And here:

http://wirralinittogether.wordpress.com/...