WBC - DASS - Serious Case Review

The request was successful.

Dear Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council,

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


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.


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


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'.


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':


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
• 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 a Serious Case Review undertaken on the case where the Leader of the Council apologised to the family
2. Who is the officer leading the Serious Case Review
3. What timeframe is the Serious Case Review to be completed
4. The date this issue has been discussed at the Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board (SAPB)

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 - Serious Case Review'.

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,

Please acknowledge this request for information and provide a timescale of which it may be answered within.

Yours faithfully,

Pete Sheffield

Corrin, Jane, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Good Afternoon,

Please see attachment as our response to your request for an internal

Kind Regards

Jane Corrin

Information Manager

Wirral Council


show quoted sections