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Turning A Deaf Ear

January 31, 2013

It’s been over five months since I was informed that the LA were stopping my housing benefit, and by God, has it been a long five months. The lack of activity and the awful feeling of being trapped and powerless has been doing my head in.

Last week I received the sealed court order appointing me as Steven’s property and affairs deputy. The order is very clear that if I have a conflict of interests over any decision for Steven, an IMCA needs to be appointed or the court has to make the decision. Hillingdon’s prefered plan is that I transfer the tenancy into Steven’s name and he uses his damages award to meet the rental liability. As I have an obvious conflict of interests with this plan, any decision has to be a best interests decision for Steven. I have asked Hillingdon repeatedly for an IMCA referal but they are again doing what Justice Jackson criticised them for – turning a deaf ear. I haven’t even had my requests acknowledged; let alone acted on. Sorry for sounding like a cracked record but the sooner people can contact the IMCA service directly and not have to rely on an LA referal, the better. I’ve tried to kick start the best interests process. As the deputy, and presumably the RPR, I’ve contributed my own best interests assessment, but like the request for and IMCA, that has been ignored too.

Hillingdon have neatly stitched up relations with my landlady. They insisted they had to contact her to inform her about the change in rent payments and since then, she’s adopted the deaf ear approach too. I can guess what is happening. Having got wind of us probably being evicted, the landlady is hoping to hold on to our deposit when we go and use our money, rather than her own to carry out the repairs in readiness for the next tenant. So, at the moment, we have a dangerous temporary wiring in the fuse box; a leaky radiator causing horrible damage to the flat downstairs; broken floor tiles in the bathroom that we keep cutting our feet on; a broken bed; a broken sofa and a boiler that alarmingly keeps flashing its warning light. I wish this council were as keen to risk assess the property as they are to risk assess Steven.

I’d love to move. I am quite comfortable that a move would be in Steven’s best interests and would give him long term security. I’m comfortable using some of his damages to enable him to have this security. Ah – the damages! 19 months on, we’re still waiting for them. The latest news is that, despite two court orders about costs, the solicitor wants to double – check with the Legal Services Commission in case any costs need to be deducted from the award. I’ve actually got to the point where I don’t believe Steven will ever get his damages award.

I’ve written before about systems and being caught up in so many systems is exhausting. If I’m truly honest, I haven’t met one system that can honestly say they are acting in the best interests of the person they are serving. I’ve had a lot of faith in the legal system but the latest delay in releasing the damages is extremely disappointing. I’ve asked several times for a tiny proportion of them so that I can buy Steven a new bed but am told sympathetically that there is a process to go through.

Processes. Systems. Best interests. For whom?

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From → Social Care

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