Love. Belief & Punctured Balls

This is my last blog post on Love, Belief and Balls. I had my latest meeting with Hillingdon today about our housing situation and the cards on the table were, quite frankly, shite.

My number one goal in life ever since Steven came along has been to provide him with the best possible quality of life I can help him achieve. I’ve always known that when I’m no longer around, his future is going to be very bleak and that has increased the pressure and my desire to the best for him whilst he still has me around to love and care for him and to fight his corner for him. The latest battle to secure a home for him has been one fight too many and in my view, I have lost. And I cannot continue to write about our life, about social justice whilst I carry the guilt of having failed him so miserably. In spite of the High Court ruling and the evidence of the very good home life he leads at the moment, nothing can be done to stop Hillingdon’s vindictivness. In short, I can’t protect him any longer from the people who are meant to responsible for his care.

In July, when our tenancy expires, Hillingdon will have received the authority to make Steven the tenant, whether it be at our current flat or another private rented property. They have already started that ball rolling and time is too short, and a fight too costly to stop the ball.

All the other options are off the table:
– If we move back to the marital home, Steven will be taken into care.
– If I try to sell the marital home, the estimate from the legal people is that it would take at least two years to sell because of my wife’s incapacity. It will be very expensive to sell because of the large court costs that would be run up trying to evict an incapacitated person from her home. And in that time, we would be made homeless anyway.
– I can try and find a second job so I won’t be reliant on housing benefit to pay part of the rent but the council won’t increase my support package. I don’t have enough hours in the week when I’m not caring for Steven on my own to get another job.
– They won;t consider Steven for social housing because his damages award exceeds their £30,000 eligibility policy. If I spend some of it or put it in a trust fund, they will deem that I have disposed of his capital to secure him a tenancy and take it into account anyway. Even if I use the money in a manner that they approve of, Steven would still have to join a long waiting list and either be in care or bed and breakfast in the meantime. In short, Hillingdon believes that it’s housing allocation policy trumps it’s duty of care towards Steven (and also trumps the High Court best interests judgement).

So, that leaves us with Steven going into care or becoming a private tenant. The latter is preferable for his quality of life but it would mean that all his damages will be used up within two years in paying rent.

I’d love a judicial review of the whole sorry story. I’d love to go back before Justice Peter Jackson and see what he has to say about Hillingdon’s shameful actions. But I can’t afford that. And that’s why I can;t write about this stuff anymore. I can’t look myself or Steven in the eye because I feel so hopelessley ashamed. I remember one writer, after the court case, described it as a “David & Goliath story”. That’s bollocks really. In real life, Goliath usually wins.

14 thoughts on “Love. Belief & Punctured Balls”

  1. Mark it ain’t over till the fat lady sings – and I don’t hear Linda Sanders singing yet! Can totally understand you feeling bruised and battered from all of this though 😦 Get yourselves off to Centre Parcs have a fab time, lick your wounds and come back fighting (please)… and take another look at shared ownership for Steven… I really think its his best option xxx

  2. no I agree with Helen you must get a petition going and hit them where it hurts public opinion until this fat lady sings it aint over we are all behind you been where you are the black hole that closes until you cant think or breath. there are hundreds of us in the same position but these people are funded by the tax payer which is you and me they are government departments they are our servants not the other way around.

  3. It`s a war of attrition and the end result is to get demoralised and exhausted. That is what the system does and it is the system which is shameful, not the individual battling constantly just to stand still. Have a break and hopefully your fighting spirit will return. The public needs to know about this for everybody`s sake.

  4. I’ve been on some fantastic training with a guy called Steve Broach – look him up via Contact A Family – lots of cases like this and he’s won. You should get legal aid for your son – the fact that they are taking ‘damages’ into consideration is illegal to start with – happy to send you the legal guidance paperwork if it helps by email?? x

  5. Mark I’m so sorry to hear about your experience of Hillingdon council you have done the best any parent can do for their child I know only to we’ll of the fight against the professional you have experienced but so long as I am alive i will fight because i refuse to let them win. Have you considered moving away from Hillingdon?. Can you not go back through the Court process again?. I know this will be a costly process but is there a chance you could raise the issue with the press and see if people will help you find the money to pay for it to go back into the justice system.

  6. Thanks for all the kind words guys. Jayne – I know Steve and have contacted him. I’ve also contacted the four law firms who were involved in our case in 2011. I still feel the same as yesterday though – rank! I’m off to the Leed’s DoLs conference today and cant wait to have a few hours on my own, doing buggar all.

  7. At the meeting yesterday, the manager from housing told a strange story. I’m sure it was threatening. It was about a school caretaker who died suddenly leaving a wife and three small children. The family were evicted from their home because the council needed the house for the next caretaker. However,he announced that the council didn’t have any duty to rehouse the family because of the life insurance payout the wife received. I said: “I dont think thats a story to be proud of. It’s more shameful to me”. It had no bearing on what we were talking about and can only have been said to show power. Sad arseholes.

    1. Clinical negligence damages do have to be disregarded – don’t know about your kind. Surely, once the level of capital falls below £23,000 Steven would be eligible for housing again? But who knows – the rules are crazy. As you are now Steven’s Deputy, “they” may not find it so easy to sideline you. Really, the CoP ought to weigh in – but yeah, applying to them isn’t simple. Have you made the acquaintance of the Office of the Public Guardian yet? I haven’t found them too helpful, but you never know.

      You haven’t failed Steven. “They” have. I hope when you have had time to get over your disgust and despair, someone who knows the laws well can help you sort this out.

  8. for starters mark you can write to the judge and let him know what has been happening i dont think most judge like to know there judgment has not been kept

  9. Petitions are useless, gov’t still doesn’t listen to them so I wouldn’t suggest. Is there any way we could do a bit of fundraising and get a whipround for you? Desperate measures, but nevertheless it may help, can send it out on Twitter as needed.

  10. I’m really saddened by the situation you find yourself in. I can only imagine how awful you feel, but you haven’t failed your son, you have done more than many parents could have done to battle his corner so please do not be hard on yourself.

    I don’t know a lot about these things at all, but I do wonder how your son can sign a legally binding document, if he could be deemed as lacking capacity to do so, say if he didn’t understand the implications of what the documents mean. I wonder if the court of protection could offer you some advice on securing Stevens money.

    We had to place money with the court of protection for a relative who had lost capacity to manage their finances and the court of protection role was to oversea that the money was used in his best interest. We were also legally obliged to get them involved when he could no longer manage the money himself. I’m not sure if this would apply in Stevens situation or even help.

    Apologies if Im telling you to suck eggs, Im sure you have probably explored all the options. I was just so moved by your story. It’s an outrage that the compensation he received should be taken for rent and awful that you should be expected to put your wife out of her home too as she is unwell.

    Stick with it and be kind to yourself. I wish you and your family well.

    1. Far as I understand it, Steven’s Deputy has to sign it, as being in his “best interests” – CoP not the most approachable or easily understood organisation – and as it is all relatively new, not sure what line they would take. £400 to ASK – and who pays those fees and when not all that clear either.

      Mark, as someone who stuck to your guns you have been an inspiration (and an education) to the rest of us. Please try to continue if you can. SS get away with what they do because most of us can not take them on.

  11. All London councils are out of control. I have had first hand experience of Social Services from Lambeth Council and their employees are absolutely heartless and without an ounce of humanity. I am not sure where they get these people from but they are prepared to destroy peoples lives as part of their job. Surely their job is about support and care to those in need of it. Their job description appears to be about targeting vulnerable people and doing their worst. I do not think I am exaggerating to describe the average local council social worker to be on par with the Gestapo during WW2.

    I wish you and your family the best of luck Mr Neary.

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