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All Quiet On The Front at Weston

August 23, 2013

Nobody wants to talk to me…….

At the housing benefit tribunal on 9th August, the judge said that he would deliver his judgement by 16th (a week ago). I still haven’t heard anything. I phoned the tribunals service again today only to be told that the judge has been given a deadline of 9th September. I’m trying to stop myself reading too much into this. I can’t stop myself. Surely if he was going to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that Hillingdon submitted, he would have done that by now. That would have been the easiest, quickest option. I can’t stop hoping that he recognises the “exceptional circumstances” of the case and is having plenty of discussions in order to present a judgement that reflects that. And hopefully, expose Hillingdon’s duplicity again at the same time.

Talking of Hillingdon. It looks like we’re staying in the flat for the forseeable future. The housing manager has gone on holiday until September and the colleague he handed our case over to has also gone on holiday now. There’s nobody around. Again, I start to let my mind wander. Has this latest delay been orchestrated until after the tribunal delivers its judgement? Supposing the appeal is upheld – that would look pretty bad on Hillingdon, that they had made another wrong decision that has set off a whole series of events, culminating in Steven losing his home. Perhaps, suitable properties are still thin on the ground after eleven months. Perhaps it’s a damage limitation exercise on their part.

Leicester county council don’t want to speak to me either. Or rather they don’t seem to want to pay me for the DoLs conference I spoke at on 13th June. I’m still waiting for payment plus the reimbursement of expenses two and a half months later. Apparently, the council’s payments function is outsourced to a private company and the department who commissioned my services don’t have access to the company who makes the payments! I’m told the “system” shows paid but they cannot make direct enquiries as to what has happened to it. Checkmate. And no cheque mate. But that’s leaner, more efficient services for you.

I always thought that systems are there to serve people. In all of these things I couldn’t be more invisible or mute.


From → Social Care

  1. Pat permalink

    With regard to your payment from Leicester, what they’re telling you is rubbish. The ‘private’ company who makes their payments is a company set up by Leicester CC and Nottingham City Council and of course they can find out what has happened to your cheque. They still have input into the running of the ‘company’, hassle them, they can sort it out for you if they try!!

  2. Send a “final letter before action” telling them that they are supposed to be paying promptly and that you have been reasonable, tell them that unless payment in full is received within ten working days then you will commence county court proceedings, which will add substantial costs and of course statutory interest (and embarrassment!)

  3. sparrow permalink

    Hi – it’s that powerless feeling that’s the worst thing. People deliberately or inadvertently pulling your strings. I would be the same – trying to work out why this, that or the other was happening. Hopes up, hopes down. It’s something I really resent. I hope you get your cheque + that the judgement will be in your favour.

  4. I am someone who was a carers lead and a commissioner in a local authority until a year ago. It saddens me to read this blog, as the people I worked with for many years were truly keen to provide a good service to the public but unfortunately this public service ethos has been eroded almost completely. Constant attacks from politicians, talk of ‘gold plated pensions’ and stereotypes of uncaring, tea drdinking, sickie taking council staff and the outsourcing of many services. I am now a contract worker, I still try to put my professional values first but find increasingly that clients and relatives assume I don’t care about them. I now have to use a Resource allocation tool to assess clients and I have seen them in several areas – they dont work, they are not fair, those who shout loudest get more than those who accept their lot, they do not sufficiently take into account the carer’s needs. I suspect it is all part of the approach signified by ATOS work capability assessments, professionals must not think, they must tick boxes and above all, they must not discuss, disagree, debate or complain if they value their jobs. The excellent senior managers we used to have who came up from the front line have all been pushed out or got out, very often the managers we now have, have no experience of the services they manage.

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