A pissed off post. Money. Money. Money.
First up, I’ve been really busy over the last few weeks, speaking at various conferences across the country. I like doing them and from the feedback I receive, I think I have something important to say. But it’s like getting blood from a stone trying to get paid for them. As I write, I haven’t received a single penny from any of the organisations that invited me to speak. One of them, Birmingham University, got me to prove (a) my identity and (b) that I was a British National and now appear to have lost my birth certificate. This is the one where Justice Baker spoke – I wonder if they put him through the same hoops. As my normal work is self employed, I obviously lose my normal pay when I’m doing a conference. And on top of that, I have to pay ahead for the hotel, travel and carer for Steven. Things were so bad last week, I had to borrow some money to buy the weekly shop. It’s a shame but I’m going to have to ration these events in the future.
On to the personal budget, which is turning into a bit of a nightmare.
From my very first discussion with the support planner, we talked about the start of the new financial year as the starting date for the personal budget. So, all my plans were geared to taking over the staff and transport payments from 7th April. That fits in nicely because the council pay their direct payments on a 4 weekly basis and that is the date the next payment is due. Now I’m told that the personal budget starts from 1st April but it won’t be credited to the card until 7th April. So what am I meant to do for that first week? Ask the support workers to wait a week without pay? Keep Steven indoors all week because there is no money to pay the cabs? Systems again.
And I have big doubts whether the money will even be available on 7th April. I’ve written before that Hillingdon’s procedure is to issue me with a pre paid card and I transfer money from the card to pay the wages and the cab firm. Today I was told that the card was ordered last Thursday and takes about 10 working days to arrive, followed later by a PIN number. Ten days takes us to three days after the personal budget should have started. And then I still have to wait for a PIN. I find this astonishing. It’s now about 2 months since I met the support planner and she said that setting up the PB from April gives us “more than enough time”. Apparently not.
The other big pain is the fares of the cab firm. It was probably my fault but when I submitted my original proposal to the council, I asked the regular cab drivers what an MPV cash fare would be for each of Steven’s journeys and based my figures on what they told me. The cab firm, after several adjustments, are still asking for £40 per week than I’ve been allocated. I don’t understand why there should be such a big discrepancy between what the drivers are saying and what the managers are saying. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’ve got a couple of cheaper quotes from other firms but it will be a real wrench to leave this firm as Steven has such a good relationship with all the drivers. The only other alternative is for Steven to lose one of his trips but that doesn’t feel right also.
I’ve said before that I can see why Personalisation is a great big flop. I can see why people don’t want to touch personal budgets with a bargepole. I really thought I was doing everyone a favour when I made my proposal to take over the whole budget myself. I shouldn’t have been so naive or altruistic. The amount of time and energy dealing with lots of labyrinth systems isn’t worth the end result. Tomorrow, I have two hours free before work as Steven has planned a 4 episode Mr Bean session with his support worker. That is now going to be consumed by trying to fix up a new cab contract and working out how and how much to pay the support workers for those “Bermuda Triangle” days from 1st April to 6th April before I get the personal budget.
Why was I such a fool? (No need to answer that)