Skip to content

Deputy Dogged

April 30, 2015

A while back I wrote a post about my musings (spitting vitriol) on the way most official letters these days seem to carry really disproportionate threats in them. Today, I got one such letter from a totally unexpected source.

Since becoming Steven’s deputy (“You’re like Woody in Toy Story 2 Dad”), I’ve always had a great relationship with the Office of The Public Guardian. I’m slightly resentful that Steven, or me, have to pay £350 a year for the privilege of being a deputy but besides that, they have been very helpful and supportive.

There was a bit of a hiccup over my report for the last financial year. Basically, I made a right pigs ear of the report and had to do it all over again. I sent the revised report off three weeks ago, together with the relevant bank statements. They were returned a few days later with a compliments slip.

Today’s letter informed me that they still haven’t received my report or the extra information. The letter became quite hectoring telling me that if I didn’t supply the information:

“we may have to:

1. Change your supervision level

2. ask the court to increase your security bond payment.

3. if necessary ask the court to discharge you as deputy and appoint a new one”.

Now I don’t know about you but I find that rather threatening. So, I phoned them up and after a lot of deliberation, they confirmed that they had received all the information they need and that the hold up was caused by a backlog in their processes. Furthermore, they admitted that their old computer system (“We are updating it by the end of the year”) automatically generates one of these letters every couple of weeks until the report is dealt with. They mentioned quite casually that I might expect a few more of these letters before the report is finalised because the computer will spew them out until it’s told otherwise.

Being a deputy and coming under the constant scrutiny of the court is scary enough. I faff around every time I buy something for Steven, trying to second guess whether the OPG will find the expenditure acceptable. Getting these standard letters taps straight into my paranoia.

It’s not nice.

Advertisements

From → Social Care

7 Comments
  1. One ponders what this really means – that they set up their system to spew out threatening letters. One would hope that they would set it up to spew out helpful letters eg we don’t seem to have had all the information we need, could you contact us to clarify the situation/perhaps we can help!!! It brings me in mind of such a letter some years ago when a neighbour was caring for her terminally ill husband and I (perhaps stupidly) suggested that maybe Social Services could help and even went so far as to speak to a manager I knew on making the referral for the neighbour. They were ‘assessed’ and received a letter basically saying he wasn’t bad enough to qualify!! The wording was appalling – but the idea that you’re dying and they tell you your condition isn’t bad enough!! Makes one wonder what kind of letter disabled people applying for benefits now get if they don’t qualify…… Some how public service has become some kind of resentful service designed to keep people out (call centre design… our local one won’t now give you a social worker to speak to unless it’s judged an emergency to pass to the duty social worker and carers no longer have a social worker to call on so effectively it means no preventive advice or support then!!). Then with carers now having it all pushed on them, they and disabled people get suspected of being scrounger. cheats or abusive… I don’t think threatening letters will disclose abusers….. they are more likely to be competent at fulfilling minimal requirements.

  2. Reblogged this on rosemarytrustam and commented:
    One ponders what this really means – that they set up their system to spew out threatening letters. One would hope that they would set it up to spew out helpful letters eg we don’t seem to have had all the information we need, could you contact us to clarify the situation/perhaps we can help!!! It brings me in mind of such a letter some years ago when a neighbour was caring for her terminally ill husband and I (perhaps stupidly) suggested that maybe Social Services could help and even went so far as to speak to a manager I knew on making the referral for the neighbour. They were ‘assessed’ and received a letter basically saying he wasn’t bad enough to qualify!! The wording was appalling – but the idea that you’re dying and they tell you your condition isn’t bad enough!! Makes one wonder what kind of letter disabled people applying for benefits now get if they don’t qualify…… Some how public service has become some kind of resentful service designed to keep people out (call centre design… our local one won’t now give you a social worker to speak to unless it’s judged an emergency to pass to the duty social worker and carers no longer have a social worker to call on so effectively it means no preventive advice or support then!!). Then with carers now having it all pushed on them, they and disabled people get suspected of being scrounger. cheats or abusive… I don’t think threatening letters will disclose abusers….. they are more likely to be competent at fulfilling minimal requirements.

  3. meg permalink

    Mark. 11 years ago when I was a student in halls I got a letter from the tv licensing authority threatening me with heavy fines if I did not buy a licence. I didn’t get one because I didn’t have a tv. I wrote explaining this but they replied with an even more threatening composition threatening me with a prison term!!
    I spoke with my local CAB and their solicitor helped me word a lelletter suggesting that demanding money with menaces is a crime! Maybe this would apply to your letters?

  4. meg permalink

    Oohhh I forgot to add the outcome! I received an apology by letter and a phone call explaining they would be changing the wording of their reminder letters. Might be worth a go as they do mention adding further charges?

  5. Paranoia rules when it comes to communication with official bodies! (Just phoning the local hospital to try and change an appointment reduces me to anxiety attacks.)

  6. I was a bit surprised at your positive view of the OPG. As far as I can gather, documents get “logged in” – but then take rather a long time to get where they are supposed to be, or the piles of paperwork are so deep they lose track. They ARE notoriously inefficient (or is it exefficient), because of being understaffed and in turmoil.

    I have had one of these letters the day after my report was posted, and one weeks after. They are about to change the format of the report to make it “easier”. Not sure who it will be easier for.

  7. Maybe forward a copy of your post to the OPG –
    Attention Alan Eccles
    opgcomplaints@publicguardian.gsi.gov.uk
    Header “Oppressive Practice”

    ?

    Lizzie – exefficient :’D

    On a completely irrelevant note, Meg, my parents have never had a television and when they used to get the forms demanding they justify their lack of a licence, my father (a fully paid up member of the Awkward Squad when it came to pettifoggery) would print, “I do not want a television licence. I do not approve of television licences” in the box, fold the form neatly into the prepaid envelope and drop it in the postbox on his way to work.

    A chap did turn up on the doorstep once wanting to look around the house to check whether we had a TV in the place. Dad eyed him with undisguised scepticism and asked him for his search warrant. Of course he didn’t have one, so Dad told him that when he had sufficient evidence to convince a magistrate to issue a warrant, he should return; until then he could consider himself notified that his and his colleagues’ presence was not welcome on the property and he was at liberty to leave at his earliest convenience and by the shortest possible route.

    There was, Dad added, nothing to stop the Licensing Authority from positioning a detector van on the road outside our house in search of incriminating evidence of transmissions being received inside – “as long, of course, as you observe the parking restrictions and the Highway Code.”
    That was the last he ever heard from them.

    Now, my mother gets unsolicited missives telling her to apply for her free senior citizen’s TV licence. She still doesn’t want one.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: