Is There A Decoder In The House?
Well, blow me down with a feather.
Every time I write a Committee Room Five story, I pause before pressing “publish” and consider if I’ve gone way over the top. But usually, within 24 hours a story will come along that shows that Deidre Trussell and her Newport Pagnellshire gang are just small fry in the real world.
Tomorrow is the day the Government closes the Independent Living Fund. They have always maintained it is not a cost cutting exercise as the money has been passed on to Local Authorities to administer.
A couple of weeks ago, Disability Rights UK published the results of their FOI requests to Local Authorities where they asked the question whether they would be ringfencing the ILF money. 106 LAs responded. Several admitted they were still undecided! Only 29 stated that they would be ringfencing. One of those 29 was Hillingdon. Being a Hillingdon resident, it felt good and reassuring, even though Steven has never received money from the ILF. It looked like they were doing the decent thing.
This morning, Victoria Derbyshire ran a piece on the ILF closure and presented the stories of two people for whom their ILF money currently gives them a fulfilling life. One of them, Mary, lives in Hillingdon. After talking through Mary’s fears, the reporter read out the following statement from Hillingdon:
“We are committed to meeting the care needs of adults in the borough who are eligible for support. Until Mary’s new package is in place, she will continue to receive the same level of support”.
Now, is it me, or does that statement need some serious decoding?
The first sentence doesn’t need any attention at all. It is such a standard, bland cliche that it is totally meaningless. It also states the obvious in a way that makes it look like they are being benevolent. Or going beyond the call of duty. Meeting care needs is their job. That is what they are paid to do. You don’t hear milkmen saying, ” I am committed to delivering the milk” do you.
It is the second half of the statement that sets off an orchestra of warning klaxons. It clearly implies that Mary keeping her ILF is only temporary. Until her care needs are reassessed. Why do they need to be reassessed? The only thing that has changed is the transfer of bureaucracy – nothing to do with Mary’s needs. And if they are committed to ringfencing the ILF money, why do they need to insert that clause. A clause that says nothing definite but is bound to generate anxiety.
I’ve tried to decode it but its made my brain weep.
Does anyone else want to have a bash?
Update 30th June.
There has been a lot of discussion on Twitter and I realise I was wrong to dismiss the first sentence as not needing attention. Several people have a hand in writing these statements and I fell into the trap they set. I missed the clause at the end of the sentence – “who are eligible for support”. As the LA sets its own elibility criteria it is a bar that is frequently raised as the ethical and moral bar drops. So, the ” commitment is only there as long as the eligibility criteria is met. Mary may have needs but they have to be the LAs predetermined needs for it to mean anything.
I’m a novice at this decoding business.
From → Social Care