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Blips & Bollocks

September 22, 2015

Personal budget Tax bill for August paid on 18th September?

Tick.

Support workers’ wages for last week paid on 21st September?

Tick.

Personal Budget paid into account on 21st September?

Was it heckaslike.

Four months since transferring from having the personal budget paid onto a prepaid card and having it paid into a designated bank account instead, how is the old personalisation machine running? Well, after the first month when the payment was over a week late, the last two months has been plain sailing. A dastardly lulling into a false sense of security manoeuvre.

I phoned the Direct Payments manager both yesterday and today and was eventually informed that the matter is now sorted and it will be three working days before the money, that was due on Monday, will be paid into the account. Tough shit that the account is now overdrawn (She didn’t say that actually but that was the tone). Why, in the days, of internet banking, do we still have to encounter this ridiculous three working days rubbish? If you’ve made a mistake, and it’s people’s wages at stake, you pull out all the stops to remedy your error.

Two tips for Direct Payment managers:

  1. After listening to your customer explain what has happened, don’t respond with, “It is probably just a blip”.
  2. It is not particularly helpful to tell your customer, “We in the Direct Payments team have processed the payment. The delay is with the Finance Department”. The customer doesn’t care where the delay is. He is more concerned in how he is going to tell five support workers that their pay could be late. You might as well say, “We have processed the payment but Noddy Holder hasn’t had his sideburns trimmed this week”. It is as meaningful as the tripe you offer as an explanation.

So, this is where we are personalisation wise. You either accept a commissioned service, which doesn’t cover the client’s assessed needs because the LA aren’t prepared to pay the rates the provider charges. Or, you accept a personal budget. Become a manager. Become an employer and have to deal with the taxman. And then you are still reliant on an antiquated system clunking into life and doing what it is meant to do. In the meantime, you have to visit your GP and discuss a medication regime to manage the stress of every month¬†bringing a will they, won’t they anxiety.

Sometimes you just want to say rude words.

“Ma’s out. Pa’s out. Let’s talk rude. Pee. Po. Knickers. Bum. Drawers”.

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From → Social Care

5 Comments
  1. emily permalink

    Hello Mark

    Always great to read your Blog. I came across the following link which is the brother of an old primary school friend of mine. It’s tragic to hear the story. I can sympathize with the mother for taking such drastic measures, but the issue at hand is still the situation with the daughter and what will happen to her.

    I am probably going to get a back lash of abuse for saying the following but…… We have all had thoughts of what life would be like if things were “normal”. We would not be human if we didn’t. However, it is selfish for a parent to think that by running away from the issue they will have an easier life. Even in this very sad case, the poor girl is still in the same situation as when her mother was alive. I am sure that she is aware of what has happened and is wondering where her mother is.

    I am just bringing it to your attention if you didn’t already know of the story already.

    http://www.kentonline.co.uk/tonbridge/news/fathers-plea-for-help-after-43540/

    • Pauline Thomas permalink

      Mark do you think that the people who manage the financial affairs of your LA are teflon coated? Do you think the company that won the tender to look after the finances of the social care department all belong to the same secret society that ensures nobody who is a member ever gets the sack?

      I am only dipping my toe into this world of direct payments and there have been so many mistakes from the company running it that I am getting depressed and angry already. Payments that were promised on a particular date have not been put into the account. This the same company that tried to charge me for services that my son did not receive, in fact he had been out of the system for five years. Also they amazingly tried to say that I was responsible for the affairs of someone I had never heard of. That took nearly a year to be resolved, after writing to the head of the LA’s financial department. Mark I do not know for the life of me how you cope with their incompetence.

      Emily I read the newspaper article. Sure you are right. This poor woman has left a grieving family who are still in the same situation. This lady must have been at her lowest ebb to have wanted to die. To leave her son, husband and her precious daughter. She must have felt impotent, hopeless and scared. She must have felt let down and betrayed by her LA’s indifference to her cry for help.

      Thankfully I have never been a depressive. Depressed sometimes yes. Now, however. the situation me and my family find ourselves in have made me fearful, tearful and so bloody down that yes, the bridge over that river looks inviting. I have a measure of how this woman must have felt and I weep for her, her family and the tragedy of it all. Most of all I weep at the state of this country’s health and social care system.

      • nic permalink

        the LA involved re the article are bastards through and through. Someone experiencing severe mental distress will just be encouraged to build protective factors into their lives and nothing will be done as long as it is deemed they have ‘ thoughts about not being here but have not made plans or actions ‘.I was given some information on their mode of operation years ago, it is hold back on assessment of any need for as long as possible, better still only act when a family implodes. Appalling across adult social services and community mental health. local NHS hospitals in special measures. A hot spot of neglect and many many people suffering.

  2. We went several months where they “forgot” to pay us our Personal Budget. Fortunately we only use agencies/companies who were able to absorb the lack of payment for us. Do they not think our life’s are difficult enough without ever knowing if we can pay for the limited amount of help they actually let us have????

  3. Sally permalink

    Mark, I have the utmost confidence that has you failed to submit any of your DP info, at the very,very least you could expect a nasty, threatening lecture from the DP manager, possibly with unpleasant consequences already underway.

    It’s the one way power which really rankles, I find. If they screw up, what then? Well, they need to explain that they have screwed up. So what?
    Imagine if a screw up on DP meant a sum docked form the pay of all concerned up to and including the DP manager. A. You would feel better B Ruthless efficiency would probably reign.

    We need to ban the idea that explaining why there has been a screw up is the same as taking responsibility to sort it out. As you so rightly say, it is meaningless if the problem is Sid in accounts, who is on leave, or Susie on stationary, who sprained her toe, or indeed the trouble is that the X payment system is having “teething problems”. We don’t care, because the more pressing matter is the fallout of delayed DP.

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