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I Was A Wartime Decoder

April 6, 2016

This blog is four years old this week. The first piece I posted was about the language of social care and how it often means quite the opposite of what is presented. It is certainly designed to cloud rather than illuminate. Have things changed in the last four year? Yes. It’s got murkier, more deceitful, more dark.

If I was ever invited on the programme Who Do You Think You Are, I’m sure that they’d find somewhere in my family tree, someone involved in cracking wartime codes. Or perhaps it was me and I’m having a karmic reenactment.

Back to my carers assessment and my request for an additional night respite allowance. The current respite night is paid at £65, so I think it’s reasonable to assume I’m asking for an additional £65 per week.

Since the assessment six weeks ago, I’ve had three emails from the new social worker. All three need some serious decoding. Despite the knowledge learned from my 1940s incarnation, I’ve struggled to understand most of what I’ve been told.

The first email included the sentence: “Your request for additional respite has been processed and an indicative budget of £18 has been generated. This will not meet the cost of respite but could be used, with approval, on a gym membership”.

I replied stating that I hadn’t asked for, and didn’t want a gym membership and did this mean that my request for respite was dead in the water.

A week later, I got a response that included, ” I have costed your respite application at £73.12 per week which has been approved by Panel, subject to reassessment”.

Confused, I wrote back pointing out that I don’t need £73.12. I only need £65 to meet the need. And why did it need a reassessment? I’d only had one three weeks previously.

This prompted a phone call and I think what I gleened is that, although the need for respite is mine (not Steven’s), the payment of respite goes in the service user’s personal budget. (I think it also meant that the £18 would still be paid directly to me, as long as whatever I chose to spend it on is approved by Panel). Therefore, Steven would need to be reassessed to see if he still needs 1:1 24 hour support. If he does (and he does) a new care plan will be drawn up and rubber stamped by Panel.

I hadn’t heard anything more on the progress until I got an email today, suggesting some dates for Steven’s Fairer Access to Care Services reassessment.

The email also included the line:”The respite plan is currently with the direct payments team to check through and broker”.

I don’t know where to start with that one. What’s it doing with the direct payment team when we haven’t had the FACs yet? And what’s with “broker”? What is being brokered? I’ve got the workers, chomping on the bit to start.

Who the fuck knows what any of this means?

I suspect it means absolutely nothing and is just delaying tactics to put off paying me the respite allowance for a few months.

In 1941, I successfully decoded the lyrics of When I’m Cleaning Windows to expose George Formby as a Nazi informant.

75 years later, I think I need to go back to Spy school.


From → Social Care

  1. Jan permalink

    Yes, our experience exactly! It seems they can’t possibly speak plainly, mainly because they are always trying to deny or avoid meeting needs and it is truly amazing the plethora of delaying tactics they have at there disposal. All LA’s must have the same handbook!

    • You should try complaining about their services, see my blog post Is the End Nigh ?

      The horror is that our most vulnerable are at their mercy for life.

  2. Carole Cliffe permalink

    agree the language and terminology is getting fuzzier and less clearer and the undertones border on sinister – state control of my child was never an option i envisioned and frankly I would not leave a poodle in their care let alone a vulnerable human being…… child had a future before this government came into office but now we are back in the dark with no one equipped to turn on the lights

  3. Inside Airstrip One permalink

    Hi Mark. I wonder why they’re even talking about FACS? Something called the Care Act 2014 put paid to all that more than a year ago. . .

    Actually, a quick Google reveals many LAs still state on their websites they are assessing need against FACS. From the differing information in the emails you’ve received, I wonder whether your LA is simultaneously assessing your need against FACS and the new Care Act criteria (which, at least nominally, beefs up carer’s rights to assessment and support).

    • I don’t really care whether its FACS, FUCS or whatever the latest acronym is. I just want them to get on and sort out the respite payment.

  4. Sally permalink

    I am trying to imagine the inane conversation at your review which resulted in this idiotic mess. How poorly must your case have been presented for you to end up with this random series of offers. A gym session?!!! When you didn’t ask for it? It’s like asking for bread and being offered a roller skate, then a matchbox, then a grand piano…
    Who the hell is chairing the meeting? How do they get from”Mr Neary request an extra night’s respite a week on these grounds which will cost X” to …a gym session?
    Are we playing some sort of panel game? (“Sorry Mr Neary, you missed out in the trip to Paris but you did win a lovely dinner set”)
    I am so sorry you and Steven are now threatened with yet another assessment. I am starting to feel that the repeated nonsensical assessments are a form of torture. I also don”t understand the rationale. Are they checking to see if Steven’s needs are especially demanding to justify the extra?

    • I don’t think they know what they’re checking Sally. I’m not actually taking it personally. I just see a huge juggernaut that is completely unable to change gear or direction.

      • Sally permalink

        I agree it’s not personal. It’s just that at some stage there would have been a meeting and somebody would have had to put your request forward, with, I suppose, all the others. How does it work then? You ask for an extra night’s respite on X grounds, cost is Y. You get the gym session. Somebody had to say “No,we won’t give him that”. (Because?) “Instead we will offer this-” Why? why?
        Do they have a bin of cheap consultation prizes?
        I would love to see the person who came up with this in court explaining how this was considered an adequate response.
        It reminds me of wrangling over a Statement. You ask for X and outline clearly the reasons for the request. Back would come a series of random inadequate and insane offers.
        A few months ago my son and I went through a really long and gruelling social work assessment process of many visits and many interviews. At the end she decided that he, along with most of the young people on their register, no longer warranted his own social worker. Instead he would be with the so and so team. Which would need an identical assessment to be carried out less than one month after the other. The reason? Team A was from one part of the Boroug team B from another and they didn’t share records. Better to just grind us through the same process. No reassessment no help.

  5. nic permalink

    Not good, £18 because your health is at risk of deterioration because your exercise regime is affected by your caring role. Gym membership is second only to a pamper for the ladies. Elevated endorphins cure the sleep deprivation (which is actually lack of quality sleep in their opinion ) Steven’s reassessment , shark infested waters.

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