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The End of Ethical Social Care

April 29, 2016

Feeling pretty nauseous.

The May payment of the Personal Budget was due to go into the bank account on bank holiday Monday. I’ve been interested to see what happens on two counts. Firstly, this was meant to be the first payment to include the new extra respite allocation. It was awarded from 11th April, so would have included the four nights for May, plus the three nights due from April. Secondly, I was pretty confident they would get it wrong. In the 24 months since we’ve been getting the Personal Budget it’s been either incorrect or late 17 times. A change in the rate of the budget was bound to cause a problem.

Presumably because of the bank holiday, the money went into my account yesterday. Not only did it not include any of the new respite allowance, it was actually £126 less than the old amount.

I phoned the direct payment team and was told that the new respite allocation had “missed the payment run”. There will be a second payment going into the account sometime next week to cover the respite.

Okay but why is this month’s budget £126 down on the usual amount? She couldn’t tell me this. Different department. She only processes the batch requisitions.

I had to give up for the day. An hour long phone call that gets nowhere drains me of energy.

This morning, the postman came early. There was a letter from Hillingdon’s financial resources team. It was notifying me that as from 11th April (the day the respite was awarded from), Steven was now being charged £29.72 per week for ” care services costs”. The letter also included a breakdown of how this levy had been calculated. The thing that struck me was there was no account of Steven’s outgoings. Another phone call…..

In fairness, the woman was lovely. Clearly embarrassed, she probably told me more than she should have. I pointed out that although Steven has had financial assessments for the last two years, neither had produced a charge. What was different?

Lots apparently. Firstly, the staff had been instructed to “reset the disability related expenditure markers to nil”. So, everyone’s assessment took no account of outgoings, even though there were columns for things like laundry, cleaning. Whatever was recorded last year, the default now is nothing and that tips you over the line into the ” chargeable ” category.

“How do we amend this?” I asked. After all, Steven still has those outgoings. Audibly cringing, lovely lady told me that I would have to write a letter with documentary evidence of Steven’s expenditure. “Do I also mention Steven’s council tax?” I asked next. This year, Hillingdon have scrapped their council tax disability relief, so he has an additional expenditure of £120. By now, I imagine lovely lady is as red as a beetroot. She tells me that council tax is an “allowable expense” but the forms haven’t been redesigned to ask the question. “Could you write it somewhere on the form”.

The final insult is that after ignoring relevant information they already have, not asking questions that could benefit the personal budget recipient, they then reduce your budget to claim these nefarious figures. And we are not told any of this. In the past, they paid the full budget and then you had to pay them for anything you’re charged for. Now, it’s deducted at source.

Let’s remember, the personal budget is the support workers wages. Whilst you’re waiting for the mistake to be rectified (could be up to six weeks), the staff still want paying.

Why is this the end of ethics in social care? Because social care exists to serve learning disabled people. Serve. Not rip them off. Not lie to them. Not withhold vital information that would benefit them. Not leave them in a situation where they can’t pay to have their assessed needs met.

This isn’t an accident. It’s not a mistake. This is deliberate policy. A group of people have sat in a room and agreed to treat their ” customers ” this way. That’s the point when you know that ethics are dead.


From → Social Care

  1. Bet they don’t miss their payment run, when they are standing ordering their independent living and adult treatment unit providers.

    Public provision no doubt is an internal audit.

    National Autistic Society Residential school was paid 3 months notice, when the resident, was no longer living there,- ie £45,000 tax free, the parents providing everything for the child and all support paid £20 per week DLA.

    No family provision is not encouraged.

  2. Joan Branford permalink

    They are not allowing disability related costs without receipts, even for extra washing. Parents are very upset as they were not expecting this. How can you produce receipts for extra washing when they are living in the family home. What they are doing is giving them the direct payment allowance minus the arreas. All that is going to happen is that the disabled person is going to get less support.

  3. mr trebus permalink

    Ethical social care is not dead. Just too many council numpties having a finger in the pie, but with no real understanding of how their interference impacts on the person. Believe me, front line staff are sick to the teeth of it.

  4. francesbell permalink

    I don’t know you bear it – respect! and warm thoughts to Steven

    • Lizzie D permalink

      The reality is none of us have any choice but to bear it – and “they” know it. Two minutes of thinking what would happen if you don;t just get on with it is too terrifying.

      I am old. Still willing to provide 24/7 care, but no longer physically practical. The relief of having competent carers to take on the hard parts is cancelled out by the stress of keeping it going. Being fairly terrified of approaching Social Services is NOT the way it is supposed to be. I agree it is the bean counters with no clue who cause the problems – but it is still left down to us to find the solutions. Somehow.

      Having receipts sounds so obvious, doesn;t it? So simple. The reality of trying to figure out just what, how – n ever mind where – I have receipts piled up all over the place. Do I really have to do photocopies of 6 months of taxi receipts….? Tell me I have to work out the cost of piles of washing and you just feel like crawling under the duvet and refusing to come out.

  5. Shirley Buckley permalink

    Ethics and the LA – never. They state Martin lacks capacity, make themselves appointee, over ruling my valid EPA, then fail to allow him his mobility allowance, and rule that he has to pay £80 a week towards his residential care costs while they are still negotiating (since 2008) whether he comes under continuing health care. Mr Justice Ryder in the Court of Protection 2007 “it is immoral unethical but probably legal”

    • Worse still, there is no accountability for bilions of pounds worth of funding, no independent check on how it is decided and amounts justified.

      Even Margret Hodge in the Public Accounts Committee, cannot find out fully, how privately commissioned supported living users its money because of so called ‘commercial confidentiality’ yet parents, can be denied a pittance, and hounded for information, and threatened even with criminal action.

      It’s bullying, corrupt ‘us’ and ‘them’, and no one is prepared, to even try to do anything about it, and as all become, ever more, monopoly privatised, with interconnecting contracts, the position will worsen, and, the amount of money made on the back of the vulnerable, and their families, only increases.

  6. Amanda Elliot permalink

    I quote you blog extensively when I am at meeting with adult social care chiefs in Hackney where they extol the wonders of direct payments..I think I will send them this one

  7. It’s a big concern to me that too many people don’t know what can be included on disability related expenses (DRE) and that councils seem to obscure it. I know the law on this (thanks to Belinda Schwehr’s seminars) but when i had a financal assessment for the person I support for Direct Payments when I raised this the person said they allow £10/wk and I’d have to write and appeal! Her charge went from £57-ish to £17 when I’d represented her costs! If people are to lead a life including holidays, activities etc they need the costs of others supporting as well as themselves and people should have good info’ to help with this. I appreciate that councils have been robbed by the austerity inequities put on them but the answer is not to rob disabled people of their lives.

  8. Pauline Thomas permalink

    Elected Council members set the financial budget for social services. i am told that before they have these councll meetings they start with a prayer. They then proceed to cut the services to the most needy, usually the people who cannot vote or speak up for themselves. Not much in the way of christian values there then.

    The task of implementing these cuts are given to various layers of staff working in social services, all of them contracted as gatekeepers of the LA’s financial budget. Most of them decent hard working people, who are just doing their best. Many aware that the system is proving unfair to some families, but are unable to speak out in case they lose their jobs.

    God forbid anything went terribly wrong and the LA’s reputation was at risk, the men and women in the council chambers would plead ignorance and say that no one in social services had informed them of any wrong doing. . Well they would’nt would they? If they became whistleblowers or voiced any criticism of the system they would lose their jobs.

    • government policy controls the councillors actions.

      That policy is, to, as far as possible eradicate family care, and, real independent living of the disabled, in favour of the state, via private residential provision for profit ‘care’.

      Thus the budget to live as the disabled wants independently with their family or as they choose, is slashed.

      Even the forms on assessment for this budget, have to state how far the money is being spent promoting ‘independence’, a euphemism for state encaged care., see this post .

      This is a very efficient machine from the top, and all are merely tools in its enforcement.

      The future plan, is to place all in no choice residential private provision, and gain control of all disable to use them as an investment commodity. That is the reality, and purpose of the policies on cuts, and lack of facilities for the disabled.

  9. weary mother permalink

    Pauline I agree

    And the best of front line people are in a cleft stick. They could refuse to do the dirty work (in every sense) and resign, but they are aware that there will always be others who do not care waiting in the wings.

    At present the excellent people stay out of caring for, and to minimise the harm done to, our sons and daughters. And they too suffer.

    Wrong, so very wrong.

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