Yesterday, I was in Northampton for the second consecutive Friday. Last week I was invited to tell the Get Steven Home story to a group of social workers and clinical staff at St Andrews. Yesterday, I was back on familiar territory as my favourite MCA trainer, Wendy Silberman, had booked me again to speak to her latest cohort of BIAs.
During the afternoon session, we got into a discussion about the amount of time a BIA has to carry out a best interests assessment. It seemed like the going rate was between 2 to 3 hours. I was asked what I felt about that.
It doesn’t seem very long at all to me. I appreciate that since Cheshire West the demand to turn around DoLs applications is enormous but I can’t see possibly how the fullest and fairest assessment can be conducted in 3 hours. I said that it takes people ages to tune into Steven’s unique way of speaking and without that tuning, valuable information is likely to pass them by. I told them about Steven’s Mental Capacity assessment to see if he had the capacity to manage a tenancy! When I got home, I asked him how it had gone. He very cheerfully announced, “Connie was doing Pet Shop Boys talking”. After a while the penny dropped and realised that she had been talking about Tenants and Rent. For someone who had just met Steven, that would have gone right over their heads.
Today brought a great example. Steven came into the kitchen this morning as me and the support worker were having a conversation about the small wet patch that has appeared on the bathroom ceiling. The support worker said that there might be a problem with the water tank (which is in the loft).
Straightaway, Steven was on the job, “Michael – go up to the roof and take two dead pigeons out of the water tank”.
A couple of minutes later he passed me the phone and said, “Dad – phone Mr Wilkins. Send right away for the plumber”.
For those not in the know, Mr Wilkins was the plumber in Trumpton who came to install a new water tank in the Town Hall after the Mayor kept getting drips on his ceremonial hat.
This afternoon, the plumber arrived. He was a Sikh chap with a bright red turban.
“Hello Mr Wilkins. Nice to meet you”, said Steven as he went to the door.
They had a brief chat about pigeons and then Mr Wilkins got on with his business.
I wonder how it would have gone if, instead of fitting a new ballcock, Mr Wilkins had come to do a best interests assessment.