Two Dead Pigeons

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.


4 thoughts on “Two Dead Pigeons”

  1. Mark Martin has just gone into his third year on a Dols, under a Form 5 Authorisation of Dols, I dont know if I can explain this rationally, but it allows a further year’s dols without any safeguards. In order to make it easier bureaucratically. On the form there is no mention of Martin’s rights. When the form was signed by the LAthey hadn’t even found a RPR for him. It states Martin is unlikely to regain capacity during the authorisation period – one year. My whole world has collapsed, what has happened to the MCA. What has happened to Bournewood? I need any sort of help I can get. – Martin is now under a deprivation of liberty for life.

  2. I don’t know what to say Shirley. A DoL can only be authorised up to one year. And as you well know, Martin is entitled to both an RPR and an IMCA. Without those, his access to justice is being deliberately blocked. It’s what Justice Jackson said in our case, the DoL should be a safeguard but is being used as an instrument of confinement. And your LA are acting unlawfully. The thing about capacity is rubbish too – you don’t DoL someone just because they lack capacity.

    1. Mark I know, I know- I personally cant touch the LA. Martin has been 8 years under dols, this is the third year under an authorisation, before it was without an authorisation. ££1,000,000 has been spent on fees for the residential care home, and not one penny of that has been spent on Martin. If I try to go back to Court, Mr Justice Charles has ruled the case must go back to him…….. I want Martin in the CoP himself, his right, It is more than his access to justice being blocked, he is being annihilated, and me with him. It now appears that the LA were wrong to send me the Form 5, who knows. There isn’t a solicitor in the land that will touch this case. If the LA refuse to make me RPR (I send too many faxes) how do I challenge them legally?? Is it OK using your blog, or should I e mail?

  3. I think you are making an important point in this article. A “Best Interest Assessment” is a typical Newspeak term when the person making the assessment is not prepared to take the time to communicate with the person who’s interest is being assessed. I really like the examples you give about the way your son communicates.

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