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Strategic Ghosts

December 20, 2016

Yesterday, a ghost popped back to Cowley.

Have a butchers at this report from the Wolverhampton Star:

Although we are not mentioned by name, Steven’s case is the one referred to in the penultimate paragraph. Linda Saunders was the Director of Housing & Adult Social Care at Hillingdon during the time of Steven’s unlawful detention in 2010. The woman who signed off the care plan to move Steven to Wales. The woman who waited to deliver her apology until the cameras were rolling on the steps outside the High Court.

I know that she was still working for Hillingdon in late 2012. She was in charge at the time Hillingdon made us homeless and led to the past four years of not knowing where we will be living. I remember her coming onto Radio 5 to defend the council’s position and bizarrely , even though she wasn’t asked, wanted to make it clear that the eviction was not revenge of having to pay Steven damages.

After Hillingdon, she moved to the same sort of role at Dudley Council. There have been several reports since about the “failing services” in social care at that authority.

It looks like she stayed there all of two years before descending upon Wolverhampton at the end of last year to take up the position of “interim strategy director for people”. Trousering £241, 542.00k per annum in the process.

This report was sent to me by one of the parents involved in 7 Days of Action. In a grotesque version of Groundhog Day, she told me how Ms Saunders had been the person that signed off the court of protection forms to support the council’s decision to move her son miles out of borough. Six years on from our case and it looks like she is still up to her old tricks.

What on earth is an “Interim Strategy Director For People”?

From the experiences of the past six years, it looks like her strategy for learning disabled people is to get shot of them from the borough in which she works. And nothing interim about their moves. The strategy brings about permanent moves in the cases I know about. After Steven’s case was reported, I heard from several other parents in Hillingdon, whose children had already been shipped out or were on the verge of being moved. It seemed to me to be a deliberate strategy, albeit one that you would never see publicised.

What is it about people in top roles who encounter public disgrace for their failing in their role? The story of Linda Saunders has clear echoes of the story of Katrina Pearcy, the CEO of Southern Health. She also was moved from her CEO role into an “interim strategic” role on the same sort of salary as Ms Saunders. Are they part of an elite that have been sent to earth to cleanse the country of leaning disabled people?

You know that phrase, “if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”?

I’ve got a new one: “If you pay gold nuggets, you get gold-diggers”.



From → Social Care

  1. Pauline Thomas permalink

    Shocking really Mark.

    Do you think that the people taking these high posts are being financially rewarded because their brief is to slash the social care bills in the local authority that employs them?

    What sort of deals do they make with their paymasters? Could it be that if they succeed to cut social care expenditure by 20% then they get 10% of the savings paid back to them by way of reward.

    No, they would not do that. Would they? No, After all these powerful people are decent human beings and would not dream of taking away services that would harm or push vulnerable people into despair. Anyway most of them have families of their own and they must know how much it hurts to see them upset or lonely or without support to do things they enjoy.

    No, Pauline you are being cynical. That sort of thing does not happen.

    • That’s exactly what I’m thinking Pauline. Someone has just sent me a link to an article in The Times, where 125 councils admitted to these sort of arrangements. One thing is they avoid paying PAYE, so attractive to the employers.

  2. Absolutely scandalous! But the inflated salaries are the norm within the hierarchy of the majority of LA’s and it seems whenever their position becomes ‘hot’ they are just moved on to a different LA. It doesn’t seem to matter what misery they have been found to be guilty of causing they will never get sacked. 😡😡

  3. David Vickers permalink

    A good article. However Linda was a director at Dudley before moving to London.I wasn’t aware she is back in the Midlands. Always hogged the limelight. David

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

  4. I’m battling Dudley at the moment – her name hasn’t come up…….

    Tony Oakman is the Strategic Director for People at Dudley.

    My Problem is with the Team Manager of Whole of Life Disability Team and I have filed a formal complaint with Complaints Officer and Monitoring Officer.


    Makes you want to vomit at the hypocrisy and irony: Linda is leading transformation programmes for Children’s and Adults Services in the City of Wolverhampton, focusing on promoting independence and strengthening families.

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