The OPG Strikes Again
Hoisted by my own petard!
Having written yesterday that in Steven’s and my brand new world, I will probably have less to write about, this morning I received a letter from the Office of the Public Guardian. This is in relation to the Deputy report that I submitted at the beginning of January. There have been several letters going backwards and forwards over the past few weeks but today they’ve turned their attention to a new subject.
Steven’s income goes into an account in his name and each month I transfer a sum into my account to cover his direct debits and the shared bills. Today’s letter asked me to provide more information about this expenditure. The information is contained elsewhere in my report as I do a monthly spreadsheet but it doesn’t fit smoothly into the boxes on the official form.
I phoned the OPG to ask what further information was needed and the woman read out the paragraph the assessor had written and it ended, “This expenditure seems unusually high for someone in his circumstances”.
I am immediately shocked and fearful by a statement like that. A judgment has been made and I am forced into a position where I have to justify our reality. I questioned the presumption that £X per month is too high. Steven pays £X per month for his health club membership; £X per month for use of the Arts Centre & £X per month for the Mencap pool. The rest (approx £X) is for household bills, like food shopping, fuel bills, service charge on his flat, TV licence. Is that too much?
Once again we got into that ridiculous conversation about how the weekly shop is apportioned. Some of it is solely Steven’s but some of it is shared. We both drink the milk, we both eat the bread, we both wipe our arses on the toilet roll. I split the cost of those things about 50/50 even though I’m spending far less time at Steven’s house. In the end, I had to agree to submitting two recent Tesco itemized bills, with notes over who uses what!
And even though, the OPG has had the contracts for the health club and the other places before, they want them all over again.
This strikes me as the same old, same old. It’s not about safeguarding Steven’s financial interests: it’s about justifying their role. It’s what the state does with aplomb – to justify their role, they make you go through hoops justifying your role. For each of the five years since I became Steven’s deputy, I’ve submitted the annual report on time in the first week in January or early. Each year it has been June before the report is signed off. With pointless laborious correspondence between January and June.
Rhetorical question – what would happen if I resigned my deputy role?