The speech by Ken Knight on behalf of relatives and carers of Tudor Gardens residents
The deregistration of the Tudor Gardens Residential Home was the most emotional issue discussed at yesterday's Cabinet. The proposals were covered in an earlier posting HERE.
There was a calm but passionate presentation by Ken Knight whose sister is a resident at Tudor Gardens. He sought to demonstrate that an original Equality impact assessment which had found a negative impact on residents of the proposed changes had been changed to a positive one, with the original not made available to Cabinet.
He said the change went well beyond 'updating' as a result of further consultations, although that was contested by Phil Porter, Strategic Director of Adult Social Care, and suggested the documentation had been 'doctored'.
In a briefing pack supplied by Knight he contrasted: The policy will have a positive impact on residents because it will promote independence and give choice and control how they live their lives. to the original 'This policy will have a negative impact on clients who have no capacity to make decision.
Knight noted, 'Relatives and carers don't believe any resident has this capacity, Aga Ambroziak thinks some might. We want high quality, objective, functional asessmewnts (like the WHO ICF), carried out by an independent clinical psychologist, to settle matters before anything else happens.
Knight said that the residents who had the mental capacity of a 3 to 4 year old, did not need to be given any more 'choice' than they had in the home already: they needed safeguarding and the 24-7 care that they had already.
He said the manager of Tudor Gardens had already left because as a result of the changes she would have lost £20,000 in salary. Other care workers stood to lose £10,000. Protection through TUPE regulations did not apply as most workers were on fixed term contracts. The proposed new contractor had boasted that their staff were on zero hours contracts.
Cllr Mashari said that she was concerned about the Equality Impact assessment and asked if it was usual for them to go from a negative to positive impact in the public domain. Christine Gilbert said that there were attempts to mitigate the negatives revealed at the first stage of the assessment but did not know about a move from negative to positive.
Cllr Hirani, lead member for Adult Care said that savings were on housing costs, residents would be entitled to Housing Benefits under the new arrangements, and not on care. He recognised the importance of safeguarding. He said that the Council needed to reduce spending and at the same time cater for more people. The Council would help the residents apply for allowances that could give them £4,000 more income annually. They would also have security of tenure.
Cllr Southwood asked for reassurance around the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and was told that there would be a team to monitor the required standards and that the changes should have no impact on the quality of care.
Cllr Mashari appeared to still have doubts. She asked if there was a detailed record of the 'journey from negative to positive' and suggested that in the light of the issues involved the item should be revisited.
Cllr Pavey said he did not think that was necessary and that officers would supply a note on the Equality Impact Assessment changes.
Cllr Mashari asked for an update on progress in six months time.
Ken Knight summed up the relatives' and carers' case to the Cabinet:
Right at the beginning of this process relatives and carers said they were opposed to supported living and wanted the residential care home to stay as it is BUT that if change was forced upon us we would do our best to ensure the best possible future for the residents of Tudor Gardens. this remains the case. in return officers promised transparency, openness, honesty and that we would be working together. I leave you to judge if this has been delivered.It seemed very clear from last night's discussion and a conversation with the Tudor Gardens Unison representative that the retention of staff trusted by residents and their relatives and carers is unlikely.
At the very least, and before you vote on it, can this process be paused for internationally recognised functional assessments to be done by an independent clinical psychologist, with full involvement of relatives, cares and Tudor Gardens staff.
Voting for supported living now means paying people to make decisions for residents who can't do it for themselves by virtue of their lack of mental capacity. It obviously won't give them 'more independence, choice and control' - it'll just hand it over to different people. Those who exercise this power now on their behalf have proved themselves care, trustworthy, altruistic, reliable and competent. That's why we want to keep them. There are no guarantees we will if supported living goes ahead.
The Cabinet approved the proposal.