Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Cabinet approves Tudor Gardens changes despite impassioned plea by relatives and carers of vulnerable residents

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.

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.
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.

The Cabinet approved the proposal.


Anonymous said...

These Equality impact assessments done by Brent Council are not worth the paper they are written on.

Alison Hopkins said...

Standard cut and paste with the conclusions already known.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps legal advice is necessary from a community law centre

Anonymous said...

Officers promised transparency, openness, honesty - what a joke!? One only has to look at their track record since 2012 to know this promise is highly questionable. Sounds like they have no idea about Equality Impacts and it's all just a tick box exercise.

Ken Knight said...

It was disappointing to find that councillors either didn’t read, or failed to grasp the significance of, the documents I gave them. This included, for example, the experience of one person who had lived in Supported Living in Brent for 10 years until she finally got a place in the residential home at Tudor Gardens, where she is extremely happy and wonderfully well cared for.

Her experience in SL of “more choice” included the “choice” to lie in her own urine for 6 hours; the “choice” to stop her parents getting reports from the private company running her accommodation about how she was getting on. Her family found Brent’s quality assurance systems sorely lacking.

Councillors blithely accepted officers’ assertions in the documents they were given – including the key one that 2 of the 3 buildings at Tudor Gardens are occupied by people who don’t need 24/7 care.

Relatives and carers and staff all know this is not true, but councillors don’t as they’ve never actually met the residents. Cllr Hirani told me he’d seen the buildings from the outside, but had never gone in.

It makes you wonder why anyone bothers going into politics at all.

Anonymous said...

Our Councillors and Council Officers always think they know best. For example, in 2012 they took the decision to close 24 Crawford Avenue. A residential respite unit that Brent leased from Banardos at a reasonable rent. It was a large house that was bequeathed to Barnardos by a local resident, specifically for the use of children as a children's home. Sadly, when Brent took the decision to discontinue this arrangement Barnardos sold the property and the new owner applied to Brent for a change in the clause of the lease. Brent's Planning Department happily agreed without doing any research into the needs of children in our community who needed care. Ironically, just months after, Mr Neil McDonald (Interim Head of Service Children’s Commissioning) and Sara Williams (Acting Director of Children & Families) reported to the Executive Committee in November 2013, that, "The lack of appropriate children's residential care homes also hampers the council in its duty to take reasonable practicable steps to secure sufficient accommodation for looked after children where it's their best interest to be accommodated locally".

Anonymous said...

Ken, I feel for your disappointment and disillusionment. Many residents and users groups I know have observed that councillors don't read, or fail to grasp the significance of documents they are given. Many make decisions in a sleepy state and don't really understand the impact of their decisions, especially those that affect the vulnerable. All the majority in Brent seem to care about is their status, as well as getting a service on the cheap and lining their own pockets. They don't really care about those who haven't got a voice; those who are dependent on poor workers who are exploited and often poorly trained, or not trained at all; those who are just given 15-30 minutes to rush from job to job, often compromising the dignity and care of those they are sent to look after; often paid no more than the minimum wage, without having travel expenses paid on top, or the luxury of a corporate Oyster card to use. Social workers are expected to put the heart back in their work but how can they when the government and local governments are intent in ripping it out? Suffer the children and the vulnerable. You may cry.. Who really cares!?

Nan. said...

Indulge me while I return to my British Consitiution studies where we learnt about the concept of the Separation of Powers.

The Powers are the Executive (civil servants, council officers), the Legislature (people we vote for, MPs councillors) and the Judiciary (judges), each of which should be independent, hence Separation of Powers.

It would seem that the Executive (council officers) is now intent on filling its pockets and covering each other's backs instead of working in the best interests of the community they are meant to serve and giving impartial advice to the Legislature (councillors).

It would seem that the Legislature (councillors) we vote for are intent on merely holding office instead of using office to scrutinise the information fed to them by the Executive and acquainting itself with the condition of the people it is there to serve.

So while the Executive and Legislature are working in cahoots against our interests, it would seem that the Judiciary is sitting idly by and allowing the erosion and curtailment of our rights to mount legal challenges by restricting access to judicial review and reducing the availability of legal aid.

Given how comprehensively ill-served we are by our institutions, does this mean we have reached the point where we now hold the State to be undesirable, unnecessary, or harmful?

Looked at in this way, one can't but shudder at the absolute shame of it...........

Nan. said...

One of the justifications for having a highly paid chief executive is for this person to ensure that council departments co-ordinate their activities to prevent the fiasco outlined in 20.17 above.

Highly paid ch.ex. Gilbert + highly paid Acting Dir of C & F Williams = cronies. Isn't it astonishing how their co-ordination skills can only be used for circling the wagons to protect themselves whilst simultaneously failing to deploy those same skills on our behalf as per their job descriptions?

A good case for a bit of performance performance management. Call in the HR Director ........

Anonymous said...

Well said, Nan. I also heard that CD and Co got rid of unsocial hour payments for those that that worked unsocial hours on a regular basis, but ironically kept them for those who had the luxury of working Mon to Fri - just occasionally working late and/or at the weekends. She also kept enhanced payments for those who worked over and above their contractual hours, which has effectively discriminated against part-time workers. This means those who rule the roost in organisations run by Brent get all the bonuses and part-timers get fewer opportunities. Such is the Equality in Brent.