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A Really Rotten Borough
latest update 12 February 2010

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Does the abuser investigate the abuse?

A series of emails from an individual who wishes to remain anonymous, using the name 'Anna', with permission to use them on this site. They have been arranged so that they read chronologically.

From: 'Anna'
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2010 11:43:39 +0000
Subject: Financial abuse, and attempted defrauding, of people with learning disabilities

I would prefer to remain anonymous as I am responsible for a vulnerable adult who is indirectly affected by this case.

Wirral Borough Council has recently been compelled by the persistance of a whistleblower to pay back a quarter of a million pounds to fifteen people with severe learning disabilities, although the true figure they were unlawfully charged by Adult Social Services is nearer half a million pounds.
The next of kin of the people concerned only learned of the unlawful overcharge and reimbursements from the local newspapers. When they contacted DASS they were told that this is nothing to do with them. Their request for a meeting of all the next of kin with the Council has been denied. Now the Social Services department is claiming that IT holds Power of Attorney over their relatives' financial affiars, and the Public Guardian has been informed of these claims.

The fifteen vulnerable people who were financially abused by the Council live, or lived, in Moreton, Wirral.

There has been a massive cover-up by Council officials, and a handful of Councillors, over the last nine years, and it's still going on. Calls over the years for a full independent inquiry and/or a police investigation have been continually denied by the ruling parties.

Over the last weekend each of the vulnerable people affected by this received a letter from Wirral Council. It was couched in language that is almost unintelligible to the average citizen, let alone those who can neither read nor comprehend, and it would seem that no attempt was made by the Council to explain the contents to the individuals.

The letter contains dire warnings that claiming the refund may affect their benefits, which is an outright lie, as DWP has stated that the refund would be disregarded for a MINIMUM of 52 weeks, as it is the result of official error.

Due to two different calculating "errors", considerably less than half of what they were actually unlawfully charged is being offered, and the Council are now UNLAWFULLY charging them, retrospectively, under Fairer Charging, despite them not having been assessed under either that or the former Special Charging Policy.

The Director of Law has already ruled that it would be unlawful to make such a retrospective charge in the case of hundreds of people in exactly the same type of accommodation and situation who were charged NOTHING during the same period.

None of those affected have been offered any advocacy despite that having been part of the Council decision on this matter. The letter does say that advocacy is available, but only after they are told they should "sign the attached form" and return it in the stamped, addressed envelope if they wish to claim the reimbursement. Remember, none of them can read or write!

Wirral Council will stop at nothing to minimise its repayments, either by only paying back less than half of what it owes, or bullying vulnerable people they have aready abused financially into not claiming anything at all. That cannot be allowed to happen.

If this does not fall within your remit I would be grateful for any advice on who can do so.

All press reports and Council documents are accessible from the following website:

Thank you

[Veridici's note: thank you Anna for linking to the blog.]

From: Jones, David N. (Social Services QAU)
Date: Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 4:51 PM
Subject: RE: info

To: 'Anna'

Dear ‘Anna’

I write further to your e-mail to the Safeguarding Unit on 8 February which has been passed to me, as the Complaints Manager, to consider your points in accordance with our complaints process.

It is unfortunate that you wish to remain anonymous, however let me re-assure you that if you choose to shed your anonymity there will be no detrimental affect on the adult you are responsible for. It may also assist in adding perspective to what is a complex issue, and may allow the Director to address the issues in their appropriate context.

As you will be aware there has been a full investigation into the issues you raise, and it appears you are not satisfied with some of the outcomes from that investigation, and allege continuing malpractice. If you choose to remain anonymous it is difficult to address these concerns without context; as such it may be more appropriate for you to raise your concerns with the Audit Commission, the Local Government Ombudsman or the Care Quality Commission. The details for these organisations are readily available on the internet, but if you have any difficulty contacting them please let me know.

Please contact me if you wish to discuss further any of the points raised in my e-mail


David Jones
Complaints Manager
0151 666 5205

From: Anna
To: Jones, David N. (Social Services QAU)
Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 12:41 PM
Subject: Re: info

Dear Mr Jones,

Thank you for your letter. I contacted Safeguarding People as I am concerned at the ongoing organised and multiple abuse of vulnerable adults. It is totally inappropriate for Social Services Director or Complaints Manager to be involved in this. Does the abuser investigate the abuse?

I shall pursue this through higher channels.


© copyright 'Anna' . Reproduced with permission.

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