The scrolling images above are of board members , directors and senior managers of SABP and MCCH Society Ltd. These images are already available online on SABP's and MCCH's own websites. Click on images for details of who these people are.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Open debate with Sainsbury Centre & NIMHE

Dear Helen,

I am a lifelong MH service user - first referred to services and a language therapist aged 5 following being abused in a childrens home at age 3 - and I routinely employ another MH service user to drive me to and from part time illegal gardening jobs.

I say illegal as I dont get any benefits and I wont jump through hoops for anyone. I live a gypsy lifestyle , I knock on peoples doors to ask whether they want their grass cut or junk removed because I just want to get my rent paid but I have a background in economics and IT that I just cant cope with making money from.

My friend is on Prozac and he rarely manages to turn up on time but I continue to deepend on and employ him because he is my friend and I dont drive. My friend tells me that Prozac stops him worrying about anything. I accept this as prozac made me cry all the time , feel suicidal and sleep for most of the day.

I cant talk to my friend about time keeping because he feels picked on when I do and gets agressive.

Today he turned up two and a half hours late for a job.

I share everything I earn with him 50/50.

My other friends respect me for helping my friend Helen as he is their friend too. Some of them arrange jobs for us to do, others just get me the odd pint and say thanks for looking after ---------.

You just cut the wages to people who were essentially working at the Surrey & Borders Old Moat Garden Centre for a pittance. As someone who is the type of person your policies project at I now publicly challenge you, Dr Bob Groves and Jenny Secker to an open debate, a question and answers session on employment and training issues for ordinary MH service users.

I have worked in the Disability Employment & Training field and think my experience at least equals yours. You theorise. I have experience.

I wont claim a penny Helen so there will be absolutely no need for you to worry about my lack of productivity and profitability . I wont insult you by asking how productive and profitable you have been either. We could even have the conversation here - three learned academics against a mad man - why not?

We could have that debate or I could have it with your funders.

I think you owe the Old Moat Centre Garden Centre workers an apology Helen. People stopped working there as a result of your actions. You have made no effort to address this in your intelectual response, indeed it comes across as a letter that could have been written by a bureaucrat experimenting on people with disabilities as part of the Final Solution.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Campaign Pledge

I made the following pledge on the MySociety Pledgebank site

"I will Work for 1 hour for nothing for anyone willing to support and get other people to support the Justice for the Surrey & Borders NHS Trusts Garden Workers Campaign but only if 25 other people will actively support the campaign."

— des curley, citizen

Deadline to sign up by: 1st January 2007
0 people have signed up, 25 more needed

Country: United Kingdom

More details
The Justice for the Surrey & Borders NHS Trust's Garden Centre Workers campaign blog is at and this campaign started after the Surrey and Borders Trust decided to cut the paltry £3 a day it was paying to workers with learning difficulties at its commercial Old Moat Garden Centre in Ewell, Surrey to nothing.

In return for your support I will freely provide IT support , gardening services or any other reasonable work task you want me to do for one hour.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Message to ICSurreyOnline from Jill

Jill has just sent this to ICSurreyOnline who published the original article.

Dear Sir,

In June you published the following article:

The father of a man with learning difficulties is furious that health bosses have axed his £3-a-day wages for working at a NHS Trustowned garden centre.

By Joan Mulcaster

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Plc 2006

This means that for digging, hoeing, weeding, shovelling, planting, moving and potting at The Moat Garden Centre in Epsom, owned by Surrey and Borders NHS Trust, Brian Hall, 44, now gets nothing. And the same goes for his other £3-a-day job, filling envelopes at the trust's Office Project in Cobham.

Brian's father, David Hall of Green Lane, Ewell, said: "From very, very cheap labour he and his friends are now being used as free labour - how low can you get?"

Brian, who lives in a trust community home in Langley Vale and others housed in similar homes and also employed in its various commercial enterprises, are having their pay docked as part of a modernisation policy.

Bosses claim this is not a cost cutting exercise.

Mr Hall added: "I am disgusted at this treatment of the most vulnerable members of our society who carry out hard manual work for what is a commercial garden centre." "News of this was broken at the centre last Friday."It was 'we won't be paying you any more' and some of the chaps didn't realise what was going on.

"It is disgraceful that this penny-pinching NHS Trust should penalise these vulnerable, disabled people working for them.Epsom and Ewell MP Chris Grayling said: "It is beyond belief that they save money by depriving the people who work for them.

"They paid them hardly anything and now they are paying them nothing."

The Moat House Garden Centre was launched as a showpiece project to be run as a commercial enterprise and staffed by supervised adults with learning difficulties.However, the £3-a-day pay - described by the trust as therapeutic reward money - compares badly with pay convicted criminals earn on prison enterprises.

A statement from trust director of operations Peter Kinsey said: "Payments are a throwback to the days of large mental health and learning disability institutions when patients were rewarded for work or therapy activities.

"This is now outdated and many mental health institutions do not recognise the practice so the trust has decided to end these payments.

"Work services are being remodelled to reflect modern practices which clearly distinguish between paid work, voluntary work, training and therapy."( so clearly that 3 months and twice as many FOIA requests later we are still waiting for Mr Kinsey to simply explain what these modern practices are - Ed )

Link to icsurreyonline

Since the article we have had a campaign blog protesting about the £3 a day cut and that the disabled workers are now being used as unpaid labour. The blog is

It has recently come to our attention that the project manager for the 'modernisation' and cutting the £3 a day payments to the disabled workers is Helen Lockett who for 18 months has been seconded from the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health is funded by charity money of some £20 million a year from The gatsby Foundation.

The first thing on the Gatsby Foundation website is :

Welcome to The Gatsby Charitable Foundation website. The Foundation makes grants for charitable activity which it hopes may make life better for people, especially those who are disadvantaged.

But instead of making life better their money has gone on cutting the already mean £3 a day payments to the disabled workers. Helen Lockett herself should also know better because she was co-author of a report: 'Paying a Real Wage to People in Work Projects'. But instead of paying the disabled workers any kind of real wage she has project managed the decision to cut their payments altogether.

We have found out a lot about the issues involved although the managers at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust have done everything to delay and avoid answering our Freedom of Information Act requests. We have also complained to the Minimum Wage Act and Disability Discrimination Act people but we are people with mental health problems ourselves and would like the press to help with our campaign to get justice for the disabled workers.

Yours Sincerely

Jill Goble

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Problems with Blogger

The blog is playing up a bit at the moment but this is happening right across the blogger service as there seems to be some problem with their servers. I'm sure it'll get sorted soon.

Raising Awareness

Just wondering if there is a Sainsburys supermarket close to the Surrey & Borders Old Moat Centre which we could leaflet explaining how the centre's disabled workers had had their £3 a day payments cut to nothing and inviting shoppers to spend £3 less on their shopping in support of the garden centre workers getting some cash back for their hard work.

Open Letter to 'Modernisation' Project Manager from Jill

Project Manager
Helen Lockett

Dear Helen

I see from the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health Website that
for the past 18 months you have been project managing the
modernisation of employment and day services within Surrey
& Borders Partnership NHS Trust.

Since June we have been campaigning against the withdrawal of £3 a day payments to workers with disabilities at SABPTs Priority Enterprises especially the Old Moat Garden Centre. We have been told this £3 a day cut is part of this 'modernisation' excercise.

We believe the action to cut the £3 a day wages to nothing directly contravenes the Disability Discrimination Act and that all the Priority Enterprises schemes are not complying with the Minimum Wage Act. In fact a recent government report highlights this problem:

'Employers paying below legal minimum often use disability of workers as excuse

Posted: 21 August 2006 | Subscribe Online
writes Helen McCormack

Employers that pay people less than the minimum wage often say they are doing so because a worker is disabled, the government said today.

The excuse features in a Department of Trade and Industry list of the top 10 “unusual or outlandish” defences used by employers to explain why they have breached the national minimum wage rules.

It follows a government report earlier this month that warned a “worrying” number of employment providers were paying people with learning difficulties less than the minimum wage of £5.05 an hour.

It seems to me that we require explanations from you and your
colleagues/employers at the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health
concerning your policies for complying with the Disability Discrimination Act and the Minimum Wage Act. We feel that the disabled workers at the Priority Enterprises schemes have been disgracefully treated by having their already derisory £3 a day pay cut to nothing and that this action cannot be justified on the grounds of 'modernisation'.

It certainly is not in the best interests of the disabled workers involved. I understand that your funding comes from The Gatsby Foundation who state on their website :

'Welcome to The Gatsby Charitable Foundation website. The Foundation makes grants for charitable activity which it hopes may make life better for people, especially those who are disadvantaged.'

The action to cut the wages from £3 a day to nothing is certainly not making life better for the disadvantaged disabled workers involved and so I suggest
your actions in this modernisation policy directly go against your funders policy.

Please reply with a detailed explanation of your policies and actions in this matter.

All replies or lack of replies will be reported on our ongoing campaign blog


Yours Sincerely

Jill Goble

campaigner and psychiatric survivor.

Architects of Discrimination

The so called Modernisation of the Surrey & Borders NHS Partnership Trust's work services was not project managed independently as the Trust claims as Dr Bob Groves , who advised on the project and Dr Helen Lockett , who managed it over 18 months and produced the Outcome on the Building on the Best Public Consultation in May 2006 are both employed by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (SCMH) an organisation that for much of the projects life had a boundaryless relationship with NIMHE, a Government quango whose website is even owned by SCMH.

Following complaints from members of the public about projects funded or overseen by SCMH not being properly audited for effectiveness and complaints to its funders, the Gatsby Foundation , about this failure to audit properly and examples of misuse of funds and resources by a charity SCMH's Director was involved with and through SCMH targetting Sainsbury money at , SCMH suddenly ditched most of its staff in an effort to distance itself from these allegations and the equally serious charge, made to the Charirty Commission that it was operating in a boundaryless way with and as NIMHE , a 'standards body' which , unlike its US counterpart, simply pushes Government policy without a shred of independence, particularly the policies of the DWP.

These Architects of Discrimination steamrollered the Surrey & Border Garden Centre workers out of their £3 a day payments and a service that was not perfect but certainly more appropriately configured around them. This wasnt done to ensure that they received the national minimum wage or benefit from permitted work rules payments if they were claiming benefits but never really likely to progress into full time employment. There was nothing independent or honourable about this so called 'Modernisation' of Work Services , SCMH's 'Hit Team ' Groves and Lockett were just parachuted in to hack away at supportive services behind the scenes and then run a sham consultation to ensure they were more in line with DWP policy and their own arrogant non-evidence based top down take on the problems people with MH issues face.

This whole exercise has been money in the bank for them with ' How we Modernised Work Services in Surrey ' lecture tours already underway.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Where Does The Campaign Go Now?

With the knowledge that 179 people are engaged in ' therapeutic work ' within the Surrey & Borders NHS Trust's various employment and training schemes without any contracts or pay scales in place and official confirmation that the Trust is not prepared to share information or debate with service users on this issue we perhaps need to be taking stock of what we have achieved so far and what we havent achieved and think about where we need to go from here if we are to campaign more effectively.

Do we continue solely focussing on the garden centre workers? , who clearly were treated in the most appalling way here or do we widen the campaign to include the other Surrey & Borders employment and training schemes and activities where no one really has a clue what is going on as there are no mechanisms for appropriate scrutiny and monitoring and Surrey and Borders arent about to say.

Jill has flagged up that the issue of workplace rights for people with disabilities is a national problem , and she did so on the basis of an official DoH and DWP report that also said wage discrimination was particularly bad within the public and voluntary sectors. With the UN currently drafting a convention on disability rights and freedoms , planned to be the first new treaty of the 21st century , this issue clearly has an international dimension as well.

There is also an often forgotten treatment and care aspect , it is one thing to support disabled people's right to employment and training, that's a positive step , quite another for those providing treatment and care to simply target people with disabilities to get them off benefits and into work irrespective of whether they can cope with this or the necessary support network is in place.

It's a complex issue and one public bodies and charities, recently slammed for exploiting disabled people in workplace and training environments, should not be allowed to consider a solution for on their own. The Surrey and Borders Trust was allowed to do this during its recent review of all of its work services and cutting payments to rather than improving the lot of its disabled workers was the result.

How do you support people by taking money away from them and making them work for nothing?

There is also a question about how we can influence without getting overly involved and becoming part of the problem and this dilemma came home with force when reading the minutes from a recent Surrey PPI Forum meeting where items on payments to service users and carers and their not being including in the decision making process were clearly ongoing issues without solution in sight and yet there on the same minutes was a crisp and decisive note confirming that £400 more was being made available to the PPI forum for expenses.....

Please post your comments and suggestions on way forward for this campaign.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mr Kinsey Finally Reponds to FOIA Request

The following response was provided by Surrey & Borders Director of Operations Peter Kinsey. Incidentally , this blog has hardly taken 18 hours to create and its 3 months old, has almost 40 blog entries and hundreds of researched links. Mr Kinsey was simply asked to supply statistics he already had as Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust has just carried out a review of all its work services.

So, Surrey & Borders cuts daily £3 payments to its garden centre workers while its Director of Operations makes false claims about the hours he has worked.

FOI Request

I write following receipt of your most recent email making a formal complaint and requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”). Your request was termed as follows:

“Lastly, would you please provide official statistics for the service users Surrey & Borders NHS Trust currently employs including job title, pay scale and whether temp or full time contract. This is an FOIA request.”

As you know, under FOIA you are entitled to recorded information that the Trust holds but if it takes the Trust longer than 18 hours to essentially locate, extract and provide the information to you, it does not have to respond. You have made a previous request under the Act within the previous 60 days and the Trust is therefore entitled to aggregate the time taken to deal with both of these requests. I have therefore obtained as much information as I can without exceeding the 18 hour limit.

As you know from the previous response, specific details about individual clients cannot be provided to you as this information is personal data (as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998) )and disclosure would contravene the first data protection principle. Further, information relating to clients’ therapeutic work will be confidential between them and the Trust. This specific information is therefore exempt from disclosure under the FOIA.

In view of this, I have endeavoured to respond to your queries in a more general manner and hope that the following information will be of use to you.

The clients who attend within priority enterprises undertake therapeutic activities and training within establishments run by the Trust on a not for profit basis. There is, therefore, no formal contract of employment in place and no formal pay scale. Clients attend the service for a varying number of hours per week and provided with different sums of money.

The service operates on the basis of referrals to the Trust, although there is an assessment period to ensure that the referral is appropriate. The aim of the service is to return people to employment, to provide work experience and voluntary work externally to clients with mental health and learning disabilities. The Trust endeavours to provide realistic work experience and nationally recognised qualifications working in partnership with East Surrey College. The funding for the placements comes from service level agreements with Primary Care Trusts however, Social Services also purchase individual placements.

The Department of Trade and Industry has produced the following guidance on this issue which you may find useful:

As of the 5th June 2006 the following numbers of clients were undertaking therapeutic work at the various priority enterprises:

* Queen’s Park Garden Centre 19
* Old Moat Garden Centre 35
* Arts & Craft Matters 40
* Assembly Matters Redhill 40
* Netherne Printing Services 25
* Assembly Matters Horley 20

I hope that this has been useful to you.

If you are unhappy with the Trust’s response to your request, you have the right to complain to the Trust and should contact me. If you remain dissatisfied, having exhausted the Trust’s internal complaints procedure, you have a right under Section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to seek a determination from the Information Commissioner on whether the Act has been properly applied by the Trust.

Yours sincerely

Peter Kinsey

Director of Operations

Adult Mental Health Services

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Exploitation of Disabled Workers is ' National Problem'

Jill Goble writes that a recent article in Community Care magazine by Helen McCormack reveals a national problem of employers using disability of workers to pay below minimumum wage. The article followed hot on the heels of a Department of Health and Department of Work and Pensions joint report published earlier this month which warned that a “worrying” number of employment providers - especially local authorities and those in the voluntary sector - were paying people with learning difficulties less than the minimum wage of £5.05 an hour.

The Department of Health has also just published ' Reward and Recognition , its guide to the principles and practice of payment and reimbursment to service users.

What comes across very clearly from both Government documents is that political posturing and bureaucracy have triumphed over the individual needs of people with disabilities and common sense.

Even Mind has ignored the cruel ' scissors effect ' many service users on benefits now face around volunteering or engaging in therapeutic activities or work as the sharpening of both scissor blades, - DWP monitoring payments and reimbursments to service users, DoH (through NIMHE) medicalising and pushing DWP's aims - is clearly designed to cut through any hint of 'dependency culture' as part of Government policy to get more people, whatever their actual circumstances and needs, off benefits and into full time mainstream jobs.

Unfortunately this also hacks through support as we have just seen with the Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust snipping away its garden centre workers payments not to pay them the minimum wage but to get them to work for nothing and itself in line with Government policy.

The mental healthcare agenda is now being driven by the DWP and the attitude of services and the MH charity sector seems to be, 'well we've been exploiting service users anyway so let the devil take the hindmost.'

A Question of Faith?

The Campaign has received another recording from Reverend Fangel Disempowill

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hocus Pocus & Missing FoCUS Notes

Rosemary Moore of Surrey has drawn attention to the fact that the notes from the last meeting of the Surrey & Borders user and carers FoCUS group , which apparently contained relevant information on therapeutic earnings , have not been uploaded to the Surrey & Borders Partership Trust's website yet.

Interestingly, board papers already on the website clearly highlight the Trust's policy on therapeutic payments and consultation as the July 2006 document Outcome of consultation on "Building on the Best provides a summary of the January 2006 – 14th April 2006 work services consultation process, an outcome report which completely ignores the very public criticism of the Trust's actions by the garden centre workers, their carers , other service users the local media and a local MP.

In the the minutes of the WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE held on 27 June 2006 however , item 2 states :
The Minutes of the meeting held on 14 March 2006 were accepted as a true and accurate record subject to the following amendment: Page 2 – para. 3 It was noted that Therapeutic Awards to service users would stop at the beginning of April 2006.
In other words, if you keep an eye on the dates, ' the long standing therapeutic payments system was scrapped before the ' work services' consultation process was even over so no-one was actually consulted over Surrey & Borders decision to stop paying its garden centre workers for therapeutic work.

Follow Up Response from Mind

This is the follow up response from Mind

Date: Aug 21, 2006 4:46 PM
Subject: FW: FAO Paul Farmer re Policy Issue

As Sophie says in her earlier email, we are not in a position to comment on the case you mention as we do not know the details of the case. However, our position on payment for service users undertaking work is that payment should be at least at the rate of National Minimum Wage, which is currently set at £5.05 per hour for workers aged 22 years and older. As Sophie also suggests, where the going rate for work is higher than the minimum wage, we would expect service users to be paid at that going rate.

As regards permitted work, our position is that we support the principle of facilitating engagement in some work whilst maintaining eligibility to claim benefit on the grounds of 'incapacity'. As they currently stand, the permitted work rules do this, albeit in a limited way.

I do hope this answers your query.

With best wishes,


NHS South East Coast Response

This is response I had to questions I raised with NHS South East Coast re. a report over doubts of future of hospitals reported posted by the BBC.

Do you ever get the impression that NHS managers resent providing us with information about their plans for our health service?

(NB - Google/e-mail these people to find out who they are )

Date: Aug 21, 2006 9:32 AM

Subject: RE: Hospital Closures /Rationalisation of Services

Thank you for your request for information.

The Strategic Health Authority will deal with your request under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act and respond to you within 20 working days. For further information about the Act please visit the Department of Constitutional Affairs website at

Yours sincerely

Stuart Nicholls
Corporate Services Manager
South East Coast Strategic Health Authority

Network Problems

I contacted Surrey & Borders IT team ( tel 01883 383 599 ) first thing this morning to ask why the Trust's website had been down for days and after being rudely interrogated repeatedly asked about who I was by a techie named Mauricio I was provided with the url for the Surrey & Borders intranet.

When I explained to Mauricio that I meant the Surrey & Borders public website at not its intranet at nww.sabp.nhs.ukhe agreed to contact someone responsible for managing the public site to find out what the problem was. After being put me on hold for a very long time Mauricio returned and sheepishly explained that he had been told that the public site was experiencing ' network problems'.


The site is now back online

Sunday, August 20, 2006

One of Our Trusts is Missing

Date: Aug 20, 2006 7:40 PM

Subject: Missing Surrey & Borders Website

Dear PPI Forum Manager,

The Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust's website has been down for a few days without any explanation why appearing at the site's url. This is not very professional nor helpful as the Trust's website exists to provide the public with information about its contact details, location and services.

Would you please ask the PPI Forum to find out what the problem is and let me know .

This is an FOIA request.

Many Thanks

Please acknowledge receipt

Friday, August 18, 2006

Questions to NHS South East Coast

Dear Sir//Madam,

The BBC today reported that "The future of up to 10 UK hospitals is' in doubt' "and that within NHS South East Coast, in Surrey & Sussex, 5 focus groups had been established to look at the 15 hospitals managed by the nine Trusts in your catchment area and that consultations were due to start in the Autumn.

As your website has no obvious coverage of this would you kindly provide a little more information about the 5 focus groups referred to , in particular who sits on them, how they were selected , who they are managed by and explain their exact brief and timetable for the formal consultations as Autumn is almost upon us.

It would also be helpful if you could provide some precise information about the nature, methodology and scope of the consultation process itself to encourage wider patient and public confidence and involvment in the process as the Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust recently decided the outcome of its consultation re. the ' modernisation ' of its 'work services ' in advance while claiming to be promoting ' patient choice'.

You can read more about this on this weblog

Lastly, would you please confirm that NHS South East Coast is going to provide regular updates on the above process through an e-mail newsletter and RSS feed and take steps to see that people interested in the process can get the same regular updates offline.

Please acknowledge receipt .

Many Thanks

Hospital Closures , Financial Chaos & Lies

The BBC reports today 'future of 10 hospitals around the UK 'in doubt' and also confirms that in Surrey and Sussex five focus groups have been established to discuss the future of the 15 hospitals run by nine NHS trusts in this area and that formal consultation is to start in the autumn.

We can see from the newly formed NHS South East Coast formed on 21 July 2006 but still dithering over creating its website that this consultation process is likely to be every bit as fraudulent and its outcome just as predetermined as the one carried out by the Surrey & Borders NHS Partnership Trust over the so-called ' modernisation ' of its 'work services'.

What's the priority for the new NHS South Coast Strategic Health Authority?

Why the launching of the NHS South East Coast Best of Health Awards 2006 of course. No doubt these will reward those responsible for the financial mismanagement in the region and champion the cause of professional incompetence and abysmal to non-existent service delivery the people of the Surrey & Borders area know so well.

Perhaps Surrey & Borders Manager Peter Kinsey will get an award for duping the Old Moat Garden Centre workers out of their £3 payments freeing this money up to be spent on the salaries of bloating dead weight management , the professional parasites and liggers who seem to be employed by the NHS to re-route money away from front line services, waste its resources and run the whole system into the ground.

So there you have it , financial mismanagement and closures abound and we get more ' crap about ' Values & Visions , self-congratulatory speeches and awards and of course the de rigeur light refreshments and balloons.

New Multimedia Contribution to Campaign

Thanks to Fangel Disempowell for this poetic contribution.

Surrrey Lettuce Lesson

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mean Trust CEO on Film

Someone took this propaganda video of Fiona Edwards ( hint she's not the bald guy... ) from the Surrey & Borders NHS Trust's website and decided to add a better soundtrack.

In the orginal Fiona talked to a few service users and members of staff about 'User Empowerment ' and' Making it Real'.

We think Fiona was faking it as at the time her Trust had embarked on a fraudulent ' work services ' consultation process while having already decided what the outcome was going to be with Dr Bob Groves of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health.

The video was of appalling quality to start with so no need to worry about the Trust further embarassing itself by claiming breach of copyright. In fact, I think we should ask how much this abysmal official propaganda exercise cost the taxpayer as I bet those who made it were paid more than £3 a day. Those corporate balloons must have cost a few quid too .

Feel free to remix on Jumpcut.

No one was deceived in our version of the video.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Winners and Losers in Surrey

According to a recent survey highlighted by the BBC Elmbridge in Surrey , a stones throw from the Old Moat Garden Centre, has the best quality of life in the UK. It's certainly one of the most affluent areas in the UK, with average earnings of £1,112 a week and the good life is reflected in health terms as well as 95% of householders enjoy good or fair health.

As Surrey County Council , Elmbridge and Mid Surrey PCT,East Surrey PCT , the Richmond Fellowship and the Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust approved the decision to cut the £3 a day wages of the disabled workers at the Old Moat Garden Centre to nothing it seems the stockbroker belt of Surrey also deserves the title of being the Meanest and Most Heartless area of the UK.

Mind Support Question

I have asked Sophie Corlett, Policy Director of Mind the following questions

" Would you please explain what Mind's position on service users working to the DWP's permitted rules is and what steps Mind intends to take to support and advocate for all service users - not simply its own service users - whose disabilities include irregularity and inconsistency , who are being discriminated against by this ( NIMHE's) stark 'benefits or mainstream work' agenda because it seeks to eradicate the more realistic and appropriate social inclusion , choices and 'asylum' that the therapeutic/permitted work rules give them."

Friday, August 11, 2006

DWP/Jobcentre Plus Responds

Thank you for your email dated 26 July addressed to Jim Murphy the Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform.

Your email has been passed to this District of Jobcentre Plus as we have responsibility for the area that you are discussing. I am sorry that Jim Murphy is unable to respond to you personally but I hope you will be able to understand that he receives a great deal of correspondence on a variety if subjects and it is not possible for him to respond to each letter individually.

Thank you for bringing the issues regarding the Old Moat Garden Centre to my attention. I am sorry that you believe that Jobcentre Plus is not supporting our customers on Incapacity Benefit whilst participating in permitted work.

I would like to take the time to explain the regulations around Permitted Work and hopefully this will make our position clearer.

The permitted work rules have been developed to support the Government’s commitment to removing barriers to work for people with long term health problems who want to take steps back to work. They strengthen the aim of work as a stepping-stone off benefit and into employment. It removes the requirement that the work must be therapeutic.

From the information that I have received with regards to customers who are participating in work at the Garden Centre, it does not appear that they would not be allowed to continue. Unfortunately, I cannot be any more specific without personal details of the people involved and a more detailed description of the work and terms of work under which the participants were engaged.

With regards to the decision to discontinue the payment of £3 per day, I cannot comment. Surrey and Borders Primary Health Care Trust are an entirely separate organisation from us and therefore I cannot give rise to any comments regarding their decisions.

If the customers concerned wish to contact us direct so that we may investigate their situations further, please ask them to contact the District Correspondence Team, Jobcentre Plus, Surrey & Sussex District Office, 2nd Floor Ranger House, Walnut Tree Close, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4UL or by telephone on 01483 446150 and we will be happy to help.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

Natacha Thomas

Surrey and Sussex Correspondence Team

Tel: 01483 446114

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mind Sets Out Position On Work Payments

Received this response taday from Sophie Corlett , Policy Director of Mind. I havent had much time to consider it but would like to know what other people think. I’m grateful to Mind for providing a response.

Paul has passed your message on to me as he has been unable to deal with it before his holiday, and he wanted you to get a reply as soon as possible.

While we do not know the details of the particular case you mention, and so cannot comment on this case specifically, we do not believe that people should be forced to work for nothing.

At Mind, we believe that people who do a job of work should be paid the going rate for that job, whatever their mental health status. Some people volunteer, and of course that means they work for no payment, but we ensure that volunteers at Mind are paid appropriate expenses for their travel etc when they work for us. A third category might be trainees or apprentices of some sort, who might receive a middle category of payment - we don't have trainees as such at National Mind, so we don't have a policy on this.

We also have some guidelines which apply when we consult service users, so that people are appropriately paid for their time in coming to focus groups or speaking at events.

I hope this is helpful in your campaign with the Trust.

Kind regards

Sophie Corlett

Policy Director


15 - 19 Broadway, Stratford, London E15 4BQ

Tel: 020 8215 2263 (direct line)

Fax: 020 8522 1725

Online Calendar and tracker.

I’ve included an online calendar on the blog here that can be accessed from links collumn on right just above Action Links.

Its labelled Online Calender /Organiser so its pretty hard to miss.

Anyone can add to it but edit is limited to your own entries at the moment because unless we set up team blogger permissions, which isn’t a bad idea, there isn’t much point in populating the calendar with details of correspondence and other matters if edit is enabled and anyone can accidentally or otherwise delete it.

Paul, who obviously likes the sound of his own voice has also kindly offered to provide a summary of the state of play with the Surrey & Borders Patient & Public Involvment Forum as he is convinced , as many other people are too, that this august body has just a tad too close a relationship with the Trust it exists to scrutinise and/or the Forum members have been asleep on the job.

We look forward to getting that audio and would also like to wish Paul and Simon from the Birmingham group ( link please!) all the best with their MH Arts iniative which aims to pass on tech skills to service users ao that they can get their own voices heard using free and open source software to run their own blogs, boards and other types of websites , including sophisticated content management systems.

I think we are living in exciting times developmentally because as MH services are cut to the bone or reconfigered to emotionally and financially support those who work for them while the bureaucrats and politicians conspire or look the other way, many service users initially traumatised by this top down form of social anbandonment have struggled against the odds to get their voices heard online.

Surrey & Borders management may well think that the future belongs to corporate heroes like Peter Kinsey who has clearly been able to stage manage a meaningless consultation process to dupe people with learning difficulties out of few pounds but actually it doesn’t ,it'll belong to those with a bit more credibility.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Complaint to Richmond Fellowship

Maggie Hysel

Richmond Fellowship

Dear Ms Hysel,

I understand your charity made a successful bid to run the Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust's Old Moat Garden Centre in Surrey . As part of the transfer of operations management people with learning difficulties who worked at the garden centre had their therapeutic earnings of £3 a day cut to nothing in order to suit you. .

A parent of one of those workers raised the issue with the local newspaper and MP as I am sure you know. There is also a blog covering this issue here

The Old Moat Grden Centre workers were not meaningfully consulted about what was to happen to them. It appears that the Richmond Fellowship did not want to ' inherit' the 'problem' of dealing with people with learning difficulties because the ' therapeutic work' culture and level of support the workers required was a barrier to the type of employment and training service your organisation wants to run.

These people have a legal right to work under the DWP's permitted work rules yet the Richmond Fellowship and Surrey and Borders Trust and PPI sat down behind closed doors and negotiated that right away.

Would you please explain why you felt it necessary to force people with learning difficulties to work for nothing while your charity is set to handsomely profit from the deal with the Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust?

Lastly, your website does not appear to have a contact e-mail address in the 'contact us' section. It has a contact address for your recruitment section which implies that the Ricmond Fellowship's main priority is to generate employment for its staff. Would you please address this oversight.

Kind Regards, etc.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pay Cut Workers Consulted About Improvements Only

Perhaps I've missed the all important section but I cant see anything about cutting payments and expecting disabled people to work for nothing in the 'Building on the Best' Consultation Booklet Produced by East Surrey PCT in partnership with the service user work reference group,facilitated and supported by Juliet Jeater and East Elmbridge & Mid Surrey Primary Care Trust, Surrey County Council & Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust.

The introduction to the booklet states

"This booklet gives information about the service improvements that are proposed to take effect from April 2006 for adults of working age within Eastern Surrey whom require work & social support as a result of having a mental health problem."
Further clarified as
...the " purpose is to give information on the proposed improvements to the day and employment services that are currently run by Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust so that you can comment on them.It will also describe the new developments and invite you to put forward the types of activities and support that you feel should be provided".
The results of making these service improvements include:
• Making services available across the whole of Eastern Surrey rather than just concentrated in a few areas

• The improvement of employment and day services for people who experience mental health problems - particularly to focus on individual needs and to offer more choices

• The transfer of services from Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust (which is part of the NHS) to the voluntary sector ( Richmond Fellowship ) who specialise in this type of service provision and can offer more person centred services
Under a seperate "Who is the consultation for?" heading this is what the booklet has to say
"who is the Consultation for?

People who use the services and their carers have been involved in shaping the proposal, now this written information booklet will ensure that everyone is aware of the proposals and can have their say.

Please read the ' 'Building on the Best' Consultation Booklet ' to see if you can find any mention of the decision to stop payments to the garden centre workers.

One has to ask here, is getting rid of the LD workers at the Old Moat Garden Centre part of the deal to transfer work services to the Richmond Fellowship?

Certainly all the official bodies cited in this Consultation Booklet should be asked to explain if they were made aware of the plan to cut payments to the Old Moat garden centre workers by Surrey & Borders and if so what reason/s they were officially given for this 'service improvement'.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Towards More Participatory Democracy, Media & Services

"when 'ordinary' citizens are presented with clear information and given the freedom and structure to deliberate on that information,they will come to decisions as reasons and balanced as those made by elected representatives or public officials".

Report of the Power Commission, Chaired by Helena Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws QC a New Labour Life Peer and Member of the House of Lords.

"In my view, that is the basic sentiment that underpins participatory democracy. The people can do it if you give them the chance

Lord Gould of Brookwood
, (Labour) commenting on the Power Commission's conclusions and the Governments wider committment to participatory democracy.

I suppose this blog is an exercise of sorts in participatory democracy, not an arrogant or unqualified exercise but one made necessary and brought about by patient and public outrage over the decision of public officials from the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust to cut the £3 a day payments to people with learning difficulties working in the Trust's commercial garden centre with the expectation that they would simply work for nothing.

The Trust had the audacity to claim that it consulted widely over this and that their workers agreed with it.

Of course they didnt! They have learning difficulties, they are not stupid.

No one would be happy with being put in that situation .

This penny pinching did not come to light through Surrey & Borders own meaningless ' consultation process ' around 'modernising ' its Work Services , it came to light when a justifiably angry and disgusted parent of one of the garden centre workers became fed up with Surrey & Borders meanness and bullying and got the issue some very public attention through the local newspaper.

This blog is also an exercise in participatory media and again, not an arrogant or unqualified one , but one made necessary and brought about because the Surrey & Borders Trust and its PPI Forum made no attempt to provide its service users or members of the public with clear information for the Trust's decision, indeed both have colluded to control , restrict and severely limit information flow to lock ordinary people out of the decision making process so that they can keep the actual reason for their decision to steamroller their garden centre workers a secret and any real discussion of why, kept behind closed doors.

This is also an exercise in establishing participatory services as Surrey & Borders decision to discriminate against the disabled workers at its garden centre was not reasonable or balanced as there never was any meaningful consultation process for service users or members of the public, particularly those working at the garden centre and their carers , families and friends , to participate in the decision making process about the future of the work services they or the person they cared for were using.

The decision was just made by Surrey & Borders on high and imposed downwards on people who had no say in the matter at all.

Please help us to show the management of Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust the benefit of genuinely allowing their service users and ordinary members of the public to participate in deciding the future of services.

Please feel free to use the links in the right hand column to complain about/raise awareness of this issue and let us know how you get on and share any other comments or ideas you have on this issue.

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