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, November 30, 2006

Coventry City Council Respond Promptly to FOIA Request

Dear Mr. Curly

Thank you for your request for information about the number of disabled people with learning difficulties employed by Coventry City Council, which we received on 13 November 2006. Your request has been considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

My reasonable enquiries have included a review of your request, which is addressed below.

How many disabled people with learning difficulties Coventry City Council employs in manual jobs at the national minimum wage or above.

As mentioned in the letter acknowledging your request dated 16 November 2006, the Council holds information about the number of employees with a disability, but does not have a category that defines the nature of their disability e.g. learning difficulties. Therefore a figure for the number of disabled people with learning difficulties employed by Coventry City Council cannot be provided. However, a figure can be provided for the number of best value employees who have declared a disability. Best value employees are permanent employees or temporary employees with at least one year of service. As at 30th September 2006 this figure was 705.

Coventry City Council has implemented Single Status, which harmonises the working conditions of former manual and non-manual employees, which means that there is no longer a distinction between these groups of workers. However, in the absence of a definition of "manual" we have attempted to identify this group by making an assumption based on job titles. Of the 705 disabled employees, approximately 161 may have formerly been classified as manual. All of these people are paid at the national minimum wage or above.

Please note that most of the information that you request is owned by the Coventry City Council and subject to copyright protection. Under the Re-Use of Public Sector Information 2005 Regulations you are free to use this information for your own use or for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use under the Regulations, for example; publication of the information or circulation to the public, will require permission of the copyright owner and may be subject to terms and conditions. For documents where the copyright does not belong to Coventry City Council you will need to apply separately to the copyright holder.

If you wish to apply to reuse the information you have requested or have any other issues relating to this request please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you are unhappy with the way the Coventry City Council has handled your request, you may ask for an internal review. Please contact the Information Governance Team, who will arrange an internal review of your case, at:

Information Governance Team

Customer & Business Services

Council House, Basement Room 5

Earl Street, Coventry.


If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane




Yours sincerely

Paul Harding

HR Adviser, Business Support

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

PinocchiJo the Puppet finally Responds

Here's the two month delayed FOIA response from Jo Young.

Learning Disabilities Services
Old Wood Carvers Cottage
Surrey & Borders NHS Trust


Provided on behalf of Chief Executive Geppetto Edwards

29th November 2006

I apologise for the delay in replying to your Freedom of Information Act request detailed below, and agree that the correct procedures have not been followed in handling this, however I am now able to give our formal response:

FOI Question

How many service users is the Trust currently paying the minimum wage or above to for manual work? I'm assuming this figure would have been made available during the "comprehensive review " of work services. If this information is not available because that review was not as comprehensive as the Trust claimed it was , please say so and address and answer this question as a FOIA request elsewhere.


We do not hold contemporaneous information on the health status of our employees:

• Our information is limited to the declaration that people make on their disability status when they join the Trust or are appointed to a new post through the Trust’s recruitment process. This information would only indicate that a person considers themselves disabled – it would not include information on the nature of the disability, which would be held by our Occupational Health department.

• We do not classify jobs as ‘manual’ or ‘non-manual’.

• All Trust employees are paid above the national minimum wage. We apply the standard NHS pay structure, where the minimum hourly rate is approximately £6.00 per hour (£11,782 per annum for a standard 37.5 hour week).

In the circumstances we do not hold the information that you require in a published form and it would be a disproportionate effort to collate the information.

The Freedom Of Information Act 2000 states:

"Section 12 (1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit."

If I can be of any further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of your enquiry, you have the right to appeal and in the first instance this should be to the Head of Healthcare Systems, Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust, Elaine Gould on 01737 281046 or email

If you are still not satisfied with the outcome, you can write to:

The Information Commissioner

Wycliffe House,Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545700

Yours sincerely,

Jo Young
Jo Young
Director of Services for People with Learning Disabilities

c.c. Elaine Gould, Head of Healthcare Systems

Project Watch

I guess we should all give Surrey & Borders Partbership Trust Chief Executive Fiona Edwards a big hug and sloppy kiss for finally agreeing to do what the Trust should have done in the first place.

All the same, we still need to keep a watchful eye on how the Therapeutic Payments project attempts to resolve things in practice and make sure that the ' External Expert 'the Trust is going to hire in isnt connected to the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health or its bungling academics as that would be a real insult to service users and taxpayers.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

SABP's Work and Day Services ~ Payment Project Plan 1

Work and Day Services ~ Payment Project Plan 1

Operations Directorate’s Work and Day Services: Payments Project Plan

1. Introduction
1.1. This paper sets out the planned approach to be adopted to ensure the Trust moves towards compliance with Benefits Regulations, Minimum Wage Act and Employment Law for all people using work and day services.

1.2. People who use the work and day services range from vulnerable to very vulnerable therefore the Trust has real obligation to treat people honestly and

1.3. People who use the service are not permitted by the European Law to suffer loss of their rights by virtue of their disability.

1.4. Once the individuals are paid anything, then “work” would be undertaken for
the purposes of the national minimum wage directive. Therapeutic work is not excluded from this framework directive.

1.5. Therefore it is hard to draw the line to distinguish at which point therapy would become work in the Trust’s work and day services.

1.6. The legal assessment of the work services indicated that unquestionably some people should be paid national minimum wage

1.7. At present no person attending the work or day services receive payment from
the Trust specifically for their services, nor does any person have a contract,
(implied, verbal or written) to provide such a service.

1.8. Therefore a comprehensive plan is needed which seeks to attain compliance whilst working to establish a proper agreement with people and / or their
representatives about any actual work done and any provision for disputes and
way of resolution.

2. Services Affected, People and Externalisation Dates

Number of people affected by the Trust decision Working Age Adults (WAA)
/People with learning disabilities (PLD)

Work Service Status Externalisation Date

Arts and Craft Matters Horley 40 WAA WAA April 2007

Assembly Matters, Horley 50 WAA/PLD Review WAA PLD Review April 2008

Netherne Printing Services 20 WAA / PLD WAA/PLD November 2006

Old Moat Garden Centre 34 WAA / PLD WAA/PLD April 2007

Queens Garden Centre 15 WAA April 2007

Gallwey, St Ebba’s 18 PLD No Plans

Geesemere, Ottershaw 36 PLD No Plans

Total number of people 213

* Number of people at time of posting letters

2.2. It is intended to prioritise the project plan to synchronise with the
externalisation dates.

2.3. People using the services already externalised before discontinuation of
payments have not been contacted

3. Apology and Reinstatement of Payments

3.1. All people who continue to use the services have received an individual letter of
apology and accessible information sheet explaining the decision to re-instate

3.2. All payments have recommenced using the previous payment formula.

4. Payment for Period of Stoppage

4.1. Services are currently collating details of the pay arrears people are entitled to
due to the stoppage of payments earlier this year.

4.2. Individualised solutions on how this money will be paid back will need to be
taken to ensure compliance with benefit allowances.

4.3. For some people it may take up to 52 weeks to repay all monies and stay
compliant with the benefits earnings limits.

4.4. It is recommended that people who did not attend, but have since returned,
should not be paid arrears.

5. Moving Towards Compliance Benefit Regulations

5.1. We need to protect the continued risk to benefit entitlement of people who use
the service by firstly gathering information on all people’s earnings, hours,
benefits and housing situation

5.2. It may be necessary to reduce hours of “work” to 16 per week (see section

5.3. It will be necessary to establish “earning” limits for permitted work for each

5.4. It is recommended that at this stage we do not contact Job Centre Plus until
our plan is agreed for each service and consent is attained from individuals.

5.5. People who use the services should be supported to understand their
responsibilities relating to benefits and earnings.

5.6. Services need to check with each individual any “work” in all places to establish
the total number of paid hours per week; total pay and additional expenses the
individual receives.

Existing Activity

5.7. The Trust needs to agree a process for assessing each service individually to
establish the nature of the activity being provided.

5.8. The “Tuck and Truck” model designed by MCCH should be used as a guide.

5.9. People who use the service and their representatives should be involved in
agreeing the criteria for this assessment.

5.10. Expert advice should be purchased to assist with this review.

5.11. A re-examination of the current payment structure should also be included in
this review.

5.12. The Trust will publish the findings of the review of activity for each service.

Review of Income Streams

5.13. Each service should produce a schedule of income, its source and the amount
paid per unit / product.

5.14. This should be reviewed against current market prices to ensure a fair price is
being received for the job.

5.15. Where the work unit is receiving less then the going open market rate for the
job then this should be negotiated.
6. Establishing and Implementing Plan (See Appendix One)

6.1. Set up guidelines:
6.1.1. For people working as volunteers including policies on subsistence
payments and notifying Job Centre Plus.

6.1.2. On Permitted Work rules and required procedures.

6.1.3. On payment of the Minimum Wage and employment law.

6.2. Work and Day Service should look at options for offering paid work at Minimum
Wage alongside voluntary work.

6.3. Timely negotiations with people who use services and carers will be required on
the new pay, and terms and conditions of employment (where this is to be

6.4. This will include the new pay and hours of work and the set up of appropriate
contracts of employment where it has been assessed that people have an
implied contract. Obtaining their agreement and signed terms and conditions.

6.5. Liaison with Job Centre Plus will then be necessary to ensure that there are no
misunderstandings over the terms and conditions, rates of pay and the
averaging rules.

6.6. Monitoring and support systems should be established and the provision of ongoing
support to individuals as needed should be made available during the
transition phase.

Jo Young

Director (PLD). 06 Nov, 06

Compiled with the assistance of Declan Flynn, General Manager. Working Age Adults and information
and references supplied by Charlotte Langridge, Surrey County Council.
Useful Reading

Lockett, H. and Scott, J. (2003) Work-Schemes and Compliance with the National
Minimum Wage: Moving from Project Worker to Employee (in press) Living Well
Brighton: Pavilion

Department for Trade and Industry (2003) The Minimum Wage and Therapeutic
Work London: TSO

Disability Rights Commission (2003) Submission to Green Paper, Pathways to Work:
Helping people into employment.

Department of Health (2001) The White Paper `Valuing People: A New Strategy for
Learning Disability for the 21st Century' Surrey County Council Employment Strategy, 2003

Appendix One
Payments Project Plan

Surrey and Border Partnership Trust Services


Further to the cessation of therapeutic payments earlier this year, a paper was
presented to the Trust Board on 28th September stating that the Trust has not
treated people well in this decision and made the following recommendations which
the Board has approved:-

• Re-instate therapeutic payments and pay back payments
• Write a letter of apology to every individual affected by the cessation of
Therapeutic Payments

• Directorates will then undertake full reviews which will differentiate
between 'work' 'therapy' 'training' 'voluntary' work and assess each
individual situation and write an action plan

• This work will be carried out with people using the services, their families
and carers and care workers

This Project Plan describes what, how, who and when these recommendations will
be implemented.

What needs to be done How Who by When

Inform and apologise to affected people of services (MH & LD) of decision to reinstate Therapeutic Payments

Letters from Chief Executive Fiona Edwards sent to all affected people of services

Jo Young Via respective Service Managers
/ SeniorProfessionals By Friday 13th October ‘06

Identify affected people who use services who will receive Therapeutic back payments
Service Managers to provide precise information of all affected people of services for
their respective service areas – indicating sessions attended, benefits they are receiving,
income threshold, etc

Information to be passed to Jo Young

Respective Service Managers / Senior Professionals By Friday 24th November ‘06
Provide national definitions for ‘work' 'therapy' 'training' 'voluntary'
Liaise with Solicitors and people who use the service and their representatives on agreed
Definitions Jo Young & Service Managers By Friday 24th November ‘06

What needs to be done How Who by When

Appoint external consultant to assessment activity with respective Service Managers
and people who use the service Send to respective Service Managers Jo Young By Friday 15th December ‘06

Commence back payment of therapeutic Payments to affected people of services
Via normal payment arrangements at respective service Service Managers From Tuesday
2nd January ’07

Undertake reviews which will differentiate between 'work' 'therapy' 'training' 'voluntary'
work and assess each individual situation and write an action plan
Consultant / Service Manager /

Senior Professional to undertake assessments with individuals and their carers using agreed
assessment tool
Firstly to differentiate between ‘work’ ‘therapy’ ‘training’ ‘voluntary’ work

Secondly to assess each individual situation (via review meetings) and write actions plan
to reflect their specific needs and situation (involve people of services / carers
Communicate assessment to affected people of services (and carers) & support accordingly)
External consultant / Service Managers / Senior Professionals/relevant other

From Tuesday 2nd January ’07 Complete Friday 23rd January ‘ 07 Agree contracts, terms and
Pay Negotiate appropriate documentation, controls and supports for all people whether
workers or volunteers

Jo Young / Human Resources By February 2007

Declan Flynn and Jo Young ~ 31st October 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

September Minutes & November Agenda Online

Des curley

Rosemary Moore has flagged up that the minutes of the Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust Board meeting of 28th September 2006 are now online along with the agenda for the next Trust Board meeting on 30th November 2006.

The Trust's Project Plan for Therapeutic Payments is also available

To see other Board papers reports go here

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lynda Bull's Response on Conventry City Council's failure to Consult, proposed £3 cuts, etc

Des Curley
I received the following today from Midlands based Independent Services Monitor Paul Brian Tovey. Its a response from Lynda Bull , Head of Coventry City Council's Adult Social Care Group .I think its fair comment to say Ms Bull doesnt quite come across as a Freedom of Information champion and may appear to some to be a tad too anally retentive.

Dear Mr Tovey

Provision of requested information.

Thank you for your request for information regarding the Council's proposals concerning Learning Disability Service Users, which we received on 9th November 2006.

As you know there has been some subsequent E-Mail communication. Your request has been considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and a response to your questions given in your original and subsequent E Mails and also raised in your conversation with Jonathan Jardine is attached. I am aware that I have already responded to a number of these questions already and this response reflects this.

Please see Appendix 1.

Please note that most of the information that you request is owned by the Coventry City Council and subject to copyright protection. Under the Re-Use of Public Sector Information 2005 Regulations you are free to use this information for your own use or for the purposes of news reporting. However, any other type of re-use under the Regulations, for example; publication of the information or circulation to the public, will require permission of the copyright owner and may be subject to terms and conditions. For documents where the copyright does not belong to Coventry City Council you will need to apply separately to the copyright holder.

If you wish to apply to reuse the information you have requested or have any other issues relating to this request please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you are unhappy with the way the Coventry City Council has handled your request, you may ask for an internal review. Please contact the Information Governance Team, who will arrange an internal review of your case, at:

Information Governance Team

Customer & Business Services

Council House, Basement Room 5

Earl Street, Coventry.


If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane




Yours sincerely

Lynda Bull

Head of Adults Social Care Group




1) What consultation took place with service users and their carers prior to the report to Cabinet on 31 October 06?
Response: We are consulting now - no decisions have yet been taken – the outcomes of the consultation will be feedback to Cabinet on 12 December 2006.

2) What exactly is the PCT's role in the provision of Coventry's LD service?
Response: Coventry Teaching PCT is now a commissioner of services. Specialist Learning Disability Mental Health services is now part of the Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership Trust. Health Community Learning Disability services remains as part of Coventry Teaching PCT pending further service developments. The service is not a single integrated health and social care service. It is only partially integrated – e.g. social workers/nurses in community learning disabilities team. There are, however, Joint commissioning arrangements.

3) Is there a Section 31 agreement between Coventry City Council and Coventry Teaching Primary Care Trust for Learning Disability services?
Response: There is a Section 31 Agreement in relation to Learning Disabilities Development Fund – this is a small budget for development – it is not a commissioning or service budget.

4) To what extent does the close working on Learning Disability between Coventry City Council and Coventry Teaching Primary Care Trust imply a "section 11" Health and Social Care Act duty to consult demonstrably?

Response: We do not consider that there is a Section 11 requirement to consult demonstrably. That said, we are currently consulting and the outcomes of those consultations will be reported through a transparent democratic process. We also take the view that LAs have better track record in consultating on change and that a Section 11 duty (or similar directive) is not required.

5) Could you explain the nature of the involvement of the PCT with CROW ( an NHS body )

Response: CROW is a charitable organisation with a range of funding streams. The Council contracts with it for work based training as outlined in the Cabinet Report . There is no PCT involvement with CROW.
6. Would you please inform what Social Cares involvement is with the PCT broadly and on the 'Coventry Partnership Board'

Response: There are extensive partnership arrangements with the primary Care Trust from the Coventry Partnership at a strategic city level to joint working in specific social care areas. There are partnership boards for Older People, Mental Health, Learning Disabilities, Children and Young People and Physical and Sensory Impairment. Further information can be gained from the Coventry City Council Website where there are links to the Coventry Partnership and a number of the other partnerships.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Continuing Delays & Evasiveness in Responding to FOIA Requests

Yesterday I received the following response from Jo Young, the Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust's Director of Learning Difficulties Services

From Jo Young
cc Angie Ellis ,
Vicky Wattridge
date Nov 17, 2006 5:00 PM
subject RE: FOIA request ~ Work Service's Review

Dear Mr Des Curly,

I write to acknowledge your e mail and apologise for the delay that has occurred since the Board meeting ( September 28th 2006 )and you receiving my response. I thought that I was able to provide you with I thought was routine information relating to Work Services (that is the specific services that were subject to the review rather then the whole of the Trust). As this is not the case and you are seeking something other then this I have forwarded your request for information to our Information Governance Manager who will assist with our response.

I will be on annual leave next week so will follow this up with her on my return.

Yours sincerely


So, almost two months after I submitted my FOIA request to the Surrey & Borders Trust and it was read out by Chief Executive Fiona Edwards to the Trust Board it has finally been passed on to SABP's Information Governance Manager.

Friday, November 17, 2006

From Rosemary Moore , a Carer and Campaigner from Surrey

Dear Jill

I think you are right to insist on proper answers before agreeing to have a personal meeting.

There are a lot of other things going on of course with S&B (as with all the Trusts) - the front page of a local paper today had a big story about the closure of the mental health unit at Ashford Hospital with a picture of a woman who is campaigning against this. She is one of the North Surrey reps on the FoCUS group so this should come up at the next main FoCUS meeting on 28 November.

We also have the ongoing inquiry into Daniel Gonzalez, the man from Woking who killed four people in London and is now in Broadmoor.

And today at the Old Bailey the "plea and case management" hearing for John Churchill from Surrey, who killed John McKenna within days of being discharged from the Abraham Cowley Psychiatric Unit in Surrey.

I have set up a blog for John Churchill to follow the progress of his case and to make sure that the information about him comes to public attention NOW.

Best wishes

Rosemary in Surrey

from Des Curley

I would just add that the family of Denis Finnegan have said they want the officials responsible for John Barrett's health care sacked and that there are similar calls over another Care failure death where Maudsley Hospital staff turned away Andrew Howllett after he complained to them of hearing voices urging him to harm himself and attack other people and admitted he had a knife. Howlett later stabbed his neighbour Michael Gallagher to death in a totally unprovoked attack.

A Maudsley hospital spokesperson described the care Howlett received as "approproriate".

I think sacking a few Chief Executives to drive home public concern about widespread system failure and their dismissive attitudes towards it would be far more appropriate.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Follow up letter from Jill Goble

Dear Jo Young and colleagues,

Thank you for your mail of November 10th below. I am afraid that there seems to be some confusion concerning the questions I have asked.

To clarify I will also summarise the questions that remain a problem.

First of all there seems to be a discrepancy of 20 people who have had their £3 a day payments reinstated in the 159 people you write about compared to the 179 disabled people Peter Kinsey stated were working in the Priority Enterprises in June. Could you please tell me what has happened to the other 20 people and their payments?

Secondly our question was not about the number of disabled people employed at the Priority Enterprises which as you see above was already answered by Peter Kinsey before he left. No our question referred to the number of disabled service users SABPT employs across the trust and in what positions? This is important for us to see what kind of an equal opportunity employer SABPT is and this is especially relevant given that the Richmond Fellowship which will provide no new jobs for service users has now been awarded a 5 year contract. I believe Des Curley has already written to you complaining we have received no answer to this question and our time is being wasted with the endless delays in receiving straightforward answers from SABPT.

Secondly I am also tired of not being given a straight answer concerning the Old Moat Enterprises accounts and sales figures. Before he left Peter Kinsey did tell me that the Old Moat makes a £150,000 loss but he did not give me the accounts or the sales figures or say how these figures were arrived at. I want to know the specific details of sales figures and staff costs etc so we can work out what alternative plans for the centre are in the disabled workers best interests. This is especially important considering MCCH Ltd are producing a report in December concerning their plans for the Old Moat. I do not see how this information can be kept from us on the grounds that it is commercially sensitive as we already know that the Old Moat makes a £150,000 loss. I just want more detailed information about the accounts which all commercial businesses have to make public knowledge anyway. Why should SABPT hide information from us on these grounds and why do you not know the information by now considering I originally asked the question months ago? Please let me have the accounts and sales figures without anymore delaying tactics.

As far as arranging a meeting with you is concerned I do not think this would be productive until we have answers to these outstanding questions and have also seen the MCCH Ltd report on the Old Moat which is not due until December.

Please can you answer our questions without further delays.

Yours Sincerely

Jill Goble

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


In addition to campaigning against the exploitation of Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust's disabled garden centre workers we have been following similar eventsin Coventry where disabled workers in various work schemes therehavehad their £3 a day payments cut and are now expected to work for nothing. As the Coventry and Surrey issues are clearly related Paul, who is based in the Midlands is doing some excellent follow-up work and keeping us posted.

To The Coventry Council OSC Officer Jonathon Jardine & Andy Bennett PCT Commsioner


Dear Jonathon

Thankyou for your attention , reference my phone call to you today .

I do think it is a good idea to raise several matters with the Chair Of The OSC as you have suggested .

I would like to know whether or not the local PCT has any input into CROW Recycling and what the nature of that is ... I can ofcourse seperately ask them and so I will for ease include Andy Bennet NHS PCT Commisioner for Learning Disabilities into this email . Perhaps it a good idea to join everyone together like this because Andy is on a Partnership Board with Social Care according to documents I have seen.

There is another point here that according to Lynda , Section 11 rights of consultation does not apply to the Learning Disability Users of Social Care at CROW recycling works. Section 11 gives the right of "evidenced" consultation where it applies . Where social care services form contracts with the NHS within an overall section 31 agreement with the NHS which seconds them under the section 31 agreement there is a duty I would argue to Sect 11. consult where there is a variance of service . Having £3 a day taken away from Users is a significant variance for those affected.

From what Lynda states though Section 11 does not apply . Apparently there is no section 31 agreement existing in Coventry between NHS and Social Care Services Perhaps we can confirm that also with your help . As you know in other parts of the country Sect 31 agreements between Councils and Local Health Care has happened ..

However consultation of a high standard on an important set of Issues affecting vulnerable Users at CROW should be seen to be done ..

According to information I have received :

The time line for consulting CROW Service Users was :

24th Oct Letter received from Senior Learning Disablities Manager (Mark Godfrey) about Council intention to "modernise" etc

Service Users at CROW got it on the 26th

A meeting for Parents & Carers of Service Users at CROW was arranged then on the 27th

By the 31st Oct the Full Cabinet met to put through their proposals for cuts to the £3 a day payments

The feeling was that it was all pretty rushed ...

In fact that was about 5 working days and a weekend .... That is not good at all ..

I want to make this very concerned observation that vulnerable Service Users need time to take in their rights and a longer time to reflect on them. They are not as articulate as Social Care Officers or high powered Councillors. Social Care Services and the Council really should be less rushed to make determinations that appear to be systemically driven which alter levels of support without looking at individual impact on Service Users like those with learning disability .


Paul Brian Tovey

Independent Monitor Mental Health Matters

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Swingeing Decision to Cut £3 disregard payments in Coventry to go before Scrutiny Committee.

The Leader of the Labour Group on Coventry City Council has sent us the following message:

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding the ceasation of the £15 per week disregard to people with learning difficulties.

I would like to inform you that all members of the Labour Group of Councillors voted against this proposal at the meeting of full Council. In addition to this we have "called in " the item and insisted that the Cabinet Member appear before Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee to answer questions and account for the decision.

The meeting will be held at 1-00 p.m. on Wednesday 22nd. November will be held in public ( at Council House, Earl Street , Coventry CV1 5RR , see map below and check room number on Notifications Board opposite 1st Floor lift on day ) which means that yourself and anyone else that is interested can attend and listen to the debate.

I hope that interested parties do their best to attend.

Yours sincerely,

John Mutton,
Leader of the Labour Group.
Coventry Council Council House

click to enlarge

The Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee & its Roles

The city council has established four Scrutiny Boards and an over-arching Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee. These are made up of Councillors from across the political parties. Some of the Boards include co-opted members of the public.

The roles of the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee are to:

Develop and manage Scrutiny in the Coventry City Council

Co-ordinate and monitor the work of the four Scrutiny Boards

Undertake cross-cutting reviews

Consider 'call-ins' - where Councillors want to discuss in more detail decisions that have already been taken by the Cabinet.

Current Membership of Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee & Contact Details


M Asif

G. Duggins

N Lee

J. Mutton

B. Patton

Here is the agenda from the Coventry City Councils CMIS webpages

Agenda - Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee

Time and Date 12:00 noon on Wednesday, 22nd November, 2006 PLEASE NOTE START TIMEDIFFERS FROM ABOVE
Place Committee Rooms, Council House, Coventry

1Public Business

1 Apologies and Substitutions
2 Declarations of Interests
3 Minutes of the meetings held on 25th October (attached)
4 Consideration of Call ins

4.1 Call ins Stage 2

To consider the following call in from the Members shown. In accordance with the
Scrutiny Procedure Rules, these Members have been invited to attend the meeting for
the consideration of their call in and at least one of them must attend the meeting or the call-in will fail.

4.1.1 Cabinet 31st October, 2006 (Councillor H Noonan)

Delivering Modernisation and Efficiencies in Social Care in Order to
Balance the Budget in Learning Disabilities Services Joint Report (attached)
Called in by:-(1) Councillors Mutton, Kelly and Clifford

The reason for the call in is, "To better understand how lowering peoples income helps to promote independence."

(2) Councillors Maton, Kelly and Clifford

The reason for the call in is, " To understand the impact of the day care
review for older people and its impact on service users given the anticipated
saving of £223,000. To assess the reality of being able to achieve paid for
real work opportunities for the client group – the availability of appropriate
jobs, access to appropriate training and the existence of agencies to provide
job brokerage and in-work support to enable this aspiration to be delivered.
To understand why there is anticipated to be a reduction in demand for
supporting people staff at a time when client group numbers are increasing.

To also understand the implication of the reduction in posts in the
Performance Improvement Unit at a time when savings are anticipated in
the Social Care budget through improved performance. To understand the
nature of Contract Efficiency Savings – when the report highlights the
difficulty in delivering such efficiencies in the past. To understand the
impact of cuts in services through withholding inflation allowances. To
review the implications of maintaining, through the increased management
of vacancies, more unfilled posts."

(3) Councillors Nellist, Windsor and Ms McKay

The reason for the call in is, " To question the strategy that 'independence
will be promoted' by the measures proposed and to explore the necessity of
the deletion of posts."

NOTE: (i) The Cabinet amended recommendation 2.1 of the report considered by
the addition of the following to the end of the paragraph:-
"subject to any further consultation with the appropriate Trade
Unions, and that any amendment to the proposals be submitted to
the Cabinet Meeting on the 12th December, 2006."
The Cabinet noted that Paragraph of the report should be
deleted and replaced with the wording set out on report 4.1.1(a)

(ii) All Members calling in the decision indicated above have indicated that
attendance by the relevant Cabinet Member is required for the Stage 2
consideration of this item.

(iii) All Members calling in the decisions indicated above have indicated that
they wish the matter to be referred on to the relevant Scrutiny Board
after consideration by the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee.

4.1.2 Cabinet 31st October, 2006 (Councillor Ridley)

Review of Library Buildings
Report of the Director of Community Services (attached)
Called in by Councillors Nellist, Windsor and Ms McKay
The reason for the call in is, "To further understand the rationale behind the
closure proposal and the suitability of alternative provision for the residents of
the area."

NOTE: (i) The Members calling in the decision indicated above have indicated that
attendance by the relevant Cabinet Member is required for the Stage 2
consideration of this item.

(ii) The Members calling in the decisions indicated above have indicated
that they wish the matter to be referred on to the relevant Scrutiny Board
after consideration by the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee.

2 4.1.3 Cabinet 31st October, 2006 (Councillor Blundell)

Lease Terms for New Academy to Replace Woodway Park School
Joint Report (attached)

Called in by Councillors Nellist, Ms McKay and Windsor
The reason for the call-in is, "To understand why it is proposed to grant a 125
year lease on the Woodway Park Site."

NOTE: (i) The Members calling in the decision indicated above have indicated that
attendance by the relevant Cabinet Member is required for the Stage 2
consideration of this item.

(ii) The Members calling in the decisions indicated above have indicated
that they wish the matter to be referred on to the relevant Scrutiny Board
after consideration by the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee.

4.2 Call ins - Stage 1
The Director of Legal and Democratic Services will report on any call ins that have been received.

In relation to each call in received:- a) to determine whether or not it is appropriate, using the agreed criteria. b) if it meets the criteria, to decide which Cabinet Members/officers should attend when the call in is considered.
5 Scrutiny Annual Report

Report of the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee (attached)

6 Outstanding Issues Report of the Director of Legal and Democratic Services (attached).

7 2006/07 Work Programmes

7.1 To give consideration to the Scrutiny Co-ordination Committee's Work Programme
for 2006/07 (attached)

7.2 To note any changes to the work programmes for Scrutiny Boards (1), (2), (3) and
(4). 8 Any other items of public business which the Chair decides to take as matters of urgency because of the special circumstances involved.

Private Business

Christopher R Hinde, Director of Legal and Democratic Services, Council House, Coventry Tuesday 14th November, 2006

Notes: 1) The person to contact about the agenda and documents for this meeting is Alison Townsend, Council House, Coventry. Telephone 7683 3080, email

2) Substitutes - Council Members who are not able to attend the Meeting should notify Alison
Townsend (tel. 7683 3080) as soon as possible and no later than 12 noon on Wednesday,
22nd November, 2006, giving their reasons for absence and the name of the Council Member (if any) who will be attending the meeting as their substitute.
3) Scrutiny members who have an interest in any report referred to at this meeting, but who are not members of this Committee are invited to notify the Chair by 12 noon on the day before the meeting that they wish to speak on a particular item. The Member must indicate to the Chair their reason for wishing to speak and the issue(s) they wish to raise. Membership: Councillors Asif, Bains, Clifford (Co-opted Member), Duggins, Lee, Mutton, Ridge (Deputy Chair), Sawdon (Chair) and Williams

If you would like this information in another format
or language please contact us:-
Telephone: (024) 7683 3080
Fax: (024) 7683 3024

SABP's Delays & Evasiveness in Dealing with FOIA Requests

After Jill Goble was forced to remind Surrey and Borders partnership MHS Trust to respond to outstanding Freedom of Information requests I got a long delayed and completely evasive response from the Trust .

The following picks up where we are now.

from Jo Young
to Des Curley
cc Wilhelmina Cox ,Jill Goble
date Nov 13, 2006 3:14 PM
subject RE: FOIA request ~ Work Service's Review

Dear Des

I write to acknowledge receipt of your e mail as requested.

My response to your FOIA request was not intended to be evasive ~ and I will look at this again and provide you with a response.

I am uncertain why you think it would be appropriate for you to invoice the Trust as you suggest and would appreciate further clarification in that regard.

Thank you
~ Jo

Jo Young (Director PLD)
T: 01276 605 555 M: 07770 876028

Ms Young,

The Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust's attitude to answering FOIA requests has not only been evasive , the requirement to respond to requests within the timeframe set out in the FOIA legislation has simply been viewed as optional, most notably by you.

My written FOIA request was submitted in late September 2006 and I have now waited almost two months for a simple answer Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust's Chief Executive Fiona Edwards probably already knew when I discussed the question, and my reasons for asking it , with her in front of the Trust Board and you at the Board meeting on 28th September 2006.

Following this discussion , your fellow Trust Board member Roshan Bailey also made it clear to the Chief Executive that she thought it was very important for the Trust to answer my question precisely because it related to the Trust's own record as an Equal Opportunities Employer and , potentially, Barriers to Employment and Employer Discrimination.

Your failure to apply and adhere to the FOIA procedures in your handling of my FOIA request - and there appears to be a pattern of this - imposed work on and cost me time and money so rather than wasting more of my time assuming that you have some right to demand I explain myself to you, would you kindly provide the address of whichever department deals with invoices please because if I am forced to waste more time going around you to find out , I'll invoice for the Trust for this as well. In the meantime, would you please answer my question.

I trust this clarifies matters.

Please acknowledge receipt

Desmond Curley

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Protest About Closures & Lack of Consultation in Epsom

It seems service users arent the only ones questioning cuts, level of consultation and externalisation of services as NHS staff and members of the public plan to demonstrate in Epsom. Any information on this would be warmly welcomed as might be interesting to hand a few leaflets out on day.

"Thousands of people have taken to take to the streets of Leeds to protest over NHS cuts.

Demonstrations like this have drawn enormous support at events across England, prompted by concerns over job losses and possible cuts in services.

Many politicians and activists are scornful of the public consultations over these changes.

Just why is there such deep public mistrust?

Last month thousands of demonstrators packed the centre of Guildford. There have been similar protests in Hayward's Heath and Worthing.

I think it's fantastic that local people care so much about the health service
Candy Morris , South East Coast Regional Health Authority

There is another coming up in Epsom - all about saving local hospitals.

Rumours are rife about cuts in services. There is going to be a consultation, but protestors were wary of a stitch-up.

"I'm hoping this rally will do something," said one, "but I don't think that it will have much effect because I think it may be a fait accompli."

Another said: "I don't trust them. I think it's all done and dusted. I think it's all about money."

Big deficit

Surrey has five major hospitals. It is easy to see why campaigners fear the worst.

The local NHS region is heading for a deficit of more than £90million. Yet services have to be financially sustainable.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Surrey & Borders Refuses to disclose how Many service Users it Employs

Des Curley
Yesterday I received the following delayed and totally evasive response to my Freedom of Information requestof September 18th 2006 which I also put in person to Surrey and Borders Chief Executive Fiona Edwards and Trust Board at the pre-AGM Board Meeting the following day.

I asked how many service users the Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust employed in manual jobs at the national minimum wage.

Ms Edwards, who dodged answering the question at the time although she was clearly aware of the figure , and the Trust Board were clearly aware that I was not limiting this question to the Trust's work services but trying to establish what the Trust's track record was as an employer of its own service users as we already obviously knew the Trust expected those involved in its exploitative work services to work for nothing as this is the reason why this blog exists.

The Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust is desperately trying to conceal the fact that it is guilty of employment discrimination and prefers to have people with mental health and learning difficulties do odd jobs around the Trust like filling envelopes for nothing rather than pay them the national minimum wage and employ them under the same terms and conditions of employment as non-disabled employees.

This campaign has managed to help restore the pathetic £3 a day payments that Fiona Edwards on a salary of around £120,000 deemed it necessary to deprive from the 150 or so disabled workers using her Trust's work services but we need to move on from there to get any disabled person working for the Trust or its work services externalised to or still being greedilly eyed over by MCCH Ltd and the Richmond Fellowship paid at the national minimum wage level or above.

We should not view helping to get the exploited disabled workers their £3 a day back as a victory as it is totally disgusting that they were expected to work for so little in the first place .

There is no excuse for Surrey and Borders ,the above charities or anyone else to force disabled people to work for nothing or £3 a day while triggering massive payments for themselves for doing this.

Take a look at the people in the pictures scrolling by above, these largely elderly professionals grew up in a society where it was commonplace to simply pity and infantalise people with disabilities while viewing working on their behalf as somehow virtuous in its own right.i.e.These people are good people because they work with people with disabilities.

In fact they are exploiting and living off the very people they claim to ' care ' for since their disability employment schemes are an unwaged ghetto walled in by barriers to mainstream employment that these people and their organisations have erected to ensure that they not their service users generate an income.

Barriers like the Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust not bothering to employ its own service users , barriers like MCCH Ltd and the Richmond Fellowship basing work on imposed volunterism to fund and perpetuate themselves and create impressions of success that simply do not bear up to scrutiny .

The huge growth in the disability employment industry with its prevailing model of workers engaging in work preparation , work placements , work opportunities and other jargonistc variants of unpaid work is exploitative and that growth has only occured because there is a ready political supply of funding unattached to any meaningful requirement to audit these schemes for effectiveness rather than any real demand for these fraudulent exploitative schemes from service users.

Disabled people who are able and want to work should be able to do so without being exploited and abused by these self-serving parasitical organisations, they should have access to professional recruitment and employment agencies and real paid employment training and work.

This is not available instead we see millions of pounds being wasted on the useless disability employment sector as organisations like MCCH Ltd , the Richmond Fellowship and the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health fall over each other to shunt service users , whether they are able to or want work or not, into useless unpaid disability work schemes to pay themselves nice salaries or, in SCMH's case, to make fraudulent claims about being academic disability employment experts.

Its funny how Helen Lockett and Dr Bob Groves, who both made sure thay took a cut out of the Surrey and Borders externalisation project, never commented on the barriers to employment and employee discrimination the Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust clearly maintians in place and continues to try to conceal.

These people are simply targetting service users with their useless unpaid disability work schemes - which also route funding away from non-work related provision - because it funds their status, careers and lifestyles rather than provides disabled people who are able and want to work in real jobs at the national minmum wage or above the law says they are entitled to.

Here's the response from Surrey & Borders totally avoiding the question of how many service users it pays the minimum wage or above to for doing ordinary manual work these exploitative disability employment schemes make them do for nothing.

from Jo Young

Wilhelmina Cox ,
Angie Ellis ,
Vicky Wattridge
date Nov 10, 2006 4:59 PM
subject FOIA request ~ Work Service's Review

Dear Desmond

As the Director now responsible for leading on the 'Payments Project' I am contacting you regarding your question raised at our Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust Board on 28th September 2006. Your question was with regards the numbers of people who use the services currently being paid the minimum wage or above for manual work and this was specifically related to the work services.

I can tell you that as of the 28th September 2006 we wrote to 159 people who attended Netherne Print, Assembly Matters, Art and Crafts Matters, Old Moat Garden Centre and Queens Park

Garden Centre. All of these people were previously receiving "therapeutic payments" for their attendance. All of these people have had these payments re-instated.

None of these individuals are employed by Surrey and Boarders Partnership NHS Trust

Please contact me if you require anything further.

Jo Young

Director (PLD), SABP, Ridgewood Centre, Old Bisley Road, Frimley, Surrey. GU16 9QE

T: 01276 605555 M: 07770 876028

..but wait there's more, a legalstic disclaimer that could have been written by the Monty Python team. These people would have made great Nazi's as they are paying lawyers to draft this shit to intimidate their own service users.

Is this the modern face of professional care ?

This e-mail and any files transmitted with it are confidential and are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any use, dissemination or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error please notify the sender and delete it immediately.

Any information, statements or opinions contained in this message (including any attachments) are given by the author. They are not given on behalf of the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust unless subsequently confirmed by an individual, other than the author, who is authorised to represent Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Coventry City Council Bombs on TV over Stingy £3 Cuts

Paul Tovey

BBC Midlands Today have run the Coventry Story about the swingeing cuts of £3k + ref the recycling charity CROW on Teatime TV...

Nina Jones reported :

Barbara Cowling for the Charity has written to all the Councillors in the Coventry Council protesting about the cuts .

Two Service Users on camera spoke up to BBC about their feelings and were unhappy about the situation ..

Councillor Noonan when interviewed put forward the argument that the cuts of £3 a day to the 'workers' was also a measure to help them become independent workers.

Letter from Jill to Karen Wooding of MCCH Ltd


Dear Karen Wooding,

Thank you for your mail of October 25th below.

A short time before your mail I did find out from the Primary Care Trust that MCCH Ltd have been doing a consultation on the Old Moat garden centre and have not yet been awarded a contract to run the place. I understand that a report following your consultation is due in December and I have put in a Freedom of Information Act request for our campaign to see this report as soon as it becomes available.

I am glad to hear that MCCH Ltd have never been involved in a situation where service users become worse off financially as a result of any action you have taken. I hope that therefore your report will recommend the disabled workers at the garden centre receive at least 3 hours employed work paying at least the minimum wage or above each week. This would mean that none of them become financially worse off as a result of any new regime that is adopted at the centre. Less than 3 hours paid work a week and they would be better off continuing to receive their, already derisory, £3 a day payments..

As far as your ‘Paying a Real Wage’ guide is concerned it is the extensive use of volunteer labour that is advocated which I consider to be exploitative rather than a model of good practice as you claim. I think that volunteer labour in these work projects is itself a loophole which is used to avoid paying the minimum wage or above. For example in the guide the project Tuck by Truck is used as a model of good practice. In this project the workload is divided into jobs which pay the minimum wage and jobs which are done by volunteers.. Quoting from the report: ‘ The most significant change was to separate the tasks service users carried out into paid and volunteer jobs, so that working at the base preparing the snack trays, stock rotation, pricing etc would be volunteer work, whereas all aspects of delivering the trays to customers would be paid work.’

From this I see no valid reasons, other than avoiding paying the minimum wage or above, why the work producing snack trays, stock rotation and pricing should go unpaid?

It very much sounds like exploitation to expect this kind of work to be done by disabled people for free and I cannot imagine a situation where non disabled people would be expected to volunteer for such tasks. My thinking that this is exploitation is shared in a government guide which I found on the Valuing People website and keep quoting in this campaign. It reads as follows:

From 'You can work it out. Best practice in employment for people with a learning difficulty’:

"As services seek to help people find more meaningful activities than sitting around in day centres, employment is acknowledged as playing a crucial role in people's lives. But success in getting people in to paid work remains woefully inadequate. Instead, services have created a world based on work for which few people get paid. There is a growing variety of training, social enterprises, work-related projects, work experience and volunteering schemes. There are people who to all intents and purposes are working, but who receive little or no payment.
This is illegal unless there is genuinely no obligation to attend and no obligation to do anything. There are people who are described as volunteering- this conveniently gets around the issue of employment contracts and payments. These situations are exploitative."

This guide can be found at:

On another matter I do appreciate that the Paying a Real Wage guide does go a long way in explaining the rules concerning working and the impact this has on benefits. This has been an area of some confusion and I believe it would be helpful if MCCH Ltd published this information on the web for those who would find it useful. In this campaign the guide is the only document I have had to send for by snail mail and could not just read freely on the internet. Could you please tell me why MCCH Ltd has failed to put the information concerning benefit rules from the guide onto the web?

The useful information about benefits does not detract from the essential problem of exploiting disabled workers by making them work hard as unpaid volunteers. This seems to be a national problem and a recent report suggested disability is widely being used as an excuse not to pay at least the minimum wage or above.

As far as a meeting with MCCH ltd is concerned we are reluctant to do this in view of your refusal to have the meeting taped as we like to have all communications open and up for everyone to see on the campaign site. However there may be much more to discuss once we have seen a copy of your report on the garden centre in December. We would therefore like to leave your offer of a meeting open for the time being.

It has been the consensus of opinion among campaigners to leave the photos on our site up and the reasons for this you can see in the blog comments online.

Finally can I stress that at the camapign we seek to see that any changes at the Old Moat garden centre will be in the best possible interests of the disabled workers.

Yours Sincerely

Jill Goble

> Message Receiv

First Surrey, now Coventry For Shame! :"We earn £3 a day - and we're going to lose that"

By Dayle Crutchlow

PEOPLE with learning disabilities working at a Coventry-based recycling charity are furious over a decision to strip them of their £3-a-day earnings.

John Gatter, Rachel Wells and Andrew Farrington work several days a week at Crow Recycling, in Sparkbrook Street, Hillfields.

And for their efforts, they have been receiving a £3 daily allowance from Coventry City Council.

The Coventry Telegraph reported last week how councillors had voted to scrap that to save money - but the workers say they are being treated unfairly.

Rachel Wells, aged 28, from Bell Green, said: "I'm not happy. I work hard here and I deserve that money."

John Gatter, aged 59, from Chester Street, in Coundon, said: "I think they should still pay us the money.

"People working in factories wouldn't stand for it so why should we? We are more vulnerable."

The workers will also lose their subsidised lunches - council bosses say this will encourage 'independent living'.

John Bolton, director of adult services for the city council, said the cuts were necessary to plug a £2.2million shortfall on next year's budget in learning disabilities.

But centre manager Barbara Cowling described the money it cost to pay Crow Recycling's five placements as "peanuts" and said letters of protest had been sent to all 54 city councillors.

The plans still need to go to full council on December 12.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Letter to Wilhelmina Cox

Letter from Jill to Wilhelmina Cox,PA to Fiona Edwards, Chief Executive of Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust.

Dear Wilhelmina,

Thank you for your email of the 23rd October below. I welcome the offer you make for our campaign to discuss our outstanding issues and concerns with Jo Young. However we also expect our Freedom of Information Act questions to be answered in writing by Fiona Edwards and/or the other relevant managers, as is legally required. We believe that answers to these questions will influence our future discussions with Jo Young and others.

In particular we are still waiting for an answer to the FOIA question asked at your board meeting in September about the number of service users Surrey and Borders Partnership Trust (SABPT) employs and in what positions?

Since writing to you last I have been very disappointed to find out from the Primary Care Trust that a five year contract to run the Priority Enterprises work schemes, excluding the Old Moat Garden Centre, has already been awarded to the Richmond Fellowship, although some of these schemes will not transfer over until next year. I understand this means that the disabled workers £3 a day payments will not be continued and neither will any hope the workers could have had of opportunities to hold down real jobs paying at least the minimum wage or above be fulfilled under the Richmond Fellowship regime. This is one of the reasons our campaign believes that the contract with the Richmond Fellowship is not in the best interests of the disabled workers. I am still waiting to see a detailed copy of this contract that has been awarded to the Richmond Fellowship.

I have also found out from the Primary Care Trust that no contract has yet been awarded to run The Old Moat Garden Centre. MCCH Ltd has been doing a consultation on the centre and their report is due in December. My original FOIA questions asked for details of the accounts of the Priority Enterprises and in particular I want to know details concerning the Old Moat Garden Centre sales figures and running costs. In view of the fact that a contract has not yet been awarded it is essential we see detailed accounts of the Old Moat in order to be able to compare alternative plans for the centre.

Other campaigners such as Mr Des Curley and Mr Paul Tovey have put separate FOIA requests to you and these also need to be answered in writing as is legally required.
As I say, we welcome the opportunity to discuss outstanding matters with Jo Young but we also expect our FOIA questions to be answered in writing as soon as possible bearing in mind that some answers are already months late.

I am sending copies of this mail to Fiona Edwards, Jo Young and other relevant persons.

Yours Sincerely

Jill Goble

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Letter from Surrey County Council NOT explaining how service users were officially manipulated & lied to by SABP & ended up worse off .

3RD floor Grosvenor House
Cross Lanes
Surrey GU1 1FA

30 October 2006

Dear Mr Curley

Transfer of Old Moat Garden Centre

You wrote to David Davis, Chairman of Surrey County Council on 23 October 2006 making a formal complaint about the handling of the externalisation of the work services in East Surrey. As the Head of Service for Mental Health and Learning Disability I have been asked to respond formally to your complaint. Having examined the content of your correspondence I can give you an outline of the involvement of Surrey Council Council and an overview of the process that lead to the externalisation which I hope addresses the issues you raise.

Surrey County Council is the joint commissioner of the work and day services in partnership with the new Surrey Primary Care Trust for the services provided by the NHS Trust as well as those provided by the voluntary sector in East Surrey. The services run by Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust (formally Surrey Oaklands NHS Trust) had been under review for over five years. There was a lack of clear direction for many of the services and the Trust was questioning whether these type of services should be the core business of the NHS. Referrals to the services were low and there was concern about the morale of service users and staff.

There was a concern from Commissioners that these services, although valued by the people who used them, were not meeting many other people’s needs and were not providing best value for money. The services provided by the NHS Trust were part of a much larger service level agreement which made it very difficult to establish accurate reporting and accountability for the services provided.

In our role as joint Commissioners, Surrey County Council and the former East Surrey Primary Care Trust and East Elmbridge & Mid Surrey Primary Care Trust commissioned a review of these services with the intention of re-tendering the services. This in our view was a process that would seek to ensure that services were value for money and of the highest quality for service users. The NHS Trust was eligible to participate in the tendering process but early on in the review process they decided not to do so as they did not see the provision of day and employment services as part of their core business.

Having established the commissioning intentions, the primary drivers behind the change process were to:-

* Gain better outcomes for current and future service users, particularly

o Support to gain and maintain employment
o Support to take part in the local community

* Modernise the services in line with the National Service Framework for Mental Health, the recommendations of the Social Inclusion Unit Report (2004), Valuing People (2001) and Our Health, Our Carer, Our Say White Paper (2006).

* Offer co-ordinated and flexible services which would allow individuals to create their own care and support pathways

* Be more responsive to individual’s needs in local areas, ensuring equality of access and an increased range and choice of services

* Attract new funding sources

* Bring in specialists in the area of employment from the voluntary sector building partnerships with the voluntary sector in line with Surrey Compact

* Involve service users and carers in the design, running and evaluation of services.

A Work Services Commissioning Group was established to oversee the change process comprising of representatives from the main organisations including service user and carer representation. Surrey County Council was represented on the Group by Donal Hegarty (Policy & Commissioning Manager, Adult Mental Health & Substance Misuse Services). This Group advertised for a Project Manager and following formal interviews Helen Lockett was appointed.

The Work Services Commissioning Group oversaw the review of the services, the development of new commissioning specifications, the tender process which was lead by Surrey County Council, the shaping of the final proposal and the public consultation process. Service users and carers were involved in the interviews for the Project Manager, developing the new service specifications, evaluating the tender submissions and shaping the final proposal.

The Work Services Commissioning Group also took the case for change to Surrey County Council Procurement Review Group (December 2004), the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (November 2005), East Surrey Primary Care Trust Board Meeting (November 2005) and Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust Board (January 2006).

In terms of the concerns you raised about monitoring the new Contracts we now have clear commissioning specifications which are based on what service users and Carers told us they wanted from the services. All contracts have delivery targets which include regular service evaluation. The recent appointment of a NHS Commissioning Manager for Mental Health in East Surrey will strengthen the performance monitoring process.

You also raised concerns about Helen Lockett and her past work with MCCH, particularly the Paying a Wage Guide. The Work Services Commissioning Group was fully aware of the curriculum vitea (CV) of Helen Lockett and were particularly impressed with her work with Bob Groves who acted as her Mentor throughout ( he's actually her line manager at SCMH ) the project management. Bob Groves is a national expert on employment issues and as such we were delighted with Helen’s appointment as Project Manager. For your clarification Helen was not involved in the evaluation of the tenders or the selection of any of the new providers.

With regard to the assertion that the organisations are making a profit from the work, can I reassure you that the new voluntary sector providers are all not for profit providers and all their spend on services is both transparent and accountable.

Finally Surrey County Council and Surrey Primary Care Trust are committed to ensuring this service becomes a model of good practice in Surrey raising the profile of work opportunities for vulnerable people with mental health problems,. That is why we have committed to a five year contract with Richmond Fellowship and any comparisons with service cuts in Swindon are not relevant to the situation in Surrey.

I apologise for the rather lengthy and detailed response but I felt it was important that I addressed all the issues you raised demonstrating that the externalisation of the work service in East Surrey was a transparent and inclusive process that will benefit vulnerable service users with mental health problem both in the short and long term

I hope this response addresses all the issues you raised but if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Dave Sargeant

Head of Service - Mental Health & Learning Disability

Families Directorate – Adult Services

Cc David Davis, Chairman SCC

Andrew Webster, Strategic Director for Families (for information)

Sally Marks, CC & Executive Member (for information)

Donal Hegarty, Policy & Commissioning Manager, Adult MH (for information)

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