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.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Surrey PCT FOIA Request Update

I received this email from Surrey PCT this morning :

From: Wendy Lockwood
Date: 25-Jan-2007 20:24
Subject: FOI enquiry

Thank you for your enquiry submitted via our web site which has been passed on as a matter of urgency to our Freedom of Information manager,Juliana Luxton and Director of Communications and Corporate Mananager,Helena Reeves who are now responsible for Surrey PCT FOI requests, and those relating to our predecesor organisations. Both can be contacted at their surrey pct e-mail address

We will reivew our current front page freedom of information button to take account of the logo.

Yours sincerely,

Hope this helps.

Radio 4 Program asks People to Explain How NHS is Wasting Money

Radio 4's Today programme this morning asked people who work within the NHS or have a good idea of how it works to contact the programme with details of how the NHS is wasting public money.

The Surrey & Borders NHS Trust has wasted tens of thousands on its botched Work Services Reforms and this is an ideal opportunity to flag up how the Trust has squandered public money through managerial incompetence and lined the pockets of an unscrupulous ' Consultants' for no good end.

Contact the BBC Today programme

Start a discussion on the Today Message Board

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Translating Logos into Action

I received the following mail from Jill Goble to Diane Woods , Service Manager for the East Surrey PCT. in which Jill repeats that she is still waiting for answers to questions she raised with Diane under Freedom of Information Legislation in October 2006. I note that the East Surrey PCT's website displays the Freedom of Information Logo prominently on its home page reproduced below.

The Freedom of Information Logo is displayed in a very prominent position isnt it? The East Surrey PCT is now part of the Surrey PCT which for some reason doesnt have the Freedom of Information displayed anywhere on its site.

Hope this helps speed up the response you are entitled to Jill.

Dear Diane Woods,

I refer you to my mail below which was sent back in October. The only reply from you I have received is a blank 32 page contract in the postal mail which I guessed was the contract awarded to the Richmond Fellowship. I have not received any answer to my freedom of information act questions in the mail below. I am supposed to receive a reply to such questions in 20 days and so the answers are now very late indeed.

I telephoned you the week before last and had to leave a message on your answephone but you have not replied to that either.

I am now concerned that our campaign has not received a copy of the MCCH Ltd report which was due out in December and which you told me on the phone in October I could obtain as soon as it became available. I also wanted to know what opportunities there would be for further consultation concerning the best plans for the Old Moat garden centre before any contract is awarded?

Please can you answer my FOIA questions below, send me a copy of the MCCH report and gives me the details I have requested without further delay.

Yours Sincerely

Jill Goble

To Diane Woods, Service Manager, East Surrey PCT.

Dear Diane Woods,

Referring to the telephone conversation I had with you on Friday October 20th I am writing to confirm the following details.

First that you told me there is currently no contract with MCCH Ltd to run The Old Moat Garden Centre but that they are doing a report on the options for this centre which will be with you in about a month. You agreed that I could obtain a copy of this report from you when it becomes available. I would also like to know what will happen once the report becomes available and what measures will be taken to ensure that there is sufficient consultation with services users, carers and other concerned parties before any contract is awarded? Will it be possible to make any representations concerning alternative options for the Garden Centre as we have already done to Ms Fiona Edwards, Chief Executive of Surrey and Borders Partnership Trust, who currently run the centre? Where and to whom can we make these representations and what group of staff will be responsible for ultimately awarding the contract? Will the option to keep the Old Moat , as an NHS service, which could be managed and run by service users themselves, be considered?

Secondly I confirm that you told me that The Richmond Fellowship have already been awarded a 5 year contract to run the other work schemes in the current Priority Enterprises although Queens Park, Craft and Art Matters and Assembly Matters will not transfer over to them until next year. You said that as a Freedom of Information Request you will email me a copy of the contract with the sensitive information taken out and that it is based on the Task Force/3rd Sector Model Document designed by the Department of Health. You said that the £3 a day payments to the workers which Ms Fiona Edwards at SABP has recently agreed to reinstate will not be continued by the Richmond Fellowship and that it is argued these are discriminatory and against the minimum wage act in themselves. My argument is that the contract with the Richmond Fellowship is not in the best interests of the disabled service users because it does not create any new job opportunities which pay at least the minimum wage or above and expects them to work as unpaid labour as volunteers in the kind of work non disabled people would not be expected to do for free. But because the Richmond Fellowship are a charity there are few rules to prevent long hours spent volunteering and the following guide from the government also supports the view that these schemes are exploitative :

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:

There are many other reasons why our campaign does not think that the contract with the Richmond Fellowship is in the best interests of the disabled service users and our objections can be found in detail on the campaign site at

Thirdly I quoted to you part of a document by Helen Lockett written in May 2006 which confirms that the contract with Richmond Fellowship would go ahead and that:

'The implementation and continued operation of these new services will be monitored through the performance framework by the PCT Commissioning Manager and through the Work Services Operational Group (WSOG) which reports to the Local Implementation Team'.

You confirmed that Emmanuel Gbetuwa Mental Health Commissioning Manager is on the WSOG group which is made up of people from each of the providers but you did not say if the reports that they make are public? I am still confused about how the new contract with the Richmond Fellowship is going to be monitored and hope you can give me more detailed information about how we can be kept informed about this and how we can make representations we consider necessary concerning the implementation and monitoring of the contract?

Fourthly we are concerned by a project on the Richmond Fellowship website which they run in Swindon .. This states that they are running out of funding and will have to cut back the project unless they find alternative providers. Are the services in Surrey also in danger of this happening? Can you please give me detailed information about the funding arrangements for the Richmond Fellowship regarding these new contracts as well as the amounts Surrey will be paying both to commission the services and to place service users in the projects once they are running?

Finally we are wondering about the role of Surrey County Council in the externatisation of these services. The contracts officer I spoke to at Surrey County Council told me that they currently do not want to take over the contract with the Richmond Fellowship from the Primary Care Trust.

Please can you treat all my questions as Freedom of Information Act enquiries and can I also thank you for your response to my phone call on Friday which gave us some clear information which previously we had found it very difficult to obtain despite all our enquiries and FOIA requests to Surrey and Borders NHS Partnership Trust and others including MCCH Ltd.

Yours Sincerely

Jill Goble

I can also be contected on

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Culture of Drugs and Neglect On Ward

Mistreatment of its Garden Centre Workers isnt the only thing the Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust seems to be hitting the headlines over recently as this story , flagged up by a regular contributor in the comments section, comes from the Woking New & Mail



THE mentally ill are abusing cocaine and alcohol in a psychiatric unit serving Woking, a former patient claimed this week.

Contrary to policy at Chertsey’s Abraham Cowley Unit, staff leave patients unattended for days and fail to search them as they enter, the patient said.

The woman, who spent six days at the unit in October and asked to be identified only as Sarah, said patients snorted lines of cocaine in their beds and boasted of possessing cannabis and vodka during her stay on the unit’s Blake Ward.

“I was horrified,” said Sarah, who lives in Woking. “There was a young lad in there in his early 20s who was going out for an hour’s leave every day and was bringing back a litre of vodka and coke.

“One guy I was talking to said he had cocaine and cannabis. Apparently he and his friend did a line of cocaine each in their dorm in Blake Ward.”

Cocaine, cannabis and alcohol are all known to exacerbate schizophrenia and depression — conditions commonly treated at the unit. Sarah, who suffers from depression, was admitted after she took an overdose — her third attempt on her life — in October.

She said: “I went in from A and E at a weekend and I was in a terrible state. I felt that I had just been dumped there. I hardly saw any staff. No one searched my bags, I could have had anything with me, sharp objects — anything. Even though I was told at A and E I would be looked after I was just dumped there until the weekend was over.”

Sarah said patients were left to their own devices and staff rarely strayed from their office to attend to them. “It was disgusting,” she said. “A girl in my dorm told me she was going to drink a bottle of vodka and overdose she was so distraught. She lay in her bed for two days and nobody checked on her.

“It’s totally inhumane. All they do is dope them up on drugs. They treat them like animals. The staff spent most of their time just sitting in the office talking to each other. How can they write up notes when they have no interaction with their patients?”

Sarah’s husband visited her at the unit every day she was there and said he too was horrified by what he saw. He said: “The patients were drinking and taking drugs. I talked to some of the other patients and they said it was nice to sit down and talk to someone.

“When I was there, X Factor was on the TV and all the staff came out of their office and started watching it but they didn’t talk to any of their patients. I couldn’t believe it.” Sarah and her husband contacted the News and Mail after they read our report last week about the death of schizophrenic John Hughes at the hospital in July 2005.

At his inquest, Surrey coroner Michael Burgess raised concerns over the level of care provided at the unit at weekends. Matron Audrey Keats said new policies governing the recording of health checks on patients had been implemented since Mr Hughes’s death.

Chief executive of Surrey and Borders Partnership Trust Fiona Edwards extended her sympathy to Mr Hughes’s family on Monday, a week after the inquest. She said since his death, “the trust has carried out a thorough review of the way his care was delivered and changes have been made based on the lessons learnt from this tragic incident.”

Following the fresh accusations of negligence at the Abraham Cowley Unit, a spokesman said the trust was “extremely concerned”. He said the trust has a “clearly expressed policy of zero tolerance” towards illegal drugs and alcohol and the allegations would be “thoroughly” investigated.

- Have you experienced life in the Abraham Cowley Unit? Call the newsdesk on 01483 755755 or email

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Make it Easy On Yourselves

Mandy makes a very good point under the comments section about the need for people campaigning for change to make sure that they look after themselves as well.

We have seen over the last 6 or 7 months that the Chief Executive and management of the Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust really dont care that they are dealing with people with MH issues and/or learning difficulties as making sure that the Trust gets its way , no matter how dumb and unthrough it is, is all and heaven help anyone who gets in the way, whether they have disabilities or not.

Well, the reality is we cant make these bureaucrats change their ways but we can sometimes make campaigning to make other people more aware of what they are up to easier on ourselves and more like fun than hard work.

I've created a SABP Toolbar - click on toolbar image in the footer section of this blog to download and install - that includes a dedicated search function, RSS feeds, streaming music, links to friendly sites and a simple messaging facility. This toolbar will sit in your browser and allow you to easilly check out stuff and listen to music as you surf .

Try it out , share it around. Give Surrey and Borders some more free advertising and if you want anything included in the toolbar , different feeds, a different type of music station, a link to your site or blog, etc, just holler.

Maybe even create your own toolbar to share your interests and concerns.

Have a great weekend everyone and take it easy .

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bungling, Deliberate Dithering & Mismanagement Not Unique to SABP

Mandy , a regular contributor to our comments section and accomplished and witty MH blog Tzarina recently got the following letter published in her local newspaper. The letter , which is self explanatory , indicates that the bungling , dithering and mismanagement we've seen over the Surrey & Borders Garden Centre is not unique .

Well done for getting this published Mand and for reminding us that the local press is another way of getting the message out there. Stay well.

From Luton On Sunday Letters Page.

Letters to the editor

Mental health concerns

Madam – I was disgusted when reading the article informing readers that Tennyson Road will be closed down due to bickering between PCTs and Luton Borough Council over who is paying what. It smacks of utter incompetence and territorial behaviour by each of the three funding agencies who appear unable to speak to each other in ways that are beneficial to those on the receiving end of their decisions.

PCTs are always complaining that the government ties their hands and doesn’t allow them to make local decisions.

Well, no wonder because it has taken three years of non decision making to get to this point.

Those in power, who have abused it, should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves and be made more accountable for their decisions.

Mandy Lawrence By email

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mikki Elvin - the Winds Whistling

Over the holidays I learned that a colourful Birmingham UK mental health activist named Michael ' Mikki' Elvin had died in November of cancer.

Apart from the shock of hearing that Mikki - the name he preferred to use - had died I was, even as someone who had got on the wrong side of him a few times, really concerned that Mikki's body and personal belongings had been laying in a morgue for months because council officials had not been able to trace his next of kin .

Beyond the sheer human tragedy of this I was also concerned because Mikki Elvin had chaired the Birmingham, the UK's second largest city, MH Patient and Public Involvment Forum, and this had resulted in him getting embroiled in a year long wrangle with the Commission for Patient and Public Involvment ,the Government quango that oversees the management of the national PPI Forum structure, at the same time as he was involved in legal action against Birmingham City Council Social Services trying to access basic MH services.

How on earth does meaningful Patient and Public Involvment result in this horrendous outcome?

The system invited Mikki to contribute as a patient but as soon as he became overly critical or unwell it lost sight of him as a patient and person and simply labelled him as a problem to be swatted and squashed. The CPPIH and Birmingham City Council lawyers had no problem digging up dirt on Mikki in the courts or behind the scenes but services made no effort to find out anything about him.

Where was the care and support for this man?

This is a scandal and there should be an independent inquiry to establish whether the way the CPPIH and Birmingham City Council treated Mikki as a problem and failed to support him as a patient contributed to his death. I strongly suspect that it did.

Mikki's website Jarmi is still online. Let the man speak for himself.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Civil Rights in the 21st Century

One of the things that this new technology does is allow anyone with a blog or website to check out who is taking an interest in their blog, site or, in this case, campaign and while browsing the log of site visitors recently I noticed we had interest from New York that resolved back to a Columbia University IP. Looking further I saw that the referring page was a lesson plan for Teaching matters which used this blog as an example of a citizen media campaign.

Teaching matters is a non-profit professional development organization that partners with educators to improve public schools, it is involved with over 600, and uses technology in the classroom to prepare teachers and their students for 21st century learning and achievement.Check out Teaching Matters Voices and Choices : Civil Rights,

the third unit of the Voices & Choices series , Social Studies for our 21st Century Democracy

I thought long and hard about whether to mention this as the 'us studying you studying us' thing may well weird some people out but then reasoned that two of the things that the Teaching Matters staff are clearly trying to instill into 8th grade students ( I hope I have the grades right here ) are that:

1.) how this technology works and can be used by just about anyone needs to be properly understood including the fact , flagged up by the Director of Teaching Matters below, that online learning materials are living documents

and , 2) the whole business of civil rights is a complex and ongoing set of relationships and questions not a passive dead academic subject like Latin ( apologies for anyone learning Latin ) but something very much alive and abroad in the world that, whether students realise it now or not, will almost certainly touch upon their own lives and life opportunities at some point.

As one of the people who has felt passionate enough about the issues campaigned about on this blog to keep posting away pushing for change ( yes , I often question why we bother to as well ) all I can objectively say to help anyone reading this blog develop their own ideas about civil rights is that often issues are not as clear cut as we think they are and that we really need to look at problems in the world - and there is no shortage of them - from as many different perspectives as we possibly can to try to figure out what is right and wrong and always be prepared to take on board new ideas and what the other guy says.

What other people think and have to say is really important , even if they totally disagree with us and we think that they are the problem as they are the people we need to convince and get onside if we think we have a solution on how to put right an injustice or to help uphold a group or individuals civil or human rights and we want them to understand and help us solve the problem.

The last word though goes to an old teacher who, although very meek in personality herself, took a passionate interest in teaching her students about making up their own minds . She had two words of advice for them. ' Question Authority'.

I'll let people figure out for themselves why she thought that her students should get into the habit of doing this and whether it is a good idea to or not.

And to all the guys from New York, good luck with your studies and lives.

New Year's Resolution

We are well into the New Year now but all the holidaying and partying at the taxpayers expense appears to have taken its toll on the Chief Executive , Directors and managers of the Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS MH Trust as none of them seem able to provide any meaningful information about the future of the old moat garden centre and its workers.

MCCH Ltd must have been invited to all the same parties as well as they were due to complete a report on the old moat garden centre in mid December but I suppose all those mince pies and thoughts of expensive gifts from their loved ones, commissioning bodies and contractual partners must have been a bit distracting.....

So what is the future for the old moat garden centre and its workers in 2007?

Is the Trust going to bother to let anybody know?

We'd certainly like Surrey & Borders, MCCH Ltd and all those involved in the commissioning of the so called ' modernisation' of the Trust's work services to start meaningfully sharing information with its workers, their carers and families and other patients and members of the public who have expressed concern about what is going on.

The Trust has now had over 6 months to come clean and it is both tragic and annoying that for the majority of that time Trust Chief Executive Fiona Edwards , her managers and the movers and shakers behind MCCH Ltd and the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health have sought to conceal information from members of the public , information such as who got paid to do what, how much they got paid, what they actually did for that money and why if this public expenditure was fully justified and for a deserving and necessary end, an additional project , paid for by the public again of course, had to be setup after widespread condemnation of the outcome of modernisation on the garden centre and other disabled people involved with the Trust's work services.

To recap on that widespread condemnation in case the bureaucrats are still hungover from all their partying, a Surrey MP and local newspapers joined with service users and members of the public to condemn the decision to impoverish the garden centre workers in the name of modernisation as cruel and mean.

Since then the Trust has been asked to explain what guarantees are going to be in place to ensure that those people who are working at the garden centre receive the national minimum wage. The Trust has not answered this question.

The Trust has been asked to provide a viable business plan for the garden centre. It has declined to share its plans for the centre with us.

We have also asked what guarantees are in place to ensure that modernisation will not simply result in the Trust palming its work services off to charities like MCCH Ltd and the Richmond Fellowship which have a history of having disabled people work for nothing. The Trust has not answered this question.

Because of the involvment of Helen Lockett and Dr Bob Groves from the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health we have also asked what guarantees will be in place to ensure that modernisation doesnt simply result in service users being targetted to get them off benefits to hit Government targets

The Trust has not answered this question either.

We have also asked, just as importantly , what non-work related services are going to be kept in place for service users whose MH problems or learning difficulties rule out regular mainstream work ? The Trust has not answered this question.

There are many other questions that the Trust has ducked and weaved to avoid answering over the last six months.

We'd like to see the Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS MH Trust turn over a new leaf this year and introduce a culture of sharing information and putting the needs of its service users first. Is this too much to hope for?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Lockett in Pocket

From: Woods Diane (5P5) Surrey PCT
To: Paul Tovey
Cc: Duthie Angela (5P5) Surrey PCT
Sent: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 3:29 PM
Subject: RE: Freedom Of Information Request

Dear Mr Tovey

For this programme of work 3 organisations/contractors were interviewed. Helen Lockett along with sessions from her affiliated Sainsbury Centre colleague, who are national leaders in this field, were selected. The rate of pay would have been compared in this process and have come in comparable to the other applicants.

The total amount paid for this consultancy was £41,170.20 over the period February 2005 to March 2006 this is inclusive of travel expenses which is the only other cost incurred by the consultant.



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