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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Comment on Disability Charity & User Involvment from Peter Beresford

Peter Beresford is Professor of Social Policy at Brunel University and a long-term service user.

The Remploy Closures: Disabled people, segregation and the small matter of user involvement

Hurray! Three cheers. Drinks all round. Some more segregated employment to close. Remploy is shutting down a number of its workshops for disabled people. The big disability charities – that is to say those longstanding charities for, rather than controlled by disabled people – are applauding and supporting the closures.

Admittedly, not so long ago they were praising the benefits of such segregated provision (some indeed still offering such services themselves). They were also criticising the disabled people’s movement for calling for an end to segregation. Now though they are on the side of the angels - and who knows what government money this might free to come in their direction.

Or is it really all as simple as this? How come some trade unionists and some disabled people, included disabled people employed by Remploy aren’t so keen on the closures? Do they need consciousness raising, some additional empowerment perhaps ? Do they need to have their internalised oppression further challenged? Again, I don’t think it is quite as simple as that.

Because yet again what we are seeing is policy being developed and implemented without another key principle which the disabled people’s movement has long campaigned for – the active and effective involvement of disabled people, other service users and their organisations.

The fact is that we are yet again seeing top-down paternalistic policy at work. Admittedly the rhetoric is right-on, but the traditional non-user controlled charities have become increasingly skilled, as disabled people increasingly argue, at voicing disabled people’s demands, if not necessarily so good at embodying them, themselves.

This policy shift can be seen to follow from broader government policy, committed to moving people from welfare to mainstream employment, as well as the EU’s direction of travel.

No matter about the nature of the mainstream labour market and employment conditions. No discussion about how discriminatory and excluding these still are. No questioning of the benefit traps many service users will continue to be placed in. No guarantees for the people who will be out of a job. No consideration of the pressure to be in a job, any job, regardless of its nature, conditions or quality. No mention of he real and justifiable anxieties disabled people will have because they may not be able to work full-time (or indeed any time) in the harsh world of modern employment practices.

No suggestion that workplaces like Remploy, for all their ideological limitations, might have a place to serve in some people’s lives, where they can contribute alongside others and earn some sort of a crust (albeit not enough) - until some really serious work is done to make open employment truly inclusive, accessible and non-disabling.

There is a big principle here. When people have half a loaf – don’t just take it away, as is now happening, both with Remploy and indeed many more day centres. Instead involve them fully and equally in the process of working to ensure that they can have a whole loaf - like non-disabled people – a truly inclusive, flexible and humanistic labour market and other alternatives. Don’t shut down an existing inferior arrangemenet until you guarantee for everyone the mainstream options all should have a right to.

Peter Beresford is dead right to raise questions about the top down decision making of the disability charitites over the closure of Remploy's factories but he falls foul of his own argument in assuming that the gurantee of 'mainstream options for all as of right' is a realistic or even desirable proposition.

I think its a pretty unrealistic goal .

Peter is honest but a bit niave in expecting ' user involvment ' to ever amount to anything more than the few most able service users being accepted by service providers as having a right to speak on behalf of all other service users. There again, Peter is someone who functions very well in the ' mainstream ' , which is not a fault, but of course it is natural for him to want , desire and possibly even expect everyone else to be capable of his'mainstream' capability and stability as well.

One 'mainstream' loaf for all makes a great political slogan unfortunately its also a pretty unrealistic one for some people whose disabilities dont make them as marketable , stable or independent as Peter is.

Fight Club

Embattled Mind Director Paul Farmer has recently taken a hiding over the autocratic and discriminatory way he runs his charity's business, including cowardly laying into to the Remploy workers. The charity's head office isnt open today again , out of respect to funders and its service users obviously , but we caught up with Farmer in the ring of the Lame Duck public house a few doors down from Mind's palatial offices in Stratford East London to give you the opportunity to strike back at this useless bureaucrat.

To hit back remember its A = left jab D = right jab and S = upper cut. Presss space bar to block but watch Farmer , he fights dirty...

Press start to play.

Here's what the creep looked like when I'd finished with him...

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Documenting a Way of Life and Resisting

If you actually look at a map of the planned Remploy Factory closures it looks pretty grim.

The politicians, managers and disability charities who insisted upon the Remploy factory closures can explain away their actions in fancy words but once you see the nationwide closures visaully mapped out , you really grasp the sheer scale of the problem and the impact the closures are most likely to have upon the workers and their families.

Many of the names on the map mean nothing to me but they'll mean an awful lot to the Remploy workers who have worked in these places for years and their families, friends and people living in their communities.

A few posts back, Gillian shared her memories of working at the Remploy print works in Sharston for 17 years in the comments section which got me to thinking that as well as disrupting and potentially ending many disabled peoples working lives, these proposed closures do something else, they threaten to brush away a whole supportive working culture and history just like that.

From personal experience I know that when something socially established is broken , particularly in a top down way, the first thing to go is the supportive links between people.

One of the ways of resisting closures and making sure that this does not happen here is for people to use free resources like the photographic site Flickr ,personal video sites like Youtube and Social Network applications like Facebook and Ning to sustain the links people have at Remploy and document and create a living and lasting record of their Remploy workplaces , their work, the friendships they have developed there and the whole way of life the top down decision making of the Government and six disability charities on the Remploy Taskforce now threaten to wipe off the map.

Dont let them do that.

The 'Remploy Factory Closures' map is a public map. The map placements can be populated with text,images, video, weblinks, etc. and the map itself was created with Google My Maps and embedded with My Maps Plus

Friday, May 25, 2007

Charities Get Wake Up Call

A year ago I wrote to the UK national mental health charity Mind, which recently sat on the Remploy Taskforce and supported massive factory closures and job losses 'on behalf' of Remploy's disabled workers , and politely asked why its Director Paul Farmer wasnt blogging what Mind was doing to keep its service users , donors and supporters abreast of what the organisation was up to and enable them to inform the charity's decisions.

It was a good question.

It went unanswered though because Mr Farmer, who has boasted in the national press about his ambition to transform Mind into the UK's foremost MH service provider, does not view making his charity accountable to the people he gets funded to provide services for and serve as part of his job description. The assumption is , Mind can be a largescale service provider and represent the interests of its service users.

That's a pretty unrealistic assumption.

The GMB Union has taken up the case of the Remploy workers Mind and the five other disability charities on the Remploy Taskforce helped decide out of their jobs . One union leader expressed his disgust at the way these charities made top down decisions about the workers without even talking to them.

People should not be suprised by this though as many MH and learning difficulties charities operate in this arrogant and patronising top down way. Unfortunately , the Paul Farmers of this world think they know whats best for disabled people. He'll talk to the press at the drop of a hat but not to the people his charity is funded to serve.

Well, thats about to change as Project Agape has just launched 'Causes' on Facebook , a popular social network with 20 million plus users, which enables good causes to directly raise money from their supporters but just as important, because of the nature of social networks, it also allows people who support causes to find out and question what organisations , groups and individuals are actually doing with the money donated to them.

If I'm giving money to a charity, I want to be able to ask what its going to be used for , to get the views of its intended beneficiaries and make sure that my money gets to them rather than vanishes in staff salaries , perks and bureaucracy along the way.

Facebooks 'Causes' network and hopefully, copycat social applications like it should enable grassroots organisations to get a look in as well. This is crucially important as many of the big disability charities now sit on Government advisory bodies and simply roll out Government policy to secure Government contracts . Local causes often dont get any exposure or funding at all because the media and larger grant awarding bodies find it easier to thrust attention and cash at the corporates without much scrutiny or any real auditing for effectiveness.

I just tried to contact Mind, which describes itself as the 'UK's leading MH charity ', from the contact details on its website and got sent to a standalone MH infoline in Manchester where an operator begrudgingly told me ' it wasnt a switchboard ' and after a bit of grumbling gave me the number of Carol Bradbury, Mind's administrator , 0208 2152207 but every time I called I was sent straight to an answering machine.

Professional organisations often guarantee to answer calls within a certain amount of rings. I've been trying to contact Mind for hours. Its pointless phoning them. Mind doesnt want to hear what you have to say!

A national charity thats basically uncontactable!

It's very easy to see how Mind and other charities drift towards representing the interests and career prospects of those who work for them .

Mind national office is also closed now until Wednesday. Monday is a national holiday in the UK, Mind's staff are just taking the Tuesday off because they can. It's pretty contemptuous of those who fund Mind or may find themselves needing to contact them isnt it?

Now imagine if the six charities on the Remploy Taskforce had been accountable to the people they claimed to be acting on behalf of.

Imagine if the 2000 odd disabled Remploy workers whose jobs Mind helped decide away had been able to speak directly to that charity's funders about the audacity and unfairness of Mind supporting that decision on their behalf.

This is a disruptive. The charity sector just got dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century and Paul Farmer volunteered himself as the selfish unacceptable face of the disability charity sector as he clearly lacks the imagination to move his organisation forward and put the needs of the people it claims to serve first, because if he had his blog would be attracting additional interest in MH issues and funding and Mind would be promoting itself on Facebook's Causes network instead of gearing up for the extra paid days holiday Paul Farmer and his corporate executives obviously think they deserve.

Well relax and enjoy the break Mr Farmer, you made it on to the causes page anyway.

Here are the names of the other charities and organisations connected with the Remploy Taskforce.

Disability Rights Commission
Papworth Trust
Work Directions
Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health

I am copying this to Mind and the Charity Commission as a formal complaint. If Mind , which is currently celebrating its 60th anniversary , simply wants to be the UK's biggest MH service provider that's great but people need to know that it does not represent the interests of people with MH issues it makes money off them as essentially its not a charity its a business with charitable status.

I have invited Paul Farmer to respond .


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Garden Centre Update II

I spoke to Emmanuel from Surrey & Borders PCT yesterday morning and he re-confirmed what Jill found out earlier in the year, that the Richmond Fellowship now wanted to take on the Old Moat Garden Centre again despite orginally pulling out because they did not want to work with people with learning difficulties .

Emmanuel confirmed that the Richmond Fellowship had very little experience working with this group and told me that the charity had submitted new proposals - presumably explaining their change of heart and new plans for the centre - that he was going to try to make available to keep the renegotiation of the contract open and transparent. He said he would get back to me on this over the next couple of days.

There is a shocking back story here though. According to Emmanuel , Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (SCMH) 'disability employment expert' Dr Bob Groves who was involved in advising the Remploy Taskforce and Surrey and Borders on ' Modernisation ' of work services , has been pushing ' Mainstream ' in the Remploy case but advising here to establish a voluntary sector ' training and employment ' scheme at the garden centre restricted to one disability group!

The centre has traditionally been a 80/20 mental health/learning disabilities client split without any problems so in effect Dr Groves and his colleague Dr Helen Lockett have been talking up how everyone with disabilities can be catapaulted into the Mainstream jobs market to suit their, SCMH's and the Governments politically correct agenda but advising charities behind the scenes to abandon any pan-disability approach for the ' cause'.

For those new to this blog, the Old Moat Garden Centre hasnt actually been employing anyone or paying the national minimum wage , it has had the NHS Trust's and local Social Services service users using the centre long term for ' training ' or ' therapeutic activity ' purposes and has being paying them £3 a day and 'Modernisation' was, in theory, supposed to turn the centre into a more dynamic training and employment scheme run by the voluntary sector purely focussed on getting people into mainstream work.

The problem is , these schemes have a record of not getting people into any kind of work or worse, getting people into unsustainable mainstream jobs that fall through and screw up peoples benefits and lives. They tend to keep the charities who run them , usually with some DWP money, well funded though.

We've camapaigned to have the centre run properly so it provides real sustainable work paid at the national minimum wage upwards for those who want and are able to undertake it, provides quality training on the same basis and continues to provide therapeutic activities and support so that NHS service users - the centre is an NHS resource remember - have the widest range of choices and the centre remains a viable community resource.

It's taken Dr Bob Groves of the SCMH, the Surrey and Borders MH Trust, the Surrey PCT , the Richmond Fellowship and MCCH a year to get to the point where they've figured out that the Old Moat Garden Centre has a mixed client group!!!

Groves , who is ultimately responsible for this farce, has just supported mass factory closures across the country at Remploy in favour of politically correct Government policy when he and the major disability charities have no evidence that all disabled people or even large numbers of them can be seamlessly inserted into sustainable mainstream jobs.

I am sure that many disabled people can, already do and want to work in mainstream employment however its reckless and cruel to just ignore disabled peoples circumstances and needs and just try to catapault them at mainstream jobs to suit some narrow political agenda.

There should have been one definite job loss over the Remploy issue, Dr Bob Groves job as he clearly failed to inform people of the local difficulties he was having here planning to 'transform' just one garden centre smack bang in the centre of the stockbroker belt, the most affluent area in Britain .

Perhaps the GMB should hire a good lawyer to get their proposals given the same weight as Dr Bob's bulshit......

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Remploy Factory Closures

Today Remploy announced cost-cutting plans to close 43 of its factories across Britain. A total of 32 of Remploy's 83 factories will close and a further 11 will merge with other sites under the cuts. Remploy said 2,270 disabled people and 280 non-disabled workers would be affected by the closures in England and Scotland and Wales.

Remploy says it wants to place 2,270 disabled people into mainstream employment.

Unions called for the sites to stay open and criticised six disability charities who have backed the closures.

Phil Davies, national officer for the GMB union, said: "We do not accept this level of closures and we will fight to maintain the current factory network.

"The trade unions do not accept the financial arguments that have been put forward and we are concerned at the way the company has conducted itself in the last few weeks, including leaking information to the media."

Mr Davies also accused six charities which had supported closure plans of acting in a "despicable manner".

Mencap, Mind, Radar, Scope, Leonard Cheshire and the Royal National Institute of Deaf People have said disabled people were more likely to have fulfilling lives by working in an "inclusive environment".

Mr Davies said unions would consult their members but he raised the prospect of a national industrial action ballot across workers at the 83 factories.

A group of Remploy workers protesting outside the news conference. held banners saying "save our factories".

Les Woodward, a disabled worker based in Swansea, said: "We feel frustrated and totally betrayed by the company and the government.

"This has come as a complete shock to us all - we did not expect such decimation. They have declared war on us."

The following Remploy factories will close under the plans:
Aberdare, Aberdeen, Abertillery, Aintree, Ashington, Bradford, Bridgend, Brixton (London), Halifax, Hartlepool, Hillington (Glasgow), Hull, Leatherhead, Leicester, Lydney (Forest of Dean), Manchester, Mansfield, Medway, Pinxton (Derbyshire), Plymouth, Poole, St Helens, Southend, Spennymoor, Stockton, Treforest, Wigan, Wisbech, Wishaw (Lanarkshire), Worksop, Wrexham and York.

The following factories will merge with another site: Barnsley, Birkenhead, Brynamman, Jarrow, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Pontefract, Redruth, Southampton, Stockport, Woolwich (London) and Ystradgynlais.

A final decision on their fate will be taken later this year.

Source BBC News Website

Garden Centre Contract Update

I phoned Surrey PCT at 14.00 this afternoon for an update on the Old Moat Garden Centre contracts situation and was told someone would phone me back but no one bothered to.

The uncertainty over the future of the garden centre as a workplace , training centre , therapeutic resource and asset to the local community has dragged on for a year now so lets hope we get some clarity from the PCT some time soon.

I'm personally not very confident that the authorities can embrace the flexible varying status and multiple usage model that would be required to offer Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust's service users the greatest choice in training , employment and therapuetic activities here. And yes, its very complex and that's why these decisions should be openly discussed rather than dragged out over a year and decided by a group of ' experts' in a top down secretive way.

This 'Modernisation ' process has not been a local matter, it has been directed by quack academics who are operating at a national level with absolutely no boundaries between them, the DWP and the Government quango NIMHE. This process has also followed a national policy dictated from above that has been signed up to by most MH and LD charities which now have a vested interest as service providers themselves as they are picking up contracts from the state sector rather than keeping a healthy distance to ensure their independence and professional objectivity as registered charities.

In this way, some of the major disability charities are just becoming tools of Government . The Remploy workers had this fact driven home to them today.

If you want to chase up, the Surrey PCT the General Office and Enquiry number is 01372 227300 and the person to speak to is Dianne Woods. Perhaps someone will return your call.


Monday, May 21, 2007

A Message to Mr Brown

Dear Gordon,

Well you have finally made head boy so when are you going to rein in the excesses of the brutal 'Wide Boy' Britain Tony Blair has encouraged over the last decade? Excesses that allowed people like Surrey & Borders NHS Partnership Trust Chief Executive Fiona Edwards and her Board to vote to cut her disabled garden centre workers pitiful £3 a day payments.

Apparently they were so full of their political ' Modernisation' dogma at the time to realise that what they were doing was pretty disgusting. They relented and reversed their decision eventually of course but only because there was a huge public outcry. Shamed into doing the right thing.

Thats the way it is today.

Nowadays the corridors of NHS hospitals are full of smug managers and consultants , they almost outnumber the patients and all seem to be able to afford to dress very smartly like you and strut round with latest laptops , PDA's and mobile phones to show how important they are . They certainly dont earn £3 a day that's for sure. In fact the consultants must do pretty well as Fiona Edwards husband Mark does a bit of work for her Trust on the side as well.

Nice work if you can get it huh? She's on over £120,000 a year too.

I guess the Edwards will be voting for you at the next election. New Labour have served them well...

Then there are the Wide Boys in the charity sector, the disability and poverty industries , like those who sat on the boundaryless Remploy Taskforce and made a top down decision to close Remploy factories simply because they are opposed to sheltered employment on the grounds of political correctness. Their own charities also run or fund useless employment and training schemes themselves so there was a bit of self interest at work their too.

'Wide Boys' like Dr Bob Groves , seconded to the DWP, who was involved in making top down decisions about the Surrey and Borders Partnership Trust's service users and Remploy workers and he was probably paid very handsomely for the priviledge.

No one's calling the money Dr Groves and his fellow experts are raking in a state subsidy though are they. Its only the public money thats actually going to disabled people - i.e. very little - that seems to be viewed in a negative light.

I know you recently admitted you had some trouble with math but do you honestly think
Professor Groves , Dr Helen Lockett and the other useless NIMHE bureaucrats are value for money? Someone within Government does as they keep paying these people to trot out the same old catapault them into the mainstream 'Social Inclusion ' crap .

Can you tell me what NIMHE has actaully achieved with the £60 million of public money it has had to date apart from converting it into so much ' Social Inclusionist' hot air.

My friend lost his pension after being tempted out of Remploy into 'mainstream' work. He hasnt worked for years now. The mainstream work lasted until the pension cut off date. The job broker got a nice bonus though.

How did that ' Socially Include' my friend?

How does harrassing people on Incapacity Benefit Socially Include them?

How does talking Lord Layard's daft bollocks about getting all the mentally ill into work and projecting about making £7 billion pounds in savings 'Socially Include ' anyone?

Most of the people with MH issues I know are too unstable to be in a relationship nevermind to hold down a full time job. They struggle to get through life and the patronising politically correct bulshit of people like Dr Bob Groves, NIMHE and DWP Ministers doesnt help them one bit.

It certainly pays Bob anf Helen to keep on at us though. I havent seen much evidence of them finding stable jobs for anyone but I have seen a massive increase in fly by night training and employment schemes that promise to but simply juggle disabled people around between each other to get themselves paid.

Wide Boy Britain.

I'm all for getting disabled people into mainstream jobs if they want and can cope with them but the way the Government and charities , who appear to have boundaryless relationships with Government now, are making top down decisions about disabled people behind closed doors just isnt acceptable.

Equality starts with people being able to speak up and make decisions for themselves as and where they can and want to.

I dont need faceless bureaucrats from charities and Government quangos to speak for me nor do the workers at Remploy. The management of Remploy should have talked to its workforce not a couple of quack academics and some 'worthy' parasites from the major charities they already knew agreed with them.

Thats not consulting anyone nor seeking independent advice. Its fraud.

The Surrey and Borders Trust also spent more time trying to manipulate its service users than consult them over the ' Modernisation' of its Work Services and it had an army of useless flashly dressed managers ready to bully anyone who dared question their approach.

Can you see a pattern emerging here Gordon?

Some of us can and it seems very much like ' Modernisation ' is just a shorthand term for top down decision making and bullying by managers.

When you are calling the shots are you going to let disabled people speak for themselves or are you going to continue to subsidise an affluent professional elite to make their minds up for them.


Ex Labour voter


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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Taskforce ? - what Taskforce?

These are the Turkeys who constitute the Radar/Remploy Taskforce, the body of professional fellow travellers Remploy establised with public money to provide it with ' independent advice' and network the outcome it wanted. Not any concrete outcome, just screwing around with peoples lives.

* Kate Nash (RADAR)
* Mike Buckley (RADAR)
* Andrew Crammond (Mencap)
* Agnes Fletcher (DRC)
* Sharon Collins (Scope)
* Alison Cobb (Mind)
* Matthew Lester (Papworth Trust)
* Kathy Makin (Employment Opportunities)
* Jane Mansour (Work Directions)
* Bob Grove (Sainsbury Institute for Mental Health)
* Bob Warner (Remploy)
* Stuart Knowles (Remploy)
* Karen Graham (Remploy)
* Marilyn Howard (Social Policy Analyst)

You'll note the inclusion of the illustrious Dr Bob Groves of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health who, with Dr Helen Lockett his untrustworthy sidekick, has just legged it from the Surrey and Borders partnership Trust with £41,000 of public money after completely botching the ' Modernisation ' process there.

For you numbers people, that means Bob Groves and Helen Lockett cost at least as much to subsidise a year as the average sheltered Remploy worker only Bob and Helen are seconded to or associated with so many other bodies their real subsidy is probably 10 times as much.

These Turkeys wont have to worry about Christmas again this year will they? Perhaps they can go and spend it with the Edwards family who seem to be doing very nicely out of the disability industry as well.

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GMB Protests Remploy Factory Closures

The GMB, Britain's General Trade Union, is campaigning to save Remploy factories from closure based on an alternative structure of efficiency, growth and success. The BBC are covering the story here. The GMB/Remploy factory workers webpage raises the issues here.

Remploy's own vision , buried on its website here , is based on cuts and an expectation that disabled people can be shoehorned into mainstream work.

Remploy's view is backed by charities like Mencap and Mind, organisations that are no great practitioners in the equal opportunities field themselves as in spite of all the rhetoric they cherry pick their own workers and believe in scrapping sheltered employment because in addition to claiming to represent disabled people they run their own mainstream employment schemes themselves and get a good income out of these whether they actually get people into secure and lasting meaningful paid employment or not.

In other words, political correctness aside, it pays the likes of Mencap and Mind to denigrate sheltered employment as they are part of a growing poverty industry which talks of thrusting everyone into mainstream employment.

Again its the same top down 'all or nothing' approach that we have seen the Surrey & Borders Partnership Trust and the Surrey PCT waste money on over the last year.

This campaign blog will be celebrating its 1st Birthday next month yet its still not clear what the fate of the Surrey & Borders Old Moat Garden Centre and its disabled workers will be or if the centre will survive in any way shape or form at all.

Disabled people require and have a right to real choices around training, employment , benefits and having their treatment and support needs met.

This is simply not happening.

At the moment disabled people find themselves at the wrong end of a top down social engineering project which has organisations which dont even employ their own service users , such as the Surrey & Borders Partnership and South London & Maudsley's NHS Trusts being steered by Government quangos ( NIMHE etc ) and their kept academics ( Bob Groves, Helen Lockett - SCMH in this case ) to abandon their service users to corrupt Job Brokers and incompetent ' Employment and Training ' organisations with the view of catapaulting them into mainstream work irrespective of whether they can cope with it or not or what happens next.

I for one support the GMB and Remploy factory workers campaigning against closures because although I think there could be better policies in place at Remploy, sheltered employment is going to be the natural and right choice for some disabled people just as sheltered housing is. It is also ridiculous for Government and the increasingly toadyish major charities to think they can impose a shallow form of ' Social Inclusion ' upon disabled people from above. This doesnt empower anyone , it simply crushes choice.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Let the Weekend Take Care of Itself

Sometimes as campaigners that's what we need to do. Here's a brill tune to let go of it to.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Softools - Disconnecting People

Here are the incriminating changes Softools made when the issue was raised with the Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Trust (SABP) that its Chief Executive Fiona Edwards was allowing her husband's Mark Edwards firm Softools to use her Trust as a case example to attract businesses from and serve as a reference for other NHS Trusts without him or Softools acknowledging his relationship with SABP's Chief Executive.


After - SABP's name dropped.


After Surrey PCT logo dropped.


The Edwards' husband and wife relationship should have been made clear or they should have avoided this contract and/or form of advertising as NHS Trusts are funded by public money so transparency is an essential requirement.

The slick editing of the Softools website after Fiona and Mark Edwards had been caught on the backfoot is just not good enough. The public dont pay to be duped.

Softools also did work for the East Surrey PCT which had a professional responsibility , as does the Surrey PCT , the official body it merged into , to keep itself at a respectful distance from SABP. Its logo was also instantly removed when objections were raised about the Edwards were using SABP for their own ends while Fiona was officially overseeing the cutting of pitiful £3 payments to SABP's disabled garden centre workers.

The fact that service users themselves have had to flag up this abuse simply demonstrates that the SABP Trust Board, the Trust's PPI and the Surrey PCT have been asleep on the job.

We have asked Fiona Edwards to explain this abuse and are now asking the same quieston of the Surrey PCT.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Connecting People

date May 10, 2007 8:17 PM
subject Softools Use of Nokia reference

Dear Sir/Madam,

Your UK HR Director Lindsey Brook had this to say about UK software company Softools.

"You have consistently offered us leading edge tools and practices, backed up by world class challenge and support to help us utilise them".

Unfortunately Softools were using one UK NHS Trust as a case example of their expertise on their corporate website without Director and co-founder of Softools Mark Edwards acknowledging that the Chief Executive of that Trust was his wife.

This information is in the public domain.and as soon as it was placed there the Softools website was quickly edited to remove all mention of Mr Edward's wife's Trust. the Surrey and Borders NHS Trust.

As Nokia's successful marketing slogan is ' Connecting People ' do you consider witholding such information from potential clients part of the 'leading edge practices' Nokia so values from Softools?

Do you not think that advertising for more publicly funded contracts from other NHS Trusts, the reason Softools used Mr Edward's wife's Trust as a case example,should be a little more honest , transparent and ethical than this?

Softools is currently using your UK HR Directors comments to hardsell itself and I'm wondering if , under the circumstances , this adds any value to Nokia.

This communication has been blogged.

Des Curley

Now Public

As Fiona Edwards seems most reluctant to apply or adhere to the NHS complaints process I have posted the following on a couple of news sites. If Fiona and Mark Edwards have any issues with this factual account I'm all ears.

Chief Executive of Cash Starved NHS Trust reluctant to explain Trust contract awarded to her husbands firm.

Fiona Edwards the Chief Executive of the Surrey and Borders NHS MH Trust Surrey UK, is currently stalling on investigating a formal complaint about how her Trust which recently moved to cut pitiful £3 a day payments to its disabled garden centre workers awarded a plum contract to her husband Mark Edwards IT firm, Softools.

Ms Edwards has insisted that the Trust Board were aware of the contract and ensured that there was no conflict of interest however as soon as a complaint was made Softools re-edited its website to remove all mention of work the company had done for the Surrey & Borders NHS MH Trust.

Mark Edwards is a Director and co- founder of Softools, a company which appears very adept at networking Government contracts. The company refused to comment on why it had re-edited its website or why when it was advertising the work it had done for the Surrey & Borders NHS MH Trust the relationship between Director Mark Edwards and Trust Chief Executive Fiona Edwards was not made clear to potential clients.

Softools is currently seeking contracts with other NHS Trust's.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Slideshow to Fill in Until SABP Responds

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Networking A Redistributive Income ...Ooops I Mean Outcome...

a snapshot of the MH poverty industry 2007

Back Story: NHS MH Trust run by Fiona Edwards claimed it couldnt afford to keep paying its Garden Centre workers £3 a day yet it can pay Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health Consultant Helen Lockett £41,000 for leaving its work services in total disarray and award Softools , on which Fiona's hubby Mark Edwards serves as a founding Director a plum IT contract.

Softools which advertises itself thus:

SofTools is a UK-based software company that develops and supplies web-based business improvement applications to leading corporations and public sector organizations

removed all reference to Fiona's Trust when a complaint was made about the Edwards family screwing over MH service users to live it up on NHS money. Check out previous post for ariel view of the Edwards snazzy rural lovenest.

Its amazing what public money can buy.

Please think twice before doing any business with Softools and if you work for Surrey and Borders NHS Trust or use its services ask about why the Edwards do ok off the NHS the next time SABP tells you there's no money in the pot for your pay rise or services.

SABP has declined to investigate this matter through the NHS Complaints Process


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