Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More barmy bureaucracy

Yet another example of barmy bureaucracy comes to BSS, this time via Bonetired.

The son of Bonetired's good friends is currently studying for his GCSE's. He's an intelligent, hard working young man who hopes to progress to 6th form college next year to study for his A levels. The kind of young man we all want to encourage to continue in education and do well.

There's just one issue. This particular boy happens to have Muscular Dystrophy, a severe muscle wasting disease which affects more than 70, 000 babies, children and adults in the UK. In this particular case the pupilt concerned has done well in mainstream education with just a small support package for his physical needs, so well he's just been made a prefect at his school. His travel to and from school is provided by the local authority in the form of specially adapted taxis and all has been working well.

If this boy stays on at school for his post 16 education the local authority will continue to provide and fund transport. However, if he transfers to a sixth form college also funded by the same local authority they will cease to provide any assistance with transport.

Utterly insane, except in the wacky world of local authority funding fights.

The reasoning is thus: if he remains in a school for his 6th form education the funding for transport continues to be provided by the children's education department. If he transfers to a 6th form college the funding also transfers to adult services who will not fund the specialist transport he needs.

This is typical of the battles disabled people and their families face every day in the UK. Squabbles over which department is responsible for funding are completely nonsensical when that funding all comes from the same money pot in the first place, ie the taxpayer, let alone from the same local authority!

In this particular case the parents will have to fight the local authority to provide that transport funding as it is impossible for the boy to stay on at school for 6th form, his school having no post 16 education. The legal argument will be interesting as those under 19 in full time education are technically considered to be children
for purposes of benefits and child tax credits . If they remain children then an adult section of the local authority will argue it won't have to provide for them because they are children. However, if they are in adult education ie sixth form college the local authority can argue they are NOT children and therefore have to be funded by the adult department who won't provide funding because, you guessed it, they are children.

Am I alone in thinking that if all this nonsense was removed from the system there'd be enough money to actually fund the services in the first place rather than wasting all that money fighting about who's responsible for each particular service?

If anyone can help Bonetired's friends with their forthcoming battle with their local authority please email me at benefitscroungingscum@hotmail.co.uk and I will pass the information to Bonetired.

11 comments:

The Best Man said...

That is barmy. Is this something new? When I left school I had local authority transport arrangements in the form of a taxi to and from (having had a seriously buggered knee) and this continued when I went to the separate 6th Form College...

BenefitScroungingScum said...

@TheBestMan I think it's fairly typical these days, local authorities prefer to concentrate their efforts on squabbling about budget responsibilities rather than providing services. It's to do with the way funds are assigned and ringfenced from central government.
When I was being assessed for a care package from social services adult services buck passed me to children's services as according to them I had 2 kids. Children's services contacted me very quickly to be fair to them and wanted to help my unusually named children, but were unable to provide a care package for the 2 cats some idiot had classed as children to pass the files onto a different dept. From there it went to mental health who also weren't in a position to help as I didn't have mental health issues/diagnosis and after all that ended up back in the responsibility of adult services. End result, client so upset/disengaged they don't want any more to do with the local authority who save money by not having to provide a care package. Not that I'm cynical enough to think the local authorities actually *plan* things that way or anything....

MikeN said...

@both BSS & TheBestMan

I seem to remember Yossarian was advised to solve his problem by deserting to Sweden ... :)

BenefitScroungingScum said...

MikeN: Bwahaha! Cos Sweden doesn't have any bureaucratic issues, oh noes ;)~

MikeN said...

I'm just saying ... catch 22 and all that ... Sweden ... synchronicity ...

:)

Lisa said...

If he can afford a car with the necessary adaptions he can drive himself to college. If you get high rate mobility DLA you can learn to drive at 16.

So much cooler than a taxi. I took a taxi to my first VI form college and it meant I couldn't arrive early to have breakfast with my friends and I couldn't hang out in the smoking shed after classes because I had to be in a cab as soon as lessons ended.

Then I went to a different college and drove. It meant I could nip into town or go down the pub after class.

Timmargh said...

I didn't get or need travel assistance until I went to sixth form college, but as it was so long ago (21 years!) neither me nor my mum can remember who paid for what, sorry.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

MikeN: That was waaay too clever for my sleepy brain today ;)

Lisa: Good idea thanks, I'll pass it on! I don't think he's physically able to drive or travel without some form of assistance though.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Timmargh: Thanks anyway lovely

Lisa said...

Pretty much as long as he's not epileptic or blind, he can drive. It's just a matter of whether or not he could afford the adaptions that would enable him to. Because the adaptions that would allow you to drive from a wheelchair with just one finger would be very expensive.

Anonymous said...

However, people needing it for education get priority for Motability grant funding for such very expensive adaptations. The process takes quite a while, though, especially as complex adaptations take time to be actually made.