Thursday, July 12, 2012

Past Caring? WeAreSpartacus Report On Worcs #socialcare

 The latest report from the WeAreSpartacus team is released today. Past Caring is an investigation into the proposals to return to a higher use of residential care by Worcestershire. (summary, full report) This report is further evidence giving lie to the Coalition's claims that they promote further independence for disabled people and believe in a 'social model' approach. 

Although the results of the consultation will have a dramatic impact on the ability of Worcs residents to live independently, and potentially be seen as setting a precedent for other local authorities to follow, typically the consultation is rushed and inaccessible, with Worcs only providing a postal address for responding.

It's a further questionable decision from Worcestershire who last year had to spend £5,000 on replacing city centre blue badge parking bays they'd spent £250 to remove and replace with a taxi rank 3 years earlier despite local campaigners objections. Though the £4750 spent on replacing blue badge bays may seem a trivial sum compared to the amounts considered in Worcs Maximum Expenditure Policy, its a good illustration of the money wasted by local authorities who don't consult local people properly and therefore end up making unpopular, expensive decisions which later have to be rectified at vastly higher costs than the original.

Press Release follows;

New council policy condemned as ‘flawed and wrong’ as national campaign group publishes report on
Worcestershire care changes
In the wake of the white paper on social care and in light of recent uncovered abuses such as Winterbourne,
Worcestershire County Council’s proposed changes to care for disabled people in the county have been
condemned as ‘flawed and wrong’ by a national campaign group which has published a new report on the

‘Past Caring’, which has been published by the research team at the WeareSpartacus campaign group,
analyses the county council’s proposals for a ‘maximum expenditure policy’, which would impose a cap,
meaning that anyone needing significant amounts of support may have to go in to residential care. As well as
criticising the council’s current consultation exercise, the report shows the new policy:

  •  Will mean disabled people get less support
  •  Will mean a deterioration in care standards and quality of life
  •  Could lead to disabled people forced into residential care, even if they don’t want to
  • Could force disabled people to rely on charity for the help and support they need
  • Goes against the recommendations of the Government’s flagship white paper on social care reform
  •  Could be open to a legal challenge
Dr Sarah Campbell, one of the report’s authors, said:
“We know that times are hard; disabled people in Worcestershire and across the country are being hit by
cuts to benefits and social care services. But the county council’s approach is flawed and wrong. Flawed,
because any ‘maximum expenditure policy’ will have a series of knock on effects for health and social care
providers which may end up costing even more; and wrong, because disabled people should be encouraged
and supported to live safely independently.
“Institutionalising disabled people is not the answer to the social care crisis, in Worcestershire or anywhere

The report acknowledges the challenges facing local authorities across the country, but also highlights the
principles of independence for disabled people, including a right to choose where and how they live, be part
of their communities and have control over their day to day lives.

Jim D Smith, Secretary of Worcestershire Coalition for Independent Living, points out:
"In a week when the Queen visits the County to open a new £60 million library it’s sad to reflect that the
lives of some individuals in the County are threatened by such negative proposals. These proposals, if
implemented, will undermine a generation of progress towards independent living and cause real mental
anguish for individuals and families.”

Local resident Steve Sumpter adds:
“The council needs to be more active with its consultation, and respond to the searching questions it’s
refusing to answer. But disabled people, their friends and families also need to speak up. The consultation
finishes later this month (July), and it’s crucial their voices are heard. It’s also vital they contact their local
councillors and MPs to express their views before the final decision is made at the end of September.”

ENDs For further information, contact Sarah at


Clarebelz said...

The local authority is doing exactly the same in North Staffordshire.

Their website pages concerning adult social care states that they promote personalisation and choice that will provide for a person's 'needs, wants and aspirations'. Contrary to that however, they are barely providing for disabled peoples' needs, let alone their wants and aspirations.

I've written an article about it here: because I was informed this week that the LA will only allow me time in the morning to make sure I'm safe in the shower, and half an hour in the evening to prepare a meal.

No shopping or putting it away is allowed; no laundry; no support with someone to push a wheelchair outside the home; no one to put my bins out; no coal brought in or fires lit: the list goes on and on. All the things that a severely disabled person can't do for themselves is now not allowed.

So they can help me in the shower, but I'll have to put dirty clothes back on. They can cook a meal, but no rinsing, stacking and emptying the dishwasher is allowed. If I have a bad spasm, I can't move, so if that happens in the morning after the carer has gone, I would have to wait until tea time for a drink and the toilet. Then once it's gone off and I'm still in agony for weeks, I'll face the same thing every day.

I've had my anxiety therapy today, and I had to admit that if I'm left in such a state, my life won't be worth living. I can't go back to living in a smelly, dirty house, with no heat, and no food, along with me smelling and slowly declining until I'm bedridden.

Providing the correct support would keep me out of hospital, and would ensure that I don't end up in a care home. It's a false economy to strip everything away.

This government are stripping any sense of dignity from disabled people, and sentencing them to life stuck at home in a horrible environment that's worse than being in prison.

No wonder so many disabled people have considered suicide.

Anonymous said...

Clarebelz that sounds awful, I'm sorry to hear you're being treated this way. It also sounds like it'd be well worth speaking to a solicitor or advocate and challenging the council's decision.

Anonymous said...

Surely it's in the interests of Local Authorities to have all the disabled people in one 'home'. It reduces costs, overheads are minimized, need fewer staff and they can all have the same food - they are, after all, all the same.

Independent living at its finest what ho.....? Taking people back 100 years in one fell swoop!!!!

Spoonydoc said...

I've had a careful look at North Staffordshire website. From what I can see they've implemented a huge hike in care contributions and from what you say they are also cutting back on the care they are providing (in direct opposition to what they claim on their website).

This is obviously a big issue in itself but I can't find any evidence of an actual cap on community social care for the under 65s at this time, which is what they are implementing in Worcestershire.

I went and read your blog and am horrified by the details of your situation. I really hope you can get some help from somewhere. I think it would be worth challenging this decision. The council is obligated to justify all cutbacks to care and it doesn't sound like it has done so in your case. It also had a duty to ensure you are not "neglected" (that sounds awful, but apparently is the correct legal jargon). It seems clear that you will be if/when this goes ahead.
Maybe CAB could advise you of a lawyer who could help. I only wish I could do more. said...

nice post i love it.