CORNWALL COUNCIL FIVE YEARS OLD ON APRIL FOOLS DAY 2014.
Blog entered 31 March 2014
CORNWALL COUNCIL IS FIVE YEARS OLD ON APRIL FOOLS DAY 2014.
A few personal reasons why I think Cornwall Council is possibly the most corrupt Council in the country.
2009 was the year Cornwall Council became a unitary authority.
2009 was also the year my landlord Sanctuary Housing ripped it’s tenants off and the Council of thousands of pounds.
Five years on and we are still being ripped off into paying Sanctuary in excess of £140.00 a week for a gardener to spend 2 hours or less gardening and picking up litter. This equates to in excess of £560.00 a month for just 8 hours work or less, and, as the Council knows, it could be done by a local firm for approximately £10.00 an hour.
Although Cornwall Council has been aware of the criminality and profiteering by Sanctuary Housing since 2009, and Stephen Gilbert MP has been aware of his constituents being ripped off for a number of years the practise continues.
The close partnership between Cornwall Council and it’s Homechoice social housing landlords is not a healthy one based on collaboration but an unhealthy one based on collusion and corruption. So much so that it is unlikely Cornwall Council would ever prosecute one of it’s Homechoice Housing partners whatever the reason.
2010 saw the demise of Cornwall Homefinder for Homechoice which replaced the separate social housing allocation systems across Cornwall and introduced Choice Based Lettings (CBL). “It is an open, transparent and customer-based approach in the allocation of properties”, unquote, according to the Council.
Although I have no personal insight of Homefinder I do have a personal insight into Homechoice as an applicant since 2012, and prior to 2012 when I looked into how it operated.
The notion that Homechoice properties without a preference are never ‘ringfenced’, according to the Council, is not only dishonest but perverse in the way it deceives desperate Homechoice bidders.
I personally know of a number of properties which were ‘ringfenced’ without a preference through Homechoice for certain types and which Homechoice bidders never stood a chance. Some Homechoice properties being left furnished or part furnished or having special adaptions for the disabled but given to certain types with no need of the adaptions.
I recall one Homechoice property near to town being advertised without a preference and which would have attracted quite a high number of bids. Although there are approximately 28,000 Homechoice applicants the property is still empty after 2 months. This because Sanctuary is wilfully keeping the property empty in order to help the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) protect Cornwall Council from being exposed for the unlawful practise.
A misconception about the LGO is they represent the interest of the public by investigating complaints by individual members of the public. A more accurate view, and one put to Parliament, is the LGO “Operate the most perverse and publicly criticised system of administrative justice in the world”, unquote.
Another major problem with Homechoice, and also not in the public interest, is it’s Welfare Assessments to determine priority. My mentally ill wife was assessed 3 times during 2012 because she needed me to resume being her recognised Carer under one roof.
A decision was deferred the first time for more information. The fact there were only 2 Assessment Panel Members instead of 4 was considered okay by the LGO. As a matter of public interest I do not think it okay if other members of the public were assessed that day by an inappropriately short staffed Panel.
The 2nd Assessment included an NHS CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) on the Panel and 3 Council employees who awarded ‘Low Welfare Priority’ despite them being told her mental health was deteriorating. According to the LGO, the NHS and the Council the award was non medical and the NHS CPN was acting on behalf of the Council. A somewhat economical view when the CPN was acting for the NHS. If it were any other way the Council could quite simply have used another one of it’s career minded employees on the Panel.
Her last Assessment, a First Review Assessment, neglected Council Policy in not using the same Welfare Assessment Panel members which made the original decision. Of the original 4 Panel members only 2 attended the First Review Assessment and which upheld the ‘Low Welfare Priority’. The LGO has chosen not to address this breach of Council Policy other than to say there was no fault by the Council. I consider the First Review Assessment to be null & void.
My wife’s mental health continued to deteriorate into 2013 and she sadly died of late stage Cancer on 27 June 2013 aged 54. She died with ‘Low Welfare Priority’, despite a wealth of internal information held on her by both Cornwall Council and the NHS Foundation Trust but which they never considered.
The LGO indicated my late wife would have got Medium Welfare Priority had a CPN intervened, and also if she was isolated in her home. Apart from the fact there was a NHS CPN on the Welfare Assessment Panel who chose not to intervene, it was the NHS itself which had previously reduced her attendances to a Mental Health Drop-in Centre to only one day a week which made her more isolated. A day centre she had attended regularly for over 20 years.
I think Cornwall Council and the NHS Foundation Trust could and should have made her final year a lot less callous and abusive and I will not rest until I right this wrong. The hunger strike is still on the cards to raise awareness and stop this sort of thing happening again to someone else in desperate need of help.
As for the LGO’s perverse protectionism of Cornwall Council, Sanctuary Housing and the NHS Foundation Trust before the public interest, I hope the LGO does go sooner than later thanks largely to the ever increasing demands upon Parliament for ever increasing demands for greater scrutiny and transparency.
Based on my own personal experience I think Cornwall Council has made April fools out of a lot of people since it became a unitary authority in 2009, with it’s devious, corrupt, unfair and unlawful practises.
Up-Date : Following the LGO’s Provisional View of my complaint on 3 March and Final Decision on 26 March 2014, I will no longer have any further dealings with the LGO. This due to the fact the Council’s reply of 10 January 2014 to my complaint was witheld from me until after the LGO’s Provisional View and Decision was made, a period of some two months or more. I will seek to challenge the LGO’s perversely one-sided and wilfull mismanagement of my complaint.