Involving Families & Ticking boxes

Tomorrow, I have a meeting with the manager of G’s supported living service (or as I like to call it ‘his home’) and a care manager from Oxfordshire County Council (OCC). The meeting is about G’s support plan, following his recent reassessment after the Independent Living fund closed and his support funding transferred totally to OCC.

I wasn’t originally invited to this meeting… I know WTF!! …I mean, why would they not invite me?

I hope she doesn’t throw in the ‘it’s because he’s an adult’ shit, because he’s been an adult for seven years now and I’ve never, ever been excluded before!

Thankfully G’s support provider via his excellent manager alerted me to the fact that the care manager wanted to come to meet G and do this review and she insisted that we set a date when I could attend (because that’s how we roll).

I’m strangely looking forward to this meeting!

This isn’t the first change in family involvement I’ve noticed recently though….

When the transfer from ILF took place the person employed by OCC to do the reassessments (an independent consultant type chap brought in from Wales on a short term contract  -at no doubt considerable cost, given what he told me his hotel cost for 3 days a week!) came to visit me. He spent two and a half hours in my kitchen, mainly talking about himself and being rather jolly (clearly being paid by the hour!) He told me and the other families of the young people G lives with, that he didn’t need to involve families….really?

He also didn’t share the draft assessment with me before it went to panel and was subsequently agreed. He sent the final agreement of continued funding and the assessment results to G (who can’t read of course) ...thankfully G has a great Provider and great staff and they sent it to me immediately. I’ve yet to sign of course, because so much was wrong in the assessment. I mean, if you are going to label someone with a medical diagnosis at the very least get that bit right!

Last week I got a letter regarding Direct Payments. The letter was addressed to me and talked about ‘my’ direct payments!

Last time I checked I wasn’t in receipt of any Direct Payments. G is of course and I manage them for him, but it’s his money, his Direct Payments and such letters have always been addressed to him and sent to him via me as his court appointed Deputy under the Court of Protection and his appointee for benefits. OMG Have they suddenly forgotten he’s an adult?

Also last week…

I was inundated with phone calls and emails from worried parents asking my advice about what to do about their recent encounters with OCC social care services about their kids/relatives support. Some of the things they are being told are deeply worrying and (more than) possibly illegal but this seems to be the way things work in times of austerity. A flavour (paraphrased slightly) below!

“We only support families in crisis”

“Your child is still at college, come back to us when they leave”

“I can come to the annual review (residential college) We can double up his annual review with his reassessment, but can’t guarantee that there will be any increase in funding!” to a parent of a young person at residential college moving into supported living!

A general ignoring of requests for assessments…can’t get a response type stuff was pretty common too.

I’m sure we are not the only local authority area where this is happening but there’s a rather nasty smell around here right now!

Also last week…

I was in discussions with a colleague about the extended contract of Southern Health NHS Trust having recently had a request for the Learning Disability Partnership Board (of which I’m one of the co-chairs)  to be involved in the transfer arrangements to a new provider. Now bearing in mind that OCC cut funding to the Oxfordshire Learning Disability Partnership Board in April this was a bit strange. We are working on the next steps and the evolvement of something new to represent people with Learning disabilities, families and other interested parties but we are not there yet. These things take time…oh and money! Suddenly however there seems to be some urgency attached to this request for family involvement right now.

Oh…. and OCC and OCCG are apparently/allegedly setting out the terms of reference for our involvement in this new Programme Board.  ‘Ticking a box’, Involving families when it suits seems to be the order of the day here now.

Co-production anyone?               


About Oxfordshire Family Support Network

Oxfordshire Family Support Network (OxFSN) is a not-for-profit organisation run by and for family carers of people with learning disabilities – both children and adults. Oxfordshire Family Support Network (OXFSN) was set up in 2007 by family carers who wanted to use their experience to help others in the same situation, based on our belief that family carers are experts by their lived experience.
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4 Responses to Involving Families & Ticking boxes

  1. Rebecca says:

    Yep, I’m being giving the run around by OCC. Twice this year I have been told that it would be 13 weeks to get any contact with a care manager. Then I insisted on seeing the head of dept who was very pleasant but can’t give me an assessment date or any information other than things ‘have been delayed’. I am being told that the indicative budget my daughter was given is now irrelevant. Not because her circumstances have changed, but because the world has moved on. If they are going to mess you about Gail, a God help the rest of us.

    • emptynestmum says:

      we’re planning a workshop soon Becca with a legal firm to arm folks with the information they need to challenge all this. don’t despair!! I’ll send you the date when we have have it x

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