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No.1 Ledbury Road


greenknight
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If this is a duplication please forgive me however the clock ticks for No.1.

 

During the CQC meeting tonight at the Town Hall the friends,family and councillors past and present did a great job of raising the profile and plight of this unique respite centre here in Herefordshire. They were made to understand the shortcomings of WVT in the way the matter has been dealt with and also the lack of forward measures in place.

 

To exacerbate the situation staff are beginning to leave which could assist in its demise.

 

If it wasn't on the CQC radar then it should be now and perhaps a visit this week will work positively for the centre.

Should it close right now there are no viable alternative solutions in place.

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The Task & Finish group met last week with various parties concerning No1 and we had a visit last Friday afternoon. We intend to visit similar schemes else where to get an idea of how other schemes work.

 

It is true that staff are leaving fairly rapidly, you really can not blame them as they have to look after their own interests.

I hope that we will be able to report to the Health Scrutiny committee in October/November with recommendations about its future. Meanwhile, parents are planning ahead with the view of running it as a charity.

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Running it as a charity is brave Chris. I had little knowledge of this centre until recently but you look into the tired eyes of some of the parents involved and just feel that the burden of responsibility might just be to much if they have to go down this route which is why funding has to be found/maintained because the costs of specialist foster care must be ultimately more in the long run even if they find the individuals who are prepared to take on these great kids who ultimately want routine,stability and familiarity.

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I attended the council meeting this morning in support of retaining no 1 Ledbury road, there were approximately 23 parents who had their photo taken by HT. The motion was put to the council to retain no 1 as it is . An amendment to the wording of the motion was allowed which the group were not happy with, a petition was also handed  to the chairman of the council with nearly 4,000 signitures for the retention of No 1. The motion was received very well by some councillors and it took 45 minutes to hear every councillor speak and the vote cast: votes 44 for, none against and three abstentions.

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Denise - unless things have changed since May elections 10 councillors can ask for a name vote, but no one asked. two councillors who abstain said they wished to abstain until after the task and finish group had given their recommendations, the third is the chairman of the Task & Finish group therefore he had to abstain, there were also three councillors that did not attend this morning and sent their apology.

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I was one who abstained as I am a member of the Task & Finish Group. It was impossible for me to vote in favour of the motion until the Task & Finish Group have made our recommendations to the Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee. There is also the matter that there are three organisations involved here. The council, the Wye Valley Health Trust and the Health Commisioners. The later two were not mentioned in the N of M.

I was applauded by the parents and some councillors for what I said and the parents have my backing just as they have theirs.

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Herefordshire Council have a LOT to answer for regarding this.

 
 
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Very upset. Staff and parents in tears tonight. Despite the very best efforts of the 1 Ledbury Road staff, the unit will be shut tonight and tomorrow, anything beyond that regarding the weekend is yet to be confirmed. Herefordshire Council gave a very pretty statement to parents and press that they had removed the 'cliff edge' of March 2016 closure but they haven't!! (Hey but that's okay because they added the disclaimer 'subject to staffing levels'.) Herefordshire council have had 2 YEARS to get ready for this, to have alternative provisions sorted & ready to go. This is really not fair on Ledbury road staff either. 
v On top of being over worked, they are left having to explain all this to completely despairing parents! It's not their fault that Children's wellbeing management are a total disgrace and not fit for purpose. Herefordshire Council need to resolve this and fast. In the mean time we'll be investigating how many of our children's human rights they are breaching
 
 
More on this can be found on the No 1 FB page.  HT  take note
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As a supporter of the group, I received this email from one of the parents, I said I would put it on HV for them. I have not heard if Paul request for the meeting this morning actually took place. the email was sent to: Jo Davidson (Children services) Chris Baird, Jonathon Lester ( cabinet member children services) Richard Beeken (WV NHS Trust) Richard Watson ( care commisioning group).

 

QUOTE:

 

Morning,

I won't start my salutiations with ''good' as it feels somewhat inappropriate! I hope that, as you read this email this morning, that you hang your collective heads in shame. You are all, to some extent, responsible for the shameful situation that we find ourselves in this morning some shoulder more of the burden than others.

You must all be aware by now that, as of 5.20pm yesterday, parents who had children at Ledbury Road for respite last night were contacted, asking them to collect their children as the unit had to close for staffing reasons. I understand from Vanessa Lewis that all attempts and avenues had been explored in order to fill the void,to no avail. Staff sickness is regrettable and unavoidable, but you were all warned that, without a guarenteed extention of 12-18 months, this situation would occure sooner rather than later.It is no good putting out a statement on the 29th September claiming that the 'cliffedge of the 31st March' had been removed if, on 30th September, the worst fears of parents and the public are realised! You collectively watered down our proposed statement, and staff have continued to leave, as we predicted. You have not listened, and you certainly have not acted!

The unit is also to be closed tonight,Thursday, with, at best, the 'hope' that it will be open for the weekend. However, Vanessa said it was possible that the unit will remain closed until Wednesday next week! This is an intolerable and unacceptable situation! you must ALL act today to prevent this possibility becoming a reality.

 

The parents and families are being placed under unacceptable levels of stress and strain. The children are confused and upset! Remember, you all have a collective responsibility to ensure the continued @ retention of fesidential respite in Herefordshire and beyond', voted for by the County council just last Friday. I expect to hear from you this morning with your proposals to reopen the unit immediately. I would, at the very least,expect a meeting to be convened this morning, at which I expect to hear concrete proposals for the continued safe running of the unit, so that respite is provided for those children and families who have a statutory right to have it provided. It is not good enough any longer to say, 'We are working on this'.

 

I look forward to your prompt response.

 

Regards

Paul

 

END

 

These parents have been very patient about this and conducted themselves with dignity, and got nowhere! I believe it is time for us all in Herefordshire to get behind them and make our feelings felt, will you join us?

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UPDATE:

 

As from 19th October no: 1 will only be open 4 nights a week Thursday to Sunday. 3 families so far will miss out on the night time respite care. So much for the councillors voting to retain Ledbury road and already a week later it was temporary closed and now this. This is disgraceful, WHERE IS THE COUNCIL DUTY OF CARE TO THESE CHILDREN AND THEIR FAMILIES!!

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In case anybody missed this in the HT

 

Home /

Hereford Times Column: No.1 Ledbury Road
8TH OCTOBER 2015

The proposed closure of No.1 Ledbury Road has featured heavily in these pages, and my in-tray has been filled with correspondence from local people who are concerned at the situation. Only last week the centre was temporarily closed at no notice due to staff illness, causing great distress to those it serves.

For those readers not familiar with No.1, it is a specialist resource unit that provides respite care for young people with complex health needs and disabilities.

As well as providing vital support for the children concerned, No.1 throws a lifeline to their parents and carers, allowing them to rest and spend time with other loved ones. I have had the honour of being Patron to the Friends of the centre, where many children have formed long lasting and close friendships over many years.

Affected parents and children, as well as the wider community, have been understandably distraught to learn that the centre is set to close. What no-one has been able to explain to me is exactly why it has to do so.

Yes, the Wye Valley Trust, which has historically provided the service, is under pressure to cut costs, as is the local Clinical Commissioning Group. Yes, it is important, as the Council maintains, to keep local needs for respite care under review. And yes, there may be much more that can be done to use No.1 in an effective and financially viable way.

But it is not clear that there has been much if any strategic discussion between the three organisations about No.1, let alone a creative effort to find common solutions.

And I am far from convinced that the three have shown that properly trained new foster carers can be sustainably recruited to a level where they could replace the current respite care being offered at No.1.

No.1 is run by well-trained staff, who really understand the children and their needs. It would be tragic if their skills were to be lost.
And as the recent Council meeting showed, there is deep cross-party support for its continuation.

As I understand it, there is a statutory right on the Council to provide respite care, and plans must be in place to call on cover staff where necessary. But the Council need to be met half-way by the Trust and the CCG to make it all work.

Let’s make this happen. The children and families of No.1 deserve much better than this.

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As I understand it, this is about cost. None of the three parties involved in funding the centre want the expense.  We all know that budgets are tight but to just press on with their fostering plan without consultation is disgraceful. Glenda has alluded elsewhere to the Council's cavalier disregard for the law, could be this time their "we can do what ever we like" arrogance comes back to bite them somewhere painful. Of course that's probably not much consolation to the service users and families who are suffering now.

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  • 1 month later...

The TASK & Finish group has now finished its report an it is published on the council's web site. There is an extra ordinary meeting of the Health & Social Care Scrutiny Committe on 14th December at 2pm where the report will be discussed. It is regrettable that some parents have started legal action before the report was published. I can only guess where that advise came from, as it may curtail any real debate at the meeting. It is important that the T & F Group is able to explain its thoughts at the meeting or to be able to answer questions, but it may now be sub judicial, following the parents decision.

 

Read the report carefully, read it again, then ask yourself if we have left anything out! You will see we are particularly critical of middle management, the lack of communication and the in ability of officers to speak same language as ordinary people. Nothing new there then, except some of us have been saying it for years and still nothing happens. I have a very real fear of being told I have gone too far in my criticism when I speak at the meeting.

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I was told by the three families a couple of weeks ago that they had sought professional advice, I was asked to keep that information to myself which I Assued them I would, and have not broken their confidence in me.Chris whether you approve of what the parents have done they did it because they said they are getting no assurance from the council or anyone else. I attended the meeting at the Green Dragon last Thursday, I must admit I was disappointed. The staff were discussing what they want to do in the future,like getting funding but they admitted that would not be for 12 months, people were asked to form a steering group, I have put my name forward,the woman from WVT was asked a question but she could not answer it. My worry is they are looking toward the future but the problem is what is going to happen to these parents and children NOW!

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Glenda, they knew that the T& F group were meeting and that the report was going to be reported before Council on 14 December. I told them myself.
Someone, I am not sure who, advised them to go to legal, which is great, but only when they have the T& F reports in front of them! If any cllr or former councillorsr has advised them differently that is irresponsible because now it may be impossible to discuss the report, at a specially called meeting, as it is I suspect that a judicial review will find in favour of HC, WVHT on the evidence produced, BEFORE the T&F Group reported

Which would mean that again, many of the things that need to be said at a formal meeting, will not be said! May I suggest Glenda, that unless you have the full facts, until you have read the report, heard our reasons for our recommendations, and listened to the parents that I have spoken to, off the record, that you keep quiet!.
Yours
Chris

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I think the T and F group report represents a huge amount of work and to have produced it in such a short time, due to the urgency of the situation, is a credit to the group members.  The large numbers of recommendations on how HC, WVT and the CCG need to improve is also telling.

 

A couple of phrases are, I think, particularly damning of the Directors and Assistant Directors involved:

 

 

that the Executive .....  be asked to honour its obligations.....

 

They shouldn't need to be asked.

 

 

 

..officers from all three organisations acknowledged and agreed that it had been a systems mistake not to engage with all service users before an announcement had been made in July....

 

Are these people incapable of accepting that they, personally, made decisions to not comply with statutory obligations.  "it wasn't me, guv, it was the system"

 

 

the group is not satisfied with the explanations as to why the parents were not better informed by the council, the CCG and the WVT ....

 

Well said. There are certain senior managers who's instinct is to push through decisions, knowing that they may be unlawful and to deal with any legal difficulties if anyone notices or has the determination to challenge them.  This time they came up against a group of parents, and the T and F group who were willing to do the challenging.  

 

The report is really excellent at spelling out the `respite care' legal situation and I learnt a lot by reading it.

 

A couple of questions that I hope won't be taken as criticisms because they are meant mainly as suggestions that may already be being addressed or were not possible due to time limits.

 

The group consulted the former head of one of the special schools (and his wife) - why not consult the current heads of the three special schools in the county who will have a more up to date knowledge of the families and children involved?

 

Did you consult any other local authorities to see if there are models of this kind of care provision that are found to work within current budget constraints - and how they are made to work?  I sometimes think that in Herefordshire there is a tendency to just talk to ourselves when an outside perspective can be useful.

 

Did you consult any of the national charities (NASEN, SCOPE, etc) about what happens elsewhere and how the circle can be squared between families' needs and personalised budgets and local government/Health authority budgets? 

 

And perhaps more for the long term ... could there be economies by combining provision with a neighbouring county or counties depending on where a family lives?

 

As to the legal challenge - I see the frustration from Cllr Chappell and from the families.  They are actually on the same side so it shouldn't be impossible to put any legal action in abeyance until it is seen what progress is made.  One of the main themes in the report is the lack of information and communication - so to give an excuse to restrict communication even further seems very counterproductive at this point but there may need to be a time when HC officers need an outside authority to force them to comply with their obligations.

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 There are certain senior managers who's instinct is to push through decisions, knowing that they may be unlawful and to deal with any legal difficulties if anyone notices or has the determination to challenge them.  This time they came up against a group of parents, and the T and F group who were willing to do the challenging... 

 

As to the legal challenge - I see the frustration from Cllr Chappell and from the families.  They are actually on the same side so it shouldn't be impossible to put any legal action in abeyance until it is seen what progress is made.  One of the main themes in the report is the lack of information and communication - so to give an excuse to restrict communication even further seems very counterproductive at this point but there may need to be a time when HC officers need an outside authority to force them to comply with their obligations.

I'd hazard a guess that the judicial review application is being considered because the families believe that the decision has already been made.  That's certainly been the implication in the news reporting. You only get a three month window to make an application and delay can seriously affect your chances of success.  I dare say the families have been advised they need to protect their position.

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Cllr Chappell, thank you for your comments which are most unfounded the Hereford Times gave a very good article about this very issue , and I suggest washing your dirty linen in public is not a professional way to act, in the position you hold. I  can categoracally confirm that it was not I that advise the parents to go to legal, but I certainly know who it was when the parents had a meeting with them. May I  suggest you read the front page article of last weeks Hereford Times and you will know who they are. Cllr Chappell I am in receipt of the full facts which has been given to me by the parents of 1 Ledbury Road who I support, and will continue to do so. I am also half way through reading the T&F groups report. I have been listening to the parents of these children for many months now, and as I said previously I also attended the meeting last week at the Green Dragon at their request. The parents today has ask me to publish a statement for them on Hereford Voice I said I would, I will post it on here in due course.I am sorry that you find my supporting these parents is obviously a threat to you, but while the parents ask me for my support I will continue to give it to them!

At the end of the day Cllr Chappell this is not about you or I but the vulnerable children with complex needs and their parents who has had to cope with the childrens disruptive behaviour because all this has up set their daily routine, and making it very hard for their parents to cope with all the stress!!

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Glenda, what ever made you think I would think this had anything to do with you? You were the last person I would have thought would have the capacity to advice the parents on such an important issue!

I will treat the rest of your thread with the comtempt it deserves, my one piece of advice being never think you are more important than others see you.

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Cllr ChappelI  I do not need or seek advice from you.I do not think I important l leave that honour to you! that said I  am more than capable of giving people advice but in this case the parents are more than capable of knowing what to do for their children. Especially as they have not been listened to.they have had to fight their own battles, and a very good job they done of it.

 

Denise- I am not a councillor any more thank god, I treat people as they treat me, and Cllr Chappell started with the sarcasmn, I just finished it.

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    http://councillors.herefordshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=291&MId=5385&Ver=4 â€¦ #herefordshire full council meeting 18th Dec 10am Shire Hall, #Hereford. Item 24 on agenda #respite

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