Ealing Elections

Robert Cialdini, Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, published his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” in 1984.

One of his six Principles of Influence is known as: Reciprocity.

As humans, we generally aim to return favours and treat others as they treat us. According to the idea of reciprocity, this can lead us to feel obliged to offer concessions or discounts to others if they have offered them to us. This is because (applies to most) we’re uncomfortable with feeling indebted to them.

From 21 years I lived in the Borough of Richmond and Dr. Vince Cable was my local MP. For many different reasons I can assert that Dr. Cable is a great man and one of integrity.

1 a Cable 1

“A great man is different from an eminent one in that he is ready to be the servant of the society [B. R. Ambedkar]”; an interesting quote from this Indian jurist, economist, politician and social reformer.

The opposite of great man and one of integrity can be said about Mr. V. Sharma MP (Labour) and Mr. Jon Ball (Liberal Democrats) councillor.  Two individuals that see a career in politics as a mean to facilitate own personal objectives while achieve little and delude most of the constituents.

Mr. Sharma has been re-elected in Southall but that this is of no surprise to an area which is prevailing non-white.

elec3Southall

I have had the pleasure to meet Mr. Pound and, admittedly, even if directly he is not my MP, I must state that he, at least, has replied to my emails and letters in the past (when I sought assistance). Probably 26’000 well deserved votes.

elec2North Ealing

The distribution of votes for the Ealing Central and Acton Parliamentary area looked more diverse than the other two areas with a considerable amount of residents voting for Conservatives. In fact, here, Labour has won only by 274 votes.

elec1Acton

I do not follow one singular party although, admittedly, I have my own personal preference between right and left. With a certain respect for Vince Cable, I have voted for the Liberal Democrats and supported them on many occasions. However, having considered the no commitment from Mr. Jon Ball (and also other Liberal Democrats councillors in Ealing), to help and resolve any local issues, on this occasion I didn’t back any of the Liberal Democrats.

As a matter of fact, in the Borough of Ealing the Green Party received 5’483 votes, UKIP came top with 7’617 and the Liberal Democrats became second with 6’231 votes.

On Facebook there is a group called Sad-Ealing. Many posts on other Facebook Pages and other internet sites generally show discontent on how Ealing Council (please allow me to add Hounslow Borough – Labour too) are “serving” the Borough (and they have been doing so for a while). Discontent includes national health (including one of the worse hospital in the Country – Ealing Hospital) – very poor Social Care – very poor Refuse Services – high crime –  bad management within the Council (autocratic policies – waste of money) – and corruption within Ealing MPs and Directors.

Maternity ward is already closing at Ealing Hospital and it will probably not be long when the whole hospital will shut down so that more houses can be built in the area.

Without a doubt, complaints from local residents will be raised by many in the next few years. You had your chance to bring some positive changes to the Borough of Ealing – no point complaining if there is no courage to embrace changes.

 

Extra “interesting” reading.

https://glasgow2goa.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/par191210.pdf [Sharma]

http://order-order.com/2011/09/09/labour-mp-denies-illegal-donation-from-the-indian-government/#_@/vdJTTWGV3air9g [Sharma]

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/news-opinion/cllr-gregory-stafford-hypocritical-labour-8430555 [Bell]

http://www.ealingtoday.co.uk/shared/eaplanning001.htm [Bell]

http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2014/oct/29/ealing-town-hall-for-sale-local-councils-cuts [Bell]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6930063.stm [17 months toddler - Abid Ikram death]

May 2015 Elections – Mr Jon Ball

Election Time, and it is like seeing garden sun-kinks emerging from no-where, attracted by the sun. For the rest of the year we hardly see them or hear them; interesting that ‘parties’ are now looking for our support, they wish to have our vote.

My simple question to Mr. Jon Ball is: Where were you for 26 months when I needed you? How come you never had the decency to acknowledge or reply to my emails?

My vote has always gone to those individuals that can make a difference and strive to defend the integrity of their mandate. For this reason, since 1983, I have always supported Mr. Vince Cable (a truly unique gentleman).

Voting, in my opinion has little to do with (promised) policies, but it has mostly to do with persons of high standards that show competence and ability in their responsibilities. A red cross will be applied by me to the names of Jon Ball (Parliamentary Candidate ?) and Virendra Sharma as the most ineffective people in politics; they look after their own interests without considering the need of the constituents.

No vote from me for Labour as we have had enough corruption, cut-backs and second-rate services for far too long from Ealing Council + a local Member of Parliament that “hides” behind a ‘title’ without doing his job. And no vote for the Lib-Dems as they need more of a “Ball” to gain public’s confidence.

Ball J 001

There can be no whitewash… ?

Ealing Council have inflicted absolute hell on my mother and I for just over 24 months. My mother only wish was to die at home with dignity and respect.
She died at home; however even her basic fundamental rights to earn a glimpse of dignity, satisfaction and contentment, in her final years of life, were harshly and ruthlessly crushed by all concerned (Ealing Council, councillors, MPs, EU Commission etc.).
Some eleven months later, the EU commission has finally sent a reply to one of my letters. Correctly so, they mention my distress, but what is now haunting me, is the plain fact that my mother has endured the tantalising prospect of months of abuse, neglect and alienation on the hands of Ealing Council social services. Twenty-four months of my life that, even with my 24/7 supervision, were unable to bring to her serenity as I was too busy and preoccupied to seek help, honesty and clarity from all concerned.

EU-Commssion-1

EU-Commssion-2

A shame year (2015) for Ealing Council

Social Care 2015: Better Guidance, Better Care - Better – is what the Government has been promising for many months. While I looked after my mother for over 25 months (since April 2012), social care services from Ealing Council have been dreadful. I am very sorry for those that are alone and need care. Apparently Social Care will face many cuts in 2015.

These are just a few headlines on what is to come for 2015.

Ealing Council rejected the Liberal Democrat call-in for scrutiny of day care centre closures in the borough. Local Lib Dems recommended a delay in the closure of Carlton Road and other centres such as the Solace Centre , Elm and Sycamore Lodges, so ‘a proper and thorough review can be carried out of the needs of people who use these facilities’.

Labour chief (Julian Bell) in social housing owns £1m home round the corner: Councillor branded a ‘hypocrite’ after buying property while staying on as housing association tenant

  • Julian Bell bought five-bedroom property in West London seven years ago
  • Councillor stayed on as a housing association tenant despite purchase 
  • The 55-year-old has protested at housing shortages and Coalition cuts
  • Critics urged him to give up social housing to ‘people who really need it’

Ealing Borough’s rubbish and recycling collection is to be downgraded from weekly to fortnightly and wheelie bins are on the way.

More than 400 staff at Ealing Council are facing redundancy as the borough grapples to save £96 million. Local services – already under pressure – face further hardship with children and youth services facing cuts of nearly £3million. Meanwhile the Brent Lodge Animal Centre will have to find new ways of funding and will lose £100,000 from April 2017.

A popular children’s play centre which has proved to be a lifeline for many parents is threatened with closure. The free drop-in centre in Lammas Park is one of many services Ealing council says will have to be cut in a bid to balance the books.

Pupils protest after lollipop women axed by Ealing Council

A new CPZ will be introduced in the Little Ealing area after a vote by local residents. 1749 consultations were sent out in the core area (shown in purple on map) 553 were returned, ie 32% responded – 60% of those who did told the council they wanted the CPZ for two periods of one hour each. Of the roads questioned 87% voted in favour of a CPZ on Chandos Avenue, 83% on Ealing Park Gardens, 77% on Radbourne Avenue and 71% on Darwin Road. [Worth remembering that Ealing FIRST creates the problems and afterwards will seek for solutions].

Ealing Budget 2015

The video on YouTube states “cutting costs and being more efficient”!! My question is: “how will Ealing Council be more efficient”? Money is WASTED on wrong policies and, what it seems to be, bad supervision. I have seen Ealing Council vans parked on side streets for hours – the “workers” having… a cup of tea. I know, out of my own experience that social services are wasting thousands of pounds on incredibly bad management. Roads are a mess but millions of Pounds are spend on bad policies; our money. The MANAGEMENT, those at the top are to blame, too busy to keep their job, they are only interested to show vast amounts of paperwork and policies that lead to…nothing! They have been voted into power and, statistically, it has been a mess and a downhill ‘affair’ since last elections. It is easy to blame the Government but it is a fact that Ealing is becoming one of the poorest Council in London.

This article is taken from Ealingtoday.co.uk

‘Unprecedented’ cuts will mean changing or stopping some council services

It’s looking like it will be a bleak start to 2015 in Ealing after the council announced it still has to cut almost £9 million (by mid-Feb) to balance the books.

Local services – already under presssure – face further hardship with children and youth services facing cuts of nearly £3million. Meanwhile the Brent Lodge Animal Centre will have to find new ways of funding and will lose £100,000 from April 2017.

Despite agreeing more than £53 million of cuts in the past two months, Ealing Council still needs to find almost another £43million if it is to reduce its budget by £96 million by April 2019.

At a meeting of the council’s cabinet last night (Tuesday, 16 December 2014) councillors heard that they still needed to agree £26 million of budget reductions in order to reach the savings’ target for the year ahead.  Of this money, £8.6 million must be found by mid-February if the council is to balance its budget. This will mean that the council’s cabinet will need to consider further budget reductions when it meets in January and February.

The council expects its core government funding to be significantly reduced over the next few years. It will hear in the run up to Christmas exactly how much funding it will get from the government for the year ahead. If central government budget reductions are greater than expected then further cuts will be needed.

The council has already pledged to freeze council tax again next year. To cover the savings’ target through council tax every household’s bill would need to roughly double.

Councillor Julian Bell, leader of the council, said: “With less money we have no choice but to change or stop some services. The chancellor made it clear in his autumn statement that the public sector will continue to be hit by swingeing and relentless cuts for years to come. Local government has been deliberately and disproportionately targeted with more cuts than any other part of the public sector so there can be no surprises that local services are being affected.

“We are still significantly short of our budget reduction target for this year and must find almost £9 million before mid-February in order to balance our budget, which means further tough choices in the new year.”

Councillor Yvonne Johnson, cabinet member for finance, performance and welfare, said: ”The scale of cuts that we are making is unprecedented and every service is affected. It has been suggested that the council should use its reserves but the truth is that 61% of this money has already been allocated to projects like expanding schools and building new homes. Around 20% belongs to local schools and the remaining 19% is our safety net should we face an emergency. It can only be spent once and then it will be gone.

“We will continue to drive down costs, be as fair as possible in the decisions we take and run the council according to the priorities we were elected to deliver. We aim to attract more businesses into the borough, which will create new jobs and increase our income from business rates; ensure more affordable homes are built; and push for the best healthcare services for our residents.”

The council has more information about the budget con its website www.ealing.gov.uk/budget A video was produced (at no cost to the council with help from residents) it can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfTxoV6XRmM&list=UUoI9fzIsjNbPOOMnTO6fxhQ

 

17th December 2014

 

 

Comites Elections UK

Cosa fa il Comites?

I Comitati degli Italiani all’Estero prendono iniziative nelle aree cultura, scuola, formazione professionale, assistenza agli anziani, sociale, tempo libero e sport con lo scopo di promuovere le comunità italiane all’estero.

Quali sono le attività concrete del Comites?

Si tratta di salvaguardare gli interessi e i diritti dei cittadini italiani, in collaborazione con il Consolato competente, ed eventualmente di difendere i cittadini italiani in caso di mancata osservanza delle convenzioni internazionali o nazionali. Un esempio concreto: i comitati tutelano la situazione abitativa di cittadini italiani, controllano il rispetto dei contratti di lavoro e lavorano affinché i bambini siano bene integrati nel sistema scolastico del paese ospitante.

“difendere i cittadini italiani in caso di mancata osservanza delle convenzioni internazionali o nazionali”

“to defend Italian citizens in the event of non-compliance with international and national conventions”.

This is probably one side of politics; having structures that should be helping those in need but nothing is done because prudence of not upsetting “friends” is more important than exercising the non-discriminatory rights of the individuals.

I am standing to be elected because I believe passionately that democracy is not a means to an ends but an ends in itself. I would like to see the Comites as a very different organisation, one that has a clear sense of direction, is internally democratic, a community organizer, one that will take initiatives for the benefit of the community. Legislations to safeguard citizens are plenty and functional, often they just need to be implemented.

My mother and I were extraordinarily let down by all Italian and UK+EU institutions and authorities; it is my wish that no others will suffer of injustice.

A couple of pictures of the Comites office in London

Comites front Comites London

Are Ealing Council wasting our council tax money?

This open letter is addressed mainly to the community of the Borough of Ealing, although I am sure it reflects a nationwide discontent.

As residents of Ealing Borough we should be able to trust the local authorities to spend our taxes carefully and with consideration. One of the things we are promised as constituents, is the provision of vital social services to the young and the elderly in our area. Tens of millions of pounds are spent on this each year in Ealing. But the services do not exist. Our money has been put aside in part to provide for the security and care of our loved ones. But that money has disappeared.

Where is the money going?

Over the last twenty four months I have been engaged in a long and difficult debate with Ealing Council. This has revolved around the mistreatment of my elderly mother by several members of the local council. I have had to learn a lot of uncomfortable truths about the failings of the social care system in Ealing. To emphasize the severity of the situation I would like to bring to your attention several incidents in which the misuse of council money has been shown to result in the suffering or death of council constituents in the UK.

Well known victims have included children such as:

Peter Connelly in 2007 – Better known as Baby P. In whose case both social workers and specially assigned medical professionals failed to follow up on and account for multiple injuries concurrent with child-abuse and were therefore unable to prevent his violent death. After whose case multiple local council managers were removed from their positions by order of central government under allegations of negligence and malpractice.

Victoria Climbié in 2001 Another fatal victim of child abuse whose abuse was never acted on and whose case was reviewed by Lord Laming after the death of Peter Connelly. Lord Laming drew specific attention to the persistent failures in the implementation of social care services provided by local authorities throughout the UK.

Well known adult victims have included more recent cases such as:

Muriel Price in 2013 – Who suffered abuse at the hands of her appointed carers not limited to: premeditated negligence, incompetence, intimidation and verbal assault. CCTV footage became available in which care agency employees were shown to act in manners which evidenced disdain for their positions – such as their failure to perform necessary tasks – as well as general malpractice. The care provision agency responsible was forced to suspend all trade as a result and was subsequently placed under investigation by the UK Homecare Association.

Gloria Foster in 2013 – Who was abandoned because of “an administrative mistake” by her local council and was later found so severely ill at her home that she had to be transferred to the hospital in which she later died. The UK Border Agency were soon able to confirm that the care agency responsible for providing services to Gloria Foster was both operating fraudulently and employing illegal immigrants. Further investigations were launched into the poor administration of the social services provided by Surrey County Council.

These few names are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a terrible truth behind their media sensationalism. These few victims made the news – but these things happen every day. Instances in which local authorities and their social care policies are found to be in-part responsible for the suffering of innocent and vulnerable people are becoming more and more common. They are becoming ordinary. The same is happening here in Ealing.

There comes a time in all of our lives when we have to turn to others for support and it is shameful that we are being lied to by our local authorities: the money we invest in our futures when we pay our council tax is simply not being invested properly by local councils. It is instead being spent on huge executive salaries by an entirely self-serving bureaucracy.

Every year, a handful of executives and directors at Ealing Council take home salaries worth almost £1.5M. Meanwhile our libraries, rubbish collection, road works, schooling and social care are all suffering. And what about the support of the local politicians who are sworn to look out for our best interests? Should we also thank Mr V. Sharma MP? Many voted for him but I would like to let you know that Mr Sharma has never done anything to assist me despite multiple requests including a direct appeal issued by the House of Lords – by Lord Leitch. Even the councillors responsible for overseeing processes at Ealing Council have failed to open an inquiry into the misuse of public funds in the Borough of Ealing. So where does it leave us? Perhaps we should turn to charities and national support networks for help?

Sadly this is not the case – as I have found out over the last eighteen months. Organisations and charities are supposed to be there to help. It is true that they can put political pressure onto authorities in certain areas but I have found out the hard way that they have little to offer in terms of practical support for carers and victims. On July 3rd, 2014, there was a meeting in Ealing called “Caring for Carers”. Mr. Steve Shrubb (Chief Executive of the West London Mental Health NHS Trust) took to the stand to explain that there are many improvements still to make to care provision and that his door was open to anyone wishing to contact him. Three more speakers followed:

-  Jamie Reed MP (Shadow Health Minister). Sadly no one understood Mr Reed because of his low tone of voice and incessant muttering.

- Paul Burstow MP (Vice Chair for All Party Parliament Group of Carers). Mr Burstow came across well as his speech was excellent. However he also made a lot of promises (and as he is a politician it would pay to remember that he almost certainly does not mean what he says).

-  Dr Ann Mulroy (Clinical Champion for Carers Royal College of G.P.). She and her team also offers a lot, apparently to other GPs,  but they are hardly known to the medical community.

After that, four carers stood up in turn to explain that they had all encountered serious problems when trying to care for their loved ones; that not enough assistance was provided to them by the authorities and that they were not granted even basic assistance and “simple aid” by Ealing Council. These testimonies were met with political discussion from the speakers but this was of little practical use to the families involved and was ultimately entirely non–constructive.  As much as I wanted to stay for the afternoon session, I couldn’t really afford to waste more of my time listening to political babble. I left at the mid-point and as such I missed an appearance by Lucy Hammer (CQC). However – considering that her organisation has ignored all of my correspondence for over two years now – I suspect that any more issues I might have raised with her would have fallen on deaf ears. The same would probably have been true had I been able to speak to Ms Hilda Hayo (Dementia U.K). As is the case with so many charities, her organisation are very good at sending pamphlets out but seem to be uninterested in providing real aid and practical advice. The truth is that this is a trend in the UK. No one in power really wants to help the vulnerable.

So what about support from Europe? The victims of malpractice and negligence within the social care system are by legal definitions also the victims of human rights violations and should therefore be protected by the EU. Indeed this is true. But are the EU capable of forcing hands in the UK? Of course they are not!

I have now spent months and months dealing with the Directorate General of the EU Commission whose office has contacted Ealing Council and demanded an explanation for its failings in the field of care provision. At a first glance this seems like a fantastic thing. However there is a problem: this demand has been termed an “investigation” by Europe but it has amounted to no such thing. No evidence has been provided by Ealing Council. No one in Europe is prepared to act any further on this. At the end of the day they have ticked all the appropriate boxes for not chastising Ealing Council. They do not need to act any further. What Ealing Council does next is out of the hands of the European Commission. So once again we see people suffering because of a bureaucracy that is at best inept and at worst entirely corrupt.

It is already hard enough for us to organise proper care for our children and parents; and just a few years from now we will be in the same situation ourselves. Our local authorities argue that they cannot cope financially. However I have seen huge sums of money go to waste as a result of poor coordination and expensive corner-cutting on the part of Ealing Council.

A good example involves the employment of recent and poorly vetted immigrants with limited spoken English. My mother has seen over thirty different carers over the last twelve months. Almost all of them have problems when understanding or communicating with people in English. Although recent immigrants will often work for a low rate, the cost of replacing carers with inadequate language skills is extremely expensive. Imagine a world in which we cannot communicate with our future carers… How will we be able to ask for a drink or a tissue or something to eat when our carers cannot understand us? Why are they not vetted properly in the first place to save the waste of public funds?

Whenever I have tried to raise this issue with the council I have been met with resistance. Principally from the office of Mr Stephen Day who is Director of Adult Social Services at Ealing Council. He has held this position for many years and is paid an annual salary worth more than £100,000. There have been a number of deeply worrying and often traumatic shortcomings in the service we have received from members of staff in the department of Adult Social Services. Not only has his office failed to implement the system of timely and adequate care that has been promised to a constituent whose health has been proved to be in a state of rapid detrition – as is their legal obligation as our local authority – we have also been subject to specific instances of abuse which can be attributed to Mr Stephen Day. A great many of the letters I have received from Mr Day have contained shockingly offensive material – including racial slurs and intimidation in the form of legal threats.

As someone who has had to deal with abusive letters on behalf of a vulnerable individual, I feel that something must be done about this situation before others fall victim to the same oppressive attitude that my mother and I have encountered. Due to the severe nature of the threats issued in the letters I have mentioned above, it is my opinion that Mr Day’s office should be placed under investigation at the soonest possible opportunity.

Ealing Council have also spent a great deal of public money on solicitors bills after having chosen to threaten me with legal action when I lodged my initial complaints about the quality of service I had received. Surely this money could have been used more effectively in the first place: to provide a suitable and uncomplicated service. Instead it has been wasted on an incompetent campaign, the principal goal of which seems to have been the intimidation of an elderly woman. I believe that this is evidence of unethical practice.

Despite my attempts here I cannot properly express in writing the prolonged anguish that my mother has entered into when dealing with Ealing Council. Nor can I convey my own emotions any more strongly than in saying that I am deeply disappointed with the people to whom I have paid taxes as a citizen of the United Kingdom. The disgraceful behaviour of individuals and departments has brought to my attention a deep-running problem with the social care system in the UK. If we do not take heed of situations such as mine then we will damn ourselves and our children. We will condemn future generations of vulnerable people to depression and abandonment. Further to that: we will also allow our local authorities to steal our taxes. We have two choices: action or inaction.

I only ask that you act on these words in whatever way you see fit. If you have any advice or if you know anyone in a similar situation, please feel free to contact me.

If only – fingers crossed

Care Quality Commission

Citygate

Gallowgate

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE1 4PA

Telephone: 03000 616161

Fax: 03000 616171

www.cqc.org.uk

 


Mr Max Procaccini

By Email

23 July 2014

Care Quality Commission

Your email correspondence

 

Reference: ENQ1-14860

Dear Mr Procaccini

Thank you for your email dated 18 June 2014 where you raised concerns about Ealing Social Services and also about the standard of service that has been provided by the five domiciliary care agencies commissioned to provide a service to your mother, Mrs Maggini.

As you know we regulate individual health and social care providers and do not regulate the social services departments of local authorities. We note that you had complained to the Local Government Ombudsman about this matter in your attempt to address your dissatisfaction with the services provided by Ealing Social Services.

I note your point about the domiciliary care agencies which have equally provided staff who were “extremely poorly trained, not supervised and many don’t even understand English.”

In reply to this point I can say that the CQC has been aware for some time that a lot of providers, including domiciliary care agencies do what they can to comply with legislation with no real incentive to improve and provide an excellent service. This was because they were assessed as either compliant or non-compliant with standards and regulations. From 1 October 2014 we will introduce a performance rating and we will actively report on the quality of services. It will no longer be just a matter of compliance or non-compliance with standards and regulations but a matter of how good providers are at providing a service in relation to five key questions: how safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led the service is?

This will also be an opportunity for providers to demonstrate how good their service is and to differentiate themselves from other providers. It will also provide an incentive for the average performers to improve the service they provide and for those who are good providers to innovate and further improve their service to be recognised as leaders within their field. As a result people using services and their relatives will have more information to choose services according to how good they are and be more aware of expectations from providers.

Other initiatives to improve the quality of adults social care people using services receive and to be introduced by the CQC include ‘The Mum’s Test’ and the recently announced special measures where services could be placed in, if they fail to make the required improvements.

I note that we last emailed you on the 10 July 2014 advising you that your concerns would be passed to the compliance team and asking for specific information about the service providers who were involved in the care of Mrs Maggini.  We would still be happy to hear from you about any individual service provider so we can plan any regulatory action, if this is required or use the information to plan our inspections.

Whilst this letter will not resolve your current position, we hope that you will be reassured that we have noted your concerns. We would also like to wish Mrs Maggini and you the very best for the future.

If you have any questions you can contact our National Contact Centre using the details below:

 

Telephone:    03000 616161

 

Email:             enquiries@cqc.org.uk

 

Write to:          CQC HSCA Registration

Citygate

Gallowgate

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE1 4PA

Yours sincerely

Ram Sooriah

Inspection Manager (Interim)

 

 

 

 

“OUR” policies to do nothing.

cc.

  1. Mr Steve Shrubb (Chief Executive West London Mental Health Trust)
  2. Mr Jamie Reed MP
  3. Rt Hon Paul Burstow MP

Dear Sirs,

I fully understand that CQC policies have been set to safeguard the public best interest. Of course – there is probably no fool-proof system for doing this and I vaguely remember a telephone conversation with a CQC area manager who said that the complaints are too many and the resources too limited for it to be any other way. We are however talking about the dignity and welfare of human beings – us.

Remembering some of the many victims of malpractice and negligence such Victoria Climbié, Muriel Price and  Gloria Foster, is only a sad reminder that these ‘unfortunate casualties’ have been failed by the system. Low quality care and high doses of negligence are currently making the lives of many clients and carers alike extremely difficult. In some cases these victims also live in fear – for their lives and their jobs.

The last care agency to look after my mother was Lean On Me Community Care Services, Northolt, Middlesex. I can categorically state that, apart from one good care agency, the other four that  have also looked after my mother have proved to be a total disgrace to the trade. Most carers with whom I have worked did not speak English. One of the agencies has my hand-writing in a carer’s application as I had  to do the English test on her behalf – at the time there was no other option – as it was that or receive no care at all. This loophole is open for all the other carers too: it may well be common place for carers to have their families and friends fill in the test for them. This also means that carers cannot be trained – not proficiently anyway. If they do not speak English it means that they also do not understand English. As I have explained in the past this often results in a substandard service and one which has the potential to severely endanger the lives of care clients – especially given the relationship between carers’ fluency in reading English and the provision of vital and/or dangerous medication to clients. Even the basic hygiene and workplace safety standards have hardly ever been met by many of the carers with whom I have worked. The many incidents and general sub-standard service I have received has been repeatedly reported to Ealing Council. Just a quick reminder that we are talking about human lives here – about vulnerable people’s wellbeing and dignity. Instead of only looking at complaints as alarm bells (which is why Gloria Foster died) Ealing Council failed on every single occasion and it was two years before I was able to persuade anyone to even investigate or take action on my many complaints.

While the worrying concern is that the frail elderly are left on their own to suffer terrifying acts of abuse, it is also worth noting that I have passed on my findings to others in the industry. For instance, a researcher, assessor and academic tutor in the field of Health & Social Care and Childcare at the City of London Business College has been utterly dismayed to read my long list of complaints as she has been made aware that what she preaches and teaches is no longer an accurate reflection of reality.
It is entirely wrong of us to accuse any one agency in specific as the CQC has been copied in on many occasions regarding previous serious incidents across a range of agencies and these complaints have been ignored on all fronts. There is seriously a rotten system set up out there for many carers and care agencies. It is also wrong to point the finger at carers in specific – the truth is that incompetent carers should not be recruited in the first place. Those who are should be trained properly. And those who are neither competent or properly trained still have to work in a very stressful environment without the proper professional support from the agencies by whom they are employed. When the paying rate is often set at £6 per hour (+ tax) it is of no surprise that the work is given to (sometimes illegal) immigrants who are often unable to complain about their conditions or find work elsewhere. The reader must also remember that even a twelve hour shift is made of many hours unpaid for commuting. As I am sure you know: the real blame lies with the coordinators of this failing system.

I am under the impression that it is the duty of the CQC to take action on this point.

Here we are… We are giving the lives of our loved ones (and soon these will be our lives too) into the hands of a system that cares only about budgeting and money-making. A system that doesn’t care at all for the fundamental rights of the elderly. A system that offers them neither dignity or respect.

 Yours sincerely

 

For My Mum – A Strong Woman Who Always Endured

Nonna has died

MUM AND I

 My mother always wanted to die in her bed and at home.

This is what she did for her mother in 1962. She made me promise that I would do the same for her, and I keep my promises.

Due to her illness, she had to come to London in April 2012. My home became her home. At first she had a small bedroom upstairs but, when her disability became aggravated, she settled in the sitting room.

Over the last two years I have been caught up in something that I never expected to have to do. For two years now, I have been my mother’s carer. Systems were meant to be in place but no one was able to provide the support which she required. No one else was there to help.

 

GRIEVANCES

Of course I expected my mother to grow old – but I never expected that an innocent woman in her condition would have to experience as much injustice as she did in her final years. Those two years should have been as comfortable as possible for her. They could have been a time for reconnection and I could have cared for her alongside the professionals whom I was assured would be available to support her in her last two years. But this has not been the case. Instead, I have had to fight for up to eighteen hours every day to protect her basic human rights. I have had to open legal cases on behalf of my mother, against inept care agencies and corrupt local authorities. I have had to make police complaints about the racist abuse that we have suffered on the part of local officials and their legal representatives. Ultimately, I have had to involve the European Commission in an investigation of the care provided to the elderly by Ealing Council. All of this, on top of caring for my elderly, disabled mother.

My mother was Italian. She was born in Milan and was a Member of the European Union, allegedly a safe place in which the many Treaties and Acts of Parliament should safeguard the best interests of European Citizens. We live in the London Borough of Ealing, UK, EU. Ealing Social Services were obliged by law to provide my elderly mother with certain services that would have enabled her to live with dignity and respect. Unfortunately Ealing Council’s principal consistent aim has to save money by providing the bare minimum of services possible, even when that lack of provision has constituted a breech of European Law. For many months, due to personal illness, I couldn’t even fetch a cup of tea for myself, yet was expected to look after my mum. The list of problems with the services we were offered is too long to write here, but it is safe to say that we were all heavily and horribly burdened by Ealing Council.

Throughout these two very challenging years I received very little support from the rest of my family.

As if the lack of services was not enough, some eight months ago, Ealing Council decided that my mother should have been deported back to Italy, where she has no family or friends whatsoever. Just to make sure I felt the full and mighty power of Ealing Council, they unleashed their team of Solicitors and instructed them to take action against my mother and I (a very poor employment of public money which came to nothing as I countered it with my own legal support and a police investigation into the inherent racism and bullying involved on the part of Ealing Council). However – It took me almost six mentally and physically exhausting months and a sum of £3,000 to prove to Ealing Council that, under European Treaty Rights, my mother had every right to stay in the UK.

One might assume that there are procedures and organisations in place to assist those in such predicaments. The reality is that this is not the case.

So called “charities” such as Age Concern and Dementia Concern have proven to be both useless and spineless; unwilling to challenge Ealing Council. They have been busy “bodies” when it comes to the presentation of glossy booklets with large amounts of “proper” and “correct” information – but that information has been of absolutely no use to me or my mother in the real world.

Local Councillors have proved equally useless. Almost everyone to whom I have spoken has not had enough experience with “complicated cases” such as these – but the truth is that they are too career orientated to risk confronting the problems within  the council, preferring to ignore the issue because it would rock the boat too much.

MPs – as we all probably know – are all too good at making impossible promises (especially before elections) and are often too useless to achieve anything in the long run. True to form, our local MP, Mr. V. Sharma, has done nothing to assist my mother in any way or form, despite my writing to him numerous times.

Only one MEP has done something for my case ­– that was Baroness Ludford. Despite her clear intervention, Ealing Council decided to ignore her criticism and advice. None of the other MPs and MEPs that I contacted ever replied.

I have even been ignored by a Parliamentary Ombudsman, responsible for handling complaints made against a MPs. The system is always so keen to protect its “own”. The Local Government Ombudsman proudly states that it “looks at complaints about councils and some other authorities and organisations” but it took them over 16 months to initiate a case and come to any decision. That decision came after a great amount of my correspondence had been ignored, and, while it was in my mother’s favour, it lacked facts and was still biased towards Ealing Council.

As we are in the EU, it stands to reason that we should have sought assistance from supportive elements within that wider political infrastructure – smaller organisations that fall under the umbrella of the EU.

The AIRE Centre is a specialist charity whose mission is to promote awareness of European law rights and assist marginalised individuals and those in vulnerable circumstances in asserting and maintaining those rights. It was as if we had won the lottery as one of their lawyers, Sarah St Vincent, prepared a very comprehensive report on my mother’s Rights. However, that legal report was also completely ignored by Ealing Council in January 2013.

At the time of contacting the Ombudsman and the AIRE Centre I also contacted the Directorate-General Justice of the European Commission. Almost two years later, all that I can say is that their office has done little-to-nothing. Only recently, they had the audacity to say that the case has been solved because Ealing Council sent them a letter of apology (which I can only presume, as no evidence of such a letter has ever been made available to my mother and I). The case has only been solved on the basis that someone has admitted that my mother has been abused and neglected. That hasn’t helped anything. It has all been too little, far too late.

I am a person who fights and does not give up. I fight because I believe that our rights should be protected, and I fight because we are led to believe that Institutions and Governments are there to assist us in a fair and decent way. I can tell you that this is not the case. Throughout this struggle, I have had the opportunity to meet many others in similar conditions to mine; but they have not been able to fight against the system. They have struggled along inside the system, never getting anywhere, always suffering. The system is useless to us, it is corrupt.

It is, in many cases a lottery. As Sarah St Vincent has left the AIRE Centre and a new manager has taken over, the service is no longer available to most users. Similar to a lottery, a person has only one chance in every million, to be heard or considered. The same must be said for almost all of the many other organisations and charities I have encountered along the way. Just because I have not mentioned them here, it doesn’t mean I have not been in touch with them. In most cases they have been pretty useless, a false screen of security assuring us that we have friends inside the system. We do not. The charities and organisations are simply taking us for a ride. They take our money and provide lousy results at best.

Please remember – this is not only about me and my mother – this is YOUR FUTURE.

Yes – I am bitter that the last 26 months of my mother’s life were not more jovial. I have every right to be bitter. So would you, if it was your mother. So would you, if you were the one who was disabled and dying and left to fend for yourself.

She could have had a better time but I could not do everything at once. I could not provide her with the sort of care she wanted and needed whilst also fighting institutional apathy, professional negligence and simple, dumb stupidity.

 

MEMORIES

My mum lived through some wonderful periods but, often, her memories were full of regret and sorrow.

She lost her father when she was 19 and she didn’t get on well with her mother.

She endured the painful bombardment of Milan during the Second World War and often spoke about the rats in the streets and the people’s screams, coming from under collapsed buildings.

Then, from 1950 to 1970 she led a very elegant and prosperous life, which she enjoyed in many different ways.

In 1970 her husband (my father) died and both her daughter (my sister) and I left Italy.

I had little communication with her in the following years, but, despite fighting cancer in 1990, she managed to enjoy much of her life and was full of fond memories of her father and her husband.

In the last two years of her life she had no friends left and not much of a family either: there are two siblings and five grandchildren, and that is all.

At this point, one should say that one’s mum was a vibrant soul, the sort of person who literally lit up the room whenever she came through the door. But this was not the case. Instead, I remember mum as a person with a very strong and determined character – and maybe that was inherited from her Slavic grandmother.

Mum had absolutely no interests whatsoever in the last 15 or so years of her life – apart from buying scratch cards. Conversation and interaction with others was always a problem for her – she preferred her own her monologue.

And so my lasting memories of mum are simple: a hard-working, passionate figure of strength who soldiered on, even when times were tough.

She was very much there for us and she cared for us a great deal when we were little.

Mum, thank you for everything you’ve given us – and for the warmth we shared during your precious time on earth.