Medway Council Housing Shambles

We received information regarding some more housing benefit overpayments and with regard to the lack of professionalism medway council representatives display. Medway council are and always have been known to refer residents to their website to gain understanding of the benefits process and application, they have also [in court] made clear that if a resident requires advice they can simply refer again to the website. This is of course a ludicrous suggestion now that we know that the disclaimer on the website clearly states that medway council accept no responsibility for the information held within the website. An advice page which informs you that if you do not follow their procedures you could end up prosecuted in court and on the other hand medway council cannot even assure you that what they are telling you is correct!!!!!!

We look at a recent case of benefit overpayment, before we go into detail i want to make it clear that there are more families who are in employment claiming Housing benefit than their are those unemployed.

Right before i get on my soap box, These overpayments are becoming rather popular with medway council and they are becoming more ridiculous by the day. We have just been viewing a letter sent by medway council to a resident explaining that SHE is responsible for repaying the overpayment HOWEVER if you were to look on the rear of the benefit overpayment notification it quite clearly state’s;

if payment is made to a landlord– the social security administration act 1997 imposes a duty on landlords to notify the council of any changes in circumstances, which may affect the claimants entitlement to benefit”

The strange thing about this is that it also states the follow;

youare responsible for telling us about a change in circumstances”!

Yes, yes silly i know but what did you really expect, but there is a point to this!
The point being if you did go to the medway council website to get advice regarding a change in circumstances they make absolutely no reference to the comment above [also shown in the photo below].

20120615-100600.jpg

[please click on picture to enlarge]

seems to us that medway council are relying on the fact that you will not refer to the conditions on the back of the notices.

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Cllr O’Brian vs Grain Residents

There is a time in everyones life when you cannot sit back anymore and watch while the corporations around you destroy the things you hold so dear, memories of children growing up, the house where your children were born and so on. The Isles of Grain has been home to nearly 2000 residents for many years, the families close nit and children more so. Playing on the grassed area outside your home with nothing to worry about other than “am i close enough to hear mum when she calls me in for dinner” ?

The days where you could allow your children to run through the long grass fields shouting and screaming without upsetting the neighbors, letting your children dig in the dirt for that illusive old 1 pence piece they so innocently know as ‘treasure’! After all thats why the residents of Grain live where they do, residents who simply want a relatively quiet life, giving their children the very freedoms many of us enjoyed on a daily basis.

Reality

In reality the residents of Grain are facing a lifetime of heavily laden commercial traffic polluting the beautiful countryside air, noise pollution which would make anyone believe they were under a commercial flight path but more worryingly the residents of Grain are facing the grim reality of a liquified gas explosion which could have a catastrophic outcome to every man women and child in Grain. With the constant daily worry of this occurrence the residents of grain cannot help but worry for safety of their loved ones.

Appeal

Residents of the isle of grain soon realized that medway council didn’t value the concern of the grain residents, having taken part in resident meetings the council came away upholding the position that they have ‘done enough’, meanwhile grain residents left with no more answers, one resident said ” we are fuming, they seem to have no regard for our concerns, if this is how medway council treat people dealing with the daily risk of a catastrophic explosion how do they treat people who have complaints about anti social behavior!

After all lets not forget that the reduction of “anti-social behavior” is seen as a government target for local authorities BUT the safety of 1700 residents is no more important than the price of coffee in the gun wharf canteen.

A large opposition has been maintained against medway council and LNG grain however they seem to be missing they residents points, they accept if they have to live so close to Grain LNG then at least make sure that every single effort is made to reassure the residents and their children that they can be safe in their homes. We have heard some [quiet frankly] ridiculous comments from Cllr O’brian like;

“get your children to run to the nearest building”

Commenting like this simply re-enforces the fact that medway council and HSE are more concerned about the logistical plans and expansion plans of Grain LNG. In a letter from Paul Johnson of the National Grid to Chris Butler the principle planner of Medway council the national grid projects manager challenges part of its conditions held within the planning (Hazardous substances) Act 1990, National grid explain that due to having the opportunity to purchase (although not compulsory but as good as ) Harvest cottage they are in a position to simply destroy the building and therefor eliminating the need to insert a “trip system” as required by the SIL2 uk standards. In this document we read that the trip system commissioned by the company had NOT been accredited and had NOT met minimum safety standards as required. Further more, evidence shows that two of these detection systems are in place in the pipeline corridor and both were capable of detecting low temperatures, this in turn would send a critical alarm notification to an operator who in medway councils OWN WORDS should be able to respond rapidly!

So even if national grid/grain LNG didn’t make a compulsory purchase of harvest cottage we find it very convenient that the cottage came up for sale thus eliminating the need for the very expensive trip system which didn’t pass the standards for accreditation.

We are left with a number of concerns which medway council view as un important, with just the one road into Grain we cant help but worry about the access route for emergency vehicles, the road already struggles with traffic if there is any sign of hold up. Medway council take the view that they have no case to answer with regard to this, we are concerned that if an explosion was to occur how would the emergency services reach Grain in a reasonable time if this road becomes laden with industrial traffic?

We also look at the responses from Cllr O’brian regarding our responsibility to educate our children, this as i except is something we as parents should do however this raises issues regarding children with learning difficulties and other disabilities. Whilst i agree that many children with disabilities would be understanding of such instructions we must remember that some would not, maybe some would not understand the seriousness of the siren sounding. We also give regard to the elderly residents and less mobile residents who may not have the ability to simply run inside.

We have taken a view that medway council Cllrs for the Isle Of Grain have shown a disregard for residents of Grain and also a lack of regard for the quality of family life that many of these residents had chosen, this begs a question;

If the pipeline corridor ran directly through Grain domestic area would the National Grid have magically purchased all of the private dwellings in its path? It appears that the one cottage (harvest) cottage which once stood caused caused for restrictions and conditions to be put in place, harvest cottage managed to easily to disappear to the delight of Grain LNG.

We call into question the motives and actions of the Cllrs and Medway council and encourage residents to continue to press for answers, meanwhile our investigators will be looking at each phase and measure put in place with the aim of challenging these disproportionate measures. If you would like to know more about this please take the time to visit the grain residents opposition website where you can view in depth the unprofessional manner which medway council and its ‘agents’ have conducted themselves.

To view more stories please click HERE

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Big Brother Is Watching

The Government will today announce legislation which will lead to a huge expansion of surveillance powers of communications on the internet and mobile phones.

The Communications and Data Bill will allow the police and security services to keep track of who is calling whom on mobile phones, the email addresses of all correspondents, and the personal IDs of people chatting on social networking sites.

The bill is likely to provoke huge controversy and has already been attacked by privacy and civil liberty campaigners.

They have noted that its controversial publication comes on the day that much of the media is focussed on David Cameron’s appearance at the Leveson Inquiry.

The new powers are seen by the government, the police and the security services as essential to keep pace with innovations on the internet.

These have allowed organised criminals and terrorists to evade traditional methods of phone interception and monitoring.

Communications Service Providers will have to store communications data, possibly to specially fitted “black boxes” – funded by the taxpayer.

Mobile phone operators will also be expected to provide the duration of calls, the time of day they were made and the location of the caller to police.

No warrant would be required for these surveillance operations, which would need to be authorised by a “senior officer”, Whitehall sources said.

“There would have to be a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to trigger this sort of data collection,” an official said.

“And there will be no collection of data in real time,” the official added. Local authorities will be excluded from collecting data.

A warrant, issued by the Home Secretary, would be needed to access the content of communications.

Oversight of the surveillance is likely to be a major issue. Britain is already the most snooped upon country in the world by Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTV).

The London borough of Wandsworth has more CCTV cameras than the cities of Johannesburg, Paris and Boston – combined, recent research has shown.

Officials said that judicial oversight of surveillance was not possible because “there simply aren’t enough magistrates”.

“If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear,” said one.

Civil liberties campaigners and many MPs are uncomfortable with the expanded powers.

To read more of this Sky News article please go to the sky news website by clicking HERE [Opens New Page]

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Disclaimer Or Fob Off?

Ive decided that today i should write about something which has never occurred to me personally, only through conversation did i think more of this.

It was about two weeks ago when we (mick and i) went to the home of our veteran who is being harassed by medway council over the benefit overpayments. In discussion we were talking about any steps he or his carer had taken to ensure they were doing the correct thing and letting the relevant agencies know about any change in circumstance. The veteran was in the middle of explaining how he used the medway council website as a form of advice until They came across the disclaimer.

Given the fact that most people rely on the local authority website for advice and guidance we were horrified to learn that medway council publicly advertise that they [ medway council ] accept no responsibility for the information on their website!

Extract From Medway Council Website

“Medway Council is committed to the highest standard of information and every attempt has been made to present up to date and accurate information. However, Medway Council gives no warranty as to the accuracy of the information on this web site and accepts no liability for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of reliance on such information.”

Mick and i in the process of investigating this matter listened to our veteran as he explain that as a disclaimer was in place he could not or felt as though he could not follow guidance from the medway council website. I find it absurd that a local authority who continually instruct residents to use the local authority website as a means of clarification also accept NO responsibility for the information held within those pages. Our blog/website does contain controversial articles however i would never dream of not taking responsibility of those articles.

How could medway council seriously expect a resident to follow guidelines if medway council cannot confirm if they are correct!! I think that this simply demonstrates that medway council seem to have this paranoia so far set it that they are just waiting for residents to bite them back.

This i have to say is unreasonable to say the least, medway council expect medway residents to follow guidelines in order to correctly file information, if that resident does not complete the correct steps he or she could find themselves in court facing prosecution. It is a disgrace how medway council can issue instructions yet be held responsible if they turn out to be incorrect.

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TV License Failure

Before i go into detail about this investigation i need to make it known that we had conducted this because of the outright arrogance and lies of a TV licensing ‘officer’ who came to our office. We are NOT encouraging anyone to stop paying their TV license. Failure to pay your TV license could possibly lead to prosecution.

TV Licensing Officer Visit

Well their we were minding our own business and having a briefing about our next case when there was an almighty bang on the office door, mick our senior investigator and former police officer went to the door and opened it. Upon opening the door he was greeted by a TV licensing officer thrusting an ID card into mick’s face.

Due to us having cctv in our office we were able to hear exactly what was said.

Transcript

Key

A = TV Licensing Officer
M= Mick

15:02 HRS

A: Afternoon sir my name is ***** *******, im a TV Licensing officer and ive called today as there is no TV license registered to this address, do you have a TV sir?

M: yes i do i have sony bravia on the wall there, nice isn’t it?

A: yeah very nice, you do know its a criminal offense not to have a television license for your TV don’t you?

M: no [mick lights up a cigarette]

A: Well it is, can i ask why you don’t have a TV license?

M: umm no you cant!

A: no i cant what?

M: no you cant ask!

A: right, sir i think you should listen to what i have to say, its important you understand as you could face a £1000 fine.

M: ok …do you want a cup of tea?

A: no im fine thanks.

M: go on sorry you were saying…….

A: It’s against the law to watch or record TV programmes as they’re being shown on TV without a valid license, you could face a fine and prosecution in court.

M: right whats that got to do with me though?

A: well sir you have told me that you have a TV but no license therefor you are committing a criminal offense!

M: am i? How ?

A: ive just told you how! You dont have a license!

M: i dont need a license, you’ve just told me that! , look is it illegal to OWN a TV without a license?

A: yes

M: what law states its illegal to OWN a tv without a license?

A: sir i dont have time to argue about laws i don’t make them sorry! Sir listen to what I’m about to say because i am giving you a caution.

A GIVES/READS OUT CAUTION

M: who are you cautioning?

A: you

M: who am i?

A: i dont know your name you wont tell me!

M: then how do you know who you are cautioning? Your just going around cautioning anyone now are you?

A: im cautioning you sir, would you care to give me your name?

M: yes sure, im the legal occupier.

A: i understand that but i need your name!

M: why would you need that, every letter you have sent to me is addressed to the legal occupier!

A: ok sir im not going down this road today im far to busy.

M: fine i didnt ask you to knock on my door.

9 DAYS LATER

A: hello sir im here to enquire about your TV license.

M: i dont have one, i told the last chap that!

A: ok fair enough, why havent you got a license?

M: ok lets get this straight shall we, i dont need one because it is only a criminal offense to own a TV which you are watching broadcasted programs on, it is NOT an offense to simply OWN a TV without a license, your man lied to me a took me for a fool. This TV is used solely for CCTV and for watching recordings of evidence that we have acquired.

A: but you still need a license sir!

M: ok look 7 days ago i wrote to your HQ and removed your implied rights of access to my property, this means that you are currently trespassing, also, your last officer lied! He wrote on the form that we have a sony bravia tv, that is not true we infact have a luxor tv, your officer signed a declaration to say he has seen our TV and signed an oath
for use in court, he never came in nor did he see the TV so therefor that is a lie!

A: this is silly!

M: no no its not, you are going round telling people its a criminal offense if they own a tv but have no license when in fact its only an offense when that person is watching broadcasted programs!! Further more your officers are cautioning people without even knowing or establishing who that person is! You know and i know that you have NO lawful right to be here, i also am under NO lawful obligation to speak to you or answer your questions! Further to that you can not prosecute me for a number of reasons:

1. You haven’t established who i am!

2. I have removed your implied rights of access, this means you cannot legally or lawfully come to my front door!

3. Because ive removed those implied rights of access you cannot confirm if i have a TV in my home!

M: so if YOU cant come to my door, and you cannot see a TV and you dont know who i am then how on earth could you go to court and claim i have a television which i watch broadcasted programs on?

A: i will get the office to call you, don’t have time for this!

M: no problem see you later

A: oh before i go i will need your name to take you off of the register.

M: my name isnt on any register, its this address, you can refer to me as the legal occupier like you have done for the last 18 years!

A: right ok, ok bye

M: see you in a while crocodile.

Well there you have it, a war of words maybe? TV licensing officers applying pressure and lying to us!

Just to make it clear……. It is NOT a criminal offense to OWN a TV without a license!!!!

Another successful challange!

UPDATE

We have [this week] received a letter addressed to the legal occupier informing us they will contact us in 2 years time to see if we need a license!!

For the record the TV set is ONLY for CCTV and DVD playback.

Whilst we agree this was rather comical we must remember that there is a serious side to this, being lied to and deceived!

Please share this article where you can.

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Contradiction Full Stop

Morning all, now we all know about the failed medway city bid and the shocking arrogance of medway council by way of ‘claiming’ the status before being awarded it.

We also are aware of the arrogance and sheer nerve of the well known cllr Alan Jarrett. Cllr Alan Jarrett is a man who residents are always wiry of, from parking in disabled car parking bays because its late in the day to making a fool of himself over the city bid and chatham bus station. As many of our readers are aware we have been reporting a situation which involves a former soldier struggling with mental health issues, we have made a every effort to report the findings and report the responses from medway council ( or lack of ). We do try very hard to be open honest and apply a reasonable outlook on these events.

city bid

Medway Council were very quickly put in their place after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had outlawed the use of a logo produced for a city status bid, calling it a “storm in a teacup”.

Knowing Cllr jarrett is safe to safe he probably to it for granted that they (medway council) had every right to adopt the status.

As well as being part of the attempt to achieve city status, the logo, was used additionally on a tourism leaflet several months ago.

The council says the ASA ruling, lacks common sense and in response, has listed other ‘improper’ uses of ’city’.

Deputy leader Alan Jarrett (Con) noted that there had been only one complaint and said: “This ruling is a waste of everyone’s time. Surely the ASA has Bigger fish to fry!?

Alan Jarrett remarked;

“We put a small logo for our city bid on a tourism leaflet and the Advertising Standards Authority decided to come down on us like a ton of bricks.

“This leaflet took the council’s own designer less than a day to design and cost the council nothing. We didn’t realise the ASA was going to make this kind of fuss over such a storm in a teacup.”

Cllr Jarrett insisted the ASA should look at other “wrong” uses of ‘city’:

Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City – “actually towns in Hertfordshire and have been since 1903 and 1920 respectively. Will the ASA now seek to overturn their historic names?”

Nottingham Rock City – “based in a city is definitely not a city in its own right and isn’t even a town – it’s a music venue showcasing live gigs. Are groups intending to play there now going to have to change their posters?”

Cathedral City cheese – “as this is made in Davidstow, Cornwall, which is neither a city nor has a cathedral”.

Double Standards

Well Cllr jarrett whilst we are on the subject of ‘Bigger Fish To Fry’ we should look at our so called and alledged ‘Benefit Fraud’ case concerning the Army veteran. We noted how much of a big case medway council and in particular Cllr Alan Jarrett made of the failed and rejected city status bid i wonder if he can put as much into this case. Lets not forget Cllr Jarrett that we are aware of a personal plea sent to you by the veterans carer, although i do not know the contents of this letter i am aware that it has been sent twice, twice he has failed to even respond or acknowledge receipt of the email. We look at bigger fish to fry and find ourselves wondering why medway council have wasted so much money and time in prosecuting a man who was overpaid £700 but who as already paid the money back! Given that many of these fraud cases are in the £10,000 mark Surley you have bigger fish to fry Cllr Jarrett.

For those interested to learn, cllr jarrett has failed to act accordingly, failing to represent, neglecting his responsibilities, more shockingly he continues to treat the residents with contempt. We will be receiving a copy of the personal letters sent to alan jarrett so we can therefor share them with you, meanwhile Cllr Alan Jarrett should take note of this and make the effort to correspond with the resident.

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Coming soon

Coming soon, dont miss our next article about Medway CECO and misconduct in public office. Although we do see misconduct in office a little harsh we do see it as an aggravating factor to the deliberate failure to perform their duty which has resulted in injury to public interest and damaging the reputation and publics trust in medway council.

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Medway Tax Liability service

Whilst having a quick look through the FOI request’s a few of them caught my eye………

Council Tax Liability

This is a subject which really gets people going so I’m sorry that i have to bring this up however there has been some very serious questions raised in the last week or so regarding Medway Council and council tax liability.

Now this is something that we have not dealt with in the past we are pleased to report but i feel now is the right time.

Scam

Within the last 12 months a large number of medway residents have had Liability orders made against them, Medway council will identify if a resident is behind with their council tax, they will then produce a statement and present this to the Medway magistrates court. Now so far we understand, we even could agree that the process is normal what ever normal is. This is where the problem begins, Medway council claiming council tax must be paid because you have a legal obligation, however before medway magistrates court will even view the application for liability they charge medway council £3 for each liability order!

Now am i being dense here? If not paying your council tax is ‘illegal’ then why on earth would you have to pay a magistrate money to enforce the law?

very strange

We looked into the costs for this action but found we had been beaten to it by someone else.

FOI request

1. Fee for each session in Magistrates Court regarding liability
of council tax.?

The council does not pay per session, it pays £3 per liability order.

2. Total cost between 2010 – 2011 paid by Medway Council
to Medway Magistrates Court?

£31,029 was paid between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011

Pretty shocking!! There we have it, a lawful/legal institution acting like a profit making organisation by charging a fee to uphold the law? (i have my own view how CT can be enforced but we will deal with that on another day).

Further more and just as shocking is how and why are Medway council able to magic a liability order for residents who have Full council tax benefit being paid? Strange but true! Medway council have been applying for liability orders in respect of council tax when medway council are the party liable to pay in the first place?

I have been so intrigued by this that i thought i would attempt to dig a little deeper, my investigation simply had to start with the FOI already in place, i made contact with the author of the relevant FOI request but unfortunately he was not in a position to talk to me, but a statement was issued.

Interestingly he questions the liability process, the resident mentions a particular incident when a bailiff came to his front door stating he was in possession of a liability order, knowing he was claiming FULL council tax benefit he came to the conclusion that the party named on the liability order should be Medway council and NOT the resident. He challenged the bailiff and stated that he did not believe the liability order was a true document, regardless the bailiff told the resident that it was the legal document and he is there to enforce it.

Now this led us to asking the question, is it reasonable to expect someone to comply with a document which clearly is
Photocopied? How do you know its real? Could it have been changed ? Could the details have been altered? Surely you could only be expected to comply with the original document?

We noted that this had already been approached by way of FOI request as detailed below;

Dear Medway Council,
Please kindly inform me of the official process of gaining a
council tax liability order, also please inform me of who holds the
‘true
And original liability order” .

Fair enough! A perfectly simple and sensible question, so how did medway council respond? Heres the reply;

Details concerning the process of gaining a liability order can be found
at
[1]http://www.medway.gov.uk/councilanddemoc…

I can also confirm that both the Council and the Magistrates Court retain
copies of the liability orders awarded.

copies?

Why copies? So again we are left none the wiser!

who holds the original liability order? i guess we will never know!

Food for thought

You can view the Freedom of Information requests yourself by visiting the WhatDoTheyKnow website http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/body/medway_council

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Medway council The Truth

Good Morning, well this is the first time i have blogged since our formation 14 months ago. My name is kevin i am a former investigator who moved to medway 4 years ago. Im rather partial to a good story however not so refined at blogging so please be kind. Currently our regular blogger is away on business so for the next 3 days ill be here passing on the news.

I wanted to approach this subject about medway council and the inability to act on behalf of its residents. Having had the chance to deal with many local authorities over the last 22 years i have to say that the medway council administration is the single worse local authority i have challenged. Being in my position makes me privy to information that would disgust just about every person who set eyes on it.

My role within our team is rather surprising to many, im not here to find loopholes nor am i here to prove the local authority wrong, i am here to try to establish fact and to de-bunk suggestions about the malpractice at medway council, my problem is this; every day i set about trying to establish the facts in many cases put before us, however due to the unethical and deceptive tactics of medway council i am finding in a daily basis that this cannot be done! As a man in both a personal and professional capacity i must state i had always supported the local authority stance on benefit fraud, however after witnessing first hand how many of these cases have been dealt with i can honestly say that i am certain that many of the medway council benefit fraud prosecutions have been un-called for. It is obvious that the intention is to mislead claimants by way of *bull shit baffles brains” approach, BUT medway council must understand that they will not be able to continue with this approach.

We have identified from just one case alone, which may i add is our priority case that medway council have;

1. Disregarded their duty of care.

2. Failed to protect a vulnerable person.

3. Failed to operate within the P.A.C.E. guidelines for constables and local authority investigators.

4. Mis-led claimants by way of incorrect advice and guidance.

5. Committed FRAUD by false representation.

6. Been obstructive and unprofessional.

These are just a few of the attempts to hide the malpractice within medway council.

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Medway council refuted their responsibilities

Times haven’t changed much for medway council, a council who like to appear to be helpful but would poke your eyes out the minute you try to blink!

We find now that their is a lot that medway council will do to save a penny or two BUT when it comes to the mayoral bash thats different.

2008

I just wanted to take you back a few years to 2008, this is something that i had been aware of at the time but felt getting involved would have or could have caused more problems thus making process that bit more lengthy.

Report summary

Subject
Mr Conrad (not his real name for legal reasons) was detained in hospital under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983. When he was discharged in 2000 he required aftercare under Section 117 of the Act. Because he was discharged to a specialist care facility outside its area, Medway Council refused to meet the cost of Mr Conrad’s aftercare. Wigan Council, in whose area Mr Conrad lived following his discharge, also declined to pay for his aftercare on grounds that he had previously lived in Medway and because it was not party to his placement. As a result Mr Conrad had to fund his own aftercare (which in itself is outrageous) for a prolonged period and incurred legal costs in pursuit of his complaints against the Councils.

The Ombudsman considered that Mr Conrad was ‘ordinarily resident’ in Medway at the time of his compulsory admission and so found that Medway Council rather than Wigan Council was the authority responsible for funding his aftercare.
Finding
Maladministration by Medway Council, causing injustice. No maladministration by Wigan Council.

Recommended remedy

That Medway Council should:
determine and reimburse its share of the cost of Mr Conrad’s aftercare to date with interest at the County Court rate and discuss reimbursement of the remainder with the relevant Health Authority;

undertake the future funding of Mr Conrad’s aftercare in conjunction with the relevant Health Authority for as long as it remains necessary;

make a contribution to Mr Conrad’s legal costs of £1,000.

Medway Council’s View

18. In early correspondence with my office Medway Council explained that it did not consider itself responsible for the provision of Mr Conrad’s aftercare under Section 117 of the Mental Health Act. The Council reasoned that Mr Conrad was not ordinarily resident in its area at the time of his discharge from Section 3 of the Mental Health Act. Rather, since 1996 he lived mainly in Wigan.
19. The Council also argued that, even if Mr Conrad was considered resident in Medway at the time of discharge, his representatives preferred to make private arrangements for his aftercare rather than rely on care provision by the Council. The Council noted this decision was reached without its involvement.
20. The Council further noted Government advice in Local Authority Circular 93/7 that people who move to residential care in a new area without the involvement of the local authority will normally be considered ordinarily resident in the new area and subsequent service provision will then be the responsibility of the Local Authority in the new area. The Circular also says, in relation to discharge from hospital, prison etc, that a person who has become a permanent resident of a nursing or care home without the involvement of a social services authority is likely to be regarded as ordinarily resident in the area where the home is located.
21. For those reasons Medway initially concluded that the cost of Mr Conrad’s Section 117 aftercare should be met by Wigan Council rather than itself.
22. In its later comments about a draft of this report, Medway Council accepted that Mr Conrad was resident in its area at the point of his admission to hospital under Section 3. But it did not accept that, had the Council properly assessed his needs on discharge under S117, it would have offered aftercare services at the Haydock specialist rehabilitation unit. In that case, given his previous association with the Haydock facility and his financial resources, Medway thought Mr Conrad or his representatives might well have refused any alternative aftercare services it offered preferring to privately fund his placement in Haydock. The Council argued that, had that happened, it would have discharged its duty under Section 117 and Mr Conrad would now be considered ordinarily resident in Wigan.
23. On those grounds Medway declined to accept that it should reimburse the costs of Mr Conrad’s aftercare or meet the continuing costs of his care. Rather, it proposed retrospectively to review Mr Conrad’s aftercare needs at the time of his discharge in 2000 and to determine what Section 117 provision it would have made for him at that time.

Wigan Council’s View

24. In correspondence with my office Wigan Council said that it did not consider itself responsible for the future assessment of Mr Conrad’s care needs or for the provision of his aftercare under Section 117 of the Mental Health Act. The Council’s reasoning was that Mr Conrad was not ordinarily resident in the Wigan area and had been placed at the rehabilitation unit by an external agency without its involvement.
25. Despite those reservations, and in recognition of the uncertainty about which authority was responsible for Mr Conrad’s care, the Council agreed to assess his continuing needs. The Community Care Assessment completed in June 2007 identified a number of issues which caused substantial risk to and impact on Mr Conrad’s independence.

Medway Council’s initial argument that Mr Conrad was not ordinarily resident in its area at the time he was detained under Section 3 was unconvincing. Apart from a 10 month spell in Lancashire between April 1997 and February 1998 Mr Conrad was apparently settled in the Medway area. From June 1998 he had permanent homes in Medway and although there were further periods of admission to the Haydock rehabilitation unit in 1999 Mr Conrad was still registered with a Gillingham doctor and received services from the local health authority on his return to Medway in July. There is no evidence that Mr Conrad returned to live permanently in Wigan before he was detained under Section 3 and, in my view, at that time he was resident in the Medway area.

Nor was I persuaded by Medway’s argument that, in consideration of LAC 93/7 Mr Conrad might be considered ordinarily resident in Wigan. The Council itself acknowledges that the Circular is not directly applicable to Section 117 aftercare and, in my view, ex parte Hall is a better indicator of responsibility for aftercare services in this case.

The Council did not attend the meeting in January 2000 when it was decided Mr Conrad should be discharged to the rehabilitation unit and it failed at this crucial stage to engage the Health Authority in any consideration of their joint duty to make aftercare provision. In my view, the Council’s contribution to the discharge process was both limited and ill-informed.

In all these circumstances It has been concluded that Medway Council’s failure to assess Mr Conrad and make provision for him under Section 117 was maladministration.

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