Thursday, 3 November 2016

Letter to NV: 'The Banality of Evil?'

Dear Editor Northern Voices (27/10/2016),

As with many people who have been observing Rochdale Council's  Adult Social Care crisis I was heartened to read Rob Greig, Chief Executive Officer  at NDTi precision dissection of Rochdale Councils current ' consultation'  on Adult Social Care cuts. Families  & Campaigners are clearly vindicated in their concerns ,and the 'outrage' felt locally & nationally by those opposed to the Councils plans , so soundly demolished by Rob Greigs articles ,will not be abated by his correct observation that :  

'Sadly the Director’s article largely confirmed my belief that some key people in the Council may be pushing this change without really understanding policy and practice.'

(Rochdale’s ‘Transformation’ of Learning Disability Services by Rob Greig, Chief Executive at the National Development Team for Inclusion, 25 October 2016. 

It's also important to note that the massive cutbacks ahead will  not just affect Learning Disabilities alone.

Our Community is under attack by Tory Austerity . Our majority Labour Council appear to be colluding in continued Tory Austerity rather than protecting their Labour voters against it.

We will all have our quality of life diminished and eroded.

We did not elect majority Labour Councils , to have Labour Councillors enter by the front door of Town Halls the length and breadth of the North  of England, merely to have them enable the implementation of Tory policies smuggled in by the back door.

I'd urge every voter in Rochdale to read the proposals at : 

I tried yesterday to find paper copied in Riverside for those without internet access with no success. Another worrying flaw in this supposed 'consultation' process. As is the apparent total lack of alternative versions such as large, print, braille or BSL British Sign Language. But that aside these cuts will affect thousands of local people for the worse.

All the council spin in the world can not sugar coat a very bitter and unpalatable pill indeed ; And this medicine will not make the patient better , far from it.

CS-2017-305 Rationalisation of additional funding for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) will negatively affect Mental Health Service Users,

NH-2017-312 Continued provision of School Crossing Patrols at a charge to schools , will negatively affect Children & Parents , NH-2017-310 Proposal to review the Legal Advice: Welfare, Debt and Housing support will negatively affect those needing advice, NH-2017-311 Review of Community Centre grant funding , people using Community Centres .

Millions of people are going to go under the hammer &  anvil of Tory Austerity , with the Westminster Tory's stoking the furnace and Labour Councils and Councillors doing the hammering. Hundreds of thousands of local people will be directly or indirectly emotionally , physically, mentally and financially damaged by this slash & burn economic process.

Barrister Steve Broach has helpfully published an article called 'Challenging local cuts – some key legal questions' for campaigners and communities to ask of their Councils who are consulting on cuts with their local tax payers. With this in mind I'd like to ask of Rochdale Council's officials about to wield the axe to vital services :

Will the council be able to meet all its ‘specific’ statutory duties owed to individual residents? For example:

1.The duty to meet all 'eligible' needs for disabled adults and their carers under the Care Act 2014

2.The duty to meet 'eligible' needs for disabled children  under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970

3.The duty to provide free suitable home to school travel arrangements for all 'eligible' disabled children  under section 508B of the Education Act 1996

4.The duty to secure special education provision in health, educatiin, health and care plans for disabled children and young people  in section 42 of the Children and Families Act 2014

5.The duty to provide advocacy to disabled people and carers during the care and support assessment and planning process under section 67 of the Care Act 2014.

Will the council be able to meet its ‘sufficiency’ duties to have a sufficient level of particular services to meet local needs? For example:

1.Childcare, including childcare for disabled children up to the age of 18, under section 6 of the Childcare Act 2006

2.Short breaks for disabled children under regulation 4 of the Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011

3.Education and care services for disabled children, under section 27(2) of the Children and Families Act 2014

4.Children’s centres, under section 5A of the Childcare Act 2006

5.Services for disabled adults and their carers, under the ‘market shaping’ duty in section 5 of the Care Act 2014.   

Has the council had ‘due regard’ to the needs specified in the PSED (see above) – for example the need to advance equality of opportunity for disabled people (children and adults)?

Will the proposed cuts give rise to unlawful discrimination between different groups, contrary either to the Equality Act 2010 or  Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights ?

Has the council had regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 ?

Has the council treated children’s best interests as a primary consideration in its decision making, as required by Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ?

Has there been ‘fair' consultation on the proposals? In particular (quotes are from the leading consultation case of ex parte Coughlan:

 1.Has consultation taken place at a ‘formative stage’, i.e. sufficiently early in the decision making to influence the outcome?

2.Have consultees been provided with ‘sufficient reasons for any proposal to permit of intelligent consideration and response’ – i.e. do residents know what cuts are being proposed and why?

3.Have consultees had ‘adequate time’ for consideration and response?

4.Once the consultation has finished, has ‘the product of consultation’ been ‘conscientiously taken into account’ in the final decision.

It was Hannah Arendt who spoke of the terrible consequences of blind obedience, the ' banality of evil' , these proposed cuts are quite simply evil.

Sometimes no other word will suffice.

Those making them should pause to examine their moral compasses for they will have to live with their consciences - if they still have one?

To decide which side they are on

 History will record their names and actions for posterity.  Just as surely as students of local history are today utterly incredulous at the callousness and  horrific actions resulting in the cruelties inflicted on the poor and vulnerable by the ' guardians of the Parish' hundreds of years ago with regard to those seeking Poor  Relief or recourse to the notorious Workhouse .So with absolute certainty will future historians and public opinion judge their individual actions today .

Yours faithfully, 

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