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Bonkers Blog August 2015

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12 August (Part 1) - Oddments again

Once again a collection of mini-news items.

The lying Cheryl Bacon
It was almost inevitable that sooner or later the excellent work done by Greenwich police to assemble a case against Will Tuckley, Lynn Tyler and Cheryl Bacon would grind to a halt under political pressure. I’m not sure if that has happened yet but the relationship between the police and the victims of Bexley council’s crime appears to have changed.

During the earlier part of this year update reports were regular and positive but I was half promised more for 25th May, 17th July and 7th August but nothing has been forthcoming. Mr. Barnbrook made an enquiry by telephone last week and was told that the case has been presented to the Crown Prosecution Service but the flow of friendly correspondence appears to have stopped.

Bexley’s dishonest parking department
This is another long drawn out saga. It is certain that Bexley’s parking department considers itself above the law; the Local Government Ombudsman has told them to stop it, Bexley council’s legal department has told them to stop it, and Grant Thornton, Bexley council’s auditors have released a single copy of Bexley council’s own damning assessment of the situation.

The fact that Bexley’s parking department operates with a total disregard for the law is not in doubt. Unfortunately there are legal constraints on going into detail. That can only be overcome if there is an outbreak of honesty at Bexley council - and that is never going to happen - or the council is forced to release a copy under Freedom of Information legislation.

That path is about to enter Stage 3. The original request was refused and the new Finance Director Alison Griffin has shown her disdain for honesty and transparency by refusing the review request too. The Information Commissioner’s Office is the next port of call.

Axe to fall on CCTV?
There is bound to be an adverse response to Bexley council’s plan to stop actively monitoring CCTV and in the process save taxpayers £225,000 a year. It’s ironic that it was councillor Peter Craske in his Public Realm cabinet role who was trumpeting the arrival of CCTV in Bexley and Crayford only four years ago. and now it is Peter Craske as cabinet member for Community Safety who thinks it is a public service that can be degraded with not too many consequences.

Maybe he is right.

At the last People Scrutiny meeting borough police commander Jeff Boothe absolutely refused to say that CCTV is a useful crime prevention measure, only that it made people feel safer.

Bexley’s CCTV system proved useful when there was a senseless murder in the Broadway and it proved useful to a dishonest council when it trained a camera on an employee’s house as part of one of their spiteful victimisation schemes.

I’ve seen the case file and several well known Bexley names made up a cover story which was obviously false to anyone who knew how the system was operated and interconnected. I spent weeks studying the pile of paper and the technical documentation included in a dismissal file only for the employee concerned to get cold feet about publishing it. Shame.

Belvedere Splash Park
A number of messages have reminded me that Friends of Belvedere Heritage is not the only group aspiring to save the Splash Park. There is Anna Firth and her business friends too.

The existence of two groups is no great secret but there appears to be no communication between the two, and from one no communication at all. One might think a common goal would be an incentive for cooperation but there appears to be none.

Green Chain Walk
Site workers have attributed the three month delay to the reopening of the Yarnton Way to Southmere Lake section of the Green Chain to constant vandalism. As soon as one new feature is erected it is wrecked. Contractors’ vehicles have been both damaged and driven over fences etc. some of which have disappeared entirely.

Gallions/Peabody have expressed the hope that the path will be reopened before the end of August, after which the Lesnes Abbey section will be next for attention. Given the daily problems one might wonder why they bother.

Social Services
Social Workers get a consistently bad press. Whenever I am sent a story relating to social services, generally but not always children’s social services, they come out of it very badly indeed. Good news stories are hard to come by, presumably if compliments are due, no one offers them and whilst some correspondents supply enough evidence to justify a report on BiB, most do not.

Now I have had to deal with Social Services myself, not Bexley’s but Newham’s. What a useless shower they are.

It concerns my 95 year old aunt who broke a hip and a wrist three months ago today. The NHS care was first rate and she made a remarkable recovery. She could have been released from hospital nearly a week earlier except that the request for a care package to be put in place sat in someone’s In Tray for almost a week. When a date was eventually promised and short term 24 hour family cover was arranged, Social Services let things slip for another 24 hours causing considerable inconvenience.

The care package proved to be inappropriate, in part because my aunt always refuses help and partly because the care workers receive no concessions on parking, they hover by the open front door to guard against a £65 fine. Very nice they are but all they can do is say hello and run.

Gradually the constant visitors, sometimes arriving past an old lady’s bedtime, became not just inappropriate but a definite nuisance causing distress to the 95 year old.

I have been in touch with two people in Newham’s Social Services department. One was mainly interested in getting my aunt to pay £198 a week for care she didn’t need. We arranged to meet one day last week but such is Newham Social Services shortcoming in the party and breweries department they couldn’t make a proper appointment.

I asked for an email on the preceding day but the best they could offer was a phone call as they left their office. Thanks to the lack of a river crossing East Ham is an hour away from Bexley.

I received no notification by email or telephone but the Newham official visited my aunt on Thursday morning, the day of the tube strike. I have no idea what may have been achieved because all the bank statements etc. are with me and Newham knew that.

The second Social Worker simply ignored me for two weeks until I said on Monday I would pass the correspondence to the Newham MP, Stephen Timms. That provoked an instant response by email and telephone and a meeting was arranged at my aunt’s house for the following afternoon (yesterday). Luckily my aunt’s GP agreed to be there too and I was keen to see if my assessment that my aunt was entirely back to normal would be supported by two professionals.

The Social Worker failed to show up despite my telephoned reminder. Neither has there been any explanation as to why not today. Obviously a totally useless individual.

Fortunately the GP shared my opinion and has offered to do battle on my behalf.

Is there any such thing as a responsible and reliable social worker? Not in Newham obviously but is Bexley any better?


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