The funding panel policies testing the limits of the Care Act : Community Care

A Community Care analysis of council policies and procedures for funding panels operating in adult social care has revealed that some are testing the limits of the Care Act 2014.

A freedom of information (FOI) request was sent to English councils asking for the terms of reference documents for any panels in their adults’ services department, and any policy or practice guidance supplied to social workers about how to submit or present cases to these meetings.

A survey also ran on Community Care over the summer asking adults’ social workers to tell us about the most recent case they took to the panel in their local authority.

This research follows our earlier investigation, which suggested funding panels were being used beyond their intended purpose, as set out in the Care Act statutory guidance.

We found then that social workers were concerned panels were being used to prioritise cost savings over peoples’ needs and, in some cases, override their professional recommendations. An FOI request also found more than 20 English councils were sending all requests for new or changes to existing care packages to a panel, which legal experts have since warned is potentially unlawful.

Our latest analysis shows that the policies referenced in some funding panels’ terms of reference documents could leave councils open to legal challenge. Three social workers also told us in detail about their experience of the last case they took to panel.


Our latest FOI request received responses from 107 of England’s 152 local authorities. Of this, 60 councils said they had a terms of reference in place for the panels they operate, and 55 provided us with a copy of the relevant documents.

We analysed 11 councils’ terms of reference documents


Source: The funding panel policies testing the limits of the Care Act : Community Care

Sheffield Council’s ‘pointless’ tree-felling panel cost taxpayers over £830,000 – The Star

A panel set up by Sheffield Council to assess its most controversial tree-felling plans has cost taxpayers over £830,000 – despite the authority overruling its advice on hundreds of occasions.

It was revealed earlier this week that Sheffield Council had paid its highways maintenance contractor Amey £700,000 in compensation for delays to work caused by waiting for the findings of the ‘Independent Tree Panel’ it established in late 2015 and which ran until last summer.

Sheffield Council pays £700,000 compensation bill for tree-felling delays

Another Freedom of Information response has now shown that more than £130,000 was spent on the panel’s running costs, including more than £23,000 on posting out surveys to residents living on affected streets.

It means that in total, the panel’s work cost more than £1,000 for each of the 788 trees it ended up assessing, backing removal in 454 cases. Last summer, it was revealed that where the panel had recommended trees were saved, the council rejected the advice on 223 occasions and accepted in only 73 cases.

Anti-tree felling campaigners said today the panel had been a “pointless exercise” but council bosses said they stood by the process, which involved seeking the views of thousands of households.

The removal of thousands of street trees and their replacement with saplings is part of a 25-year £2.2bn highways maintenance contract with Amey which started in 2012 and also involves road and pavement resurfacing and the replacement of street lights. Tree-felling work has been on hold for almost three months after a national outcry against the policy following dozens of police officers and security guards being sent out to support operations in the wake of growing protests.

Source: Sheffield Council’s ‘pointless’ tree-felling panel cost taxpayers over £830,000 – The Star

Homeless illegally turned away by councils : Vox Political

“People who have nowhere to sleep or are about to lose their homes are being turned away illegally by councils, BBC Scotland can reveal.

Local authorities have a legal obligation to find accommodation for people facing homelessness.

Government statistics show that most people are made homeless following a family breakdown or household dispute.

Legal experts told the BBC that people were being unlawfully turned away by councils, despite their statutory duty.”


Source: Homeless illegally turned away by councils : Vox Political

Damning new proof that Labour ignored fears over diesel: Confidential records show ministers knew vehicles powered by the fuel emitted more toxic fumes :Mail Online


  • Evidence suggests Tony Blair’s government ignored warnings about diesel cars
  • Records showed ministers were aware the diesel vehicles emit more toxic fumes
  • Michael Gove said the documents showed Labour pursued ‘the dash for diesel’

By James Salmon, Transport Editor For The Daily Mail

Fresh evidence of how Tony Blair‘s Labour government ignored health warnings about diesel vehicles before encouraging millions to buy them has emerged.

Confidential records released by the Treasury yesterday confirmed ministers were well aware that diesel vehicles emit more toxic fumes.

But they show how officials preparing the 2000 budget argued against higher tax for diesel cars ‘so we are not seen as being overly harsh on diesel users’.

The documents were released by the Treasury after a two-year battle with the BBC which lodged a Freedom of Information Act request.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the documents showed Labour pursued ‘the dash for diesel’ despite knowing the dangers, adding it was ‘another example of a Conservative government having to clean up Labour’s mess’.

Evidence suggests Tony Blair's Labour government ignored health warnings about diesel cars 

Advice from the Treasury’s tax policy section presented to ministers stated: ‘Relative to petrol, diesel has lower emissions of CO2 but higher emissions of the particulates and pollutants which damage local air quality.

‘A diesel supplement is necessary so that we do not create incentives for people to choose diesel vehicles over similar petrol models in order to attract a lower Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rate.’

But officials were worried how this would be perceived, saying: ‘Presentationally, this should be seen as ensuring fair treatment of petrol and diesel, rather than as a penalty on diesel users.’

In the budget the following year, the then Chancellor Gordon Brown introduced a major overhaul of VED which caused sales of diesel cars to boom.

This was a deliberate ploy – following advice from scientists – to cut down on carbon emissions and tackle global warming. Instead of basing the tax on the size of the engine, the new VED system was based on carbon emissions. This favoured diesel cars which are generally more fuel efficient.

The number of diesel cars on the road soared from 3.5 million to more than 12 million. But politicians are now desperately trying to persuade motorists to ditch diesel, and switch to petrol or low emission vehicles such as electric cars.

Michael Gove said the documents showed Labour pursued 'the dash for diesel' despite knowing the dangers


Ministers have ordered councils to devise schemes to crack down on pollution, including extra charges on motorists driving into town centres or even to park their cars.

There are fears Chancellor Philip Hammond will announce a fuel duty tax rise for diesel car owners in his Budget next Wednesday.

Mr Gove said: ‘The dash for diesel was pursued under a Labour government, and these documents show they knew the damage this would do to our environment.’

Edmund King, president of the AA said: ‘These FoI records just confirm that the previous Labour government knew there were problems with diesels and air quality but chose to ignore it. This will only heighten the sense of injustice felt by millions of people who bought their diesel cars in good faith.’

The Treasury said it could not comment on decisions taken under a previous government. It refused to comment on the reasons for the two-year FoI delay.


Source : Damning new proof that Labour ignored fears over diesel: Confidential records show ministers knew vehicles powered by the fuel emitted more toxic fumes  : Mail Online

CQC figures reveal hundreds of care homes have gone two years since last inspection | DisabledGo News and Blog

More than 300 residential care homes for younger disabled adults have not been inspected by the care watchdog for more than two years, according to official figures obtained by Disability News Service (DNS). The figures, released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in response to a freedom of information request, also show that 87 care homes in England have not had an inspection since 2014. And 10 homes have not had an inspection for between three and four years. In all, the CQC figures show that, on 1 June 2017, there were 311 care homes for adults under 65 (out of a total of 5,358 homes across England) that had not had an inspection by the regulator in the previous two years. Despite DNS alerting CQC to the figures on Monday, the commission failed to respond to requests for a comment by noon today (Thursday). The commission’s press office claimed today that its “team of analysts” were not clear how the figures were compiled, even though the press office has been told that they were

Source: CQC figures reveal hundreds of care homes have gone two years since last inspection | DisabledGo News and Blog

MPs vote NOT to be named and shamed for fiddling their expenses in future

Now they are not open to public scrutiny and can fiddle their expenses to their hearts content, one remedy would be to abolish providing them expenses, for do they not earn enough already. For are they not expecting a second pay increase in less than 2 years from their last increase of 10%. This expected increase of 1.4% at a time when public sector employees have been capped at 1% since 2010.

One law for the MPs on a high salary base and expenses ,as opposed to other employees on a very much lower salary base and virtually no scope to receive expenses.

Perhaps all employees in the UK should have the equivalent of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), more equality on pay is very much now a major requirement.

Austerity cuts, not for MPs.

Stop UK lies & corruption

MPs have found a way to stop themselves being named and shamed for fiddling their expenses in future.

Source  Backup

MPs vote not to be named when they fiddle expenses.png MPs vote NOT to be named and shamed for fiddling expenses in future

View original post

There is literally no evidence that the monarchy makes any profit for UK taxpayers whatsoever : Evolve Politics.

Some valid arrguements and these should be taken on board, especially as the Queen is technically a tenent in recept of State Benefits, so should these buildings be also subject to the infamous ‘bedroom tax’.

To a large degree I am a royalist supporter, but not to all incumbents of the family, some of whom are not on the fringes of the family.

Also as the Monarchy is a public funded body them and their finances should not be exempt from the FOI.

Information Commissioner abandons pursuit of DWP over benefit-related deaths | Vox Political

What is the point of having an Information Commissioner if they are not prepared to do what they should do?


View original post