5th March 2015
The two year anniversary of the origins of this story came and went recently.
On 26th February 2013, an as yet unexplained incident took place, involving an autistic man and his alleged ‘carers’ in Liverpool. This was both foreseeable and avoidable and occurred at a new day service centre known as Kaleidoscope, run by a company called Autism Initiatives.
We say it was foreseeable and avoidable because we all remember from our TV screens the shocking events that unfolded at Winterbourne View – which happened in 2012, well before this incident; events which to this day remain seared into the nation’s collective consciousness.
We’ll quote a very short excerpt from this report:
This report lays out clear, timetabled actions for health and local authority commissioners working together to transform care and support for people with learning disabilities or autism who also have mental health conditions or behaviours viewed as challenging.
If Joe Anderson, Liverpool’s Mayor had been:
- running an honest, well-trained and professional City Council
- outsourcing his obligations to quality providers
- focusing on and carrying out the clear timetabled actions referred to in the Department of Health report above
…The Mainman, an autistic person, and very similar to the residents of Winterbourne View, would not have ended up being placed in danger with his carers at the Kaleidoscope day service run by Autism Initiatives.
Here’s one of the publicity messages released by Autism Initiatives:
Liverpool City Council are the local body holding a statutory requirement to provide a community care assessment, and to address and look after the needs of its vulnerable citizens with autism. The requirement to fulfil those caring needs has been farmed out to a specialist care provider.
On 26th February 2013, the council’s statutory obligations were trashed for the first time. The Mainman suffered :
- teeth knocked out
- extensive bruising
- ripped coat
As a result, he has suffered intense and lasting trauma, and has had six operations to repair his injuries. Further operations will be needed in the future.
The Mainman’s mother, Audrey, has fought this case doggedly, even in the teeth of public smears received from the Mayor Joe Anderson. On 28th November 2014, he publicly branded her ‘insulting’ and a ‘malcontent’ on Radio Merseyside.
So far, the Mayor does not appear to have directed any of his criticism towards any of the council’s partnering companies, one of whom was found to have employed at least one carer who apparently was ‘brought in off the street’, had received no training, but had been placed as a ‘carer’ for The Mainman on 26th February 2013.
To add insult to the injuries received, The Mainman had been isolated on this day, in defiance of his care plan, which clearly stated this should not be allowed to happen.
For the last two years, The Mainman’s mother has been doing her best to deal with the Mayor in a businesslike manner. However this approach was unsuccessful and she has been forced down the legal route in order to pursue some form of recognition and justice. Liverpool City Council have failed to:
- correctly discharge their statutory requirements
- open up their systems to transparency, accountability and public oversight
- answer public / private FoI requests honestly, openly and consistently
- compensate The Mainman for the horrific injuries he received as a result of foreseeable and avoidable negligence
- outside organisations should never again be permitted to deploy untrained, unqualified staff
- outside organisations should never again be permitted to abuse the trust invested in them by isolating vulnerable people and placing them into harm’s way
To date, the council have been obstructive, defensive, and no acknowledgement or measure of culpability has ever been given or received, much less an apology.
As the case progressed and the heat was turned up, a court order instructing the council to release information was ignored, resulting in a penal notice being served against Mayor Anderson’s council.
To put the icing on the cake, an unknown but likely to be six figure sum of public money has been squandered hand over fist in what may ultimately prove to be a failed attempt to conceal allegedly brutal behaviour, and to stay one step ahead of UK law.
We’ll finish with some words of wisdom from Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care and Support and co-author of the Winterbourne View Report, dated November 2012.
We should no more tolerate people being placed in inappropriate care settings than we would people receiving the wrong cancer treatment. That is why I am asking councils and clinical commissioning groups to put this right as a matter of urgency.
The baton was then handed over to Liverpool City Council… but what went so drastically wrong?