Saturday, 4 June 2011

Government obviously has no intention of listening to the people

Readers may be aware that I had a meeting (not) with Grant Shapps, Minister for Housing, on 12th May and posted about that meeting here.

For those who do not wish to read the link (although, please do), together with a solicitor, I wished to raise with Shapps (1) actions by landlords that override contract law; (2) oversight of housing associations and method of operation and inadequacies of redress under the current system; (3) contravention of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006; (4) contravention of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987 and the Housing Act 1988; (5) contravention of guidance issued by Andrew Hamilton, Deputy Secretary, Department of Health, Social Services & Public Safety; and (6) dis-allowance by the Legal Services Commission of 117 cases for legal aid, a decision that David Cameron - in a meeting with me - agreed was 'arbitrary' and 'wrong'.

One complaint centred on how housing associations have changed contract law without any consultation nor agreement between the parties concerned, namely the tenant and the housing association. Under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 59 (1) (b) any resident in sheltered housing is classified as a Vulnerable Person and within the law it is an offence to cause abuse to a vulnerable person. The Mental Capacity Act states that it is an offence when having the care of a person then ill-treats or wilfully neglects that person and further states that it is an offence to financially improperly use the funds or any resources of an older person.

When I then discover that on the 16th May the Department of Health issue a statement on Government policy for adult safeguarding, in which it states:
"The Government’s policy objective is to prevent and reduce the risk of significant harm to vulnerable adults from abuse or other types of exploitation, whilst supporting individuals in maintaining control over their lives and in making informed choices without coercion." (my emphasis)
I tend to get a tad annoyed. Whilst the statement was not issued until four days after my meeting, it is illogical to assume that this document had not been previously issued to all Ministers who's remit encompassed interaction with vulnerable and elderly people.

With the news about Winterbourne View and Southern Cross being to the fore at present - and in view of the statement linked to above, I can but hope that Shapps and Cameron will be given a hard time by an MP in the House of Commons - presuming there is one who takes an interest in such matters. Perhaps Geoffrey Cox or Margot James?

Hey ho, that warrants another email to my MP, one David Cameron.

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