Article in the next issue of Private Eye magazine - hits the shelves tomorrow (Friday 27th), I get it early 'cos I'm a subscriber:
"An astonishing catalogue of corruption, violence, neglect and incompetence has been revealed at Labour Wirral council on Merseyside - and has gone almost entirely unreported beyond the local Wirral Globe newspaper.
Senior officers in Wirral council's social services turned a deaf ear to claims that people with disabilities in the care of the council were victims of violence, sexual abuse, theft of benefits and massive overcharging for care - claims which Inspector Knacker is now investigating.
Some of the private companies paid to look after vulnerable people did not have a council contract and had not even been regulated, according to a report into allegations made by council whistleblower Martin Morton (Eyes passim)
Ten years ago Morton, who worked in the department for adult social services (Dass), discovered that 16 elderly and vulnerable people had been massively overcharged. He then uncovered further instances of gross neglect by the council and "care" companies but was continually ignored, bullied and eventually driven out of his job with a £45,000 payoff on the understanding he kept quiet. Happily, he didn't.
When he went public with his allegations in 2008, two senior social services officers were suspended, but an internal investigation cleared them of wrongdoing and they were reinstated. They left the council "by mutual consent" earlier this month, days before independent consultant Anna Klonowski published her report, which vindicates Morton and criticises the way his claims were treated.
Klonowski heard allegations that men with baseball bats turned up at one home, terrorising residents and demanding money from a member of staff who had been the subject of a police investigation into the laundering of drugs money; a member of staff with a care company had a conviction for serious assault; little was done when a resident claimed they had been raped; and bank accounts were set up in the names of vulnerable adults and their benefits taken.
The council, which has agreed to pay back almost £250,000 it overcharged vulnerable clients, has apologised, promising change is already under way. The fact that only two heads have rolled, and far too late, is not cause for optimism."
Nice to know that our council tax is being spent wisely. Not.
Edited by MikeT (26th Jan 2012 8:15pm)
Edit Reason: typo#3 corrected