EXCLUSIVE: Globe readers' fury over four-week delay in council care triggers action (From Wirral Globe)
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EXCLUSIVE: Globe readers' fury over four-week delay in council care triggers action
A SPECIALIST council team has been set up to deal with a massive reaction following a Globe online exclusive concerning officially-sanctioned delay in providing care to vulnerable people.
The claims that an offical delay policy had been operating since 2008 had been denied on numerous occasions by the local authority.
Eventually a social services whistle-blower used Freedom of Information legislation to obtain council minutes and other documents which revealed the truth.
Scores upon scores of angry and shocked readers contacted us or left online comments when we broke the story last week.
Some had heart-rending stories of how they and their families had been personally affected by the policy of holding up care for four weeks as a way for saving cash.
Councillor Jeff Green, leader of Wirral Council, said today: "I cannot begin to explain how angry I am at the length of time it has taken for this situation to come to light.
“After a series of denials from the Department of Adult Social Services, I am giving my personal guarantee that everyone who believes that they have been let down by the council will be given the opportunity to have their cases properly considered and dealt with.
"Anyone affected by this situation can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
"In addition there will also be a specialist team established to examine each and every case where concerns are raised by residents along with a dedicated telephone line staffed by trained social workers.
"I will be receiving regular updates on how many people contact the council and how each enquiry is progressing.
“I would therefore urge anyone who feels that they have been adversely affected by this disgraceful situation to come forward safe in the knowledge that they will be treated properly."
Details of this telephone number will be released later this week.
Councillor Green added: "Never again should vulnerable people have to wait for care they are entitled to.
“Everyone who should be held to account will be. I will be working closely with the new Director of Adult Social Services to deliver on the promises I have made today."
A statement from Graham Hodkinson, Director of Wirral Adult Social Services, said: "We take any allegation that we have compromised the care of vulnerable people very seriously and I have ordered an immediate investigation.
"The document brought to our attention dates from 2008 so it is important that I speak to everyone concerned to determine the facts.
"I would like to reassure everyone who uses our services - and their families - that although I am relatively new in post, I have a full understanding of the issues that are concerning people and am making it my business to turn the department round.
"There is excellent work being carried out in Wirral Adult Social Services which is a credit to the hardworking staff.
"That work is being overshadowed by issues that need laying to rest once and for all.
"I will be working with my colleagues throughout the council to ensure that good practice becomes the norm."