In October 2010, RBKC decided, for the first time since F left St John’s Hospice in 2000, to undertake a re-assessment of his eligibility for RBKC’s contribution of £ 43.02 per week, towards the cost of his domestic cleaner, to assist him with mundate domestic chores, F was unable to effectively perform, a a result of a bad stroke in 2000.
In would have been prudent, in order to void unnecessary duplication of effort, and in line with paragraph 86 of the assessment guidelines, to take into consideration F’s October 2008 DWP re-assessment for his Disability Living Allowance, DLA, which assessed very much the same activities, but in a greater detail, than the RBKC assessment..
In the DWP assessment, F completed a complex 37-page questionnaire, providing extra information, where necessary. The document was commented on and countersigned by his clinical specialist and his GP. DWP renewed his DLA at the same rates, for indefinite period. As he is almost 75, and highly unlikely to get any better, it is unlikely that he will be reassessed again.
In this context, just recently, on 1st June 2018, F asked Department of Health and Social Care, for clarification, regarding his DLA and ASAQ assessments.
F received a reply on 5th July 2018, telling him that it is local authority’s responsibility to manage its funds according to local needs.
However, as this did not happen, F should have been given the opportunity to complete his ‘Assisted Self Assisted Assessment Questionnaire, the ASAQ, ahead of the actual date, as he should have been in accordance with paragraphs 84/147 of the Department of Health guidelines.
Had F been given this opportunity, this Blog would NOT exist. as F would have completed his ASAQ, provided any additional information, verified and signed the document, confirming its veracity. He would NOT have had any reason to complain, as he would have FULLY completed the ASAQ, by himself.
In October 2010, an appointment for assessment was made and Mr Williams, a Social Worker not known to F, came on two occasions, The 1st visit on 21st October 2010, was purely of a ‘social’ nature; NO assessment matters were discussed. Mr Williams DID NOT bring any papers with him. Yet, the ASAQ was signed by Mr Williams on this date.
On the 2nd visit on 3rd NOVEMBER 2010, he brought with him some papers, which he did not offer to F. Mr Williams asked F some questions, suggested answers to them; made some notes and left soon afterwards.
At NO TIME was F given the form to review and sign it, confirming the veracity of the details. F had NO idea how the form, had there been one, looked like, let alone what was on it. Hence the subsequent confusion as to what was used.
On 13th December 2010, Mr Williams, the alleged assessor, sent F his ‘decision letter.’ Including with it a copy of the assessment grades and the incomplete, incorrect and unverified FACE report, unsigned by F.
Conveniently, and most probably intentionally, in order NOT to alert F to the existence of the worthless ASAQ FORGERY, Mr Williams decided not to include with the letter, a copy of the the original, incomplete ASAQ, unsigned by F. Therefore, F remained unaware of its existence. He was firmly convinced that the FACE document was the ONLY assessment document, as perhaps expected by RBKC.
The letter told F that at the Department of Health website he should find more details about the assessment decision.
This link provided nothing, but a list of Department’s publications, most already superseded. However, will little effort he found the Department’s guidelines relevant to F’s assessment, ‘ Putting People First: A whole system approach to eligibility for social care, Guidance on Eligibility Criteria for Adult Social Care‘, issued in 2010.
After studying the Guidelines, F realised that Mr Williams’s letter failed to address the following provisions:
Paragraph 84, he should have been given the opportunity to complete the Assisted Self Assessment Questionnaire[, ‘ASAQ’ by himself, ahead of the official assessment date.
Paragraph 86, assessment should co-ordinated across local
agencies relevant to the individual. This may mean that the DWP’s DLA re-assessment in October 2008 should have been taken into consideration.
Paragraph 106, he should have been told HOW the decision was arrived at. Was it based on a scoring system, or what other method.
Paragraph 107, F should have been given unconditional opportunity to ‘appeal’ the decision.
When F queried the fact of the unsigned ASAQ with the Disability Law Service, he was told that the unverified and unsigned document is unreliable and factually worthless and should HAVE NEVER been used in the decision process by a ‘assessment panel’ , headed by Ms Caroline Maclean, in deciding F’s wellbeing, independence and quality of life.
When F questioned the unsigned ASAQ with Mr Leak, he was told that ‘it was NOT necessary to obtain a signature, as a Social Worker was present at the assessment.‘
We asked other local authorities regarding review and approval of assessment documents and indeed the regular Care Plan Reviews. We were told that the individuals are ALWAYS given a copy of these documents for their review and signature, confirming veracity of the answers.
In respect of the missing F’s signature, F tried to obtain legal guidance on the requirement to sign these kind of documents. When he could not get anywhere, he asked James Chalmers, Senior Professor of Law, for his guidance. In his reply, Professor Chalmers confirmed to F that there was no ‘law’ as such governing ‘signatures’ of documents.
A signature on many documents is merely a result of a custom, to ensure that both parties are cognisant of the content of the signed document. It prevents any future argument, when either side may dispute content of the document.
By the absence of F’s signature, RBKC ended up in an unenviable situation, unable to provide credible evidence that F had anything to do with the completion of the ASAQ. It could have been, and perhaps was, completed, signed and dated by whomever, wherever and whenever, scoring the document to arrive at a predetermined outcome.
In respect of the non-existent offer of an appeal, F was given the most banal and crass explanation:
On 18th May 2011, Ms Daintith, told him that this was NOT required, as he was already aware of the ‘Complaints process’, as he had complained in 2001. and was given details of the process. Nothing of the sort. F was given a copy of a ‘flyer‘, inviting him to comment on the service he was receiving.
Anyway, paragraph 107 of the Guidelines clearly refers to the new Complaints Regulations, which in 2009 streamlined the complaints progress. The ‘Local Authorities Social Services and National Health Service Complaints(England)Regulations 2009.
There is NO documentary evidence that F was advised of these important changes. Therefore, whatever he was told in 2002, was irrelevant and out of date. Ms Daintith, in her intellectual myopia unwaveringly believed that F would swallow this crap, line, hook and sinker.
To this day, F has NOT been given credible reason why the above provisions were ignored.
F was surprised at the ‘LOW’ decision expressed in the decision letter. It was based on paragraph 52 of the guidelines.
Taking into consideration that, as a result of bad stroke in 2000, F suffers from progressive peripheral neuropathy, itinerant vertigo and weakness of his left side, which prevented him from properly carrying out mundane domestic chores. He was also susceptible to small strokes, TIAs, which could occur at any time and render him physically weak for a while, or result in a serious physical impairment. These may occur at ANY TIME. He also suffers from heart conditions, which required an Open Heart Surgery in November 2018, to replace an aortic valve.
It is absurd to believe that these serious medical conditions, which contribute towards his poor mobility, and inability to cope with chores, should have miraculously improved between October 2008, the DLA assessment and October 2010, the RBKC assessment, when be was graded as ‘LOW‘ in an alleged assessment carried out by inappropriately qualified Social Worked. We think that F should have been graded at least ‘MODERATE‘, if NOT ‘SUBSTANTIAL’.
F learned from other local authorities that individuals suffering from sensory/physical impairments are assessed by a properly qualified Occupational Therapist/Physiotherapist, who would be well aware about the impact of F’s debilitating conditions, and putting aside his HIV status, understand the impact of these ailments on F’s wellbeing, quality of life and independence. A signature of these professionals on the assessment document was enough to proceed further, without having to present them to an ‘assessment panel’, which no authority even had.
On 13th September 2011, Mr Leak told F, that the FACE report was sent to F by Mr Williams on 14th December, 2010, with his decision letter. This confirms that a copy of the the incomplete, unsigned handwritten ASAQ, allegedly used during F’s assessment, was NOT sent to F. This, the cornerstone document of the whole assessment was NOT mentioned. Most probably intentionally so as NOT to draw F’s attention to it and perhaps start unwelcome questions about the ASAQ.
Taking into consideration the number of assessments carried out in one year by RBKC, it would be naive to think that the omission of the ASAQ from being enclosed with the decision letter, was an ERROR. It was most probably NOT enclosed INTENTIONALLY, in order NOT to draw F’s attention to its existence, of which he was UNAWARE, until 11th FEBRUARY 2012.
It must be remembered that at this time F was NOT aware of the ASAQ’s existence, copy of which he ONLY obtained, by chance, on 11th FEBRUARY 2012, when he received copies of documents sent to the LGO.
Therefore, at a much later date, on 2nd March 2012, F queried Mr William’s qualifications. It emerged that he did NOT have appropriate qualifications to carry out such an assessment. It also transpired that the wondrous ‘assessment panel’, created to give a faux gravitas to the assessment process, did not possess any such qualifications either. It was nothing more than a crass hogs wash. The members were nothing more than Social Workers, without any specialist knowledge.
On 12th July 2011, F submitted a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, LGO.
At this juncture it must be made clear that F’s complaints to RBKC and eventually to the LGO, were based on the incomplete FACE document, rather than the ASAQ, of which he was NOT aware until 11th February 2012.
On 26th January 2012, F asked Mr Leak, why was he NOT offered the opportunity to complete the assessment document ahead of the assessment date. F claimed that there is no difference in the meaning, of paragraphs 84/ 141-151.
Mr Leak chose to completely ignore this question and sent F a blank ASAQ form, explaining the difference between the FACE and the ASAQ.
The reason why F was not offered this opportunity, remains unanswered to this day. However, it may be alleged, that the purpose was, so that a forged ASAQ could be produced, to deprive F of his contribution.
CONCLUSION: There is no credible evidence that F participated in the completion of the incorrect, unverified and unsigned assessment document, ASAQ, allegedly used in F’s assessment, carried out by a Social Worker without any additional professional knowledge to enable him to do so.
It must also be appreciated that events PRIOR to the issue of the ‘decision letter’ are of relevance, as RBKC hoped that by NOT giving F clear opportunity to challenge the outcome, he would accept it and move on. How many other people were assessed in a similar manner and suffered the same fate? Who knows? RBKC, of course.
The ASAQ is unreliable, legally faulty document, which should have NEVER been used in any decision process. It should be declared NULL and VOID and appropriate action taken, as mentioned on the ‘Desired Outcome‘ page.