Thursday, September 27, 2007

The worst case of maladministration ever?

Is Cheshire County Council guilty of the worse case of maladministration ever?

In 1937 a young girl was wrongly accused by her employers of stealing 2 shillings and 6 pence. [For younger readers that's about 13p in new money. Even when you take inflation into account it's still less than a fiver.] The Police and the County Council were involved. However, even though the money she was accused of stealing was later found by her employers the Council took the girl into care and kept her for over 70 years. No it's not a typo they actually kept her in care for over 70 years. None of her siblings even knew of her existence until recently when the care home wrote to them asking if they were happy with the care they were giving her. Initially they thought the letter was wrongly addressed and nearly threw it away, fortunately they spotted the family name and made further enquiries.

In essence Cheshire County Council has kept this women in care for over 70 years for no valid reason. You just can't make this sort of stuff up!

The Council are reported to be investigating the situation but state they can't find any of the paperwork. [A well worn but convenient excuse that most Councils are often guilty of using.]

No doubt the council will state that lessons have been learned and it couldn't happen now but how do we know? It's obvious they have been a law unto themselves for 70 years and with Ombudsmen like ours no doubt they will continue to be a law unto themselves for another 70 years.

It certainly makes the Balchin's epic 20 year struggle for justice pale into insignificance.

No doubt if she ever receives any compensation the Council will deduct board and lodgings for the last 70 years. Don't forget that this was the Council who tried to separate a 90 year old couple who had been married for 69 years because they wouldn't pay the care home costs for both of them.

I hope the reader understands the irony of the situation. Cheshire County Council unnecessarily keeps a women in care for 70 years whilst refusing a care home place to a couple who had been married for 69 years and both needed care.

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