My story

Together We Can Stand Up Against Injustice and Oppression

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” – Sir Winston Churchill

IMPORTANT NOTICE UPDATED 23 AUGUST 2015

Stockport Council has communicated  giving  me formal instructions to remove all material in my website that contain whistle blowing, malpractice and sub – standard care. Stockport Council management also ordered I should disconnect my website from public access within 7 days.  I will not remove  information and disconnect my website because I have full documentary evidence to support my claims, which can be provided on request.

Case Management Discussion took place on 12th March 2013 at Manchester Tribunal Court; I was represented by an Employment Barrister, who prepared the Scott Schedule as per CMD order. Stockport Council was ordered to respond by 2nd April 2013, which they failed to comply with court order. I sent Stockport Council legal Solicitor a letter on the 6th January 2014 requesting a response to the Scott Schedule, provide missing documentation including  full disclosure of redacted documents. Stockport Council failed to disclose documentation despite 3 different judges giving  disclosure orders and  withheld information.

Stockport Council (Individual Solutions SK Solicitor) responded to my scott schedule response by applying to the court, on the 21 January  2014 requesting a judgement is made that whistle blowing and further allegations submitted out of time be struck out. Also requested  tribunal make an order at the preliminary hearing that I pay a deposit order of £1,000, per allegation, in order to continue with those allegations. Individual Solutions SK (Owned by Stockport Council), provided social care support to vulnerable adults and older people in Stockport, North West England.

On 31st March 2014, I received letter from Stockport Council legal team as stated below

“I write following the outcome of the preliminary hearing on Friday 7 March 2014 at Manchester Employment Tribunal, where your whistle blowing claims and allegations submitted after the presentation of your ET1 were struck out (subject to review) . This outcome has considerably reduced your allegations and narrowed down the issues that the tribunal will have to determine. We do not think that there is any legal merit in your remaining race discrimination claims, and many of the allegations are arguably out of time”

I received letter dated 3rd  October 2012 “Proposals for Change within ISSK. The need to change is driven by a number of different issues faced by the company” as quoted below:

“Since Individual Solutions SK was formed in 2009, It has never achieved the Stockport Council contractual 50% contact time, and in July 2012 there were 600 hours of standby time per week, where work is not allocated but employees receive payment.”

“The Reablement service provided by ISSK on behalf of Stockport Council, has not achieved the targets set within the service level agreement due, in some part, to the inflexibility of current rota patterns.”

“Service provision currently given by ISSK is too expensive at £52 per hour. The Council expects to pay between £25-£35 per hour.”

“Sickness absence levels have peaked at 16.9% with 41% of employees on a sickness stage, which is completely unsustainable”

Letter written by Unison Branch Secretary and Individual Solutions SK Senior Steward addressed to all members and Individual Solutions SK management. The letter dated 15th October 2012 as quoted below

Rotas & Hours of work

“For the past 12 months the service has not been managed efficiently. You do not have the necessary management support for the front line staff and the Resource Planners lack the required skills to carry out a safe allocation of work. Your computer system has failed to live up to expectations and caused more harm than good. The Rotas have contributed to your sickness levels.”

Under Sickness & Absence

“The frustration for UNISON is we have for a considerable time been raising the issue of absence and the reasons behind it and management have failed to act. Our member’s conditions will not be attacked due to management failures.”

Please help me to fight this struggle and win justice for the adults and vulnerable elderly who continue to suffer due to poor levels of service provided and greed from some institutions and organisations. This is not only my personal problem; it is a situation about which every one of us should be concerned. We must Stand up  together for our universal human rights and justice and those responsible should be held accountable in a criminal court. With your help, together we can send a strong message, saying “Enough is enough! The weak and defenceless must be protected. I Say YES to Change.”

My Story Summary and Reasons UPDATED 01 AUGUST 2015

As a child while growing up, my father used to tell me many inspirational stories and he would often quote several great leaders whose words instilled hope and confidence in me. He raised me well with whatever little resources we had in Africa, and I can never thank him enough for imparting all those high moral values which I continue to live my life with. He had studied in England and was particularly fond of the British education and legal system, and considered the British legal system as the best in the world. “Everyone, including even the poorest of poor gets justice in Great Britain”, his words still echo in my mind as I tell my story. I came to the United Kingdom all inspired and graduated with Bsc (Hons) Internet & Business Technologies.

After completing my education, I applied for a job as a Resource Planner at Individual Solutions SK Ltd with a desire to make difference in people’s lives. While joining the company I was told that my job involved receiving packages of care from social workers, setting them up on the system and then allocating the customer visits to home support workers. Since the customers were elderly people, vulnerable adults who needed help; the main motivation for me to take up this job was a genuine desire to help those who needed it the most. A few months in the job and I was beginning to see the real picture which was a far cry from the social services that we were committed to provide to the needy. The working conditions were extremely bad, and customer relationship management was disappointing to the point that many of the customers were not getting the support they were entitled to. Before I go into the details, I would like to highlight the basic fundamental problem with Individual Solutions SK Ltd. Rather than working for a social cause using taxpayers’ money; they instead are primarily focused on making money. Individual Solutions SK Ltd have a target oriented, profit first, care later policy which is evident in their operations and the quality of support they provide to the customers.

I and a few others of my colleagues tried multiple times to bring the various operational and customer issues in front of the Individual Solutions SK management but in vain. Instead, I was subjected to hostility, intimidation, harassment, verbal abuse and threats for having spoken against the various malpractices that prevailed in their offices and work culture. I had inadvertently become a whistleblower without even realizing it, while I thought I was merely doing my job. On an average workday we as Resource Planners were dealing with huge volume of phone calls, increasing number of referrals, resource planning, customer complaints and then some managers gave us extra tasks on top of the overwhelming workload. Our assertiveness to say no to the extra tasks was greeted with grim reminders of how refusal of management instruction was misconduct and how it could result in instant employment dismissal. Simply put, it was too much of unorganized workload and in absence of good management and clear guidelines we were like sitting ducks.

Our repeated requests to demarcate job responsibilities and rules/procedures were met with hollow promises that the management will soon fix it, but nothing ever really came out of it. Instead, the workload and backlog grew with every passing day and with increasing stress, staff members were frequently on sick leave and it was difficult to cover work. To top it all, many Agency carer workers lacked adequate skills to provide good quality care to the adults and vulnerable elderly and a lot of complaints were coming in. The management adopted a coercive approach and we were forced to accept referrals by the managers, even when they clearly knew we didn’t have enough available Home Support Workers and care agencies failed to provide carers. On several different occasions my colleagues and I literally cried at our desks, feeling powerless and empathizing for the elderly and vulnerable adult’s people who were waiting for help which never reached them.

While most of the adults and vulnerable elderly suffered, there were a few adults and vulnerable elderly with contacts in high places who were receiving extra benefits and had senior managers as their point of contact. Not only the employees, but also some of the adults and vulnerable elderly were not treated fairly and all this was done deliberately to make sure the high value customers were taken care of at the expense of the ordinary ones. Individual Solutions SK lost its way through a maze of targets, profits and greed. All my endeavors to seek fairness and justice from the company failed and instead, I was threatened by the top management who told me “We provide high quality care and if you go tell your MP, we will deal with you. I know people in the council”. I have been subjected to continued harassment and abuse that persists today. I even attempted to get the GMB Trade Union involved so that I could have someone fighting my corner, but they refused to support me.

I then turned to the Manchester Employment Tribunal for help to expose malpractice but the tribunal ruled in favor of Individual Solutions SK Ltd and Stockport Council. In fact, the way the entire case was handled by the tribunal has made me question the British legal system and I sometimes feel I have been too naive to believe in my father’s ideology about justice being delivered to even the ordinary ones in this great democratic country. Surprisingly, the tribunal gave verbal bad faith evidence priority over written documented evidence which is an aberration. Throughout the trial, Individual Solutions SK Ltd and Stockport Council legal team  failed to disclose documentation despite case management  directions given by three different Judges. Stockport Council  mislead the Manchester Tribunal Court, withholding information, frustrating me who was not legally represented.

Key witnesses were prevented from giving evidence by an extremely hostile judge, who made personal attacks on me. I am now appealing the tribunal’s verdict. Most importantly, I have been suffering continuous collective bullying, harassment, threats and unfounded allegations have been made against me ever since I approached the employment tribunal. I also approached my MP, he was very supportive. He referred my case to the Equality and Human Rights Commission who refused to take the case as it did not meet their stringent Business Criteria. However, I am still not deterred by the negative outcome and am trying to seek an independent enquiry into the employment tribunal’s handling of my case and introduction of specific laws aimed at protecting whistleblowers and setting out specific standards of care for vulnerable adults and the elderly so that standards may be maintained. I refuse to give into the bullying and will keep fighting for justice.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I will NOT give up and I will keep fighting till the time justice is delivered. I have a petition I Say Yes To Change in the public domain asking for public support. Here’s what I am fighting for:

  1. Introduction of specific laws aimed at protecting whistleblowers and setting out specific standards of care for vulnerable adults and the elderly so that standards may be maintained.
  2. Setting up an independent enquiry into the employment tribunal’s handling of my case.
  3. Allowing documentation to be considered in such an enquiry and tightening the laws so that verbal bad faith evidence is not given priority over written documentation evidence.
  4. Extension of the right to appeal. I have been told that I could not appeal the facts of findings found by the employment tribunal. However, since these facts do not reflect the documented evidence, individuals should be allowed to dispute facts when errors can be proven.
  5. Re-examination of the stringent business criteria for case acceptance by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
  6. Those responsible for covering up malpractices, whether it be management, trade unions or anyone else, should be held accountable in a criminal court.
  7. Tightening the laws around bullying and harassment at work.
  8. Establishing specific whistle-blowing courts, with a focus on improving services and learning lessons from mistakes made.
  9. Preventing employers from using the threat of cost orders to force whistleblowers to withdraw their cases.
  10. Re-examine the Care Quality Commission (CQC) under The Care Act 2014, CQC do not have the remit to regulate Councils or their Social Services departments.

On the 7th April 2015, I sent a letter to the judge and received reply the letter has been filed. In my letter I stated “You are happy to cover up for the Respondents knowing very well the Respondents deliberately ordered and instructed me and other Resource planners to accept referrals knowing very well that there was no staff due high sickness and staff shortages.“

If you agree with me that vulnerable adults and the elderly deserve to be happy, receive reliable, regular visits from home support workers and be treated to consistent, high quality care, then join me in saying yes to change.

Please sign the petition and join this movement for change, contact Hon Theresa May, spread the word and together we can get the law changed so that no one is afraid to speak out. Together, we can improve the care received by vulnerable adults and the elderly.

olesi.com Image

 

Page 43 of the Judgement Extract Poor Working Conditions

“The Tribunal readily accepts that the Respondent’s employees were placed under a great deal of pressure and stress that resulted in frayed tempers and poor working relationships. The claimant did find this a difficult environment to work in and told us how, when she started working for the Respondent, she was shocked by the poor structure and working environment in comparison to other employers she had worked for. The claimant believed that working in such conditions was unacceptable and championed the cause for better working conditions on behalf of herself and her colleagues. We do not believe that management set out to create such poor working conditions, they too were exposed to stress and pressure because of the requirements placed on them by the terms of the contract for the services they were required to ensure was delivered.”

My Witness Statement Extracts and Judgement Extract

Reserved Court Judgement Extract Quotes

Page 10 8.4 of the judgement

“Missed calls were a serious matter for the respondent because a missed call put the respondent in breach of its obligations and more importantly exposed vulnerable adults to risk and was thus a safeguarding matter.”

Enduring and Subjection to Continuous Abuse

Page 9 8.4 Reserved Judgement

“The claimant was vocal in her poor opinion of the service offered to clients and considered that many of the tasks she was instructed to carry out, were a waste of time and at times unreasonable. By email of 26 September 2011 (p97), the claimant wrote to her union GMB about working conditions, she wrote:

“As a new employee including work colleagues who are not union members we are currently working under extreme pressure, hardly do we even take breaks, enduring abuse from carers and social workers. We are on low pay. I would like GMB to advocate on my behalf raise all my concerns, get in writing what our job    description is and entitlements, presently we just get promises of change. Honestly there is no strategic work plan in place”

Reserved Judgement Page 9 8.3 

“The resource planners as a team also complained about the abuse and hostility they were subjected to from home support workers, who were also under stress to cover all the visits allocated to them. Some of the staff complained of were NHS staff not employed by the first respondent and complaints relating to these staff were referred back to their employer through the managers of the first respondent “

Reserved Judgement Page 9 8.5 (First Respondent Individual Solutions Sk)

“The Tribunal accept that all the staff were under a great deal of pressure to allocate the work and ensure people were available to make the calls the first respondent had undertaken to provide. However, difficult as that was, the pressure was placed on all the resource planners as part and parcel of their job. Management were aware of the difficulties but were powerless to do anything about it because of the restraints placed on them by the agreement the first respondent had entered into. They were also aware that resource planners often bore the brunt of frustrated support staff who sometimes found it difficult to cope with the work allocated to them”

Missed calls Reserved Judgement extract

“The claimant was vocal in her poor opinion of the service offered to clients”

Page 10 8.4 of the judgement

“Missed calls were a serious matter for the respondent because a missed call put the respondent in breach of its obligations and more importantly exposed vulnerable adults to risk and was thus a safeguarding matter”

My Witness Statement Extract (Point 13 – 18 Names not published due to Data Protection)

  1. Management and Management instructed Resource Planners and In Reach Team to accept all referrals, in addition they employed xxxx (Admin) to accept referrals between 0900 – 1700 hrs, even though we were full to capacity, due to the service level Reablement agreement with Stockport Council, Individual Solutions SK were under pressure to deliver a certain number of hours of support per month. As a result Home Support Manager introduced holding runs. These runs were to help with scheduling so calls were not missed and for monitoring purposes. As a result of this adults and vulnerable elderly persons whose visits were scheduled on the holding run received care from different home support workers, the care they received lacked consistency. I remember a family member rang to complain their mum had received care from 23 different home support workers in 7 days.

 

  1. Holding runs had no team of Home Support Workers, they were to be covered by Home Support workers on float duty, Casual Bank Workers and Care Agency workers. Due to the shortage of carers and Home Support Workers we were unable to cover work. I was instructed by Home Support Manager to ring banks staff members on the list repeatedly. I feedback to her there were no bank workers available to cover the outstanding visits, and she made me ring again on the same day or the next time I was on shift. This wasted time since the outcome was the same. Due to lack of staffing to cover outstanding visits for adults and vulnerable elderly people, I was instructed on several occasions by Home Support Managers to ring either families or the adults and vulnerable elderly people themselves to tell them we were struggling with cover or make excuses.  This resulted in adults and vulnerable elderly people cancelling their visits.  I found this falsifying of data and poor delivery of care on the following grounds:

There should be an option that stated “cancelled due to no staff”.  Instead management used other options:

  1. Hospital admissions
  2. With friends and family
  3. Late cancellation

 

  1. To make it look like Individual Solutions SK were providing the service; it’s the adults and vulnerable elderly people who cancelled the calls. Because the cancellation was made by adults and vulnerable elderly people, it would be unlikely to go to safeguarding. The reality is this cancelled calls by adults and vulnerable elderly people are missed calls.

 

  1. Due to the high volume of referrals Individual Solutions SK were accepting, the company put profit ahead of quality care. As a Resource Planner with no staff cover and resources I was instructed to allocate many visits to Home Support workers on a daily basis, move visits, there was no flexibility. This resulted in rushed visits for the adults and vulnerable elderly persons living in their own homes, as the Home Support workers were under pressure to provide support and care without enough travelling time between calls. Home Support Manager was notorious for allocating Home Support Workers 5 minutes travelling time between visits so that they would have more visits on their runs. Customers used to ring and complain about delayed call times. As a Recourse Planner I was the first point of contact, I would then transfer the call to the manager if one was available. The email below evidences this: (Received from Management)

 

“I have received an increased number of calls from unhappy service users due to call times being changed; this is causing an increased number of complaints and some considerable distress to individuals and family members…..”

 

  1. Individual Solutions SK is a wholly owned company of Stockport Metropolitan Council, which is a local authority. Under the Human Rights Act it states that local authorities have a duty of care towards vulnerable adults. Individual Solutions SK was in breach of some of the care it provided to adults and vulnerable elderly persons in their own homes.  They put profits before high quality care.

 

  1. Given orders not instructions on top of workload, some Home Support Managers gave me tasks to do, even though they knew I was overworked and lone working, explanations were taken us refusing to take instructions and being obstructive. Some of the Home Support Managers became hostile, referencing employment contract.