“The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
Hubert H Humphrey.
As a Libertarian, the only form of government that I can uphold is that which provides protection for those too weak to protect themselves.
A government which preys on the weakest citizens from behind a veil of secrecy is beyond contempt.
I have campaigned vigorously for many years now concerning the iniquitous treatment the Labour government meted out to the very weakest in our society – those who are judged not mentally fit to act for themselves in either their legal or financial affairs, or to decide for themselves when they wish to cease life giving medical treatment.
I am beyond speechless that a combination of Liberal-Democrats and Conservative MPs should attain office and continue the same treatment. That this should happen behind a cloak of ‘financial measures’ occasioned by the economic crisis is beyond despicable.
On Monday, the MP Rob Flello asked what must have seemed an obscure question:
Robert Flello (Stoke-on-Trent South, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 27 October 2010, Official Report, column 357W, on the Office of the Public Guardian, what estimate he has made of the (a) frequency and (b) cost to the public purse of the loss of documents by the Office of the Public Guardian in the last 12 months.
He received a typically obscure reply. Jonathon Djanogly, the Under Secretary of State, told him that the Public guardian keeps no record of the number of times that they lose original documents.
[…]The OPG scans all applications on receipt and therefore where an original copy is misplaced, an office copy of the instrument can be provided. Where the original is subsequently identified, measures are in place to ensure it is then forwarded to the applicant […]
Not the sort of exchange that you would give the time of day to – even if you did happen to be reading Hansard? Nowhere near as glossy and exciting as learning that Ghadaffi has a ‘voluptuous nurse’? Nor as capable of producing a knee jerk reaction as ‘EU to ban selling eggs by the dozen? Perhaps not. Perhaps that is why the main stream media continually ignore this issue – but that question is tickling the underbelly of the great government rip-0ff that is the Office of the Public Guardian.
As such, we should be paying attention. We are talking about the sole true purpose of government being abused and instead turning those vulnerable people into a cash cow to bolster government resources.
Let me explain. Let me spell it out.
The applications Djanogly refers to are applications for permission to decide for yourself who is to make decisions for you in the event that the government decide you are mentally incapacitated. In order to make such an application you have to send a variety of ‘original documents’ to their office.
The government has decided that this office – the Office of the Public Guardian – should be ‘paperless’ and so they have decreed that all documents are to be scanned on arrival. Along with your payment of £240 for them to consider your application……
They expect 22,000 such applications next year. An income of over half a million pounds from this single activity – and they have many others. £400 a time if you attempt to argue with their decision comes to mind. The income from this ‘executive agency’ is remitted to the Ministry of Justice…
This is, as they were minded to tell the HOC Justice Committee:
‘Not a price sensitive market’.
Of course not – it is a monopoly.
They have used the money from last year’s applications to set up a series of regional offices; the one in Nottingham alone swallowed the equivalent of next year’s application fees.
However, much of the mail is still arriving at the million pound premises they lease in London.
The Scanner is in Birmingham.
So the precious documents – your birth certificate etc., set off on a round the country tour.
As of next Monday, the staff in the Post room at Archway will be laid off – so it will be up to volunteer civil servants to make sure that incoming mail reaches the correct destination – and since they are already under threat of redundancy, we can be sure that the creaking system which creates so many delays and discrepancies:
I have had very recent experience of the OPG office in Birmingham, regarding my aging mother who has Parkinsons and is now at the stage that she cannot manage her finances. The family applied back in February this year for a Lasting Power of Attorney and despite many phone calls and letters they did nothing for 7 months. Eventually they came back to us in September asking for a box on the form to be completed which we did and returned within a week. What was interesting is that having sat on the thing for over 7 months they gave 14 days to reply or we would have to start all over again. Anyway another 8 weeks later they granted the LPA. In short it took them 9 months to do a simple LPA.
– will creak even further. As one recent whistle blower said to me says:
The scenario now – post is dumped on x floor. Business area on rota decides too busy to play post room and/or Postman Pat(ricia) of the day decides confidential waste bin disposal swifter than desk to desk delivery service. Unsecured post disappears.
Scaremongering? Not at all – the last time the department was reorganised, files – the anonymising description of someone’s entire life and civic engagement, appeared in waste bins in Holborn Tube Station. Stressed civil servants are human beings too. There is more than one way to clear your desk.
That obscure question that Flello asked – and received the answer that ‘nobody’s counting’ – is the visible face of a system that relieves the most vulnerable in our community of hundreds of pounds for a protection that it doesn’t give it’s employees the means to provide – whilst spending millions on ‘reorganisation and re-landscaping of “Ps” perception of their requirements’.
“P”? Oh that’s how the management refer to your Aunty Alice and her need for someone to pay her gas bill.
She isn’t a person. She is just “P”. A source of income stream.
Someone who coughed up £240 in the forlorn hope that the government would protect her.