'Nancy welcomes you to Colditz'
Seems those egotistical and self opinionated senior officers and councillors at South Tyneside Council have cause to celebrate lick their wounds today having picked up yet another award, albeit one they didn’t apply for which I suppose makes a change!
The award for ‘Best Council At Failing To Deal With Elder Abuse’ was presented by the Local Government Ombudsman in a report published yesterday, click here to view the full report.
The 15 page document lambastes South Tyneside Council for causing “significant injustice” to two older people for failing to deal with their claims of harassment by their sheltered housing warden, Nancy Storey.
The Ombudsman ruled that the council’s failure to deal with the complaints left the neighbours – known as Mr P and Mrs S – living in an atmosphere of “harassment and fear” which eventually forced them to move out. The scheme was owned by the council and run by the infamous South Tyneside Homes, an arms-length management organisation with a poor reputation and complacent attitude.
The council has accepted and had no choice but to act on the Ombudsman’s recommendations to rehouse Mr P and Mrs S, pay for their moving expenses and reimburse the costs they incurred in moving out of the scheme.
South Tyneside Homes were also forced to pay them £2,500 compensation each, in recognition of the time, trouble and distress they experienced.
Mr Monkey has also learned that as well as giving them the pick of any of their accommodation they have carried out extensive adaptions, refurbishment and upgrading of both properties.
The case began in 2004 after Mr P, who has mobility difficulties, complained that the warden had let an unattended repair engineer into his flat. He claimed that she then became abusive toward him and Mrs S and incited other residents to be hostile towards them.
The problem escalated and on one occasion the warden’s daughter turned up outside Mr P’s flat in the middle of the night shouting death threats. The incident was caught on tape and an ombudsman investigator described the recording as “harrowing”.
The investigation also revealed concerns from other residents, including from an older woman who said the warden ran the scheme “like Colditz”.
The report found that the council “completely failed to undertake any proper investigation” into the complaints and that a separate adult protection investigation regarding Mr P, which was supposed to be completed within 15 days, “meandered on for over six months”.
The warden Mrs Storey has been on extended sick leave since 2005 and has still to face any disciplinary action but in the meantime she has left the warden’s bungalow and has been rehoused by South Tyneside Homes in one of the more sought after bungalows in Jarrow!
Seems even Labour Council Leader Iain Malcolm is finding it difficult to spin his way out of this one but then I suppose he can always claim it didn’t happen under his watch. Although after all the recent hypocritical “we love” you Paul Waggott crap he can’t be seen to push the knife in his back any further .. at least not just yet!