Tuesday 18 June 2013

Guest Blog - Richard Cornelius in the Press - A response, by John Sullivan

By John Sullivan,

I am responding to a letter from Cllr Cornelius in the local press that also carries his photograph in the letters page which makes his letter harder to miss than yours or mine, it seems strange that CADDSS ( Campaign Against Destruction of Disability Support Services ) was conceived in the letters to the editor column at The Press by two strangers that have since become friends and allies, and yet still Cllr Cornelius gets the headline and others get the bi-Line , once again the Cornelius definition of truth gets centre stage whilst the whole truth gets the bi-line. He knows  full well that his one liners cannot be answered with a simple one liner, which undermines the ability of the challenger to get across his or her viewpoint, thereby denying the right of the whole truth to be heard because the journalists have to cut your letters up to fit the page rather than send the whole message, hence the need to request a guest blog on Barnet Eye so I can have my say within reason.

Cornelius claims  (June 13th Edition)  " no relentless drive to outsourcing " whilst going on to refer to fully retaining just one service namely recycling which he now realises is a profit making enterprise, and was recently rescued from its planned outsourcing, whilst knowing  full well 90% of all other public services are to be outsourced that he misleadingly refers to as " some back office functions". He claims  " no race to the bottom at Your Choice " whilst driving out or demoting skilled staff, cutting  support staff numbers, replacing skilled staff with unskilled staff a potential for our very own Barnet version of Winterbourne View , making up to 30% cuts in already low paid staff wages , and changing staff terms and conditions in many other detrimental ways to numerous to mention, all of which will have a detrimental effect on staff morale and therefore quality of services. So how can this be anything other than a race to the bottom in service and staff quality, he claims he is avoiding savage cuts to services, well  how more savage could the cuts be than this .
He implies that forming  the LATC that Your Choice is a subsidiary company of was inevitable due to the direct payments legislation which is such a red herring, if this were completely true then why has every borough across the country not formed an arms length LATC to comply with the legislation
He claims " your choice is designed to create a service people can and will choose balancing quality & cost ". Designed by whom ?, not by parents or family carers or service users who were banned from any meaningful consultation, on the proposed changes mentioned above. The fact a potential legal challenge is pending on this very issue, qualifies just how deaf dumb and blind Cornelius is to the opinions of anyone other than his very expensive consultants that Barnet tax payers have given approximately  6 million pounds to date, who have only one vested interest and that is to line their pockets.
In this race to the bottom in services and staff quality, because the quality of the service is only as good as the quality of the staff. Who would choose a service full with low paid unskilled demoralised workers with no vocation for the job simply the need of employment, or perhaps forced to take the job or have their benefits stopped. More importantly where is the "Choice " he speaks of where are the alternative facilities, for many service users there is  " No Choice " never mind " Your Choice ", so where does the ability to "CHOOSE " enter the debate.

He then chooses to attempt to publicly smear the name of Tirza Waisel and all members of Baps & CADDSS, branding us a hard left pressure group that should be scrutinised when nothing could be further from the truth. This is the man that denied Barnet residents the right of scrutiny and consultation on the Massive One Barnet Outsourcing Programme, he misleadingly attempts to palm off as a small outsourcing programme of " some back office services ". This is the man that has denied parents , family carers and services users of all elements of YCB services, family members with collectively hundreds of years of front line experience across the board, the right to scrutinise the March 1st document that the above proposals are a part of, along with the right to consult on their future well being  or the future well being of disabled family members , in fact they refused to provide us with a copy of the document that outlines the race to the bottom in service and staff quality at Your Choice Barnet.

As a member of both Baps ( Barnet Alliance for Public Services ) and CADDSS, I am sure all members of both groups would be happy to be scrutinised as suggested by Cornelius, first and foremost unlike Cornelius we have nothing to hide we are an open book. We have no need to tread the slippery slope the finite line between truth and untruth that Cornelius appears to have chosen. Scrutiny of Baps & Caddss will expose the complete untruth of the Cornelius claim we are hard left activists, it will prove we are very concerned parents, family carers, service users and residents of all political persuasions and none, that are deeply concerned with the race to the bottom in all public services in Barnet  particularly in my case YCB services, demanded by the craving to outsource at any price by Cornelius and co. Based unbelievably on a contract that Cornelius admits he has never even read, can you believe that statement from Cornelius, he bangs on about how wonderful everything will be with the One Barnet programme yet he has never even read the contract, you could not make it up.

Baps & Caddss stand for democracy, the democratic right to scrutinise . the democratic right to be meaningfully consulted, along with the truth , the whole  truth and nothing but the truth, a concept that is apparently alien to Councillor Cornelius. Who I repeat continues in my opinion  misleadingly to refer to the massive One Barnet outsourcing programme of One Billion Pounds in Barnet public services as " some back office functions ".

I have just been advised by Irwin Mitchell, the solicitors I instructed on behalf of my daughter Susan, that the proposed changes to services have been put on hold until they consult with, the parents, family carers and service users they should have lawfully consulted in the first place. But for this legal action these changes would have been forced through as was the formation of YCB in the first place, Cornelius leads an undemocratic council that denies scrutiny and consultation  whilst demanding others be scrutinised, a council more like a Politburo than a democratically elected council, and he has the nerve to refer to others as  " Reds Under the Bed "  or some such nonsense.
John Sullivan is a parent carer and regular guest blogger at the Barnet Eye 

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