6.25pm 20th December 2016 from Hugo Sugg <email@example.com>
I write you this email to raise your attention to the fact I have received no response to a perfectly valid email from me to your Housing Manager, Nina Warrington in regards to the Homeless Forum.
As mentioned in the email below, Nina agreed with me last December and committed Worcester City Council to creating a Homeless Forum. Since then, I have received nothing about the creation of this except it was sitting on Ben Bradley’s desk. I have been informed that draft Terms of Reference have been drawn up with the help of Jonathan Sutton, CEO St. Paul’s. These were not passed by me, although I was the one the commitment was made to. I have made a fresh call for the end of January 2017 for Nina to have a Forum meeting to discuss membership.
Firstly, I find this very evasive and undermines the trust I have in your Officers. Secondly, I find the lack of responses to emails from Nina disrespectful and like there is something to hide.
The Homeless Forum is something I campaigned for back in December 2015 after comments made in the “Scarfgate” incident to which the Council publicly apologised for. I find the lack of movement on creating the Forum leaves yourself up to the level of campaigning I have been undertaking.
Trust in the Civil Servants I pay my taxes to, and subsequently they take home through salary, has been severely eroded and I have no confidence in the Housing Department of the City Council.
In another email, which I shall forward to you, I have discovered that in the Worcestershire Homelessness Strategy 2012-2017 (Appendix 4) it states that keeping the Worcestershire LinkUp should be a ‘continued commitment’. This was decommissioned by Nina Warrington in 2014. I have asked her why, to no response.
Cardon Banfield died because of a reason we will never know, but we know he was left to rot, decompose and smell because there was no comprehensive Outreach Service to pick up Cardon. CCP hold the current contract for this, but by their own admission – did not pick up the whereabouts of Cardon.
The responsibility for the decommissioning of WHIT falls on the City Council and the person/people who made the action (including politicians). I’d like to know what other alternatives were looked in to before the decimation of this Service?
Ultimately, Cardon’s decomposing corpse not being discovered by an agency (especially a taxpayer-funded one contracted by Worcester City Council) but instead a member of the public, is one I will not stand for, and neither will others.
I will be launching an 3-pronged appeal to get this situation looked at and have already seemed advice from both Homeless Link and Crisis. I will be recommending the Review to look into the systematic failures which your department and Officers have carried out, dating back to 2012/13 when Cardon lived at the City’s YMCA.
In your Corporate Plan it clearly states “empowerment with accountability”. My view is I have seen only empowerment to make ill-informed, potentially fatal decisions by City Council Officers, but all responsibility disappeared when challenged or worse: A fatality happens.
Please let it be known that I will NOT stop until I get Justice for Cardon and people are held accountable through their official duties as Council Officers or Politicians, then disciplined accordingly.
This Campaign for Cardon to not die in vain will be very directive until the right thing is done – an apology and action taken to prevent it happening again.
After “Scarfgate”, the City Council published a public statement on their website (http://www.worcester.gov.uk/news-alerts/-/blogs/council-manager-apologises-for-comment-on-rough-sleepers?platform=hootsuite) which was welcomed. Calls for Nina’s sacking were made by others and not reinforced by myself.
The Council made a mistake then, and they have since made 2 crucial and fatal mistakes: No Homeless Forum and no comprehensive Outreach Service provision.
Please inform me when will an apology about these two bad decisions, and the subsequent lack of a £500,000 taxpayer-funded outsourced Council service finding a decomposing elderly gentleman be written and made on the Council website?
I will stop Cardon dying and rotting in vain, and I welcome any progress from you, Sheena Ramsey, Elected Members, Nina Warrington and her team. Local and national press have been informed, and the Hugo’s Earthquake Campaign Twitter Account and website has now been dedicated into getting answers and justification for actions by yourselves (including Elected Members), CCP and Maggs Day Centre.
To close this email, I’d like to take away the focus from yourself, Officers and Politicians and state one simple fact: Cardon Banfield was someone’s child. He was left to die by himself, rot, decompose and smell before he was discovered. No cause or time of death could be concluded and no identification could be made until much later.
Cardon lost his held dignity when he died in a tent but he lost everything bar a few personal items found next to him, when found in a state of decay.
I’d appreciate a swift response to this email, answering the concerns I have stated and what your next steps will be. In the meantime, I will not be toning down my fight to get justice.
A death in a tent cannot happen again in Worcestershire under any circumstances.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Director, Hugo’s Earthquake
An epicentre of homelessness awareness since November 2015.
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