Press Statement by @HugosEarthquake Campaign in response to not hold a SAR into Cardon Banfield’s death for 2nd time

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

A second application for an Safeguarding Adults Review into Cardon Banfields death made on behalf of the Campaign has been rejected.

This was the unanimous decision of the members present at the meeting which include the organisations of Worcestershire County Council, Worcestershire Health & Care NHS Trust, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Maggs Day Centre, Rooftop Housing Group and other independent providers.

This decision was reached as it was felt that the criteria for an SAR was not met, a decision supported by the Independent Chair, Derek Benson.

It was reached on Thursday 23rd August to review evidence that had been submitted to them though they also considered the recent Worcester City Council Review.

Hugo’s Earthquake Campaign supports the current Government Policy (September 2018) of holding a Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR) for every homeless death and encourage Mr Benson and the organisations which sit on the Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board to reconsider and initiate a SAR into 74 year-old Mr Banfield’s death.

Hugo’s Earthquake Press Office | Statement released 20.09.18 13.45 BST

Written by Duncan Cushenan, Head of Press Office, PR and Communications

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Response by #JusticeForCardon Campaigner @HugoSugg to not hold a SAR into Cardon Banfield’s death:

“I am appalled by the decision again not to hold a Safeguarding Adults Review into Cardon’s death. The Safeguarding Board are showing complete contempt for a 74 year old’s life and the memory of him. His family deserve to have the answers as to why he was left to die 3 months after being supported by a perfectly capable, working service. Derek Benson, the Board Chair, is siding with organisations that have a stake in not wanting to do a review. They have a reputation to uphold but the longer they don’t investigate Cardon’s death, the longer I will ensure that they cannot get away with letting down a Windrush citizen who contributed, worked and lived in our society.

I encourage Derek Benson to override the decision not to hold a SAR and initiate one immediately, in line with Government Policy to hold a SAR for every homeless death.”

Hugo Sugg,

#JusticeForCardon Campaigner

On my travels – seeing two sets of mother/child Syrian refugees

Seeing two mothers and their young children from Syria sleeping on the streets of Istanbul has utterly broken me.

They couldn’t speak English, but they understood “take care” and said “thank you” to me doing a heart shape with my hands. I told them I’m thinking of them and I’m sorry for what they are living through: Hell.

That, and earlier seeing the dilapidated buildings with children pouring out of them smiling, pulling faces at me, laughing and playing, whilst 2 minutes away there were tall brick mansions worth millions, has completely changed my outlook on both myself and the world.

Tonight, for the first time in a very long time, I’ve felt compelled to pray.

As I go into a period of reflection and write in my travel diary I say this: I love humans, but I can’t help but sometimes hate humanity.

The lesson: Always realise what you do have. Kindness mends broken lives.

With love,

Hugo

BREAKING NEWS: @myworcester City Council DOESN’T RELEASE other homeless service bid document (full response)

Towards the end of 2015 Worcester City Council decided to re-tender the homeless support service for single people in Worcestershire and the new service would start in April 2016. Both CCP and St Paul’s Hostel (who ran the WHIT service prior to April 2016) bid for the new service under the commissioning rules of the City Council.

CCP were awarded the contract and their (redacted) tender can be found here. We recently asked for the document St Paul’s Hostel submitted however the City Council have refused to release it on first request. The #JusticeForCardon Campaign are shocked by this decision, and we have submitted an internal review so this decision can be looked at again. You can see the full text of their response below.

Our Founder, Hugo Sugg, is appalled by this decision:

“2 years ago Cardon was found in a state that is almost unimaginable 500m away from the Worcester City Council headquarters and since then, his memory held in contempt whilst the Authorities try and hide away from their mistakes.
The fact the Council has not released the other bid, and the contradictory response they gave to try and justify not releasing it, demonstrates that they are trying to run from accountability and responsibility for the mess that led to Cardon’s death. St Paul’s Hostel have consented for their bid to be released so I call on the City Council to urgently release it.”

Below is the full text of our request and the Council’s response:



Please may I have all Tender documents (except CCP’s bid) for the SPCC Homeless bid in 2016.

Worcester City Council does hold the information you have requested. However in accordance with section 43(2) of the Freedom of information Act, this information is exempt from disclosure as releasing it would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of Worcester City Council.

In coming to this decision, the Council has consulted with the company other then CCP that submitted a tender bid, who consented to all information excluding any personal information being disclosed. The Council has therefore determined that disclosure of this information would not prejudice the commercial interests of this organisation. The Council must also consider its own commercial interests, and its ability to attract competitive tender bids for contracts. Disclosing the tender documents of unsuccessful bids for this contract has the potential to damage the reputation of, and decrease customer confidence in the authority, and for this reason the information has been determined as exempt from disclosure.

In determining this information as exempt from disclosure, the public interest test has been considered. The argument in favour of disclosure is that it is in the public interest for local authorities to display openness and transparency in their procurement procedures, as well as demonstrate accountability for the spending of public money. The authority’s procurement procedures are by design transparent and fair, with the methods and criteria weighting used for the scoring of tender bids made available to all potential bidders. The authority also publishes the details of all contracts it awards over the value of £5,000.

The argument in favour of withholding the information is that it is in the public interest for local authorities to be able to attract competitive bids for contracts and therefore maintain customer confidence in its procurement procedures. Disclosing this information has the potential to cause reputational damage to the authority and discourage potential bidders who may doubt the ability of the Council to keep commercially sensitive information out of the public domain.

In this instance the weight of the argument falls on the side of withholding the information requested.

REVEALED: Organisations that rejected the first Cardon Banfield Review

Via a Freedom of Information Request to Worcestershire County Council, we can reveal that the NHS, West Mercia Police and Worcestershire County Council were amongst the organisations around the table when the decision to not review Cardon Banfield’s death was made in December 2016:

SAR rejection organisations listed
Source: Worcestershire County Council

On the bottom of that information is the date of the next Case Review subgroup meeting – which has already happened. Hugo’s Earthquake are awaiting a response for what any decision in regards to Cardon Banfield’s case is from this meeting.

#JusticeForCardon takes @myworcester City Council to Local Government Ombudsman

After an official complaint to Worcester City Council about misinformation printed in the Worcester News about their knowledge of Cardon was dismissed and breached a potential of three clauses of the Council’s own Complaints Policy, Hugo’s Earthquake’s Founder Hugo Sugg has submitted a formal complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Correspondence shown below in order of time.


Misinformation Complaint to Worcester City Council

Dear Mr Sugg,

Your complaint has been processed in line with our complaints policy.

As stated in our previous email, our response is that as advised by the Managing Director on 29th May 2018, the Council will not enter into any further correspondence with you about this matter.

Yours Sincerely,

Complaints and Feedback Team

Worcester City Council

Your Policy states the response to my complaint should be:
5.3.9 A full response to complaints should follow a general format:
o It is normal to start with some sort of statement that we are sorry that the customer has had the bad experience.
o A clear statement of what we understand to be the complaint
o A further statement on what was found on investigation and any action or reparation that is planned or has been taken. An apology, where we have found their complaint to be justified.
o Right of appeal: the first response should make it clear that if complainants are still not happy they should return it to the Complaints Team within 28 calendar days, giving the reasons why they are unsatisfied and request that Stage II of the procedure is initiated.
– This has not been followed.
I’d like to formally state here is also a breach of the complaints policy in regards to me not having the opportunity to enact Stage II of the policy:
5 Stages & Standards
5.1 General
The City Council allows for complainants to appeal and request further investigation if they are not happy or feel that important information has not been taken into account. The general route of escalation is:
Stage I – the initial investigation and response by the service.
Stage II – review independent of the Service by a Director, Deputy Director or Head of Service
Stage III – referral to the Local Government Ombudsman Note that we aim to satisfy complainants promptly and as early in the process as possible.
– This has not been followed.
You have not advised me of this, but if you have deemed my complaint as “unreasonable” as per your policy, you have not provided me with the following information, in line with your complaints policy:
 7.13 Operating the policy If a decision is taken to apply restricted access, write to the complainant with a copy of the policy to explain:
 Why the decision has been taken
 What it means for his or her contacts with the organisation
 How long any limits will last, and
 What the complainant can do to have the decision reviewed.”

– This has not been followed.

LGO Complaint Form section 1

Tribute: Decomposed homeless body found in Weston-super-Mare

I am utterly heartbroken to read today the story of an elderly man’s body being found last August (but only reported today) in Weston-super-Mare – heavily decomposed and in a tent. Police believe he was there for up to a year before he was found and no formal identification could take place due to the state of his body. What makes it even worse is this case has striking similarities to the story of 74 year old Cardon Banfield.

Unfortunately as an organisation we do not have capacity to launch a full Campaign around this gentleman like Justice for Cardon, but be assured that we will be pressing for answers and explanation from the relevant people.

On behalf of the Earthquake team, I would like to pay tribute to the man, his family and friends. This should never have been allowed to happen.

FULL STORY: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-45140711

Hugo Sugg
Founder – Hugo’s Earthquake

10/08/2018

STATEMENT: #Wetherspoon’s ‘homeless refusal’ policy

Two young men, Christopher Finch, 23, and his friend Ryan, 22, have been sleeping rough in Truro, Cornwall.

A mother of one Jenny Rimmer, 45, saw them and graciously offered to take them for a hot breakfast at the local Wetherspoons.

Yet upon entering they were told that were not welcome as the pub had a ban on homeless people which also included anyone who “smelled a bit”.

This meant the boys had to have their breakfast in a takeaway box which was initially provided to them without cutlery until Jenny went back in to ask for some.

We at the Earthquake find this policy prohibitive and appalling as being a rough sleeping takes a hard toll on a person but to then find out you are not welcome in a public house is another barrier to recovery.

The homeless are some of the most vulnerable in our society so to turn them away when they can pay is to push them further away from a normal life that they deserve.

We would ask that Wetherspoons reconsiders backing this policy and that they be more welcoming to the homeless, after all a public house should be open to the public – whatever their condition.


Story origin: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/wetherspoons-homeless-ban-truro-entry-smelly-try-dowr-a8479101.html

UNCOVERED: @myworcester City Council LIE to say Cardon “wasn’t known” to them. Here’s proof they did:

On the 16th October 2016, Worcester City Council formally stated that Cardon was not “known to the city council” in the Worcester News.

 

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Under the Freedom of Information Act, Hugo’s Earthquake obtained Cardon Banfield’s Housing Benefit Form from 2014, when he lived at Worcester YMCA. Less than 20cm from his name is the City Council’s logo. The YMCA also sat within the boundary of Worcester City Council, so Cardon was applying to the City Authority to get money to live in the homeless hostel:Cardon Banfield HB Form

Hugo’s Earthquake have lodged a formal complaint with Worcester City Council into the lie that Worcester City Council published.

We will publish the response in full when we receive it.

 

#JusticeForCardon IMPORTANT UPDATE: Safeguarding Adults Review request number 2

It is with pride that the Hugo’s Earthquake Campaign can announce that we have submitted new evidence to the Chair of the Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board this week.

You may remember that in late 2016, Hugo’s Earthquake submitted a request for a formal review into Cardon’s death but this was rejected because of the following reason:

“Firstly, Mr Banfield was deemed to, at his own choice, only have had very limited involvement with services in Worcestershire. Secondly, it became very clear from the information gathered that he had actually spent very little time in Worcestershire prior to his death…..We do not believe there to have been a lost multi-agency opportunity to work with the gentleman”

Since this disappointing news, the Campaign has been fighting tirelessly to get the evidence, which in turn helped pile pressure on Worcester City Council to do a small review which was released in May this year but we have not stopped. Shortly after the decision, we launched a public petition to help reverse this decision – you can view and sign it here.

Over the last year and a half we have been collecting evidence from Worcester City Council – uncovering a deep web of lies, non-accountability, misleading Councillors, non-following of Policy, covering up and obfuscating.
Through the Freedom of Information Act, we uncovered damning evidence which shot the following City Council’s public statement:

City Council false statement in WN

The evidence? Cardon Banfield’s Housing Benefit Form from when he lived at the YMCA in Worcester – paid for by the very same Local Authority that has not held themselves accountable:
Cardon Banfield HB Form.png

Uncovering this was the first in the long (and continuing) journey to get Justice for Cardon, and we have since published on our Campaign website the full Tender CCP, the organisation that took over the county-wide homeless service in Worcestershire 3 months before Cardon was found dead, however the plans for transition were redacted. This is crucial information if we are going to find out why Cardon slipped through the net and was not supported in the last few days, weeks and months of his life.

These documents, plus others, have this week been submitted to Derek Benson, the Chair of Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board which hold the authority to decide whether a Safeguarding Adults Review (SAR – formerly known as a Serious Case Review) should be held into Cardon’s death. With the help of Healthwatch Worcestershire, Derek Benson was encouraged to review the decision for not holding a SAR into Cardon’s death but remained in agreement with his predecessor Kathy McAteer not to hold one.

It is important to note that the decision not to hold a SAR was not just taken by the then-Chair Kathy, but was decided by a sub-group of people from member organisations of the Board, with the final recommendations being passed to the Chair to make the decision.

Derek Benson sent our Campaign a letter in the last month suggesting us to send in any new information we may have collected which could be reviewed as part of an “ongoing review of decisions” not to hold SAR’s. In submitting the new evidence we have collected, we have also asked for the names of the organisations and the positions/office of the people in those organisations who decided not to hold a SAR in 2016 to be released, with the hope of uncovering any collusion between the agencies involved in the processes/decisions which led to Cardon falling through the net and the decision taken not to formally investigate his death.

Since the decision not to hold a SAR was taken and our uncovering and publishing of paper after paper which points towards poor commissioning, bad management, lying and a fatality they never foresaw happening – we have had much media coverage about the case of 74 year old Cardon Banfield and our battle for answers. This has included the case being heavily highlighted in May by The Guardian and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Whilst we have submitted new evidence for a review of the SAR decision to take place and this remains a positive step closer to getting justice, it is important we do not lose sight of the fight we have undertaken. Cardon’s death is the unfortunate catalyst which has led to months of arguments, email exchanges, a threaten of legal action and locked battles between an activist and a Local Authority.

It is important we do not think we have won even if a SAR takes place, as Worcester City Council, Maggs Day Centre and CCP still have the same officers in place with still no change of services in Worcester since 2016 to stop another death on our streets happening again.

The Campaign wants to keep fighting, and we encourage you to help us: Not by money, not by taking to the streets but instead spending 60 seconds putting your signature on the following petition and sharing the link on your social media:

Make Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board investigate Cardon’s Death

We are not giving up. Cardon has family who want rightly know what happened to him, and this is one reason why we keep fighting and campaigning.
Thank you for supporting us, and thank you in advance for signing and sharing our petition.

 

The Justice For Cardon Campaign
Cardon Banfield: 1942-2016