Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Spin On Birmingham LINk : Misleading Election Information

A Seriously Under-performing

Birmingham Local Involvement Network ?

Reporter Alison Dayani's recent March 18th Birmingham Mail's critical story about the Birmingham LINk, the body that was supposed to monitor health and social care services, is timely.

Meaningful monitoring , what was left of it, was broken up and smashed by the Dept of Health and Gov't in early 2008. They both sensed in fortress NHS that some Patient and Public Involvement Forums were developing some serious teeth . Its true some PPI's were very ineffective - but some did have more independence and sometimes were able to act true to the spirit of protecting the patient needs and rights . They were a mixed bag though - some were worse than useless .

LINk's evolved in 2008 as a new gummy arrangement. Teeth pulled.

Less powers than the PPI's and no governance arrangements and in Birmingham grease and slip has ruled .

In Birmingham, the LINk, we have heard, time and time again, is headed by inexperience and a slow but certain tendency to become bunkered in bureaucracy. Monitoring health as a practice has been lost and ignorance reigns . The public have a right to question the Birmingham LINk's credibility. So who has supported it ? Who ?

On March 17th the Birmingham Council's Overview Scrutiny Committee (OSC) met to ask about the B'ham LINk progress . Its remit was a legal one - to assess the Bham LINk's value for money .

Alison Dayani writes : But in a city of more than one million people, it only has 500 active members and the NHS and city council cash funding it has been called into question with claims no-one knows what it is . That £1 million is equivalent to nearly 400 heart bypass operations or the salary of 50 extra nurses. Health scrutiny committee criticised the group, aimed to replace Patient and Public Involvement Forums and funded for three years until March next year.

UserWatch can also reveal - from papers that are in the public domain that Birmingham City Council Officer Maria Bailey the LINk Project Manager working in a performance manager role regarding the Bham LINk wrote a 7 page report to the Overview Scrutiny Committee :

"part 3.3.1 (Our italics in bold) ) The Link Core group was elected by the full membership in Oct 2009."

But was the Birmingham Core LINk elected by its full membership ? NO IT WAS NOT! That is quite untrue ..

Who was it elected by ? Paperwork once again that was produced at the 17th March OSC public domain meeting which shows the Birmingham LINk had elected a "CORE" group showed no numbers at all and you can see that below (CLICK ON IMAGE TO CLARIFY)

Why the apparent mis-direction by the Birmingham LINk Project Manager who claimed it was elected by its full membership ?

Why the omission of figures in the second picture shown here ? Because hardly any serious numbers voted for it ?

Sadly over £3000 was used to run the last Birmingham LINk "elections" ....

While it might have ideally been putting on public meetings and doing the job of monitoring health systems in 2009 it opted though for building different layers of structural bureaucracy which is arguably moving out of touch with ordinary people and living beyond the capability of its realizable ambitions . Its only funded up to March 2011..Its used up 2 years of its 3 years grant-life and probably £1 million..

What Numbers of "Membership" Supported It Then ?

BLINK Election Candidates xx

ONLY 146 people cast votes and elected the 15 candidates above

What does that tell you for a Birmingham Org. that

is supposed to represent 1 million people ?

That its credible ?

What is it LINKING to ? Mainly itself ?


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