send the Dame your information, discretion assured.
Comments are welcome but do not necessarily reflect the view of the Dame.
Offensive/inappropriate comments will be deleted and the poster banned.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


There are many decent and honourable Conservative councillors. 
They are appalled by the mismanagement of the SEN contract. 
But instead of hiding away they need to start to do their job and hold colleagues to account. 
Andrew Christie and Cllr E.Campbell, the officer and councillor respectively responsible for this monumental 'cock up' should go...and go now.

The story below, in today's Guardian, will doubtless be written off as 'it's only the Guardian'. 
That would be a mistake. 
The parents of the children affected are notable for their fighting spirit....they will not give up easily.
If Cllr E. Campbell had the slightest sense of honour and decency she would resign now. 
A particularly inane comment by this idiot was that because one of the incidents took place in H&F it was that council's fault!
She is a silly and pointless appendage.....

"Fiona Mylchreest with her son, Finn, who suffered a seizure after a particularly traumatic journey home. 
When Fiona Mylchreest stood up at a council meeting and described how she believed a disastrous,and avoidable, mix-up on a new, cut-price specialist school bus service had left her severely autistic teenage son Finn traumatised, bleeding and seriously ill, it crystallised the huge risks taken by local authorities as they juggle with extreme spending cuts.
Mylchreest was one of several people at the meeting, last month, to raise serious concerns about the new home-transport service for children with special educational needs. The service was introduced earlier this year across three London boroughs, Hammersmith and Fulham, Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea, after the contract was re-let at half the original, £1m cost. Mylchreest told how on one occasion Finn's new driver and escort were instructed to take him home from his after-school club. When they reached his street, they realised they had no idea which house Finn lived in: they were new to the route and tried phoning the head office of their private transport company for guidance, but couldn't get through. So they set off on foot down the street, Mylchreest recalls "He [Finn] has no language, he had no way of communicating and they just took him from house to house saying: 'Do you know this kid?'. Finally the driver came to my door holding a piece of paper with Finn's name on it and said: 'Do you know this guy?' I could have been anyone."
Finn was bleeding from one ear where he'd bashed his head (something he does when he is upset), and was sweaty and "a bit dazed", she told the meeting. A minute after he entered the house Finn – who had never previously experienced a fit – had a seizure, and started to turn blue. A paramedic was called, and it took 45 minutes to stabilise him.
What would it take for the council to manage the new contract properly, Mylchreest asked officials. "Is this shocking enough? … Will it take another blue child?"
The 731 children transported by this service have a range of conditions: some are on the autistic spectrum, or have profound and multiple learning disabilities. A number have complex medical needs and require tube-feeding and oxygen-supply equipment. The majority are non-verbal, and some display challenging behaviour.
Since April, hundreds of complaints have been made by parents about the new cut-price service. They say it is often late; children spend long periods on the bus, arriving at school unfit to learn; the drivers don't have emergency phones; some speak such poor English that there are concerns about their ability to deal with emergency situations; buses lack vital equipment such as harnesses; some drivers don't have specialist care training, and there is a high staff turnover.
According to Jude Ragan, the headteacher of Queensmill school, there have been three incidents where autistic, non-verbal children have got off buses unsupervised. "It is going to end up in a tragedy," she warns."I feel that we're just waiting for a disaster to happen."
Cathy Welsh, headteacher at nearby Jack Tizard school, says at least two children have arrived at school "in potentially critical medical conditions because of the time they have been on the bus." She warns of children who have been inappropriately managed in a way that could be perceived as "potentially abusive". It was, she told the meeting, the "kind of culture that ends up with scandals around children with learning disabilities".
"I think … some of my parents must gulp every time they put their child on that bus," she said.
The home-school contract is now operated by seven private contractors. Although some existing staff transferred over to the new arrangements under Tupe (transfer of undertakings) law, parents and unions say some experienced staff have since left because of changes to their shifts and overtime. The councils, which are part of a much-vaunted tri-borough experiment in west London to make huge savings by sharing services, have admitted "a number of things have gone wrong".
Conservative-run Westminster council, which was responsible for negotiating the new transport contracts, issued a statement from Andrew Christie, the executive director of children's services across the three councils, in which he admitted there had been "teething problems". He added: "We will continue to work intensively with providers throughout the summer to ensure that all providers are ready for the start of the new school term in September."
Last month, the borough of Kensington and Chelsea formally apologised to parents at a council meeting called by Labour opposition councillors. The council told parents that it was "driving very hard to bring things up to the expected standard and nothing short of that will be acceptable".
However, there is concern that the contract, which chopped £500,000 (54%) off the cost of the old contract without any decrease in service demand was a cut too far. Official council papers show that the contract bids were "evaluated on the most economically advantageous" basis, with evaluation criteria weighted 70% for price and 30% for quality.
The political stakes were raised with the arrival of a new Labour administration in Hammersmith and Fulham, following May's council elections. Privately, some senior political figures in the council are appalled at the design and management of the home-school transport contract and would like to scrap it and start again. But to do so could open the council to legal action from contractors and even its partners, putting the entire tri-borough deal under pressure.
Hammersmith and Fulham leader Stephen Cowan told the Guardian: "We are horrified and disgusted to have inherited this problem. There is no higher priority than protecting vulnerable children and we will leave no stone unturned in making sure there is a service that parents can have faith in."
But parents contacted by the Guardian said they were not confident that the councils had done enough to stem what they see as a rapid deterioration in the quality of the service. Many await the new school term with trepidation. "The councils have got a huge amount of work to do to rebuild trust," says parent Sue Redmond: "They have been in denial and people have been outraged. You have to hope it is going to work, but I'm absolutely dreading it." "


  1. If Christie and Campbell were employed within the private sector their heads would have rolled months ago.
    Cllr Elizabeth Campbell seems to enjoy having her photographs taken: a fairly innocuous pursuit.
    Surely there must be some role she could be given which would not involve her being responsible for the welfare of the vulnerable and where her love of the camera lens could be put to good use?
    Could she not be re-assigned to one of the outlandish 'arts projects' which RBKC seems to have limitless funds to sponsor?
    This councillor is bringing our council into disrepute:it's time the eminently sensible Nick Paget-Brown fired her.

    1. I am sorry there is nothing sensible about Paget-Brown he is fast becoming a disappointment as is Holgate. Much is wrong in Hornton Street staff are being victimized Holgate said he would sort the staff problems out, nothing happened despite his so called open door policy. As far as the transport issue goes we now have our most vulnerable being carted around by non english speaking un-trained uninsured staff and only for the Labour party no one would be held to account. We have a situation where both the leader and the Chief Executive are incompetent. But as one comment in the Guardian said there is karma and I have no doubt that the deliberate hurt stress and anxiety this administration has caused our most vulnerable will come back to haunt those responsible.

  2. Unfortuantely heads will not roll. Councillor E Campbell is protected in the same way that Pooter et al manage to hang on. The teflon coating is obviously still alive and well.

    While I appreciate that this contract is causing real distress for parents and children, please also remember that the one for moving older people around is more long standing and at least as bad. When Stella Baillie forced the closure of EPICS in Ladbroke Grove and forced the bussing of vulnerable older people down to Fulham Road two hour journeys were quite common. No heads rolled then and she has just gone on to reak carnage in services ever since no doubt earning a bonus for doing it.

  3. Compared to Labour controlled Rotherham, Campbell is a saint

  4. The idea that Paget Brown is a significant improvement on his predecessor is a fallacy. RBKC has always known the cost of everything, and the value of nothing. These children deserve the best, but are considered valueless by this council.

    1. *Sometimes* the more expensive option is the best value.

      11.37 has it on the nail.

  5. In Pooter Ville, The Guardian must be taken seriously. The rat has a friend there who writes Pooter friendly profiles.And surely this a consultancy contract for Pooter. A damage limitation exercise at huge cost. And Pooter gets the customary 10% for bringing the business in.

  6. Cllr E Campbell is one of the most fatuous individuals ever to be selected by the Tory Party. It beggars belief that she has been placed in a position of responsibility where she can (and does) do real damage. Justin Downes is right - if she has some mysterious protector who is paying off a debt or seeking favour, the tried and tested solution is to move the woman to a figurehead position.

  7. I am told that Mr D has some a few secrets of his own...... violence and photos

    1. Tell us more

    2. CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT 'RAND' ROUNDELL28 August 2014 at 08:22

      Yes, Cllr tell us more......
      If there are men of violence with.... PHOTO'S(!) using the Hornet then the Dame should be told.

    3. Ex Cllr 'Lascivious' Lamont28 August 2014 at 08:26

      Isn't Cllr Palmer the chap who had a Council Skills training site (now defunct) which had links to wife swapping sites and other disgusting and perverted ones?
      As a friend and former colleague of Matthew I think he needs to 'come clean' on this one.

  8. Cllr Palmer....I am shocked!
    I have just been sent, anonymously, things called 'screenshots'.
    These portray images of semi naked ladies of oriental aspect. I am an elderly lady and have seen a bit of the world(six ex husbands and counting) yet am shocked.
    Could you please email the Dame at her private email address and explain why there is a link to a Council training website operated by 'you know who'. I hope Council facilities were not used in the running of this 'dubious' website.

  9. It's typical of this council that when the Hornet publicises a very serious problem, no attempt is made to address it. Instead the town hall gets one of its least attractive minions to divert attention from the grim reality, so those responsible can continue to ignore the monster they've created.

    The facts are that this council has made a terrible mistake. Disabled children and their families suffer every day. The councillor responsible must consider her position. She should go and let a competent person address the issues.

    1. 9.34 you are quite correct. Palmer, his various pseudonyms, anonymouses and appalling grammar and spelling, are called upon to divert attention whenever something serious is to be addressed by our venerable Dame.

      He is the worst kind of Troll. We should ignore him as he is clearly not well and is obsessed with all kinds of nastiness.

      Now can we return to the very serious question of why we have such incompetent Cllrs in charge of our most vulnerable residents? I've heard that in some circles they are referred to as 'lo-nobs' - lights on, nobody at home - which is very cruel.

      But sadly accurate.

    2. I was referring to the Cllrs of course, not our precious children.

  10. Yet again they send Palmer in to distract from the topic. Palmer should know better he knows full well what has happened with this transport. Instead he sat on his hands, said nothing and did nothing at the scrutiny committee. These officers and councillors seem to think they are unaccountable, there is so much evidence of this debacle in the public domain they cannot say they knew nothing if something does go wrong and they end up in court. Its disgusting.

  11. Fresh from her one month plus holidays away, Cllr. Campbell has returned and expressed surprise that the good things she promised of the reformed SEN transport service have not happened. So far, all parents have got is a "named telephone number". Drivers and escorts are not yet trained and parents will have no assurance that their children will be picked up at the right place and returned safely to their own homes - and they certainly won't have named drivers and escorts who actually speak English.


Comments are your responsibility. Anyone posting inappropriate comments shall have their comment removed and will be banned from posting in future. Your IP address may also be recorded and reported. Persistent abuse shall mean comments will be severely restricted in future.