I am shocked and disgusted to learn that the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) is failing to fulfill its legal duty to provide overnight stays to 48 families. The state of affairs is without end for the desperate families as ERYC is still to resolve the circumstances.
Eye-rolling ERYC Chief Executive Caroline Lacey
East Riding Parent Speaks
The following is a first-hand account of an East Riding parent who is currently a victim of ERYC failure to ensure capacity.
“At the beginning of May parents who have children that access overnight short breaks at a facility in East Riding were advised that some stays may be canceled but could be banked and used at another time – this was received as a slip in children’s planners but most parents assumed it was Covid related so accepted what may happen.
We subsequently received an email reminding us that overnight stays may need to be cancelled but again, these could be banked and used at another date in the future and this was because of an emergency case.
Subsequently, nights started to be cancelled – my son has an assessed need of two nights overnight stay and over a six week period he has had one night each week cancelled and no respite/overnight stays in the half term. I have an older son and a younger daughter who is also sen so I’m sure you can appreciate how much this respite is needed and also it is my sons routine and has meant he has grown and achieved new skills when in attendance.
Ronnie Hartley (ERYC Head of Children and Young People Specialist Services) also emailed all parents apologising for cancellations and that they would only last for a period of three weeks, nearing the end of the three weeks parent/carers were asked to email Ronnie Hartley explaining the impact the cancellations had had on families I also asked how the banked nights would be provided as the provision is full with a waiting list. We all did this and received a very insincere, generic response which put the onus on the overnight short break provision. I replied to Ronnie’s email and received no reply – I had also contacted Eoin Rush (ERYC Director of Children, Families, and Schools)on this occasion and many more and to this day I’ve never had a reply from him.
My son has attended here for six years and has never once had a cancellation not even during the lockdown and with the council been involved, it was quite apparent this was not of their doing but the LA’s.
A few days before half term we received an email to advise us that cancellations would continue until the end of the summer term and what was only going to cause disruption for a short period was now an ongoing emergency. This was devastating to read so I emailed Ronnie, Eoin and staff and governors and received no reply so with the help of (REDACTED) I emailed multiple local elected members of council and my MP (I am still awaiting a reply from David Davis) a few members replied and Cllr Linda Johnson was extremely supportive.
Caroline Lacey replied and a meeting was organised over TEAMS and was attended by myself, a fellow parent, (REDACTED), Cllr Aitken, EYPCF, Leslie Gilson and Cllr Linda Johnson. The meeting was very unproductive and resulted in many feeling more frustrated and upset and that we had been placated including eye-rolling by Caroline Lacey. It was alarming to also hear that nothing had been implemented to check on families with regards to safeguarding and making sure they are supported and some families whose children are under adult services were been charged for missed nights but also having nights cancelled. No one could give an answer as to why it’s ok to breach approx. 48 EHCP’s which are legal documents and we were very clear we that no one case should prioritise over many other but should be equal and we were explicit in saying we wished no further harm or ill will on the emergency but it should be equal.
The issue continues with nothing really changing, the parents who shall we say have made a fuss (including me) have had no further cancellations for this week or next but there are many families who are struggling and don’t have the strength or are worried it will affect them negatively with the council if they say something are still having cancellations.
The whole situation is abhorrent and the LA have been allowed to ride roughshod over families without any consequence.”
No one questions the need to deal with a current “emergency case” but this should not result in 48 families not receiving the help they need and deserve. The issue is clearly due to a failure of ERYC to ensure enough capacity. Without which the current situation was always going to happen and will continue to happen in the future.
As the provision is currently full on the waiting list any nights “banked” can not be “spent” in the future. All the children concerned must have routine and the incompetence of ERYC to ensure capacity prevents this. Instead of helping the children and their parents/carers ERYC is hindering those that are most vulnerable in our society.
This current failure will result in pushing already stretch families into crisis. There will then be even greater demand for ERYC services as a direct result of their current failure. We are witnessing a failure of service locked into a downward spiral since the beginning of May with no resolution in sight while families are left to fend for themselves.
I am further alarmed to learn that many of the 48 families have received no home visits from ERYC. This must be resolved immediately.
Although some families from Hull are involved ERYC originally failed to inform Hull City Council of their failure to support Hull families. This suggests an attempt to cover up.
Ofsted has been informed.
I would suggest that ERYC Chief Executive Caroline Lacey must stop her eye-rolling and ensure the capacity gap is resolved before the situation gets any worse.
Here To Serve
My objective is always to serve those who need help and hold those to account who fail in their duties to the public.
If any ERYC Parent/Carers would like me to publish anything for them they can email me.