Last update 14th. April 2005
My PPI Forum has a committed and talented Support Worker. It is hard for me to imagine any progress our Forum has made without such support. Therefore, I have been disturbed to hear so many other Forums complaining about or even folding due to inadequate support. It is clear that CPPIH has failed in the general terms of FSO contracts and in its performance management of some of the support organisations.
Last month I was saddened to learn of three Camden PCT PPI Forum member resignations including Hilary Barnard, the Camden Chair and key contributor to the development of a London Regional Network. The other two members are Dawn Binmore and Amy Poole. I intend to resign if this matter is not properly dealt with and ask other Forum members to consider this response and make known their intentions to CPPIH.
The resignations concern CIDA (Community Investors Development Agency Limited). CIDA was appointed as a support organisation despite allegations from Haringey Council, denied by CIDA, about the performance of a linked organisation that Haringey had withdrawn funding from (The Guardian, 27.10.03). Some Forums have no issue with CIDA but weeks after the resignations CPPIH announced 9 out of 16 CIDA contracts would not be renewed as performance was below the required level.
Camden PCT PPI Forum and other Forums had sought over time to resolve issues with CIDA. Following a meeting with CIDA and London Region CPPIH in February, forum members felt legally threatened by CIDA for making known their concerns about the amount and quality of assistance and this led to the resignations. Camden Forum wrote to CPPIH's Chief Executive, Steve Lowden, complaining about inadequate support and action from London Region and asking for an independent enquiry into what had led up to this loss of members. I believe this enquiry also should look at how CIDA was vetted and the performance management of their contracts from the outset.
On 31 March Steve Lowden responded to the request by announcing an investigation under CPPIH's Complaints Procedure to be led by CPPIH's Director of Operations and reviewed by two Commissioners. This clearly is not independent. CPPIH HQ managers and commissioners also have a responsibility for the problems that have arisen with contracts and self-investigation is therefore not adequate. Nor is the Complaints Procedure legally sufficient for an enquiry such as this. An independent enquiry would not prevent an internal review and there is scope for the two processes to co-operate.
I ask Forum Members and Forums to write to CPPIH HQ and their MPs supporting an independent investigation into what preceded the resignations. It is important that lessons are learned before further contracts are confirmed and to inform the Department of Health before their new arrangements are made for Forum support. I would be grateful for copies of any correspondence.
Paul Burns, Chair of CNWL Mental Health PPI Forum & Member of Brent PCT PPI Forum, acting in a private capacity. 98 West Hill, Wembley Park HA9 91111 new. email Paul Burns
Forum "Members claim they get less than one day's work per week for £34,000 paid annually to CIDA."Ham 8 High, 25.3.05 - http://snipurl.comldsh6
See also Letter to Ham 8 High 1.4.05 by PPI Forum Member- http://snipurl.comldskl