A HELPLINE for people affected by delays in social care was launched by Wirral Council today - over a week after a confidential document obtained by the News forced the authority to re-open its investigation into the scandal.
The helpline, which will be available from today (Monday) until Friday, April 13, is for residents to raise concerns about delays in providing community care packages between October 2008 and August 2010.
The helpline will be staffed between 9am and 5pm by a qualified social worker who will collect information and formulate a plan of action with callers.
All complaints will be investigated by a specialist team of officers independent of Wirral Council.
Wirral News obtained confidential minutes of a meeting dated Thursday October 23, 2008, involving senior social care managers, which was held "to identify additional proposals to manage increasing costs of community care budget".
Former social worker and whistleblower Andy Campbell first raised the concerns last year – but the authority insisted it was just a case of "unclear" advice to employees.
After the document was passed to the council by one of our reporters the authority’s leader Cllr Jeff Green was forced to take action, adding: "Everyone who should be held to account will be."
Several emails passed by Mr Campbell to the News refer to a month-long delay and the need for a "waiver" from a senior manager to bypass the delays.
Council leader and portfolio-holder for Social Care and Inclusion, Jeff Green said: “I will be taking an active role in making sure that everyone who believes that they have been let down by the council will have their cases properly considered and dealt with.
"This helpline will help us to hold people to account, and finally get to the bottom of what was a disgraceful period in adult social services.
The Helpline number is 0151 606 2641. Complaints can also be registered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to the Customer Resolution and Information Team, Hamilton Building, Conway Street, Birkenhead, CH41 4FD.