Wallasey Trading Standards Division demolishes ‘confusion’ that Limekiln Road is targeted by new team investigating under-age alcohol sales.

17th April 2011

Rana and Pam are smiling with delight, outside their shop, having received an official letter from the Council confirming that Limekiln Lane, where theirs is the ONLY shop, is NOT a target! Labour candidate Chris Jones is also in the picture.

A few weeks ago Wallasey Tories, on behalf of Denis Knowles, put a map of the area in one of their electioneering leaflets, in which they published:
” LIMEKILN  LANE a new team to tackle problems caused by under-age sale of alcohol will start work soon.”
There is only one outlet for alcohol in Limekiln Lane.  It belongs to a Sikh couple, Rana and Pam Singh, seen in the photograph outside their very popular local shop.
That was the Tory election propaganda.  What are the facts?
Fact no. 1.    “NO DECISION HAS BEEN MADE TO TARGET LIMEKILN LANE.” These exact words were confirmed in a letter to Mr Singh, who everybody knows as Rana, by the Council’s Trading Standards Manager after Rana made a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
Fact no. 2.  THE TRADING STANDARDS MANAGER confirmed that any test purchasing exercise is based on information received by them, by the Council’s Licensing Team, or by the Police.
Fact no . 3.  MR SINGH WAS ‘THANKED‘ AND ‘CONGRATULATED‘ BY THE POLICE for his strict refusal to serve under-age ‘would be purchasers’ during their ‘tests’.
Fact no. 4.  SINCE THOSE TESTS THE POLICE HAVE CONFIRMED THAT THERE CONTINUES TO BE NO SUSPICION ABOUT HIS SHOP.
As the Conservatives have bragged that 11,000 people received their propaganda leaflet we are curious to know what they intend to do about it.
Meanwhile log onto our earlier posting:  http://seacombelabour.org/because-seacombe-matters-/2011/03/25/
Watch this space!!!
Please do let us know what you think about this by using our ‘comments’ feature below.

Limekiln Lane:Police thank and congratulate its ONLY off licence

25th March 2011

About a week ago the Conservatives (also known as ‘Tories’) put out a leaflet.  They say  it goes to 11,000 people in the Seacombe & Poulton areas of Wallasey, so that presumably means the whole of Seacombe ward.  It had this entry:

“LIMEKILN LANE a new team to tackle problems caused by under-age sale of alcohol will start work soon.”

I'm 18 but Rana's wouldn't serve me because I don't look 21!!! I had to come back with ID.

We understand from Rana Newsagents – the only shop in Limekiln Lane that sells alcohol – that since the Tories’ leaflet was distributed they have had many customers asking why they are doing such a thing, which they robustly deny.  They told us it is hurtful to be approached by long standing customers who ask such questions, and it is bad for business if customers believe it is the case.

If the Conservatives’ (Tories’) form of words is leaving people with this impression, but means something quite different from what many readers apparently take it to mean, then wouldn’t it be rather nice of the Tories if they were to publish an explanation to the 11,000 people they say receive it?

The Police take the law on under-age alcohol sales seriously.  They send under age ‘would be’ purchasers into off licenses and any outlets where alcohol is sold in ‘Test’ operations.

The last ‘Test’ operation resulted in the Police writing to ‘Rana Newsagents’ and we quote from their letter:

“As a part of this operation we have recently attended at your premises and attempted a test purchase.  I am pleased to advise you that your staff requested proof of age and refused the sale.  Your staff are to be thanked and congratulated on their vigilance as such test purchases often prove successful in other premises.”

We then contacted the Police to discover whether there has been any issue concerning the shop since the date of that last ‘Test’ operation.

A 25 year old told us Rana's didn't believe he was over 18 'cos I look a bit youngish' so he had to go home for his passport!

Following our enquiry to the Police we are delighted to state categorically that ‘Rana Newsagents’ shop is not a target in this operation.  We can also report that they have passed all test purchases and that the Police consider the licensee to be a responsible person with whom they have a good relationship.

We hope this explanation will dispel any cloud that local people might (however mistakenly) feel was hanging over this small business; it has had nothing but praise from the Police for its staff’s vigilance in refusing alcohol sales where there is any doubt.

Do please use our ‘comments’ feature below to let us know what you think.

Respite from rhetoric needed? We show readers a view from the carer who so profoundly moved the whole Council in his presentation

23rd March 2011  
 

Maplehome. One of the respite care homes to be axed by the Council.

A PERSONAL VIEW AS EXPRESSED BY MR BRIAN DONALDSON WHOSE PETITION TO SAVE COUNCIL RUN  RESPITE SERVICES WAS VOTED DOWN BY THE CONSERVATIVES AND LIBERAL DEMOCRATS:

 

There’s been a lot of rhetoric about the looming closures of respite & care homes and I thought it would be useful for all users of these services and their carers to have a summary of where we are now and how the rhetoric compares with reality.

 

Rhetoric: “Care plans for people who use respite care will be completed this week”. Cllr Moon, 16 March.

Reality: Don’t know anyone who has received a care plan.

Rhetoric: “Every individual will have one single point of contact so that they aren’t passed from person to person to get the advice that they need”. Cllr Moon, 9 Feb.

Every person will have a dedicated liaison worker to help them make the choices that are right for them and to avoid them being pushed around different departments in the council. Cllr Green, 19 Feb.

Reality: Don’t know anyone who has a single point of contact. Agency social workers from other boroughs were brought in to do assessments and will disappear again in a few weeks.

Rhetoric: “There are viable and good quality alternatives for respite care for both people with learning difficulties and people with mental health issues”. Howard Cooper (Director Dept. Adult Social Services DASS), 9 Feb.

Reality: There are no viable and good quality providers for people with mental health issues, so a U-turn has been performed and this service has been kept in-house at Fernleigh.  

There are insufficient viable and good quality providers for respite care for people with learning disabilities (LD). This has lead to Girtrell Court and Sylvandale being retained as temporary in-house respite facilities.

Rhetoric: “The only change is that they will have a wider choice of who provides their support and access to services that are currently not available to them” Cllr Moon, 7 March.

Reality: No choice for Fernleigh users (who didn’t want to move anyway).

No choice for LD respite users, just a different building and different staff to those they’ve grown to know and love over a number of years.

Rhetoric: “A report to be presented to Wirral council’s ruling cabinet this week says there is sufficient interest and capacity from good-quality providers of residential and nursing home care, intermediate care and respite care to accommodate services currently being provided to older people and people with LD at Meadowcroft, Pensall, Poulton, Manor Road and Mapleholme”. Wirral Council, 16 March.

Reality: The carers on the LD Respite Provider Evaluation Panel sought an urgent meeting with DASS on 17 March to completely disassociate themselves with this assertion. They had not found any provider with which they were fully satisfied and asked for this to be made known to the Cabinet Meeting that evening. Moreover they wanted to convey their complete dissatisfaction with the tender evaluation process. They did not receive the training promised “to provide panel members with a full understanding around criteria, statutory obligations etc”. No specification of requirements appeared to have been sent to providers or given to panel members. The carers (Daphne Smith, Eddie Griffiths & Brian Donaldson) were left feeling they had simply been used and the Council Cabinet had been mislead.

Rhetoric: “This will be a seamless transition (Dictionary definition = Orderly, logical & consistent change from one state to another.)”. Cllr Moon, every other day since records began! 

Reality: Confusion, fear, apologies for poor communication, U-Turns, legal battles with service users, broken promises re single point of contact & care plans, inept provider evaluation process, no continuity of respite staff, ignoring MP’s request for a response to her questions etc….

 

My next step is to refer this “Seamless Transition” to the Local Government Ombudsman. In the meantime I would like the Council to match their rhetoric with action and stop issuing meaningless sound bites to the people of Wirral.

 

See also the links below:

http://seacombelabour.org/wp-admin/post.php?post=41644&action=edit

http://seacombelabour.org/because-seacombe-matters-/2011/03/11/

 

What do you think? 

Our ‘comments’ feature below is for meaningful comment.  (The other political parties have their own places to publish their endless propaganda.) Comment from users of this service, carers, and their families, relating to the issue, is particularly welcome.