Lambeth’s alarm service was ‘racist’

Social services departments have been warned to learn from the
inquiry into the management of Lambeth Council’s former community
alarm service, which was condemned as racist last week.

David Hart, chairperson of the local strategic partnership and a
service user, said social services should be saying “there but for
the grace of God…..If not, how many more inquiries will we need
to have?”

The inquiry, which lasted for eight months, was commissioned by
Lambeth Council following the raising of concerns about the
service, that helped older people and the vulnerable before its
closure in 2001. It found that the management of the scheme had
been “authoritarian with complaints including bullying, harassment,
rudeness and racial discrimination”.

The report said “the users of African, African-Caribbean and Asian
origin” often experienced discrimination and that racism in the
scheme noticeably affected the quality of the service they
received. The inquiry called on Lambeth to retrain its managers
and, if necessary, close down ineffective departments, outsource
managers and dismiss staff.

– Lambeth is changing working practices to enable primary care
trust district nurses and social service home carers to work under
a single line management structure to improve services to
vulnerable people in their homes. The pilot will last between six
and nine months.

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