For the last few months, people have been sending in gingerbread figures. We wanted to find some way of representing the learning disabled people who died in Sloven’s non care [howl], uncovered by the Mazars review, visually. George hit on the gingerbread idea and we were off. Envelopes started stacking up in the My Life My Choice office.
Over the past few weeks, while we’ve been waiting (and waiting) for publication of the report, gingerbread fairies have been working behind the scenes mounting these (337*) colourful, vibrant and quirky figures on large boards. A lot of velcro and eventually a staple gun.
We heard this week that a meeting was being held at Jubilee House today with attendees from Sloven [who were subsequently uninvited], Oxfordshire County Council and NHS England (NHSE), among others. Sounded just the place for a pop up display of the Justice gingerbreads. We would invite the meeting attendees to come out and view them.
Local press pitched up. Along with a security guard who tried to get shot of us. Private space and all. We stayed. He hovered taking phone shots of us. An NHSE comms woman appeared, shrugging her shoulders nervously and went between the meeting and the display, several times. The My Life My Choice minibus appeared with a gang of champs, solidly supportive as always.
It was a striking display of brilliance really. But weirdly, pretty much every employee who left Jubilee House during that hour, walked the long way round to avoid it. The couple of people who took the path we were lined up along studiously stared at the floor. Fran, love her, started to invite people to view the display ‘They won’t jump out at you..’, she said to a couple of retreating backs.
Eventually, a few meeting attendees started to appear. Jan Fowler, from NHSE, and a commissioner came first, chatted with various people and with BBC Oxford. Then a few more attendees came and viewed the figures, took some photos and chatted. It was an odd experience really. Such intensity. Of horror and inhumanity, of colour and individuality, and of (some) avoidance. The meeting chair said ‘I will remember this’ as he left.
As we were about to leave, and the gingers were safely packed in the car, one employee who’d avoided looking on his way out, came back and asked what it was all about.
Just lives, really. And chilling inhumanity.
*There were so many more deaths than this, but here we focus on these.
Wonderful, tho bittersweet. Solidarity! Each one sewn with love! Xx
Imaginative and brilliant – what a fantastic, visual display to brighten up such a dreadful situation.
Well done to all
So, “A security guard …. hovered taking phone shots of us.”
That sounds like unlawful surveillance to me. Although The Regulation of Investigatory
Powers Act 2000 gives the NHS limited powers to carry out surveillance, At section (28)(3), authorisation can only be given if it is necessary —
(a) in the interests of national security;
(b) for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder;
(c) in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom;
(d) in the interests of public safety;
(e) for the purpose of protecting public health;
(f) for the purpose of assessing or collecting any tax, duty, levy or other imposition, contribution or charge payable to a government department; or
(g) for any purpose (not falling within paragraphs (a) to (f)) which
is specified for the purposes of this subsection by an order made by the Secretary of State.
At (g) the Secretary of State would not make an order especially for this event, so the only possible defence is at (b) – for preventing disorder. This would be untenable – clearly there was no disorder, nor was there any evidence that disorder might occur.
The other question us, “Where are the phone shots now?” There may be issues under The Data Protection Act 1998 here too. A Freedom of Information Request asking who authorised the surveillance might be appropriate!
(To avoid doubt, I am not a qualified lawyer but had to ‘educate’ myself as a victim of Sloven.)
love them, I was thinking initially perhaps the intention was to sew the gingerbread people in a chain for fundraising purposes like the rows of pennies of old. Such a lovely display, really dazzles ,all those unique beautiful people and more besides. As Christmas was the chosen time for the report to be published perhaps the gingerbread people could serve as a fundraising foundation.
Lovely. Brilliant. How could people avoid looking/responding|? Non-confrontational, unaggressive and a really good way of conveying the colour, joy and devotion in our lives – so ill understood by the likes of Sloven.
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