Dirty dealings and the Sloven gravy train

I wrote this filthy lucre post two months ago. About the Slade House site and rumours that Sloven are selling it and heading back down south with millions in their grubby (and negligent) paws. With the naivety (and relentless optimism) that has characterised #JusticeforLB though, we sort of believed Mike Petter’s (written) assurance to My Life My Choice:

“If it is sold by Southern Health, the money will go back into Learning Disability Services in Oxfordshire. If somebody else sells it, they might have a different idea.”

At the time it seemed odd to say ‘if somebody else…’ Mmm.

Naivety and optimism has taken a kicking tonight with the following unravellings and realisations:

  1. DocHawking tonight mentioned sale of the land by a private company; a sneaky bit of asset transfer which absolves Sloven [only in the eyes of devilish monsters] of ‘selling it’ themselves.
  2. Petter has gone.
  3. The Sloven board meeting tomorrow has a secret agenda item Declaration of Surplus Land/Property.

These, in turn, leave us wondering (again):

  • Why did Sloven want to acquire the known to be failing services run by the Ridgeway Partnership in 2012?
  • Why did they do zip all about improving these services or even being visible in Oxfordshire after the contract exchanged hands?
  • How much of a draw was the chunky Slade House site/land next to a recent development for Oxford Brookes student accommodation, within the Oxford ring road?


Oxfordshire has had to endure failing learning disability services for over three years now. It cannot be possible that the resources the county have can be pillaged by a bunch of chancers. (Aided by the stupidity of Oxfordshire County Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group). Nah. No fucking way.


8 thoughts on “Dirty dealings and the Sloven gravy train

  1. This is where I disagree with Mark Aspinall’s over-optimistic argument that due diligence wasn’t done on the takeover by the executive management. As the recent 2012 report leaked to you shows, they knew of all the failings of Ridgeway and left it to sink. Indeed, they stressed it further by reducing staff levels through removing more senior levels.

    Stress the service, let a failing service fail, watch it get closed down then pocket the asset. They just didn’t care if anyone was hurt in their actions. Percy et al didn’t intend anyone to die there but they certainly enabled that to happen.

    Just monstrous.

  2. In Nov 12 Oxfordshire County Council asked Southern Health ‘ to look at the internal appearance (decor) of both units in Slade House with regards to their presentation and purpose’ Southern Health replied with the following in their action plan:

    ‘A full review of service provision is taking place with regard to all inpatient services within the Trust linked with the financial recovery plan and estates strategy.’

    Following this it required more pressure from OCC before they redecorated, and, although they logged eg that window restrictors were needed they did not fit them.

    It is the general lack of interest in and care taken over the in-patient services of the old Ridgeway that makes me angry. SH said they wanted to replace some of the in-patient beds in Oxfordshire with community provision. However this should not have been done by neglecting the old Ridgeway services there, and without the necessary crisis intervention teams being put in place.

    In concentrating on their business/estates/financial strategy they were only interested in reducing staff hours, cancelled the local training provider, and gave little support to staff. This negatively affected patient care and was unforgivable.

    • It’s the same old everlasting use of Orwellian abstractions to evade accountability – ‘estates strategy’, not ‘list of immediate /urgent/short-term/longer-term repairs plus (say) 7-year rolling refurbishment programme to cover X,Y & Z properties’. Nothing they can be pinned down to. No wonder nothing changes.

  3. Here is what Sloven had to say about ligature risks in May 13. This was for all SHFT services including Hampshire:

    ‘Recommendations and Actions from Clinical Quality Review initiated December 12, published 31 May 13’.
    ‘The policy and process for ligature assessments and work based risk assessments (for SHFT run buildings) is undertaken (sic) across all services. The roll out programme is being followed across all services as part of the Health & Safety arrangements recently implemented within SHFT. Interim arrangements are in place in the meantime.
    This action is coded as ‘green’ (Work is completed/near to completion and on target
    with a reduced risk.)

    Why should we believe anything they say now about quality and safety? – 3 years later

  4. Liz – I assume your question was rhetorical! Unlike elsewhere in the UK, the Health & Safety Executive inform me that Sloven has never reported a ligature death to them.

    And even worse, in the new spirit of openness and transparency, the Interim Chairman announced today that he had reversed one of the steps his predecessor had taken to improve transparency: he had allowed public governors to attend the confidential parts of the Board meeting. No more!Moreover, I found his manner (including in the way he addressed governors and the public) thoroughly distasteful. No-one got a straight answer to a straight question!

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