Thursday 18 February 2010

Bribing Addicts to Meet Targets

You know that feeling you get when you turn on the news or open a paper and think to yourself, is it just me or is the country gone mad? Well, I get that feeling all the time at work but I mostly bite my lip as to speak too freely wouldn't be conducive to receiving my paycheck at the end of the month. Hence, the writing of this blog.

I often tell myself that I have experienced the apogee of inane decision-making what with seeing young offenders rewarded with DJ courses, trips to stately homes and film making projects. If this worked I'd be all for it, but it doesn't just examine youth re-offending rates.

However, I think I can top all the nonsense I've seen up to date with this current beauty from our local county council which you and I are funding through our council tax. Our walls are adorned with posters announcing a new initiative in tackling drug and alcohol problems amongst youth throughout the county. Personally, I'm just delighted my money gets to make such a difference...if only.

The council in their infinite wisdom have decided to consult young drug users, alcohol dependents and addicts in how they can shape support services to tailor to their needs in abstaining from or managing their addictions. The fact that these people are failing to abstain from their various dependencies would suggest to me that they haven't the foggiest idea about how to remain drug free. It's akin to asking someone in a padded cell for tips on maintaining your mental health.

However,in order to entice members of the opiate classes, weed freaks and aspiring Rab C. Nesbitt impersonators, as well as all other imbibers of various illicit substances, the council are laying on a few bribes. They would probably use a different word for bribe but a ten year old who hasn't been inculcated in public sector Newspeak would be able to discern giving ten pounds in cash to our chemically enhanced residents as exactly that which it clearly is. There will also be refreshments laid on. To refresh the people they hope to attract to this meeting they will need more than a few glasses of coke or a cup of tea. I'd suggest being incarcerated in a rehab for at least two months. They will also be reimbursed their travel costs. If they have kids, you can be guranteed many of them do, some of whom will no doubt be in care, but for those who are not childcare costs for the day will be covered.

Now, call me a cynic but when I read about bribing members of the underclass in order to ascertain their views I smell the scent of performance targets. Why? You may ask. Well, we in Supported Housing have our own targets, (the QAFS. see earlier posts) one of which is consulting residents about various aspects of the project. One of the problems though is that most residents don't want to be consulted they just want to be left on their own in their rooms staring blankly at TV screens, knocking each other up, spreading chlamydia and avoiding any contact with reality. To get them out of their rooms and to hear their insane ideas we use fast food, cash incentives and sugary fizzy drinks. It always works. I'd put good money, if I earned it, that the Drug and Alcohol action team are using a similar tactic. Just like us their jobs depend on it. If they could get away with giving them drugs or alcohol to get them to the meeting then I have no doubt they'd be tempted. If you think about it they have done just that. What do you think all those junkies, potheads, pill poppers and alco-teens are going to spend that ten quid on? Hazard a guess go on.

Can the Drug and Alcohol team be that naive and stupid? Believe me I regularly encounter people in this industry who are that thick and worse. If you pay circus wages you will often attract clowns. However, it is just as possible that in the interests of meeting performance targets the judicious decision was discarded in favour of the expedient.


cheeky chappy said...

Winston! I'm sending you the bill for a new laptop, your post was so brilliantly funny and so acutely sarcy that I have spat my coffee out all over, hahahahahaha! Seriously, what a brilliant post sir.

Unfortunately, until the people of this country get their apathetic backsides into gear and go on an all out strike, nothing will change. It's the lunatics running the asylum at the moment I'm afraid.

Excellent work as usual, keep it up and good luck to you.

atticus said...

That was very interesting about 'young offenders' being given film-making courses.

Something has just fallen into place for me. You may recall the goth Sophie Lancaster being kicked to death in a park 2 or 3 years ago by 4 or 5 feral youths.

The papers at the time reported that the youths had been on a film-making course, paid for the local council (Lancashire County Council).

The council, needless to say, appeared anxious to say it was just a youth club course.

It seemed odd. Do you think that they were already offenders? Having read your blog I bet they were.

Some success for the 'diversionary activities' approach to 'young people at risk of offending'!

For crying out loud...I just wanna see these professional timeservers made redundant. But they always seem to prosper so I won't hold my breath

selsey.steve said...

As I am now ex-job, a retired Policeman, I can make my feelings known without fear of reprisals.
I have been party to two instances where old fashioned common sense has been the saviour of a couple of very wayward young males. The first was an inveterate car and motorbike thief. My sergeant, a product of the Old School of Policing, finally caught him astride a recently stolen, expensive motorbike. The culprit got a resounding clip aside the ear and was taken under restraint to a local motorbike repair business. The owner/operator of this business, not so lily-white himself, was "asked" to employ the youth. He did so. A month later the owner/operator bumped into the sergeant and thanked him profusely for bringing him the best bike mechanic that he'd ever seen. Word had got round the local bikers that his establishment had got a mechanical wizard in residence.
Six months later the youth attended his first motorbike race meeting as a junior mechanic.
His ability to squeeze a race-winning two or three horsepower from an already highly tuned engine and his uncanny knack of knowing how to solve a handling problem was soon noticed. He's now an honest and highly paid man.
Second case, same sergeant. Feral youth, been in bother since he was old enough to chuck a stone. Father was a druggie, mother was, too. She was also a part-time tom, bringing her 'customers' home while son and father watched the telly downstairs. Youth was eventually captured whilst breaking off a car wing-mirror, one of about eight he'd done that evening. He was street bailed to come to the Station the next day. The sergeant was prepared. He took the youth, then aged 17, back home, produced a piece of paper and got the youth's well-stoned father to sign it. He then took the youth to the local Army recruiting office and had him signed up. Father had signed the permission without even looking at what he was signing. The youth was too stunned to even try and protest.
Eight months later a smartly uniformed soldier was shown into the general offfice where he crashed to attention and announced "Sorry for all the shit I've caused. It'll not happen again. Sir!" It was our wayward youth.
He's now a Sergeant serving in Afghanistan.
I'm retired, so's my sergeant. Who is going to do what we did?

Lilyofthefield said...

I fear for your blood pressure. Just hang on to the knowledge that you are right amd the powers that be are self-serving, box-ticking fuckwits.
My husband knows nothing of the "care" system (I work in an inner-city school) and this blog has been an eye-opener for him i.e. not just me banging on. He has referred several friends to it. Consider yourself useful and worthy.

Firkin Crumbhead said...

I have started reading your blog with enthusiasm especially as I am an avid Orwell reader. I am a teacher who has had the misfortune to have worked in two social retard units. In both establishments kids were allowed to call teachers by their first name, negotiate their timetable, negotiate when they would arrive at school, were permitted to smoke on premises, could swear with little or no curtailing and if they weren't happy with lessons they could get up and walk out the class. All priveliges denied hard working, normal students!

I made an escape from teaching to work for a mental health charity that enticed members to meetings by paying their travel expenses and meals (usually breakfast and lunch), even when they only lived a short distance from the meeting location. And of course, plenty of free nosh was available to eat once the meeting began with enough left over to take home a doggie bag. It is a standing joke among charity organisations that when you want to fill a meeting (usually for funding bid applications where the provision of statistics is crucial, you provide a buffet and ensure it is advertised on your flyer.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Winston please keep posting!

Anonymous said...

Yep , you're suspicions are correct regarding govt. targets and box-ticking... as a previous and extensive 'client' of the drug services , it was suggested that I get involved in the 'service users'& 'service providers' meetings ..the basic criteria: illegal drug use a thing of the participants past, two hour monthly meetings, free coffee. Sounded reasonable..unfortunately I became disenchanted when it became apparent that input or suggestions from participants, were not to be made useful...(and believe me, we know a thing or two about how the services are often rendered ineffective and abused}. This was an exercise in box-ticking and arse-covering.Plus ca change... it also became apparent that some participants had either been less than honest about their 'recovery' or were not sufficiently stable to maintain their good intentions with a tenner in their sticky mitts, a tenner being an emotive object to those who hanker for a 'bag'!.. had to get the hell outta there...

Anonymous said...


I hope you know how important you are to our sanity. The middle class liberal elite are the biggest single threat to this country. You are doing a great job to expose the insanity.

Merlin said...

C'mon Winston - put another post up. Those of us in our line of work, with our feet still on the ground, need to know that someone else out there is trying (& sometimes succeeding) to do a good job despite the daft system.

WinstonSmith33 said...

Thanks everyone for your positive comments. I would blog more often but I work mad hours and antisocial shifts and am often exhausted and I had a lot happening in my personal life over the last year which has at times left me exhausted on top of the hideous work I endure. I only wish I didnt need to write this stuff and that we lived in a saner society. I will be posting later in the week. I am currently working on a book to be published later this year and I hope you will all find it illuminating. I will keep you all posted on that.

Anonymous said...

We can't wait!

Splunkzop said...

Yay Winston! I hope the book sells well and makes you rich and famous.

Anonymous said...

Dear Winston, I read your article in the daily mail with great interest, as a care worker also working with problem teenagers in a care home, I could'nt agree with you more, but sadly I cannot see it changing for the better and I have been doing the job for 20 years, it is all about Social Services too scared to do the !right thing!

Anonymous said...

Winston, how refreshing!! My husband and I loved reading your article in The Dail Mail recently, we run a Children's Home together. We have very clear rules and boundaries which within a short time of being with us,the young people in our care learn that, 'that is the way it is'. Luckily for us they are very young, so we feel there is time to make real change with them. There is far too much 'Giving of Rewards' for doing absolutely nothing! Allowing some and I say some, not all of these young people, to have and do what they want, when they want is not the right way! The majority leave care and still expect everything to be handed out on a plate for them with alot of them thinking that they deserve to be given what they want and that society owes them everything, you see them out on the streets, everyday of the week. What they don't see is that those around them, who have bothered to get jobs to support themselves and their families have had to make an effort, unfortunately they tend to look at anybody who has a decent house or car with jealousy. Unfortunately for as long as the 'do gooders' feel that young people in care should 'write their own rule book' its not going to improve.

Great to read that there others out there that we can relate to as like minded.