I’ve just sent this mail which is self explanatory. The reply should be interesting.
“Hello Mr Lambert.
On 19th September I received this response to my FoI request. Hence this mail to you.
1) The Norfolk County Council named contact for LINks is Ian Lambert, Head of Democratic Services, telephone 01603 222620, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The DoH have been notified of this information. In Norfolk we wanted to wait to receive the draft specification before we started to develop LINks. Work is now underway to appoint a project officer and organise a reference group of key stakeholders to determine what we need to procure, and how to arrange things so that there is no disruption to patient representation. We will be inviting PPI Forum Chairs to be part of the group and plan to organise a conference in the early Autumn with partners and stakeholders to map current activities and take an initial look at how LINks could work in Norfolk.
Can you please tell me:
1. Now the specifications have been issued, how is the £10,000 allocated by government for host tendering being spent?
2. At the Involvement to Impact Conference yesterday and the day before, Meredith Vivian said the baseline sum going to LAs for funding will be £60k per LA and the funding formula will be of of usual factors. Additionally we are told an announcement will be made on 6th December about the various allocations. Can you advise me of how best this funding can be tracked to ensure it doesn't disappear into other budgets (those of us involved in providing evidence to the Health Committee Inquiry into PPI were told early on when we expressed concerns about the funding not being ring-fenced that we could and should actively monitor the use of the funding and report any anomalies)?
3. Have any invitations been put out to tender?
4. What provisions are being made to involve ordinary service users and disabled people in the early planning processes for LINks (not just the existing PPI Forums)?
5. What provisions are being made to ensure full engagement with service users living in rural communities, service users with mental health problems, service users with mobility and sensory difficulties and service users with learning difficulties for the purposes of early planning?
6. Can I please have sight of any tendering specification or Service Level Agreement you have for the LINks host?
7. Will the procurement process require the host to fully observe the Disability Equality Duty?
I am asking these questions in my capacity as:
a) An ordinary service user and citizen of Norfolk;
b) An independent monitor of PPI operation and developments;
c) Chair of the Norfolk Constabulary/Police Authority Disability Equality Duty Forum;
d) An active participant in the National Association of PPI Forums online discussion group;
e) The writer of a PCX blog, one of the objects of which is to report on local LINks developments.
I have no commercial interests in these matters.”