Thank you for your letter of 19th December in reply to mine of 12th December in which I was at pains to point out that there had been no ownership at Ministerial level of the shape and powers of LINks. Your reply seems to fail to recognise this. The change from PPI Forums to LINks was not asked for by the people but imposed by the government, and as such, you have a responsibility for this imposition. However, you say, “I am asking my officials to ensure that your views are taken fully into account”, and from this it seems you intend the final content of these vital Regulations to be simply an aggregate of whatever responses received, as assembled by civil servants. This will not serve.
I made but passing and oblique reference to “responses to the Draft Regulations” but your reply seems wholly predicated upon this Consultation. Processes of themselves are without value if the qualitative is not taken into account, the knowledge-base of the respondents known and weighted. Further, “Points that have already been raised” should not be ruled out purely on that basis. The iteration of these points should alert you to their central importance and thus inform and steer the decision making process.
We have dealt with Meredith Vivian throughout the long period of the government’s drive towards LINks but as a civil servant he is not in a position to direct policy. That capacity rests with Ministers.
The National Association of Forums is a body democratically elected to be a voice for members on national issues. NAPF is currently moving towards becoming a ‘national Link for LINks’ in order that there remains at the centre a resource for LINks’ members and other stakeholders after the abolition of CPPIH. Our representations to you are made on the basis that NAPF and the D of H are key stakeholders in the success of LINks and it would be valuable if this were acknowledged and you were able to respond accordingly.
Chair, Specialist Forums of Yorkshire, Humberside and Teesside
Vice Chair, National Association of Patients Forums