Not an expected response from David Roche

I’m sorry that this is a bit long-winded but I must share with you my utter disgust at an email I received from Councillor David Roche. I was so disgusted that I have complained to Rotherham Council’s Standards and Ethics Committee.

For anyone who is interested the text of my complaint is below: –

I wish to complain about the conduct of Cllr Roche, which I believe breached the code of conduct in that he failed to treat me and others with respect (part 1. paragraph 3 (1).

My 35 year old sister Jenny has Downs syndrome and lives with my 74 year old mother. She attends the Oaks centre 5 times a week. The Oaks Centre will close as part of the Council’s Transformation of Learning Disability services, which was approved by Cabinet on 21 May 2018.

The closure of the Oaks will without doubt have a negative impact on the quality of life of my sister and my mother. My sister is already suffering clinical depression since she became aware of the impending closure and has been prescribed antidepressants.

Due to the impact upon my sister and mother I am organising a campaign involving service users, parents and carers to oppose the proposed closures. I believe I have conducted myself in a polite and respectful manner but I do not believe the same can be said for Councillor Roche.

On 11 June I emailed Cllr Roche to ask him to meet with my mother and 2 other parents, who do not feel that their voices have been heard. He agreed to the meeting.

At the Council meeting on 27 June I organised a protest, which was attended by a large number of service users, parents and carers. It attracted a good deal of media attention and a number of members of the public, including myself, asked questions regarding the proposed closures during the public questions part of the agenda.

The answer that Cllr Roche provided to my question and in particular his answer to my supplementary question caused me to have no faith in him. My sister Jenny should have an annual re-assessment but has not had one for 5 years. I asked Cllr Roche how could we have any confidence that individual assessments would be carried out for each of the 750 plus service users as promised before services are removed. Essentially his answer was that he accepted that the council has failed to carry out assessments but he is confident that it will carry out the assessments as promised.   I do not accept that this is likely.

Since 27 June Cllr Roche has sent me a number of emails regarding the meeting with my mother and other parents. It seems apparent from those emails that he was becoming increasingly uncomfortable at the prospect of meeting us and his tone became less friendly and more curt. I don’t believe there is any legitimate reason why this should be the case.

On 10 July, after speaking to my mother and the 2 other parents, I emailed Cllr Roche as follows –

Hello David

Thank you for agreeing to meet with us. However, after further consideration we have decided that the meeting would be of little value and therefore we don’t intend to waste anyone’s time. We will not be attending but thanks for agreeing to meet us.

Kind regards

Robin

At 01.08 on July 11 I received the following reply from Cllr Roche (cc’d to Ann Marie Lubanski, Emma Hill and Jenny Anderton) –

Thanks Robin, this has really confirmed my views as to the real purpose of the meeting.

More than happy at any time to try to answer the genuine concerns of any Carers or people with learning disabilities, not so happy to be attempted to be drawn in as part of a campaign to stop or delay the decision which I believe will be very damaging to those with learning disabilities

David

I am struggling to articulate just how offended I am by Cllr Roche’s email and his obvious suggestion that my concern for my disabled sister and elderly mother is not genuine. I am particularly offended by his inference that it is not legitimate to campaign, dissent or oppose the Council’s plans due to a genuine concern that those plans are misconceived and will be detrimental to my sister and mother. He seems to suggest that one may have genuine concerns or a desire to campaign to stop or delay the Council’s decision. Not only is this view misinformed and offensive but I believe it goes against the principles that are set out in the statement entitled A healthy system of democratic leadership and accountability, which is contained at the end of the Council’s code of conduct. I refer specifically to the following extract – We believe politics is about debate and sometimes argument. Such debate helps the Council decide what to do and how to do it. These words are hollow given the content of Cllr Roche’s email to me.

It appears to me that RMBC, if Cllr Roche is any indication, has learned nothing from the experience of the Casey Report and the circumstances giving rise to it. He displays a very worrying attitude towards someone with a dissenting voice; someone who wishes to appropriately challenge, debate or argue.

My intention, when trying to organise the meeting between Cllr Roche and 3 very worried elderly parents of people with profound learning disabilities, was merely to allow them to express their concerns to Cllr Roche. His inference that I had some ulterior motive is deeply offensive and utterly disrespectful (and unfounded).

Given the timing of Cllr Roche’s email (01.08 am) I appreciate that he may have been tired and emotional but that does not in any way excuse the utter disrespect that he showed towards me, my mother and 2 other parents in questioning our intentions. He has displayed a blatant disregard for the effects that the decision to close the centres is having on service users and parents/carers and a crass insensitivity that is not befitting of a Cabinet member and incongruous with the requirement to show leadership. I look forward to your reply.

Robin Symonds

Sign the petition: your help needed, please sign the petition

This post may be of interest to readers: Election Snippet 2 – David Roche and Hoober Ward

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18 thoughts on “Not an expected response from David Roche

  1. “… to stop or delay the decision… ” – this an interesting phrase, because the inference is that the ‘decision’ has already been made, otherwise why would you want to stop it??

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  2. There is a strong suspician that Rmbc/cllrs have already done a deal with developers for the land at Wath Oaks Road and Maltby Addison Road. Prime land if get rid of the vulnerable.

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  3. Strong speculation that a deal with developers has already been done by cllrs/ Rmbc for the prime land at Wath and Maltby LD facilities. Just the vulnerable to get rid off?

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  4. I’ve looked on RMBC’s crappy planning apps website and there’s no application for developing the land at Maltby yet, but I’ll keep an eye on it and let Rothpol know the minute I see something.

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  5. Dispicable Labour again. It was said this was all sorted at cabinet level (Long before full council)
    And from reading the above I see it looks like they had already agreed who was going to build on the demolished buildings! No opposition councillor voted for or against the decision/s
    (Yet the liberal democrat’s were said to be the only one who voted against?)
    Rotherham Labour have been accused of many dispicable things, in “Diprived (or is it Depraved) Rotherham council” this just adds to the list.

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  6. I have attended many meetings over the last two years with key RMBC officers, where relatives regularly raised concerns about the ongoing ‘rumours’ that The Oaks and the Addison Center were being closed and the land sold to developers.

    We were told, on several occasions, that these were unfounded rumours! We were asked to report who was spreading these lies and to reassure the people we care for that the centers were NOT being closed.

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  7. RMBC is a genuinely hateful organisation which is, always has been and continues to be unfit for purpose. Staff and councillors seem to forget they are there to serve us, not for us to answer to them.

    Every single person that wears a RMBC badge should hold their heads in shame.

    It’s time for a total clear out, top to bottom, no one in that organisation deserves their position.

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  8. Seems to me, David Roche has far too much ‘baggage’ to be a Labour councilor, never mind a ‘cabinet member?
    He should resign his cabinet post, as he in evidently a failure and ‘not fit for purpose’!

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  9. David Roach was headmaster of Wath pope pius now saint pius.
    He left under a cloud suspected of wrongdoing. He was allegedly classed as a bully of school staff.

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  10. Public office must bear scrutiny but Rotherham Labour seems to have other views for selecting its candidates. Quantity seems to drive the gravy train.

    Take David Roche Labour councillor for Hoober Ward since 2010 (and Cabinet Lead for Adult Care), who is up for election again. Prior to standing in 2010, he had been suspended concurrently as headteacher in two secondary schools.

    In June 1999 at Pope Pius (now St Pius) RC Secondary school, Wath- upon -Dearne and Westborough High school in Dewsbury (within Kirklees Local Education Authority) in the 2000s.

    Leaving his suspension at Pope Pius, he was appointed to a successful school; Westborough High, Dewsbury in Kirklees Local Authority. Westborough High is not a Catholic school. Roche was suspended from this school attracting much media interest before leaving and becoming self-employed

    Westborough is not a Catholic school and was regarded as a highly successful school under his predecessor, Francoise Leake. Roche was given a lengthy suspension on full pay from Westborough High. The long running events attracted much media interest involving the local MP.

    Amongst the allegations at Westborough were ‘Management and Leadership concerns’ and ‘his failure to disclose his suspension at Pope Pius to the Westborough governing body when applying for the post of headteacher’. The Chair of Governors had also declared ‘no confidence in him as headteacher’.

    Between September 2002 and April 2006, 307 pupils were excluded from the Westborough High School.

    This included 87 for assaults on other pupils, 56 for threatening staff, nine for racism, 37 for disruptive behaviour, 6 for sexual harassment and 1 for drugs and alcohol. Pupils were banned from school for varying lengths of time, from one to 18 days.

    Headteacher David Roche was suspended on full pay by the governors. It is understood the reason for this could also have been concerns about his handling of complaints relating to the conduct of staff and pupils.

    Including, ‘his failure to disclose his suspension at Pope Pius to the Westborough governing body when applying for the post of headteacher’. The Chair of Governors had also declared ‘no confidence in him as headteacher’

    Interestingly, Alan Hartley was chair of governors at Pope Pius during Roche’s time as well as being the spouse of Irene Hartley who was John Healey’s PA for years. Alan Hartley was also chair of South Yorkshire Police Authority.

    It would be hard not to believe that John Healey did not know about the Pope Pius suspension (or at Westborough High) when Roche went through the selection process to stand as councillor for Hoober in 2010 and again for 2016.

    He left Westborough High school towards the end of 2000s to become self-employed and stand as a Rotherham Labour councillor for Hoober Ward in 2010.

    Amongst the allegations at Westborough were ‘Management and Leadership concerns’ and ‘his failure to disclose his suspension at Pope Pius to the Westborough governing body when applying for the post of headteacher’. The Chair of Governors had also declared ‘no confidence in him as headteacher’.

    David Roche was suspended on full pay by the governing body and it is understood the reason for this could also have been concerns about his handling of complaints relating to the conduct of staff and pupils.

    The Dewsbury Reporter also learned (under the Freedom of Information Act), that the governing body who suspended David Roche had tried to meet Kirklees Local Education Authority (LEA) on more than 20 occasions after initially informing them of concerns before being offered a meeting.

    They had also requested the LA’s presence when they met staff to inform them of David Roche’s suspension, but they declined.

    Fears had been raised by the LA that the school could be placed in special measures prior to its Ofsted inspection by government Education Chiefs .

    So where does this link with Rotherham’s Labour Party and MPs? Interestingly, Alan Hartley was chair of governors at Pope Pius during Roche’s time as well as being the spouse of Irene Hartley who was also John Healey’s PA for years. Alan Hartley was also chair of South Yorkshire Police Authority.

    It would be especially hard not to believe that John Healey (or other Labour councillors) did not know about the Pope Pius suspension in June 1999 (or later at Westborough High in 2008) when Roche went through the selection process to stand as councillor for Hoober in 2010 and again for 2016.

    It seems that Rotherham Labour (including John Healey) does not ask questions in the public interest. Namely, questions regarding ‘fitness for public office’ should always have been asked of all of its candidates and twice in Roche’s case. It seems anyone will do to make up the quota.

    Read more: http://www.dewsburyreporter.co.uk/news/local/westborough-high-school-s-toll-of-trouble-1-1340424#ixzz45uRkF0vB

    http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/mp-wants-action-schools-dispute-5057953

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  11. Chris thanks for the detail on David Roche’s ‘baggage’.
    He is emerging as a deeply flawed character who is not a suitable as a Labour councillor.
    Time to exit David!!!

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  12. I hear that the Beck for Leader campaign are in full anti-Read mode following the Roche baggage revelations, did Read actually appoint Roche to the Health and Well Being Chairman role?

    If he did, then is it any wonder that Beck supporters are comparing Read to Stone.

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  13. Roche is simply not fit and the information on this blog proves it!
    If Roche doesn’t resign tomorrow, Read must sack him!

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  14. Only in Rotherham would the Leader make some very contentious decisions but refuse to reexamine the decision, once the full obstacles are appreciated.
    I speak of the closure of the learning disability services that are such a lifeline for users.
    This decision must be reversed!

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    • If Reed, watson and cabinet had any integrity or democracy they would either bin their LD proposals or defer it back to scrutiny due to to electorates opposition.

      Ironic how the £3 million in savings match the £3 million extra for their riverside pfi debacle over 42 years!

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  15. mmm and why has a local academy who offered to take on Addison Day Center been denied? ~the offer was not even put forward to Councillors for consideration? This would have been a good solution for those attending Addison and would have put in good links between the schools the academy runs and Addison.
    This seems to have been brushed under the carpet?

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