Contact with LA

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Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:10 pm

Contact with LA

Post by confusedinfrance » Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:04 am

Not so much contact with a child but with the local authority
Having had a reasonable relationship with the above for some months, I was informed that my normal Family Services Manager was being relocated. I did have some issues to raise but thought it would be prudent to await her replacement before bringing them up, so I sent an e-mail to the new Manager, asking if she could confirm that she had indeed replaced Ms X, as I had a couple of issues to raise with her.
Three weeks later I received a reply stating that she didn't know if she was the correct person as she was unaware of the nature of my enquiry, to which I replied that obviously she didn't know the nature of my enquiry as I hadn't enquired as yet. The only enquiry I had made was to enquire if she had replaced Ms X, a simple yes or no would suffice.
Now that has obviously got her back up as silence was then the order of the day. I then sent a complaint to the CS Complaints Dept at the L.A., which, in their wisdom, they passed on to her to deal with. This was swiftly followed by even more e-mail complaints to three of her superiors, complaining about the basic lack of courtesy, and the appalling way in which they communicated with carers.
I then received a letter from Ms Y, stating that she had indeed taken over the position, and asking me to update her on the nature of my enquiry.
In the meantime I had an e-mail from the complaints dept, asking for my address as they wanted to write to me. Now it's a bit galling to think that they don't know where I live and even worse to think that if they have not got that vital piece of information to hand, then obviously, they are unaware of where they placed the child in the first place.
I have always communicated with local authority by e-mail, as it is normally instantaneous and free, now suddenly they want to send me letters, which take some 10 days to reach me here in France, and of course incur extra costs of postage etc.
Having sent in my concerns to Ms Y, again via e-mail, I have received acknowledgement from one of her subordinates, stating that Ms Y will look in to my queries and reply within 15 working days, which if my maths is correct means 3 weeks.
I have now sent further e-mails to the complaints dept. and they are not responding to me, so who does one complain to when the complaints dept don't reply. I would normally think that they can't be that busy, but then, if this is now normal practice, they must be inundated.
I know I can be a candidate for "grumpy old men" at times, but this level of inefficiency makes my toes curl up.
Last edited by confusedinfrance on Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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David Roth
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: Contact with LA

Post by David Roth » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:04 am

Hi confusedinfrance

This sounds terribly frustrating. Since you live abroad, quick and easy communication must be vital to you, and it sounds as if you have got off on completely the wrong foot with the new manager who will be dealing with you. Let's hope that she is professional enough not to personalise any problems and make life difficult for you.

A lot of problems can arise when there are changes to social workers or their managers - not only do you lose the personal history that you had with particular people, but new people can often come in with a different set of ideas about how things ought to be done. You can sometimes find yourself having to explain things all over again that you've already explained countless times, as the new workers are hearing it for the first time, and sometimes want to look again at the way their predecessors did things.

Frustrating as it has been to get off to this sort of start, this new manager does have the power to make key decisions that can affect you and your family, so it is probably as well to think about how you might go about building some bridges with her, to try and get onto a better footing.

In the meantime, you can use the talkboard to sound off about any continuing frustrations. It might be as well to remove the name of the specific local authority though.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

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