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How valid would this complaint be?

Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:05 am
by MrsS016
Hello, my son has been under S20 for almost 8 months, and will be returning home to me full time on June 14th.
It has been a long an tedious battle, but I have for the majority of time got on with my sons social worker. There have been many times when I've thought a complaint was valid, and then changed my mind after either me coming to my senses, or my issue being sorted out.
This is an issue though, that I can't seem to let go of and has not been sorted out.

As normal, a parenting assessment was carried out on myself, although It took a long time, the legal team came back with the decision that my son should be returned to my care. I am obviously over the moon at this, and do not want to do anything that will jeopardise this.
At my last LAC meeting 4 weeks ago, I was given a copy of the parenting assessment, and upon reading it during the meeting, I came across a large amount of incorrect facts in the assessment.

I brought these up in the meeting, and was told by my sons social worker that he would plan a meeting with me ASAP to address, and change them. He has given me 2 different dates since, when we were to meet and correct them. Neither of these dates were kept, and over the last two weeks I have tried to contact him and had no success.

I am now at the point where even if these mistakes do get fixed before my sons return to me, I would still like to file a complaint.
The mistakes are not trivial - for example, on the first page of the assessment it states that my father took his own life when I was 6 weeks old. My father died of a heart attack when I was 2 and a half years old, and I hold his death certificate to prove this, and have never stated any different to my sons social worker. Other mistakes include but are not limited to the age I was when my step father passed, the location of my family (Parenting Assessment claims they are 350 miles away from where they are), and the diagnosis of my mental health condition.

None of these mistakes are small ones, and they really upset me.

I have been advised by my family support worker that these are 'not worth' complaining about, as they're not things that directly affected the Legal Teams decision on my son coming home. Although I understand that, as someone who will be starting a degree in Social Work in September, and fully intends in going into social care in the future, I am appalled that these kind of mistakes can be made with what appears to be no consequences.

I would like to know other peoples opinions on how much validity a complaint about this would hold, if made after my sons return to me.
Thanks for reading.

Re: How valid would this complaint be?

Posted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:48 pm
by Suzie, FRG Adviser
Dear MrsSO16

First of all, well done on working so hard to have your son returned home to your care after 8 months in voluntary accommodation. You must be really pleased that he is coming home in a couple of weeks. I hope that any support you both may need has been discussed and agreed and a date set to review it.

I am sorry to hear that there are a number of factual errors in the parenting assessment that was completed and that these are, understandably, quite distressing for you.

You have done the right thing in letting the social worker know straight away about the mistakes and asking that he amend them. It must be very disappointing that despite your best efforts this has not yet happened.

It is important that information held on your son’s file is as accurate as possible and also that your son’s social worker works with you to resolve this soon especially as it is upsetting for you. Errors about where your family live and the diagnosis of your mental health condition could have impacted on the plan to return your son home to your care, although it appears that they didn’t.

There may be a couple of ways that you could continue trying to get the (mis) information corrected:

If you prefer not to make a formal complaint you could

*Remind the social worker politely in writing (copying in his manager and your son’s Independent Reviewing Officer) what he agreed to do
* Say that you would like this to be done by a suggested date so that your son’s record is accurate and your concerns addressed
* Ask the social worker to let you know when this has been done and to give you a copy of any amendments made.

If you still get no response you could then make a formal complaint.

Otherwise you can make a formal complaint now. Even if the complaint is made after your son has returned home you will still be within the timescale for making a complaint which is within a year of the action you want to complain about.

As a social worker may continue to be involved with you and your son once your son comes home it is a good idea to make sure that this matter is addressed so that you are able to move on.

You can find out much more in our advice sheet on challenging decisions and making complaints .

I hope this is helpful and that your son’s return home goes really well for you both.

Best wishes