Advice please

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Rough_justice
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Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:10 am

Advice please

Post by Rough_justice » Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:26 pm

Two of my fiancées children are under Local Authority care. Briefly, she had complained for several years about the conduct of a former social worker. Managers within Children's services defended this person at the time.

It now transpires that in June 2019, this person has been struck off. The HCPTS found them guilty of misconduct. The 'social worker' had lied about visits to eight children. She had also fabricated evidence presented to a court in relation to seeking a child's wishes.

Two of the unnamed children are my fiancées. She had failed to seek the wishes of one and lied. She also failed to visit ten times and lied.

Not too sure how to proceed as obviously we are furious.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Advice please

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:14 am

Dear Rough Justice,

I am sorry to hear that your partner’s children had a social worker who was struck off for lying about the wishes and feelings of one of the children and failing to visit the other, many times, which is contrary to the statutory guidance. It seems your partner had got the measure of this social worker and had lodged many complaints which seemed to have not been upheld. I can see how upsetting that must be.


You ask about the best way to proceed.
Has mum got a report about all the failures that might have impacted on the children? If not, she should get this report which should outline the details of what happened. The risk is that the children were neglected in some way by these failures. Is there anything to worry about in respect of the children? Can mum speak to the report writer? They may consider whether she or the children need to consider independent legal advice.

The independent reviewing officer (IRO) is meant to keep an independent eye on how the social worker is looking after the children’s care plan. If there have been any problems with the care plan being met, then the IRO can escalate any concerns to senior managers at the local authority and even back to CAFCASS.

Mum could speak to the IRO about what has happened and ask whether the social workers neglect of the children may have impacted on the children’s wellbeing and if so, what legal redress, if any, there may there be.

Ask about whether the children are entitled to any independent legal advice. Mum could consider seeking legal advice herself about these matters.
I hope this advice helps but if you have any questions, please post back.

Best wishes,
Suzie

Rough_justice
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:10 am

Re: Advice please

Post by Rough_justice » Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:02 pm

Hello Suzie,

Thank you for your the reply.

The dishonest social worker not only neglected the children but wrote reports to Court using fabricated evidence. She even accused my partner of 'blaming' professionals in response to complaints about her conduct.

We have the case file records obtained under GDPR, which of course do not include the dishonest social workers alleged acts of neglect. The Local Authority continues to use this social workers words and evidence in documentation.

We have evidence that since the children have been in care, Local Authority social workers failed to remove her youngest child from a school that had failed an OFSTED inspection. This report highlighted a lack of safeguarding and the presence of burning/ choking hazards. The IRO on the case suggested that the impact of upheaval was more important.

We have evidence that a current social worker failed to update Local Authority records confirming change of address. This led to the Local Authority failing to notify my partner of SGO proceedings . The same social worker accused my partner of dishonesty in relation to notice of proceedings in a Court submitted assessment. They claimed to have evidence of notice and that my partner was being dishonest and placed work commitments ahead of her child. We have confirmation from the Local Authority legal team that notice did not occur. The social worker was allowed to give evidence at Court this year and remains in their post.

Another Local Authority social worker has restricted indirect contact with my partners child and forced their carers to sign a written agreement restricting this contact. The social worker claims that the Court order says this. It doesn't.

We have evidence of a number of significant failures by the Local Authority Children's Services team. We have made our MP aware of the disciplinary hearing and decision involving the dishonest social worker. We asked for an independent investigation and review of Children's Services. The MP wrote to the Local Authority CEO.

This was passed to the complaints team and the investigating officer is a deputy service manager. Their immediate superior is a service manager that knew of the dishonest social workers actions. We are not confident of the outcome as there appears to be a considerable conflict of interest.

Legal action is out of the question due to cost. We are not eligible for legal aid.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Advice please

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Wed Oct 02, 2019 2:16 pm

Dear Rough_ justice

Thank you for your further post.

You still have concerns about how your partner’s children were removed from her care and the way in which the social worker handled the case.

Your partner has an ongoing complaint and I think it is important to see this process through its different stages as, if she is dissatisfied with the outcome at each stage then she is able to request the next stage. Once the local authority’s complaint’s procedure has been exhausted, if there is no satisfactory outcome the complaint can go to the local government ombudsman. If the case is within their remit then your complaint will be looked at again and the local government ombudsman will either find that there is fault or no fault and can uphold your complaint and make recommendations if necessary to children’s services. You may find our advice sheet Challenging decisions and making complaints helpful.

During court proceedings the respondent that is your partner, in care proceedings would have the opportunity to challenge the evidence provided by the social worker. At the final hearing a social worker or other professional can be cross examined on the evidence provided. It will be the judge who makes the final decision on the evidence both written and oral before the court.

Whether or not a child changes school will take account of the needs of the child so if your partner believes it was not appropriate for her child this will no doubt be part of her complaint.

Social workers have a professional body to which complaints can be made if a social worker has acted unprofessionally. The professional body is the Health and Care Professionals Council and your partner can consider whether to make a complaint.

You mention that your partner did not receive notice of proceedings relating to a special guardianship order. Usually, it is not the local authority that sends a notice of proceedings. This would be the court. Did your partner attend the court hearings in respect of the application, the court would normally want to know if the parents had been informed of the case before making any order relating to children?
Regarding your partner’s contact, is this with children subject to a special guardianship order or a care order? If a care order, children’s services can make decisions about the contact and how it happens and decisions will be made which are considered to be in the children’s interests. Please read our advice sheet Contact with children in care.

With a special guardianship order the court can make a child arrangement order setting out the amount of contact or it could be left to be decided between the special guardian and parent or parents. It will depend what is best for the child or children concerned. Please read our advice sheet Special Guardianship: what does it mean for birth parents?.

Hopefully, the ongoing complaint will result in the outcome you and your partner are seeking.

Best wishes

Suzie

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