Has anyone ever gone to the media?

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Madeupusername
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:28 am

Has anyone ever gone to the media?

Post by Madeupusername » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:08 pm

I am currently about to do a complaint against children's services. Some of the things I am complaining about are serious. My complaint will be dealt with under the council's corporate complaint policy as it involves child protection.

I have no faith in children's services to uphold a complaint against children's services. I know that I can then go to the LGO and while I know I have enough evidence for them to uphold most of my complaints I feel that more needs to be done.

I want a full investigation into procedures and policies and I feel the only way to achieve this, and in effect whistleblow on how the council acts behind closed doors.

Has anyone ever done this or tried to do this? Is this possible while keeping our anonymity and that of our children?

My children have never left my care and when children's service began to see how much evidence I had amassed of what they have done they couldn't get rid of us soon enough.

My family has been harmed, and there are no actions I can take that will lessen that harm, all I can do now is to stop anyone else having to go through what we went through, and to stop it happening to others, and even those who have been through it themselves already may get justice.

I know I can report individual social workers to the HCPC/Social Work England and have already done so, with another report to make. However this is taking months and the regulatory body is changing to Social Work England in December so there will be even more of a delay.

I want an independent investigation made into how the council deals with a certain thing. The council are obviously not going to initiate this themselves when I complain, the most I can expect is that they agree that the social workers in question did things wrong, which I doubt they will given my experiences so far. I truly believe that an independent investigation will show significant wrongdoing in something quite specific and changes will be forced to be made. I don't believe that even the LGO will be able to achieve this although I will take my complaint to them after the council have answered it.

I have the evidence, I just need someone independent to do something with it and I feel the only way to do that it to publicise it.

Has anyone ever done this? Is there any independent body that can do this? Would this fall under the remit of the LGO? Obviously I only have proof of how they handled it in my families case, but what they did to me I am certain they must do to others.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
Posts: 2781
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:57 pm

Re: Has anyone ever gone to the media?

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:35 am

Dear Madeupusername

Welcome to the parents’ discussion board and thank you for your post. My name is Suzie and I am Family Rights Group's online adviser.

I am sorry to hear that you and your family have recently been involved in a child protection process which you found to be very damaging to your family. From what you have said, you suggest that this process has now come to an end and perhaps that the case has now been closed. I am glad to hear that your children remained in your care throughout but sorry that this has been so distressing for you all.

You are now about to make a complaint as you are (a) very dissatisfied with how your family’s situation was handled and (b) you would also like there to be further investigation into how children’s services deal with a specific concern more generally.

These are two distinct areas:

(a) In relation to your own family’s situation, you are already aware of the mechanisms which allow a parent who is unhappy with children’s services actions or responses to challenge these via the formal complaints process. This is explained in more detailed in our advice sheet on complaints which sets out how to make a complaint and specifically how to make a complaint about child protection. You state that in your area this will be dealt with under their corporate complaints procedure. Hopefully you have a copy of your local authority’s written complaints procedure which will explain this further.

If you have not already made an access to records request you might want to do this before you put in your formal complaint. You can find out more about how to do this in our advice sheet on access to information held by children’s services .

You are worried that the complaints process will not be independent.

You can ask for information about the knowledge, skills and experience of the person or persons investigating your complaint and whether they have an understanding or awareness of the issue which resulted in children’s services becoming involved with your family.

As you know, if you have exhausted the complaints process and remain dissatisfied you can make a complaint to the independent local government ombudsman (LGO).

All other options are discussed in part 4 of our complaints advice sheet which we have provided a link to above. These include contacting your local MP or councillor and getting legal advice from a solicitor about legal options. A further option is to contact the Secretary of State for Education.

In many situations, making a complaint and if necessary contacting the LGO will be the most suitable course of action.

Any assessment that children’s services completed will be unique to your family situation but will be based on government guidance in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 and should adhere to your local authority’s threshold documents and assessment protocols. You can ask children’s services to provide you with a copy of their threshold document and assessment protocol if you have not seen them.

(b) Other families’ circumstances will be different to yours and their assessments unique to them, although all should follow the procedures discussed above.

If you have a wider query about children’s services policies and procedures or, how, as you say, they deal with a certain thing, you could consider making a Freedom of Information Act 2000 application. You can find out more about how to do this in part 2 of our advice sheet on access to information held by children’s services, please see the link to the advice sheet on access to information provided earlier.

I hope that the above options will enable you to feel that your complaints are looked into properly. Going to the media or publicising your personal family circumstances is not the best way forward; it won’t change your situation, it could identify your children as being involved with children’s services and might be seen as harmful to them. Information about you and your family is confidential. From what you say, I don’t think your case is in court but if so there are specific reporting restrictions which must be adhered to.

You might be interested in Your Family Your Voice which is an alliance of families and practitioners working together to transform the child welfare system; including promoting accountability.

I hope that this is helpful to you and that most importantly you and your family are able to move on following the difficulties you have recently experienced.

With best wishes

Suzie

Madeupusername
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:28 am

Re: Has anyone ever gone to the media?

Post by Madeupusername » Tue Nov 12, 2019 9:59 pm

Thank you so much for your reply.

You are right, the media is a bad idea.

I have already asked my MP for help, unfortunately this means I have to delay my complaint due to the dissolution of parliament, not the party I would generally vote for, but at a local level he is absolutely fantastic and works hard for his constituents.

I have already asked for and received my records which have been helpful.

I have considered the legal option but that will result in money and my families voice silenced.

I will ask the council for the threshold and assessment documents.

I was not aware that children's services came under education, I know they are reviewed by OFSTED but I was just under the impression it was a different sector, that is very useful to know, thank you.

There has been no court action.

Obviously specifics could be identifying, but I have paper based proof of significant wrongdoing. I cannot change what has happened but I can use my voice and help to ensure what happened to us doesn't happen to any other family.

Accountability is important and severely lacking, instead of owning up to mistakes, it's a culture of cover ups. I am hoping my MP will hold them accountable during the complaints procedure.

Many thanks.

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