STATEMENT OF THE COMPLAINT at 13 July 2011
There are two really nice people who are in very difficult circumstances. On account of some very serious false accusations and innuendo from a nurse, whose actions are currently being investigated, the Children Services decided to investigate. Instead of approaching the situation with open minds to find out what the situation was they approached it with damagingly negative attitude.
The Children Services acted in a way that was prejudicial, abusive and negligent. They consequently caused significant harm to two people who were already suffering. They did not carry out their job correctly and ignored a host of regulations and guidelines. They added insult to injury by denying any fault and have made false claims against these people in official reports. The reports are erroneous and it is illegitimate that they exist on the Integrated Children System.
At the very least the Children Services should perform the following actions; acknowledge what they have done and make a full formal apology on record, remove the offending reports from their records, and provide compensation for the damage and distress caused by their actions.
What is rather sad about this whole affair is that the Children Services in Sumshire have acted in an irresponsible and abusive way and are compounding the problem by continuing to behave in this manner. It seems as if they assume impunity. They act with an arrogance that is bewildering. I have written at length to explain the problem and there has been absolutely no serious consideration of the issues presented. I am led to believe that the staff with whom I have had communication do not grasp either the significance of the English language or the concept of rational thought.
In fact they are not considering anything I say seriously but are rather defending themselves from being found out. So what, I wonder, are they afraid of? The more they treat me with disdain the more I consider the problem and it is becoming clear that they have broken so many of their own rules that it would explain their behaviour and their breaking more of them in an attempt to hide from the truth.
The problem seems to have escalated significantly when Obelix Mahjong tried to avoid dealing with my legitimate concerns. She suggested I wrote them down so I did, in a letter dated 22 October 2010. She then attempted to cancel a scheduled meeting with me and when that failed she appears to have taken the day off sick to avoid it. I then wrote a letter of complaint, dated 25 October 2010, and the Children Services mysteriously disappeared off the radar. The Core Assessment that they had deemed necessary was simply terminated midstream and appeared to vanish. I heard nothing more from them until I complained again some months later.
BROAD SCOPE OF PROBLEMS
It would seem from their behaviour that the mode of operation of Children Services in Biston is to subtly and/or overtly besmirch and denigrate the parent in order to instil insecurity and to get them on the defensive. Having softened up the target they can presumably then use the child as leverage to gain control and do as they wish to satisfy their internal requirements. On this occasion it has not worked. Partly, perhaps, because we have had ample experience of this kind of assault before. It is interesting and pertinent that when I confronted them they effectively ran away and have continued doing so ever since.
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The interviews conducted in the hospital were offensive to me and friendly to Helen. Fi Prattle was full of subtle insinuations and downright erroneous and offensive suggestions. It is interesting that when the two modes of operation became evident in the Initial Assessment that Helen was horrified and could immediately see the two faced nature of these people. Helen was shocked and distressed by this report. This nasty judgemental and prejudicial attitude, on top of the experience in the hospital, sent Helen back inside her shell and she has been unable to attend college since this affair started.
This assault on me has caused a severe adverse reaction. Due to the extremely stressful past seven years our life situation is very difficult and painful. To have an organisation whose expressed purpose is to 'help' make such erroneous and damning reports is an offense against both of us and has caused me significant anxiety and distress. I cannot sleep properly, I am suffering from exhaustion, I have bouts of depression and various illnesses hit me one after another. All as a consequence of the Children Services behaviour. It is ironic and sad that when they first appeared in the hospital I was pleased because I thought someone might be able to help.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE CHILDREN SERVICES ACTIONS HAVE BEEN EXTREMELY DAMAGING TO BOTH OF US AND NOT HELPFUL TO EITHER OF US IN ANY WAY AT ALL.
On the subject of the investigation and the reports they were not carried out as prescribed by the Children Services guidelines. There are too many errors to list them all. They range in scope from simple factual errors to conjuring prejudice and from rudeness to blatant disregard for statutory procedures. In the section headed SPECIFIC ISSUES below I have listed some of the failings ranging from individual falsifications to more general bad practice. Each of these issues is a specific item that warrants attention. It is surprising that such a relatively small task carried out by a government organisation can generate such a volume of problems. But if the Children Services can find the time and resources to create each problem then it is only reasonable that they attend to each and every one to put it right. If there are any facts or issues included by me in this complaint that are unfair or incorrect I will be happy to address them and where proven wrong to apologise and retract or correct the error.
Having started off with one Initial Assessment Report which was not carried out according to their own rules and which was overtly offensive in nature they then added insult to injury in a most stunning way by ostracising us. They simply terminated the Core Assessment midstream and ignored any further communication. The circumstantial evidence strongly suggests the reason for this was that they knew they were in the wrong and hoped that if they ignored the problem it would go away. This behaviour is not acceptable from the Children Services. It must be addressed and action taken to put it right.
Compiling the error they then create what I have suggested, and re-assert, is a 'fake Core Assessment Report'. It is also prejudicial and offensive. It contains downright lies and is misleading in the extreme. 37% of the Initial Assessment Report, which I had already complained about, was copied and pasted to the Core Assessment Report including material that I had cited as wrong. And yes, I've counted the words: 465 words copied from 1260 equals 36.9047%
But because they hide away in their office feeling immune from the requirements of the real world and the 'people out there' they stick it on their 'not fit for purpose' ICS and carry on as if everything is well with the world. I suggest this is illegal and it is certainly not acceptable either by myself or the larger community. I suspect that the Children Services are living with a false sense of isolated
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security and imagine that they are not answerable to the community that they are supposed to serve. If that is the case it is just possible that they are right.
To complete the problem to date, where they have not totally ignored me, they have dismissed almost all my attempts to raise these concerns with, at best, token justifications (usually erroneous) for minor issues, and at worst by reasserting some erroneous and/or offensive statements against us. They have a statutory obligation to respond to complaints in 2 working days and they have a statutory obligation to deal with complaints within a specifically defined time. And yet they have managed to fob me off for 256 days so far. For the non mathematicians that is eight and a half months.
It is possible that had they addressed the initial complaint by taking a sympathetic look at my concerns that the matter may have been handled well and resolved. But their response, and lack of it, has caused the focus of attention to broaden to the whole manner in which this investigation has been a travesty and a catastrophic failure on their part.
In all my attempts to communicate with Children Services there seem to be a fundamental lack of understanding on their part. This section is intended to illustrate some basic concepts that are relevant to this case and seem not to be understood in the communications so far.
For the purpose of illustration let me propose a fictional case of the respectable council worker. He works in the sanitation department and cleans sewers. He will be used as an example in a number of the following explanations.
Stating something which is intended to misrepresent reality is a crime.
To state that someone is smelly and dirty and they drink alcohol may well be true. They may be a council worker. They may have the eminently significant job of cleaning out sewers and they may enjoy a wee dram on a Friday evening. They may be very respectable, shower every day and wear very clean and fashionable clothes when not at work. But to make an official report stating only that they are smelly, dirty and drink alcohol is not only misleading but is damaging too. It is actually a lie because it attempts to misrepresent a situation. As such it is abusive. Abuse is, by definition, cruel and, again by definition, it will cause harm.
Defending prejudice escalates the crime.
The above example serves well for this point. Defending the statements by pointing out that the 'facts' are true is compounding the problem because that in itself is denying the validity of the abused person. If it were a genuine mistake then perhaps, on it being pointed out, the writer might realise how misleading the statement was and apologise and put it right by amending the statement to more correctly represent the real situation. To deny any fault and to ignore any complaints and to continue to maintain the official report in the system then becomes an additional crime in itself. If this kind of thing is done in ignorance it is called prejudice. If it is done knowingly then it is abuse.
Dual standards are an illegitimate defence.
Again, using the above example, the argument is sometimes put forward that the facts are true, and in an attempt to deny malicious intent, it is justified with claims that there is nothing wrong with being smelly, dirty or drinking alcohol. This is a rather simplistic attempt to use dual standards to distract from, and obfuscate, the crime. The question remains that if there is nothing wrong with these qualities then why have they been entered as relevant material? Why, for example, has it not been mentioned that they had cream buns for tea? The fact is that these remarks cannot be
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entered with any legitimacy into a report unless they have some significance and certainly if questioned, that relevance must be explained. To keep the offending and misleading information in the report by pretending that it doesn't mean anything is self contradictory and a crime against the subject.
Contradictory values applied to information invalidates it.
When factual information in a report is wrong it has to be corrected or removed. To claim that a report contains information which is meaningful but any individual error is insignificant is self contradictory. To acknowledge that the information is incorrect but to leave it in a report is wilful deception and an official organisation has no legitimacy if this is what they do because by their own admission the report is a fiction.
What I know and what you know.
Just because a statement has some connection with reality is not proof that it conveys the truth to an uninitiated recipient of that statement. I make this point because it is a common error both in general and specifically in my communications with Children Services. Using the above example of the sewer worker the writer of the comments might 'know' that the gentleman is a respectable and clean living man. So it may seem inoffensive to talk about his peculiar smell. If the recipient of the information is never made aware of the pertinent facts then the communication is misleading at best and deliberately deceptive at worst. It is never good enough to justify a comment with "You know what I mean." or some equivalent because the truth is that you might know what you mean but the recipient is the one that needs to know. The question is whether they will understand it correctly.
Doing nothing does not equate to doing nothing wrong.
Treating people with disdain and simply not carrying out statutory procedures for fairly dealing with their grievances is an offense against those people. For the perpetrators of this inaction to claim that they did nothing in an attempt to suggest that they did nothing wrong is a mistake. In fact it is an admission of guilt. Abdication of responsibility and wanton dereliction of duty are acts in themselves. Acts of omission. It is aggressive and abusive behaviour.
To ignore or deny a problem does not make it disappear.
When something is wrong there is no amount of 'turning a blind eye' or ignoring it or denying it that will make the problem mysteriously vanish. In fact quite the reverse seems to be true; it compounds the problem. Experience seems to indicate that by continuing to behave as if a problem doesn't exist enlarges the problem and makes the situation worse. The benefit may appear to be that the perpetrator of the problem does not face the consequences but the problem still exists and somewhere down the line someone will bear the consequences. In the case of these reports it would seem that the subjects are supposed to suffer the consequences.
Deliberate attempt to upset the child.
When Obelix Mahjong handed the Initial Assessment Report to Helen she stated quite clearly that the Report was confidentially hers. She emphasised this point by explaining to Helen that I could only look at it with her express permission. A few minutes passed as Helen read the first two pages of the report. She then got up and left the room. Obelix turned to me and said "I expected it would upset her." I happen to know my daughter quite well. I did not think she was upset. I said she had probably gone to the loo or something. How wrong could I be? It transpired that it had upset her so much she had left the room and burst into tears. I have since read the report and fully understand. Now if the report was a fair and honest one and the Children Services were concerned
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to help children how would it upset the child? With respect to references to the father, not only was the content prejudicial, insidious and rife with innuendo but there were no positive comments at all. With respect to references to the child there were positive attributes noted but there was also a total misrepresentation of her 'emotional difficulties' and it was constantly suggested and implied if not stated that these were down to her father. This was not a kind report. In fact, backed up by Obelix's remark to me, it was designed and expected to offend and upset the child. It is clearly a divisive construct. For those who require a little more clarification 'divisive' means to divide people and set them against one another. It was written confidentially for the child and was explicitly expected to upset the child. How cruel is that? The heading of the first section includes the instruction that "This includes observation and communication with the child in an age appropriate manner." The report template (carefully and thoughtfully designed by responsible people) repeatedly refers to "strengths and needs" not "faults and failings". This report was neither "age appropriate" nor was it positive in observing "strengths and needs". This report was a deliberate cruel assault on my daughter and me.
The lie about the door bell.
In my letter to the Manager of the Children Services dated 25 October 2010 I have listed the sequence of our encounters with the Children Services up to that date. Please refer to that letter for clarification. On 21 September 2010 Obelix Mahjong left a card saying she could not get our attention at our house and would re-visit the next day at 4 pm. At approximately 4:10 pm the next day the door bell rang. We answered it and Obelix and her colleague Cathy were at the door. Two further meetings were scheduled: a joint meeting with Helen and myself for Thursday 30 September at 80 Haslet Road, and an individual one with Helen for Tuesday 5 October optionally at the Children Services' family centre. Obelix cancelled the joint meeting and presumed to simply miss it and have the following meeting with Helen alone. This transgressed the equitable and prearranged plan and is explained in this section under the heading Breach of fair procedures. When I finally managed to contact the elusive Obelix prior to the individual meeting and suggested the meeting simply be replaced with the cancelled joint meeting she explained an interesting fact to me. Obelix explained that meetings with Helen and me required that her colleague, Cathy, be present but meetings with Helen alone did not. It was for this reason, she said, that the meeting could not be replaced with a joint meeting because Cathy was not available. So another joint meeting was arranged for Thursday 7 October at 2:30 pm. At 3:15 pm I found a
note from Obelix saying that she could not get our attention and so had gone on to other visits. Some time after that Obelix explained that there was no door bell or at least she couldn't find it. So there are a few questions that need honest answers. Who used the bell on 22 September? It could not have been Obelix because even after 7 October she thought there was no bell. It must have been Cathy. Then why was the bell not used on two occasions when Cathy should have been present? On the 21 September a note from Obelix said she could not get our attention. But Cathy should have been with her because, as she explained, this was a requirement. Was Cathy with her on the 21st or was the note simply a lie? Was Cathy with her for the joint meeting on Thursday 7 October when she was delayed and left a note saying "I attempted to get your attention for several minutes but got no responses." and later claimed that she knew of no bell? Obelix had made it explicit that Cathy had to be with her for joint meetings. Had Cathy forgotten about the bell? Was Cathy with Obelix? Would the Children Services' records confirm whether Cathy was with her or not? Do they keep reliable records of their activities? (According to my experience of their reports certainly not.) One thing is for sure: Obelix is lying about something. Either Obelix is lying about the bell, or she is lying about the requirement to have Cathy with her, or she is lying about her intention to have the meeting at all.
Initial Assessment not completed in the mandatory time.
When Obelix Mahjong delivered the Initial Assessment Report to Helen she made a point of explaining that they were supposed to complete Initial Assessments within 7 working days and they
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had been so busy recently that they had not managed to complete this one in that time. She apologised for the delay. Now I was entirely unaware of the mandatory requirements within the Children Services. I was not particularly concerned nor interested. But it was clear from Obelix's comments that she would be in trouble if it were known that the report was not completed in the specified time. This point would never have been raised again if it were not for the cascade of deception, failures, incompetence and offensive behaviour that ensued. So now it is an issue. The Initial Assessment was not completed in the mandatory 7 working days. That is a fact and probably makes this Initial Assessment Report invalid. As Petra Brookson later reported to me the Initial Assessment is locked by the ICS when it is complete. The ICS records the completion date as 20/09/2010 which is 3 working days late.
Incomplete section: REASON FOR INITIAL ASSESSMENT
I have explained the problem with the section entitled REASON FOR INITIAL ASSESSMENT in more detail in my letter of 22 October 2010 to Obelix Mahjong and all those specific complaints still stand and need addressing. This section clearly states in the heading that it should include "VIEWS OF CHILD/YOUNG PERSON AND PARENT/CARERS". It fails to do so. We were interviewed for a total of three hours and not one word from either Helen or myself appears in this section. There is a reason, I assume, for the heading title. By omitting half of the requirement the report simply echoes someone else's misrepresentation of us and does nothing to balance the prejudicial remarks. It is an appalling omission. It is, therefore, prejudicial in its own right.
Erroneous implication of a fair investigation.
The final statement in the REASON FOR INITIAL ASSESSMENT section, on page 2, states "Initial assessment carried out in order to further investigate the concerns of nursing staff..." This statement erroneously implies that a fair investigation will be carried out and reported therein. Nowhere in the report are there any statements made to mitigate the nurses comments. If nothing was found to address those concerns, that were serious enough to instigate an Initial Assessment Investigation, then presumably those concerns still exist. The nurses remarks were clearly insidious innuendo of a sexual nature. If those concerns still exist then why did the Children Services abandon a Core Assessment midstream with no explanation? The actual reality is that this was never intended to be a fair investigation. It was simply an excuse to use these sinister allusions and false accusations to further the assault on two innocent victims. Amongst other things this is called bullying. But as is usual with bullies they have run away on being challenged.
Incorrect telephone number.
On Page 1 of the Initial Assessment the "Main Contact Number" is stated as 01234 567890. This is an error. I would be interested to know where it was obtained and why, when I have pointed this out, it remains an incorrect fact in an official document.
Page 3 of the Initial Assessment Report contains the statement "Nursing staff state that Helen would not allow any medical staff to examine her, and refused x-rays and scans, so a diagnosis was not made until 05/09/2010." I have a hard time believing that the nursing staff made that statement because it is not true and contradicts another claim about Helen's undressing in front of her father. Also, to be pedantic, 'nursing staff' is plural. Did more than one nurse make this claim because that would be collusion since it is an evident lie. And exactly how many x-rays and scans was Helen supposed to have 'refused'? I am not naive about what some nurses can claim. I was there and I have read these reports. I know how erroneous they can be. The medical records of the hospital will corroborate the fact that Helen was being treated with intravenous antibiotics for appendicitis prior to 05/09/2010. She was given at least two doses of a 3 doses per day regimen on Friday 03/09/2010 and had two doses on Saturday until Sandy Shore stopped her treatment in a fit of pique;
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I heard the exchange on the telephone. It was her desperate attempt to cover her tracks that led to her reporting us to the Children Services and making a lot of insidious allusions.
Striptease for the doctors?
On page 2 of the Initial Assessment Report it is asserted that Sandy Shore stated that Helen "...had to undress and undressed in front of her father" and on page 3 it is claimed that Helen "...would not allow any medical staff to examine her". So what did she have to undress for? Since these claims were made at the same time was this simply a gratuitous display of her naked body? because if it were then this report has missed something very serious and significant. Apart from the blatantly wrong impression this statement about her undressing is intended to give it was based (I assume) on the occasion when a doctor examined her tummy and she removed her t-shirt (and was wearing a bra) for the doctor to examine her. Or, given the claim that she wouldn't allow any medical staff to examine her, are we supposed to assume that she just undressed in front of an audience of doctors who were not examining her? This would be farcical if it were not so dreadfully serious. What would a headline "Young girl does striptease for doctors." in the local paper look like?
Refusal of treatment?
On pages 3, 4 & 6 of the Initial Assessment Report Obelix Mahjong has referred to Helen's refusal of treatment as if it were a fact. On one occasion she has stated that Helen agreed with this claim. There is some very cruel manipulation of 'fact' that is going on here. First of all the task of Children Services was to look into the claims made by the nurses. They have not looked into these claims. They have simply carried on with gay abandon assuming whatever they wish to be true to be actually true and ignored the rest. This is clear because there is no explanation for any of the alleged claims and yet some are repeated as if established truths and others are ignored as if they are not serious enough to raise any concern. Did I lay on her bed? Did she undress in front of me? Did I inappropriately touch her? Did she refuse treatment? Well it appears 'Yes' to the last one because it sits well with Obelix's criticisms of me. Insane really. The fact is that Helen never once refused treatment but nothing is ever said about this in the report.
On page 2 of the Initial Assessment Report it is stated that Sandy Shore said that "...when staff asked Helen what religion she was she stated she was into witchcraft." I don't know if Sandy Shore was at liberty to disclose that erroneous tit-bit. It is weird that the only point recognising any of my concerns from Damon Markham 4 months late in his letter of 22 February 2011 was the slightly weird statement "I recognise your point in respect of Helen being "into witchcraft" and as it subsequently emerged she identifies herself as being Wiccan, which, as you say, is an entirely respectable religion." If that were my only complaint I might even have taken it as a kind of an apology but it is more of an insult given the trivial nature of this stupid remark against the seriousness of the rest of my complaint.
Vacuous claims of intent.
In the Initial Assessment Report on page 4 Obelix writes "There were concerns from nursing staff that there was inappropriate physical contact and attention from Helen's father. Therefore Helen and Dave's relationship and the boundaries of it need to be explored further." So has anyone reading this report any reason to know whether Dave inappropriately 'touched' Helen or not? Apart from the fact that this is vacuous, in that it was neither "explored further" nor has anything more been said on this subject, it is, by its inclusion with no real intention to investigate, simply included to maintain the insidious sexual innuendo. This is disgusting in its intent and irresponsible in its dereliction.
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A misquote repeated 3 times.
On three occasions in the Initial Assessment Report it is stated, in quotes, that Helen said she was a 'recluse' (pp. 4 & 5). Helen has never described herself as a recluse. This would be bad enough if it were not quoted. The fact of quoting it gives it added authenticity and is, in fact, simply wrong. This must be amended for the report to be legitimate. I did mention this error to Obelix on one occasion (either 12 or 15 October) and to give credit where it is due, where a block was copied and pasted from the Initial Assessment to the Core Assessment, the word was corrected to 'hermit'. Pedantic maybe, but an error none the less.
Incorrect date of the only source of information.
In the section SOURCES OF INFORMATION on page 2 of the Initial Assessment Report the only source provided has the wrong date. Apparently Helen was interviewed 11 August 2009, eleven months before this assessment was initiated.
"It doesn't matter; no one reads these reports."
This was a very interesting explanation given to me by Obelix Mahjong when I queried some facts that were wrong in the Initial Assessment Report. She simply dismissed the errors by stating that it doesn't matter because no one ever reads these reports. Well if it doesn't matter perhaps her job doesn't matter either. And why are the hard pressed tax payers funding all these people and the infrastructure including the ICS if no one ever reads these reports and they don't matter?
Sources of information not included in Initial Assessment Report.
In the SOURCES OF INFORMATION section in the Initial Assessment Report, apart from the incorrect entry of Helen, there are no sources listed. There is no record of who else was interviewed or contacted. There is no record of when anyone was interviewed (pertinently, since the only name has a false date). This cannot be acceptable. We know Helen was interviewed and she is the only named person. We know I was interviewed but there is no mention of me. We know Sandy Shore was a "source of information" because she is named in the report on page 1 and it can be deduced from the "Date Referral Received" on page 1 that it was 6 September 2010. That would be assuming these dates are reliable which they are not. But there is no mention of her in the SOURCES OF INFORMATION. Then on page 3 there is a statement that begins "Nursing staff state that...". Who are these people? Who stated these things? Then on page 4 "There were concerns from nursing staff..." Who are these nursing staff? When were they interviewed? Are they real or imaginary? Who else was a source of information but not listed here?
Incomplete "Involvements Contributing To Initial Assessment".
For approximately three hours on 6 September 2010 Fi Prattle interviewed us. Obelix Mahjong took notes with only very occasional comments. Why is Fi Prattle not listed here? She was the interviewer. It was her questioning and interpreting which drove the interview. It was her suggestion that there was 'separation anxiety'. What is the meaning of a section for listing "Involvements Contributing To Initial Assessment" if they are simply not listed? Obelix is listed but we know she should be because she has written the report. Does Fi Prattle work for the Children Services or was she just a friend along to help Obelix and not to be mentioned as an involvement contributing to the Initial Assessment? Or perhaps she is a secret agent from the security forces with good 'interviewing techniques' and her identity must remain 'off the record'. And who else was involved and not mentioned here?
Parental Consent error.
Why does it matter whether this Initial Assessment form is filled in correctly? In the section SOURCES OF INFORMATION under the subheading "Involvements Contributing To Initial Assessment" Obelix Mahjong is named as one such source. But whether parental consent was
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obtained is categorically stated as "Unknown". But consent was requested and it was given and I recall taking Obelix to the ward to collect Helen. How is this "Unknown" consent? It is blatantly wrong. Why wasn't the word "Banana" written in here? It would convey something closer to the truth in that it would be clearly wrong.
False hypothesis of separation anxiety claimed as fact.
On page 6 of the Initial Assessment Report Obelix Mahjong confidently states that Helen has "separation anxiety". This is a pseudo psychological statement. It has no validity in this report. The writer has no authority to make such a claim and no investigation of any kind was carried out to test this hypothesis. There was a discussion in the original interview when Fi Prattle first used this catch phrase and I clearly illustrated that it was not the case. Not only is it demonstrably wrong but I repeated my objection to this unqualified statement in my letter to Obelix Mahjong of 22 October 2010 and she still managed to copy and paste it into the Core Report. It needs removing.
Helen's "attire at the hospital".
On page 4 of the Initial Assessment Report Obelix sees fit to speculate with the remark "Helen's father did not seem concerned about her attire at the hospital." A little sordid remark really. If there is any meaning to this statement other than to denigrate me I would like to know what it is. If there is an issue of relevance here did Obelix think to ask me whether I was concerned. She had three hours in the hospital when she could have asked my opinion. The guidelines for this assessment stress the requirement to seek the parents views. Do they stress this because there is a tendency for social workers to speculate without investigating? This is a petty and rather shameful attempt to malign.
On page 4 of the Initial Assessment Report it states "Dave's caregiving behaviour is encouraging Helen's dependence on him which is inappropriate for a child of her age." This is remarkably naive given that we discussed the subject in depth. There is a history to our story which is entirely ignored here. Actually I probably do quite the reverse. But I am not really complaining about the assertion so much as the relentless negative interpretation of everything.
Financial difficulties ignored.
On page 5 of the Initial Assessment Report under the heading "Income (please include information regarding financial difficulties)" it simply states "Dave is currently in receipt of state benefits." Is that because being in debt to the tune of £65,000 is insignificant when compared with state benefits? Could it be relevant that Helen's mother is a millionaire and that we were literally evicted from the family home and cast into rent land with an unrealistic settlement. Could it be relevant that her mother has never paid anything towards Helen's upkeep or wellbeing except a brief period of enforced CSA payments before she quit her job thereby avoiding legal enforcement. Could it be relevant that we moved town for me to get a job and that we were burgled and attacked in the middle of the night and consequently I lost the job. Could it be relevant that we are forced economically to reside rent free in my father's attic. Would these be relevant 'financial difficulties'? If not what is?
Bad analysis of information gathered.
The brief comments in the section entitled ANALYSIS OF INFORMATION GATHERED DURING THE INITIAL ASSESSMENT on page 6 of the report are remarkably 'blame' orientated. I feel like someone who has been through a ship wreck disaster, helped Helen, and when we both turn up on the beach injured and exhausted some berk comes along and blames her condition on me. Thanks Obelix that really was insightful and supportive. Or was that what the report was 'supposed' to be? A serious point here is not only that the report is negative to me in general but that this approach of
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'blaming' the parent will not help the child. Especially since this report was given specifically and confidentially to the child.
No strengths or needs.
Throughout the main section entitled CHILD/YOUNG PERSON'S DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS ranging from page 2 to page 4 each subsection is divided into "Child's needs" and "Parenting Capacity" both of these subdivisions are always followed by "Please give details including strengths and current needs". There are absolutely NO strengths noted for the parent nor needs, only blame and criticism. The following section is entitled PARENT/CARERS ATTRIBUTES and the explanation of this section contains quite clearly the statement "It is important to be aware of parent(s)/carer(s) strengths as well as the difficulties they are experiencing." Admittedly the only box available hardly encourages positive remarks but pertinently the only words entered by Obelix Mahjong are "Not known or declared". Could someone describe to me what the word 'important' means?
Overview of Initial Assessment.
The Initial Assessment Report was not carried out according to government guidelines nor the stated intentions on the report form. Obelix Mahjong has selected what few negative remarks or attributes she could eke out of her investigation to blacken the image of the father. This is not only an illegitimate report as can be adequately proven from the computer records and from the blatant disregard of the stated intent on the form itself but is also illegitimate because it is a torrent of prejudice and abuse. Marks out of 10 = 0. (Would have got 1 if Helen's name could have been consistently spelt right.)
Breach of fair procedures.
When the Core Assessment was initiated it was proposed by Obelix Mahjong that there be four meetings. A joint meeting with Helen and me, an individual one with Helen, an individual one with me and a final joint meeting. This was deemed fair and reasonable. The first meeting, scheduled for Thursday 30 September 2010, was cancelled by Obelix. The next meeting, with Helen alone, had been arranged for Tuesday 5 October 2010. Obelix intended to hold the second meeting with Helen without replacing the joint meeting. I suggested the 'fair procedure' should be adhered to and she reluctantly agreed to have the first joint meeting at 2:30 pm on Thursday 7 October 2010. This was then avoided with some deception by Obelix (clearly illustrated in this section under the heading "The lie about the door bell."). Another arrangement was made for the first joint meeting on Tuesday 12 October 2010. This meeting took place and an individual meeting with Helen was arranged for Friday 15 October 2010. Uniquely Obelix arrives 10 minutes early on Friday and has a meeting with Helen alone. I am simply informed that Obelix has arranged another meeting with Helen alone for Tuesday 19 October 2010. This is manipulative and irresponsible by Obelix but I let it pass. The second individual meeting with Helen occurred on Tuesday 19 October 2010. After this meeting Obelix expressed the view that she had all the information she required and would write the Core Assessment Report with no further meetings. This is simply ignoring the prearranged, mutually agreed, equitable arrangements. What she is suggesting is no individual meeting with me and no final joint meeting to review the situation. I said that this was unacceptable and that we should have the prearranged meetings. Obelix was clearly unhappy about this and said she couldn't do an individual meeting with me because she was too busy. I offered to attend her office if that would help. She reluctantly agreed and a meeting was arranged for Friday 22 October 2010. I turned up at her office and Obelix was reportedly off sick. This appallingly rude affair is described in more detail in my letter
to the manager of the Children Services of 25 October 2010. I tried phoning and I wrote to the Children Services manager but they refused to communicate any more. So one joint meeting and two individual meetings with Helen were all that occurred. This was not the arrangement suggested by Obelix and agreed to by all parties. If a Core Assessment Report were produced (as it was eventually) after this shambles it would be illegitimate.
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A 'fake' Core Assessment Report.
Having suggested that the Core Assessment Report seemed fake in a letter to Damon Markham on 3 April 2011 I then complained to the Complaints Manger on 18 April 2011 referring to '...what appears to be a hastily concocted document entitled "Core Assessment"'. I eventually got a response (only after complaining to the Ombudsman) from Petra Brookson dated 30 June 2011 going to some length to 'prove' the Core Assessment was not a 'fake'. So I looked into this matter in more detail. Petra Brookson has the strange naivety or blatant audacity to state "I trust the above comments confirm to you that the Core Assessment is not as you suggest 'a fake with no legitimacy.'" and yet her preamble to that comment confirms the illegitimacy of not only the Core Assessment Report but the Initial Assessment Report too. So I now conclude with no doubt that the Core Assessment is 'fake'. Petra Brookson assures me that the 'proof' lies in the fact that the computer system 'locks' reports when they are authorised by a social worker's supervisor. What she fails to note is the date that the computer system 'locked' these documents. The Initial
Assessment was locked by the system on 20 September 2010 making it several days late and precisely when Obelix suggested it was completed. Given that this 'proves' the Initial Assessment was not completed in the statutory time it evidences the false information on the Core Assessment Report where it is claimed it began on 15 September 2010, five days prior to the finalisation of the Initial Assessment Report. So the start date printed on the Core Report is fabricated. According to the Home Office's Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families, section 3.11 "The timescale for completion of the Core Assessment is a maximum of 35 working days." which makes the date Obelix Mahjong claims the report was completed, 2 November 2010, exactly one day earlier than the maximum time allowed from the claimed start date. All might seem well to the uninitiated except for the fact that the computer 'locked' the report on 14 March 2011 some four months later with no authorisation from a supervisor. This date of 14 March conveniently coincides with just enough time to 'concoct' this report after my complaint dated 1
March 2011 that they had not completed the Core Report. Petra Brookson also offers as 'proof' the fact that a report is 'locked' when a supervisor authorises the report and mistakenly claims that the Core Assessment Report was 'authorised' on 3 November 2010. The Core Assessment Report was never authorised by a supervisor. Apart from the circumstantial evidence which clearly indicates this is a hastily concocted fake report the recorded evidence now confirms this.
Core Assessment not completed in the mandatory time.
Even if we believe the falsified information on the reports the Core Assessment was 'initiated' on 15 September 2010. It was locked by the system with no supervisor authorisation on 14 March 2011. That is approximately 120 working days later. That's 85 working days outside the statutory time limit.
No supervisor authorisation on Core Assessment Report.
As the heading states there is no supervisor authorisation on the Core Assessment Report.
Breach of confidentiality.
Although it was made clear to Helen and myself that the Initial Assessment Report was confidentially for her eyes only unless express permission were given for anyone else to read it, the Core Assessment was sent directly to me. So was Obelix lying to get Helen to read the Initial Assessment or are these reports confidential and Damon Markham was simply acting in breach of confidentiality. My guess is the latter because he was slightly unclear in his thinking because of his haste to cover their collective tracks of malpractice.
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Sources of information not included in Core Assessment Report.
This differs somewhat from the issue mentioned under the heading "Sources of information not included in Initial Assessment Report." insofar as there is no section to include more general sources of information on the Core Assessment Report form. This may be a general matter that wants addressing. But there is a section to list "Date(s) Child & Family Members Seen/Interviewed" and there are omissions in this section. The information regarding Helen's interviews seems complete and accurate but there is no mention of any interviews with me. Ironically Obelix can manage to make deliberately derisory comments about me like that I "dominate discussion with particularly derogatory comments about Helen's mother." whilst apparently never having seen or interviewed me.
Deliberate misrepresentation and misuse of official reports.
On page 2 Obelix claims "An Initial Assessment was completed by Dave Scott of Sumshire Children's Services in August 2009, after her mother expressed concerns about Helen's failure to access education and the impact that living in her father's care was having on her well being." She never refers (specifically) to this report or its findings again. This is clearly intended to suggest that there is something negative about my caring for Helen. However the contradictions are clear even in this report. Helen's mother continues to try to cause more problems for both of us and Obelix, 'sap' like, picks up the baton and runs with it by referring to the negative concerns of the mother and legitimising them by saying an Initial Assessment was carried out. This is precisely not the whole truth. If this sort of information is to be used to 'illustrate' some point then equally it is wrong to use it to 'illustrate' an untruth. I say 'sap' like because Marion used to gloat that people were 'saps' meaning they were easily manipulated. She would regularly play the victim and express distress or worry about my 'bad behaviour'. Usually, instead of fairly investigating, people like the police and social services (and many more) all fed into her construct by assuming something was wrong with me for such a nice sweet concerned 'mother' to be so distressed. It has led to an avalanche of problems and difficulties for both Helen and me. In fact it has ruined our lives. So, as far as I am concerned, this is not a small point to be swept under the carpet as if it is insignificant. It cannot be insignificant because Obelix has 'used' (or misused) these issues in this report to almost subconsciously bolster her chosen prejudicial view. It becomes clear what Obelix thinks she is saying when she says no one reads these reports. She evidently did not read the referenced report. The pertinent point being that when Dave Scott investigated Marion's concerns it was clear to him that they were without foundation and that it was clearly an attempt by Marion to cause more trouble and difficulty for Helen and myself. The whole point of having these investigations is to find out what the situation is. Dave
Scott reported it and Obelix chose only to abuse the fact that the report was instigated in the first place without making any reference to its findings. This is an attempt to suggest guilt from the fact of someone being accused. In spite of the obvious evidence! This kind of misrepresentation can no longer be allowed to persist. This must be removed. Additionally on page 3 Obelix states "As a result of Helen's mother making persistent complaints regarding Helen's lack of education, Mr Hook decided that he would educate Helen at home." That is a totally unfounded and erroneous supposition. Need I say more?
The lie about our reluctance and missed appointments.
On page 2 of the Core Assessment Report Obelix claims "... although there has been some reluctance, and missed appointments." This is a complete lie. Why is it in the report? What is it conveying? What is the purpose of this remark? This invented fact must be removed. There was no reluctance at all to comply with the arranged and agreed meetings. Neither Helen nor myself missed any appointment. The only person who was reluctant and missed appointments was Obelix Mahjong (See heading "Obelix Mahjong's reluctance and missed appointments."). It is disgraceful and very worrying that a social worker can put such lies in a report with apparent impunity.
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The lie suggesting Helen was lying.
In the Core Assessment Report (p. 2) Obelix Mahjong claims "Helen had initially indicated that she would undertake some one to one work with the assessor as part of the Core Assessment, however in reality was reluctant to leave the family home." That is not true. Helen agreed to a joint meeting followed by an individual meeting with her and Obelix alone. It was Obelix that suggested 'going away' with Helen but it was a suggested possibility not an arrangement. The arrangement was for an individual meeting either at Haslet Road or possibly somewhere else. By default Obelix manipulated the 'going away' part. What is true is that Obelix's Initial Assessment Report was overtly offensive to Helen and when Obelix conspired repeatedly to avoid the agreed joint meeting it is not surprising that Helen would get suspicious of such behaviour. It was Obelix that betrayed any trust by her tricky behaviour. When Obelix makes an arrangement
to perform a sequence of actions and fails to carry out the first part she cannot claim that the other party failed to carry out the second part. The failure was clearly Obelix's and it is clear even from the Children Services' own records. So to suggest Helen had a secret agenda by claiming she agreed to something "however in reality was reluctant...' is an appalling perversion of the truth. Well actually this is classic Freudian projection. It is Obelix who "in reality was reluctant" to have the joint meeting and it was Obelix who displayed overt avoidance of meetings. (All on record if anyone is sincere enough to check it out and see also "Obelix Mahjong's reluctance and missed appointments." ). This must be removed from the report.
No response is being prepared.
On page 2 of the Core Assessment Report Obelix states "Mr Hook has complained about the content of the Initial Assessment and a response is being prepared." A strange statement given the claim that this report was completed on 2 November 2010 and I didn't hear from them again until 22 February 2011 nearly 4 months later.
Helen is thrown out of school.
On page 3 of the Core Assessment Report it states "...the relationship between the school and Helen deteriorated, whereby Mr Hook decided to remove Helen from Biston High School." So incorrect. Working with Mrs Caitlyn Copeland (an Assistant Head at Biston High School) the relationship was improving to the point of 100% attendance for a whole term. It was one day when Helen was poorly that a stressed out Mrs Jane Thornbush (Acting Head Teacher of Biston High School) decided to eject this 'problem' because they had an Ofsted Inspection the next day. Mrs Thornbush actually complained to me that she had spent an hour with Helen and had not been able to stop her crying. What was she doing for an hour with a sick child who only wanted to go home? An hour? What the hell was she doing? But the consequence was that she phoned me and told me a set of junk about Helen and demanded that I took her away. Was that my decision? No! Helen was illegally thrown out of school by emotional bullying and no record to 'justify' the illegitimate action of Mrs Thornbush. The issue of the school is our problem and I evidently didn't complain loudly enough to enough people to get justice for Helen at the time. And I don't expect this Assessment to solve the problem. But I do expect Obelix Mahjong to tell what truth is relevant and not to lie to defend the "authority" of the school. I was instructed to remove Helen by Mrs Jane Thornbush. If that raises awkward questions then so be it. But it won't.
"I won't pretend I educate her."
Well done! A correct quote. Unfairly placed but correct. On page 3 of the Core Assessment Report Obelix states "As a result of Helen's mother making persistent complaints regarding Helen's lack of education, Mr Hook decided that he would educate Helen at home. He has however admitted that he 'won't pretend I educate her', rather leaving her to her interests of writing and fashion design rather than taking on any teaching role." The quote that I said I "won't pretend I educate her" is correct but it is placed in a completely erroneous context. Actually Helen was bullied out of school by a teacher and I was threatened with jail. I opted to put her in home education to avoid
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depriving her of the one person she needed. I was not, and am not, in a position to educated her more than assisting her with her interests and sharing a general broader knowledge that I have. This situation was forced on us and it was, and is, extremely unsatisfactory and damaging to both of us. But to suggest I decided to home educate her as a result of her mother's complaints and then simply didn't bother is just fiction. But it seems to afford Obelix the vehicle of making me appear wantonly irresponsible.
Sugar coating is not an acceptable or fair representation of reality.
On page 3 Obelix writes "A placement at the hospital school was arranged however Helen's request to be able to contact her father in order to leave school at any given time if she felt distressed was not felt to be appropriate by staff; therefore subsequently no placement within the school was undertaken." I feel as if I am making points that other people might feel are insignificant nit-picking. However it is the very subtlety of these errors that allows them to slip by and eventually to compile into significant problems which are almost impossible to address. This remark by Obelix is simply sugar coating the event in an attempt to cast doubt on me to save her from the difficulty of asserting that the school failed us through their own illegitimate behaviour. It is not up to the school to 'feel it is inappropriate for her to phone home'. It is not a prison. Ironically this hospital school is supposed to be there to help children who are finding it difficult to attend school. We were there voluntarily because both of us wanted her involved in school. The school refused to reassure Helen that of course she could phone me if she was frightened. We had to ask six times on two different occasions and not once would they reassure Helen. They were not stupid enough to deny that right because it would most probably be illegal. But it was irresponsible of them to refuse to acknowledge their acceptance of her right. Therefore, the fact that this is a misrepresentation of what happened means it is illegitimate in this report. We are the injured party and it must be represented fairly if it is going to be used as evidence in a report of this nature. So it must go.
False construct: "a very distressing separation from her mother"
The claim that Helen suffered "what is termed a very distressing separation from her mother" first appears on page 5 of the Initial Assessment Report As explained at length in my letter of 22 October 2010 to Obelix Mahjong this claim is false. Obelix has a strange way of adding pseudo-authenticity to the assertion by saying "what is termed...". 'Termed' by whom Obelix? For an accurate explanation of what is so devastatingly erroneous about this comment and how it is misleading in the extreme please read the aforementioned letter. Having read(?) my letter Obelix then went on to creatively copy and paste this phrase twice into the Core Assessment Report (pp. 4 & 8).
Complexity of negative projection does not legitimise it.
An example, that would be amusing if the matter were not so serious, of the relentless attempt to vilify me can be found on page 5 of the Core Assessment Report. (It is worth remembering that these assessments are supposed to be looking for strengths and needs and are not intended to simply denigrate and criticise with little or no functional benefit to the subjects.) Obelix presents the case that "Both Helen and Mr Hook have on more than one occasion presented to me their views that there is prejudice in society towards single fathers in terms of a child being brought up solely by her father; with Mr Hook feeling that 'people can make pejorative suggestions, insinuations,
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allusions and accusations' about their close relationship." (A warning here: This is a subtle misrepresentation because I never said those things about our 'close relationship'; That is Obelix's anxiety surfacing but that is not the point of this example.) It seems fairly clear that this is a preamble to a denial of its validity. You can almost hear the 'BUT'. It is worth noting that prejudice is mentioned and that my views are quoted in an attempt to belittle them. By measuring this against the statements which Obelix chose to include in this report from the nurses interviewed it is self evident that my comments are entirely valid and reasonable. The nurses remarks are all of those things and if in doubt I have clarified this at length in my letter of 22 October 2010 to Obelix Mahjong. Also if they are not then why has nothing been done about them? So, if this is a preamble to invalidate our views and mine in particular, how does Obelix go about it? Ironically she first claims a third party's pejorative implication to add credibility to what she is about to say ("The observations of the Connexions worker at Biston College is that the relationship between Mr Hook and Helen is 'intense' with Mr Hook 'controlling' conversation when Helen is present") and then states that I make "...particularly derogatory comments about Helen's mother..." and that I leave "... little room for Helen to interject." Well ... Gosh! There is prejudice in that statement as well as pejorative suggestion, insinuation and allusion. The prejudice is perhaps a little hard to see but is evidenced by the very sentence that precedes this little excerpt. The previous sentence actually states that Helen was afraid of her mother. Why then would there be anything wrong with explaining to Obelix (because she asked) what was wrong with Helen's mother. But this is criticised as me making derogatory remarks about her. The prejudice is in the fact that Obelix refers to the woman as Helen's mother with the suggestion that it is unkind to make derogatory remarks about a child's mother. She did not name her or refer to her as my ex-wife but rather draws on the generic 'nice mother' image whilst forgetting what she has just reported in a previous sentence. I guess this is a little like explaining a joke; You either get it or you don't. The joke is that in order to belittle my comments and to denigrate me Obelix applies the same assault as if to invalidate my claim. It ironically clarifies and validates it by manifestation. And the question remains "What is the constructive point of this little outburst?" Of course if we did some Freudian analysis on this it could provide quite a revelation about the writer. What? Me casting aspersions? Where would I have learnt that trick?
Subjective versus objective.
On page 5 of the Core Assessment Report Obelix states "Mr Hook gave a portrayal of Helen where she found it difficult to relate to peers and 'doesn't like to engage with people'. In light of this I was surprised at how open and eager to speak with me Helen appeared," Given her surprise it is also possible that she had misunderstood me. Given that I didn't say that Helen "doesn't like to engage with people" it is not surprising that Obelix, interpreting what I said as meaning that, was then surprised. Obelix makes a remarkably presumptuous 'objective' interpretation of the world.
College and school attendance.
Obelix states on page 5 of the Core Assessment Report that "There is a clear need for Helen to engage in sustained attendance at Biston in college (sic)..." It is unfortunate then that the consequence of Obelix's remarks and behaviour have been to stop Helen from attending college. Obelix goes on to say "The removal of Helen from school..." which is a convenient but misleading way of referring to her ejection from school. It would be nice to be able to thank Obelix for reassuring Helen that adults are honest and trustworthy but sadly she achieved the reverse.
Under the heading "Emotional Warmth" on page 6 of the Core Assessment Report Obelix says "Helen and Mr Hook clearly have a close relationship, however..." Of course Obelix could not make such a statement without a 'but' or a 'however'. Why ruin a good report that says nothing positive about the father. The 'however' goes on to make a silly and misrepresentative claim of "his
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removal of her from school". In some respects I don't mind that Obelix has such a negative view of me but it is unhelpful to Helen to continue to maintain these false constructs.
Moving to Fraben?
Page 6 of the Core Assessment Report has a section entitled "Stability". In it Obelix states that "[Helen] is hopeful that the option of returning to Fraben will increase stability, confidence and happiness in her life" Of course it is Sumbury in Frabenshire but that is not important. My point in raising this is to highlight that there are positive possibilities. But Obelix goes on to say "As Mr Hook is not currently in receipt of an income it will be difficult for the family to move at the present time." Now I don't understand that. I am in receipt of an income as stated by Obelix on page 8 of this document. So what does Obelix really mean when she refers to 'income'. If she means a paid job I don't know how that would help us move to Sumbury. It is very easy to cast aspersions but it makes no real sense. It is all too subtle to discuss here since the main thrust of this complaint is that the two reports are entirely illegitimate and damaging.
Obelix Mahjong's reluctance and missed appointments.
As mentioned in the sections headed "The lie about our reluctance and missed appointments." and "The lie suggesting Helen was lying." Obelix Mahjong was overtly reluctant to attend certain meetings to the point of lying and missed three appointments and disregarded a fourth. It is worth noting for the record that Obelix cancelled the meeting arranged for 30 September 2010, Obelix avoided the meeting arranged for Thursday 7 October 2010 (leaving a note which can be clearly proved to be a lie; see "The lie about the door bell."), Obelix was simply not available for the arranged meeting on Friday 22 October (with no warning, no apology and no attempt to reschedule), and finally Obelix made no attempt to arrange the agreed final joint meeting. That's three meetings missed and one discarded!
The amazingly rude termination of an official investigation.
This subject is described in part under the headings "A 'fake' Core Assessment Report.", "Core Assessment not completed in the mandatory time." and "Obelix Mahjong's reluctance and missed appointments." It was arranged to have four meetings as described elsewhere. This arrangement was never reorganised by any discussion or agreement. Obelix simply added another meeting and then avoided one, and the last one simply never materialised in any shape or form. There was no structure, method or procedure adhered to. On 19 October 2010 Obelix Mahjong tried to avoid arranging the next meeting by saying she was too busy. Eventually she reluctantly agreed to have the penultimate scheduled meeting when I offered to attend her office if that would help. The meeting was arranged for Friday 22 October 2010. I arrived at her office building at the allotted time and spoke to a receptionist for the building. I explained why I was there and she duly phoned Children Services. The conversation that ensued resulted in her asking me three times if this was by appointment. Three times I explained that it was. I was simply informed that Obelix Mahjong was off sick. Now in any other circumstance it would be common politeness for someone to have come out to see me to apologise for the mistake. It was not just that Obelix was off sick but no one had informed me. This was shocking. I was stunned. I was even confused for a moment. Was I supposed to just walk away? Yes, apparently I was. So I did. I fully expected a phone call on Monday and an apology and a rearrangement but no one contacted me. I tried phoning but there was no answer so I wrote a letter voicing my concerns, dated
Monday 25 October 2010, which I then sent to the Manager at the Children Services. Days and weeks went by and I was somewhat confused by this. Having expressed my concerns when Obelix had expressed her view that she could write the report without completing the meetings and, given my unaddressed concerns written to them, I was getting seriously worried that perhaps they might write the report with no more consultation. Of course I didn't believe they would because it would not be reasonable, but why were they not contacting me? Christmas came and went. Now I was getting very worried and didn't
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know what to do so I decided to write again. I did so on 8 February 2011. Some two weeks later I received a strange letter from Damon Markham, the Principle Practitioner at the Children Services Directorate. Although it made references to a few issues it essentially ignored the substance of my expressed concerns and seemed to conclude with the odd statement "In light of the concerns raised within the Initial Assessment it was considered that there was a need for a Core Assessment which ultimately considered that there was not a need for on-going Children's Services intervention." That, apparently, was that. That's it? That's what a Core Assessment is? Well, given that these people think they can sit in judgement over me and my daughter and can cast as many aspersions as they like in official documents held on expensive computer systems, I was finding it hard to get a perspective on reality. The tax payers pay for this and it is supposed to be what it claims to be. But having a modicum of intelligence I worked out that it couldn't be acceptable and so I decided to take this matter as far as need be to get some fair and reasonable resolution. The termination of this process midstream was not only bewilderingly irresponsible but it was done in an unacceptably rude and offensive manner.
Was Obelix in the office?
There is a possible implication made in this document that Obelix may have deliberately taken the day off sick on Friday 22 October 2010 in order to avoid a meeting. The response to me, described under the heading "The amazingly rude termination of an official investigation.", of the staff in the office raises some questions in my mind. Had Obelix been off sick why would they not have seen me and apologised for this mistake? If Obelix was not in the office why did her secretary not phone me to cancel the meeting as she had done once before on 29 September. The possibility that Obelix was in the office and the staff colluded with the deception to inform me she was not there still exists. Could this be eliminated as a possibility by confirming Obelix's day off sick from the employment records please? I do so hate these nagging possibilities fogging the otherwise clear understanding of what has happened.
The complaints procedure has been all but nonexistent. It is not good enough to have a Statutory Complaints Procedure and to wantonly ignore it. The very inaction of the Children Services has caused me serious distress, anxiety, frustration, sleepless nights and loss of time and money. I fully accept that when we get burgled and attacked in the middle of the night that we can expect little help or reparation in reality but it is generally accepted that it should not happen and where possible the effect of the crime is redressed. But Children Services is not supposed to act like a common criminal. Amazingly they are supposed to be a benign and official organisation. A GOVERNMENT organisation at that! I cannot imagine what the folk in the Children Services are thinking. They seem to be acting like their own apparent image of naughty children. What is worse they seem to think they can get away with it, and it is as if they are chuckling behind the scenes. What seems almost as funny is that I should get so bothered about it. I feel as if I should realise that of course it is like that. As if I am the idiot for getting distressed. As if it is all a harmless game. What a twit I must seem to them. But the truth is it is not a game and the Children Services actually have a very responsible job to do. If they can't do it they must be stopped from functioning in an aberrant and dangerous way. Damon
Markham's letter to me of 22 February was not so much offensive in its content as stunning it its arrogance and lack of recognition of my complaint. He makes the mind numbing assertion "I do not see any evidence of prejudice". Oh sorry Damon I must have been wrong! Somewhere along the line the Children Services have got to realise that the Emperor has no clothes on. This relentless negativity is so damaging. The judgemental attitude of these reports simply jumps out and grabs you by the throat. If the people at Children Services cannot see that, I suspect they should go back to university and revise their course material. Simply because the people in the Children Services' offices feel compelled to go along with the collusion that the Emperor's new clothes are so wonderful will not stop me asserting that he has none. One day, somewhere up the line I will
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encounter more reasonable people who can see the injustice of the action the Children Services took against us. Finally when I complained again and got no response I contacted the Ombudsman and only then when he nudged them did I get a totally unsatisfactory letter from Petra Brookson. The amazing thing is that she seems to think that explaining her uninformed opinion is the solution. Like some arrogant teacher who thinks the children should simply believe them because they are right because they are the teacher. No! What is right is right. Petra Brookson makes several false claims. Ironically she confirms the illegitimacy of the reports without even realising it because she states what she assumes to be true if the reports were genuine. To date I have seen no sign of any serious intent to handle this complaint. Now I also have a complaint against the Children Services complaints department.
No Complaints Procedure supplied or explained.
On page 9 of the Core Assessment Report there is a section headed FAMILIES SHOULD BE PROVIDED WITH THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION and the first subsection is entitled "When was the complaints procedure provided or explained" There is correctly no entry. The complaints procedure was supposed to be conveyed to us but it wasn't.
Ignored complaints: numbers 1, 2 and 3
On the 22 October 2010 I wrote to Obelix Mahjong outlining my concerns. This letter was ignored. After some very unprofessional behaviour from Children Services I wrote to the manager on 25 October 2010 to complain and raised a number of issues. This letter was ignored. Eventually I wrote again on 7 February 2011 and I got an unsatisfactory response ignoring the bulk of my complaint from the manager on 22 February 2011. (He did include a photocopy of the Statutory Complaints Procedure.) It took 123 days from the first letter of complaint to get a reply. The Statutory Complaints Procedure says they will respond within two working days.
Ignored complaint: number 4.
On 30 February 2011 I wrote to the Manager in response to his unsatisfactory reply to me. I summarised my complaints and summarised what I wanted in response. This complaint, whilst summarising a number of issues also referred to my doubts about the claim that a Core Assessment Report existed. The response 15 days later was surprising. The focus of the two sentences it contained was to get him off the hook. Simply no acknowledgement of any of my concerns. He realised the glaring error that they had not finished the Core Assessment Report and so produced a copy and sent it to me with an apology. From their past track record the apology was not for me but rather for his own protection. Essentially my concerns were ignored.
Ignored complaint: number 5.
Furnished with my newly acquired information about the complaints procedure I wrote to the Complaints Officer on Monday 18 April 2011. I waited for the reply. Given that this was the 'Complaints Department' I fully expected the whole of the Children Services Directorate couldn't be infested with the same prehistoric ignorance and someone would reply. How stupid am I? How utterly gullible I must be. I really did expect a reply. I waited for a week giving time for delays in the post. No response! Can you believe this? I waited another week. Still no response. Somewhere along the line there is something I don't understand. My life is a wreck and I am very suspicious that there is something I don't get. This must be my fault. There is some fundamental piece of information that is missing from my brain. It's a puzzle and I am missing something. What is it? What is it I just don't get? What mistake am I making? What might I be erroneously assuming to be true? I wait another week. Yes, three weeks so far. Still no response! As the fourth week coasted past I decided to phone them. So on Thursday 12 May 2011 at 35 minutes past 4 in the afternoon I called the Complaints Department. I spoke to a very pleasant lady called Tracy. She explained that they had received my letter and it was marked as received on 3 May 2011. She assured me
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someone would contact me in a day or so. I thanked her. You won't believe this! I waited for another week. Still no response. So I called again, this time at exactly 30 minutes past four on the Thursday afternoon of 19 May 2011. I spoke to the same lady as before who was surprised and apologetic and assured me someone would be in touch in a day or so. It's like the Teletubbies! Play the same bit again. It's how children learn. Just repeat the same stuff over again. My problem is I just don't seem to be getting the message. But I am learning ... slowly. A week later I was not so surprised that they had not responded. So eventually I wrote to the Ombudsman on 29 May 2011.
Unsatisfactory response from Petra Brookson of the Complaints Department.
This refers to the letter from Petra Brookson dated 30 June 2011. I really don't know how to describe my view of this. It is entirely unsatisfactory. No! Let's not beat around the bush; It is worse; It is an insult. First of all the response came only after I complained to the Ombudsman as if they would never have bother if I had not 'told teacher'. Then there is no apology. Just a peculiarly arrogant set of assertions as if she is successfully performing her highly paid responsible role as a Complaints Officer. How did this letter address my concerns in any way at all? All it did was to waffle on about various things. The amazing thing is that she claimed the Core Assessment was not fake by asserting facts which in themselves prove the Core Assessment is fake. It is bizarre beyond belief. It is literally incredible. She then confirms that the section requiring documentation of the child and family members who were interviewed should have included me. Not even 'Sorry'. No mention of correcting it. Just a kind of weird acknowledgement that one small observation made by me of their multitude of errors is correct. She then goes on to make another perverse assertion. In some strange attempt to 'prove me wrong' she claims that I called Obelix on 7 October 2010 to cancel a planned visit. No I didn't. There was a visit planned for 14:30 hrs on Thursday 7 October 2010. At 14:10 hrs I phoned Obelix to confirm the meeting because I was already getting suspicious of Obelix's reliability. I did mention that it may be awkward because my father was unexpectedly still in the kitchen but there were other rooms available and I enquired as to other possible locations for other occasions. My recollection is that Obelix took this to mean that maybe the meeting couldn't go ahead and I reassured her it could and said I would go and check with my father and call her back within 5 minutes. Within 5 minutes and at precisely 14:15 hrs GMT I called back and confirmed the meeting. Petra also claims that I rescheduled it which is not true. How much lying am I supposed to swallow from these people. They just make up facts to suit whatever they want to assert at the time. She claims "neither she nor her colleague were able to gain your attention". Could we please have some evidence that her colleague was actually with her because the story I have so far strongly suggests she was not. She then asserts that a meeting arranged for the 5 October 2010 was cancelled by me because I reported Helen would not go anywhere with Obelix. It seems the same perversion of the truth techniques are rife throughout the Children Services Directorate in Biston. Do they have a manual for 'Techniques for Lying as an Official Organisation'? I did NOT cancel a meeting which was mutually arranged or agreed. What I did do was to refuse to allow Obelix to railroad us with her 'secret' agenda instead of the agreed agenda. What happened has been amply described in this document under the headings "Obelix Mahjong's reluctance and missed appointments.", "The lie about our reluctance and missed appointments.", "The lie suggesting Helen was lying." and "The lie about the door bell.". In addition to that it is documented in my letter
of 25 October 2010 to the Manager of the Children Services. The Children Services records, if they could be believed, would corroborate this. My question to Petra is: Would you make a child 'go away' with an overtly deceptive and unreliable stranger against their expressed wishes? Well the answer seems clear. And as if to somehow assure us all that Petra Brookson is right and all is well with the world she makes a reference to the only meeting that Children Services cancelled in a normal professional and civilised manner. So what exactly? What does that have to do with anything? So they got it right on one occasion. I am not concerned with a few things they got right. I am, however, very seriously concerned with the myriad of things they have got wrong. Petra then writes something that really can't be described as rational. I give up at this point. I refer the reader to the
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letter to see for themselves if the last three paragraphs make any contiguous rational sense. They are just dreamy assertions as if her interpretation of things is all that matters and they don't even have to make sense. Do they have something in the water supply at Children Services?
The offensive negativity of the report was glaring. It contained errors on numerous levels from simple fact to insidious insinuation. It was prejudicial in the extreme. It was divisive and manipulative in its intent. There is no justification or constructive purpose for this report. It failed to comply with statutory regulations. It is illegitimate and must be removed from the records and suitable reparation made.
The activities that purported to be an investigation were a shambles. If there was a plan it was abandoned midstream. The behaviour of the social worker involved and the Children Services Directorate was unacceptable. The report was not completed in the statutory time. It did not fulfil statutory regulations. It was based on incomplete information. It abandoned the child's needs because of fear of complaints. It is worse than illegitimate because it is an abdication of responsibility and a crime against the family. The fake report must be removed from the system and suitable reparation made.
Information explaining the complaints procedure was not provided at the correct time. Statutory guidelines were ignored. Several letters of complaint were ignored. Responses did not address the issues raised. There is a clear intention to avoid addressing the complaints.
The Children Services Directorate in Biston are clearly 'not fit for purpose'. At some point this matter will have to be responsibly addressed. The family have suffered serious consequences as a result of the torrent of abuse perpetrated by the Children Services and corrective action must be initiated. This is no longer only about the specific case but must be investigated with respect to the general mode of operation of the Children Services in Biston.
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