The Rt Hon David Cameron MP
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
10 Downing Street
21 July 2011
Dear David Cameron
I am sorry to be troubling you with this relatively small matter especially given how busy you are at the moment with world affairs, national economic difficulties and misbehaving journalists. I do hope someone in your office can deal with this on your behalf without troubling you bar maybe a small mention that all is not well with the Children Services Directorate in the provinces.
Having read your foreword to the Conservative Party Commission on Social Workers report of 2007 entitled "No More Blame Game – The Future for Children's Social Workers" I felt that you should be aware of an issue of unprofessional and possibly illegal behaviour by the Children Services Directorate at the Sumshire County Council based at Sumshire Social Services, Plantation House, Plantation Street, Chainton, AZ1 1ZA. In that foreword you wrote "This blame game cannot benefit the vulnerable families who need the involvement of social workers, let alone the professional social workers themselves." You were, of course, referring to the prevailing attitude of the press toward the social services. It goes without saying that the same is true of the social services attitudes towards families. You also stated that "...a good social worker is as crucial to the well-being of vulnerable children or to the survival of damaged families as a doctor is to the health of his patient..." This is true and it goes without saying that they should conduct themselves accordingly. Baroness Butler-Sloss of Marsh Green, former President of the Family Division, wrote later in the document "It is therefore astonishing and regrettable that a social worker does not enjoy the same degree of public recognition and respect as a nurse or teacher or those with other similar responsibilities". This would be astonishing if indeed they did act in a professional and responsible manner. On account of the good name desired by the profession they do have to act in a way that warrants it.
I feel it is therefore relevant to inform you of my current problem with the Children Services in Biston. They have acted in a way that is inappropriate and significantly detrimental to us. I suspect they have broken the law in several respects. I cannot find resolution through their Statutory Complaints Procedure because they are refusing to operate it in any meaningful sense. I will complain to as many authorities as possible to get some constructive action with regard to this matter and I am writing to you to keep you informed of the actual state of affairs on the ground. The Children Services in Biston are behaving in a way that is unprofessional, dismissive of statutory guidelines, falsifying reports, and their response to complaints strongly suggests it is a cultural mode of operation.
We are a single parent and single child family. We were 'investigated' by the Children Services on the basis of some insidious false accusations and innuendo by a nurse in the local hospital, Biston (a formal complaint is being handled responsibly by them at the moment). They conducted an Initial Assessment and produced a report which was overtly prejudicial, divisive and negative. It was not carried out in the statutory time as stipulated by the Home Office's Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families, section 3.9. They concluded that my daughter was "...a child in need as defined in the Children Act 1989." and "A child in need whose vulnerability is such that they are unlikely to reach or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development without the provision of services ". I would agree with both those conclusions.
They then proceeded with a Core Assessment. This was a catastrophic farce. Obelix Mahjong, the social worker conducting the assessment, acted unprofessionally and when I complained about the prejudicial nature of the Initial Assessment she simply terminated any further contact with us. The schedule of meetings was abandoned with no explanation. When I complained to Damon Markham, the Principle Practitioner, there was no response. When I complained again some months later expressing some concern over the 'terminated' Core Assessment I received a hastily concocted fake Core Assessment Report in an attempt to hide any failure on their part. This Core Assessment Report conveniently 'concluded' that the conclusion of the Initial Assessment was no longer valid. Needless to say this was unsatisfactory in the extreme and so I complained to their Complaints Department. This got no response. I eventually complained to the Ombudsman and with a nudge from them I got an unsatisfactory response from Petra Brookson of their complaints department essentially colluding with the falsifications being presented to me. I then complained again in detail and have received no response. All the information relating to this case is available, duly redacted, at http://www.toxicdrums.com/children-services-abuse/ and the myriad of errors are delineated specifically in the latest complaint at http://www.toxicdrums.com/children-services-abuse/daves-letter-13-07-2011.html .
The actions of the Children Services Directorate in Biston have cause us significant distress and damage. My daughter has not been able to attend college since this assault and I have become ill. So the net result is no help and some harm.
In addition there are now at least two official documents on an official computer system which are clearly and evidently erroneous in many respects and I can get nothing done about it. It seems, as far as they are concerned, that to simply ostracise us and to carry on as usual is satisfactory. This behaviour seems more characteristic of the cultural attitude of Colonel Gaddafi's security forces than a benign government institution in the UK.
If this were a one off incident it could perhaps be pursued through the ombudsman and other agencies alone. However there seems to be a bigger issue because they are acting in a way that strongly suggests it is their normal mode of operation and they are used to getting away with it in general.
I offer this information in the hope that this is of some general interest and concern to you and I would very much appreciate your personal intervention in this matter if you feel it could assist either in the specific or the general case.
B.A. M.Sc. MBCS CITP