Children's social services, complaints of misconduct / intimidation

Sheila Hersom made this Freedom of Information request to Kent County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Kent County Council,

I would like, under the Freedom of Information Act for information on action taken when a Children’s social worker who persistently fails in the following. Complaints to the GSCC and LGO have been exhausted. All have failed to acknowledge evidence, or take into account the law, what would the next steps be in the following questions?

1. Failing to follow public law, even when pointed out to them they are in breach of the law and some examples of their actions listed below.
a. Act beyond their powers.
b. Ignore relevant information.
c. Fail to undertake a sufficient enquiry.
d. Mislead professionals.
e. Clearly showing biasness towards one parent.
f. Not informing a parent what the case is against them.
g. Not taking into account evidence or factors which he or she was not aware of.
h. Not allowing the individual to put his or her case forward.
i. Not giving the individual the facilities to put his or her case forward.
j. Refusing to hear evidence that may have led to a different decision.
k. Denying access to relevant documents.
l. Holding a hearing in the absence of the individual when they had good reason for not being able to attend.
m. Changing the time / date / location of a hearing and failing to inform the individual or failing to notify the individual of the time and place of the hearing that would lead to the decision being taken.
n. Record keeping being grossly inaccurate, cheery picking evidence, falsifying evidence.
o. Social Workers attempt to cover up mistakes that they or other team members have made in the past.
p. Bullying or intimidating a service user with the removal of their children to remain silent on social services past mistakes, making complaints or highlighting any of the above.

2. Failing to follow the Children’s Act, even when pointed out to them they are in breach of the law and some examples of their actions listed below.
a. Failing to put the best interests of the child first.
b. Failing in the due of care towards a child.
c. Ignoring or showing no concerns of either imminent or future risk towards a child.
d. Ignoring professional advice or concerns.
e. Ignoring parents / family or friend’s advice or concerns

3. If a social worker or social services had, ignored professionals / service users and failed in their duty of care to a child and the risk came to light by another social services, would this be grounds to instigate a Serious Case Review. Would it be justified of social services or a social worker to carrying out any of the items listed in Q1 or Q2 against a service user to keep quiet?

4. What is the next course of action when LA have no concerns, refuse to satisfactory answer complaints, refuse to look at evidence.
5. What is the next course of action when GSCC have no concerns, refuse to satisfactory answer complaints, refuse to look at evidence.
6. What is the next course of action when LGO have no concerns, refuse to satisfactory answer complaints, refuse to look at evidence.
7. What action would be taken if LA refused to act on guidelines / policy / recommendations by OFSTED, LGO, GSCC.
8. What action would be taken if LA refused to act on guidelines / policy / recommendations by professionals?
9. Please can you supply statistics for the last 5 years where concerns or complaints have been raised on a social worker within your borough (either other staff or service users) for any of the above? Please supply information on any action taken, outcomes, no further action or passed to GSCC to investigate. Please give reasons why.
10. Have any of the social workers, over the last 5, years had two or more concerns or complaints made against them, as per Q6, from unrelated service users or staff. By this I mean the individuals that raised complaints were not related.
11. What course of action would be taken if a social worker refused to answer emails, or questions?
12. If all service users agreed, would the LA set up a support group for all service users who have had dealings with social services. i.e. give out leaflets to service users or inform them of support network meetings run by other service users. (Similar to Women’s Aid coffee mornings)
13. We acknowledge that GSCC is responsible for the conduct of a social worker, but have no authority over social services as a whole, therefore proving difficult to bring a case of misconduct over a particular social worker. Please can you tell us who is responsible for the conduct of social services?

Yours faithfully,

Sheila Hersom

Kent County Council

Dear Ms Hersom

 

Thank you for your email below.

 

Kent County Council acknowledges your request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Assuming KCC holds this information, we
will endeavour to supply the data to you as soon as possible but no later
than 05 March 2012 (20 working days from date of receipt).

 

We will advise you as soon as possible if we do not hold this information
or if there are exemptions to be considered and/or any costs for providing
the information. Please quote our reference - FOI/12/0179 - in any
communication regarding this particular request.

 

Best regards

 
James Mercer
Information Access Officer
Information Resilience & Transparency Team
Business Strategy & Support, Governance & Law
Kent County Council, Room 2.71, Sessions House, County Road, Maidstone,
ME14 1XQ. 
Telephone: 01622 221037, Internal: 7000 1037, Fax: 01622 696075
[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/cont...

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sandy Joyce left an annotation ()

Please explain why this request has been delayed

Caroline Dodge left an annotation ()

Request submitted over a weekend (4th February was a Saturday) are not classed as being received until the next working day. Under s10 FOIA, KCC must reply as soon as possible but no later than the 20th working day following the date of receipt. Therefore, for a request received on Monday 6th February, KCC has until close of business on Monday 5th March at the latest to reply to this request and remain within statutory timescales.

Kent County Council

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Hersom

 

Thank you for your request for information made under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

 

We have answered your questions below in the order they were raised.

 

1 and 2)  In questions one and two of your request you identified a number
of  possible allegations  that could be levelled at a member of staff
regarding their conduct.   In the event of allegations of this nature
being made against a KCC employee, a formal investigation would be
conducted in accordance with the internal Disciplinary Procedure.  I have,
for your information, attached a copy of the KCC Disciplinary Procedure.

 

3)  The criteria for undertaking a serious case review would need to be
met as outlined under Chapter 8 of Working Together 2012 

 

4)  This information is available on the KCC website at the following
link:

[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/childrens_social_...

 

5)  This information is in the public domain and is available from the
GSCC website at the following link :

[2]http://www.gscc.org.uk/page/79/Complaint...

 

6)  This information is in the public domain and is available from the LGO
website at the following link:

[3]http://www.lgo.org.uk/making-a-complaint...

 

7)  Please see answer to Q5 and 6 above.  Please look at the Ofsted
website at the following link:

[4]http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/contact-us/how-...

 

8)  This question is too broad in its current format.  If you were able to
specify what service this is in relation to or which piece of
guidance/policy has not been acted on we may be able to assist.  

 

9)  Please see attached spreadsheet

 

10)  We do not have a central complaints team or system which records this
information.  To extract and collate this information would require us to
approach many individuals across the authority to search through the
systems they hold (paper based and electronic), We estimate that this
would involve more than 18 hours work, which at the £25 hourly rate set
by the Ministry of Justice, would exceed the £450 cost limit. Therefore,
under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we are not
obliged to comply with your request and are exercising our right to refuse
to deal

 

11)  The course of action would depend on the result of not answering
emails, or questions.  If it amounted to what KCC considers misconduct
then the disciplinary procedure would be used.   

 

12)  The FOI Act provides a right of access to information but this is to
recorded / hard copy information. The provisions do not provide any rights
of access to thoughts, opinions, comments or interpretations, unless they
have been physically recorded.

 

13)  Andrew Ireland, Corporate Director of Families & Social Care. 

If you are unhappy with this response, and believe KCC has not complied
with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints
process; details can be found at this link
[5]http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/have...
on our website. Please quote reference FOI/12/0179.

If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you can
appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should
you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the
Information Commissioner s website
[6]http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...

Regards

 
Michelle Hunt
Information Governance Specialist
Information Resilience & Transparency
Business Strategy and Support
Governance & Law
Room 2.71, Sessions House
Maidstone, Kent, ME14 1XQ
External: 01622 696692
Internal: 7000 6692
 

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