Childrens social services - new SCR Baby Robert who died, and lessons learnt

Sheila Hersom made this Freedom of Information request to Thurrock Borough Council

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Dear Thurrock Borough Council,

I write in reference to the recent case of Baby Robert in Southend, Essex, whereas a SCR found significant failings and the LA quoted “lessons will be learnt”

1. Can you confirm that Basildon, Thurrock, Southend & Essex all fall under one remit and under the same SET procedures

2. Will Southend be liaising with other councils regulated by SET Procedures regarding the mistakes made? If not please explain why?

3. Please list the mistakes made in this SCR.

4. Please list the lessons learnt in this SCR.

5. What training would be given to front line staff to stop mistakes happening again?

6. What is the time scale to implement lessons learnt to front line staff?

7. How many visits did baby Robert’s mother have from social services?

8. How many visits did baby Robert’s mother have from
professionals?

9. From Ofsted reports of SCR, a high percentage of SCR concerned parents, more so fathers were ignored or discredited by social services. How many un-professionals (family / neighbours / friends) raised concerns of risk to Baby Robert? Why don’t the LA take Ofsted advice and listen to concerned parents. How many cases do you have, or have had in the last 5 years, whereas concerned parents have been ignored, intimidated or discredited?

10. From a media article of Baby Graham it states two key failures, inaccurate record keeping and loss of focus on the child. I have searched archives from the LGO which clearly state the following from the areas this FOI relates to.

March 2010 report
“In another complaint concerning child protection I decided not to pursue an investigation because I did not think an injustice had been caused to the complainant. But I did highlight to your Council my concerns over the lack of record keeping, and about a delay in passing on concerns about child welfare to a different council.”

General Digest
In the 2008/09 Digest we identified some common themes that featured in cases across different subject areas. These were:
• not taking into account the needs of service users
• Ignorance of, or failure to follow, policies and guidance
• Delays resulting in injustice
• Making assumptions; not checking information

a) Please can you explain why the LA has not followed previous LGO concerns and guidelines of accurate record keeping?

b) Please can you explain why the LA has not followed previous LGO concerns and guidelines of following policy’s and guidance, or followed the law, or ignorance of policy / law?

c) Please can you explain why the LA has not followed previous LGO concerns and guidelines of delays in acting to protect children, or listening to concerns of professionals or parents?

d) Please can you explain why the LA has not followed previous LGO concerns and guidelines of making assumptions or not checking information?

e) Please can you explain why the LA has not followed previous LGO concerns and guidelines of not sharing or misleading other professionals?

f) What training will be given to ensure the above concerns from LGO will be carried out? What are the estimated time scales?

11. How many service users or their families have made complaints against social services in the last 5 years with regards to:-

a. Accurate record keeping or failure to amend or correct inaccurate records.

b. Complaints against not following policy or laws, which includes complaints of ignorance of law.

c. Delays resulting in injustice.

d. Delays or failure to act on concerns from professionals / concerned parents / family which resulted in a child being neglected either emotionally / physically / sexually. What course of action would result if the council was found guilty of failing to protect a child?

e. What course of action would be taken if the LA or social services attempted to cover up or mislead professionals or intimidate service users when they had previously failed to safeguard a child?

f. Complaints from service users not liaising or accepting other professional’s advice?

g. Complaints whereas social services have made assumptions or not checked information?

h. How many complaints have been made whereas the focus has been on discrediting concerned parents rather than the child?

i. How many complaints have there been of social workers misleading other professionals?

j. How many complaints have there been with regards to concerned parents / family members being intimidated to say “I have no concerns” or the like when reporting abuse?

k. Complaints of social services focusing on discrediting concerned parents rather than listening to what the child is saying?

l. Complaints of concerned parents being accused of emotional abuse for reporting abuse?

m. Complaints of intimidation by means of removal of children / child protection against concerned parents for exercising the right to complain when social services have failed in any of the above items?

12. What is the policy to have inaccurate records corrected? What is the policy if social services or LA refuse to amend inaccurate records?

13. How many serious case reviews have there been in the last 5 years

a. What happened to the child

b. What mistakes were made

c. What lessons were learnt

d. Were the same mistakes made in later SCR

14. A parent reports abuse after a disclosure is made by a child, how long, on average, would it take for a social worker to obtain a disclosure from the child. When would the social worker decide to close the case?

a. One meeting of 10 minutes

b. Three meetings of 10 minutes

c. Three meetings of 10 minutes by three different social workers

d. One meeting of 30 minutes

e. Three meetings of 30 minutes?

f. Three meetings of 30 minutes by three different social workers?

g. Other time scales, please state time scale?

h. What is the policy on obtaining disclosures and time scales?

i. What training is given to obtain disclosures?

j. Are social workers you employ their training / qualifications are higher than a child physiologist? If so how many do you employ?

k. Would it be deemed correct for a social worker to state that it is emotional abuse against a child when a parent demands records to be accurate or corrected?

l. Would it be deemed correct for a social worker to judge ability to judge a parent based on religious beliefs, cultural beliefs, their size, gender, sexuality or appearance?

m. Would it be correct in stating that a social worker can disclose and diagnose a parent (without evidence) as being mentally unstable for reporting abuse and sharing their opinion with other persons and their work?

15. If a parent reports a concern and a type of behaviour is displayed, whereas child physiologist deem it a behaviour characteristic of a type of abuse, but a social worker has never heard of this behaviour before in their training, would it be correct that the social worker can refuse to omit items like this from their reports. Would it be correct to state if a concerned parent challenges a social worker to put behaviours in a report would this be deemed as emotional abuse from the concerned parent towards a child?

16. How social workers do you employ?

17. How many are correctly registered with the GSCC (registered under the town of employment)

18. How many complaints have been made to the LA regarding misconduct of social workers

19. How many complaints have been made to the GSCC regarding misconduct of social workers

20. How many social workers have had 2 or more complaints against them from different service users to the LA within their employment history?

21. How many social workers have had 2 or more complaints against them from different service users to the GSCC within their employment history?

22. What is the protocol of a professional or concerned parent reports to social services that a child / or child has disclosed to professional / concerned parent that he or she has been hit by a weapon by another parent? (wounds/ bruises / cuts evident) Should social services ignore professionals or take action, if so what it be? Should the concerned parent be discredited for reporting this?

23. What is the protocol of a professional or concerned parent reports to social services that a child / or child has disclosed to professional / concerned parent that he or she has been abused by another parent / family member? Should social services ignore professionals or take action, if so what it be? Should the concerned parent be discredited for reporting this?

24. A social worker has access to reports with facts / evidence, and they are compiled to file a snap shot report for the courts. Despite evidence they twisted / mislead events to make the concerned parent look guilty / paranoid / or overzealous. For example evidence states Borough A reported that Borough B had failed in failing to protect a child from person a whom tried to harm a child. The concerned parent also had the same concerns as Borough A. Borough B filed a report and stated that Borough A found no concerns and concerned person B was paranoid and a risk to a child for reporting concerns.

a. What would be the course of action against this social worker for misleading other professionals or courts?

b. What would be the course of action against the LA for misleading other professionals or courts?

25. A concerned parent reports disclosers of abuse from another family member from the other side of the family (i.e. paternal side). The paternal side deny it, but later admit that they have heard disclosures. The maternal side is accused of emotional abuse for reporting abuse.

a. What would be the action by the LA or social worker of the parent who had heard disclosures but ignored / covered up / denied to protect other family members?

b. What would be the action taken if the social worker failed to put this disclosure from the paternal side in reports?

c. What would the action be against the concerned parent, previously accused of emotional abuse for reporting the suspected abuse?

26. What is the LA policy of parents reporting abuse? Is it the correct thing to report suspected abuse to protect the child or is it correct to say a parent should just accept it is happening to “move forward”. What action would be taken against a social worker if a parent is told not to report abuse but “sweep it under the carpet”

27. Is it right to say that child protection would be used against a concerned parent for reporting alleged abuse, making complaints, demanding accurate records or highlighting failures of previous mistakes

28. What would be the action taken against a social worker, ignoring the law because of their own cultural beliefs, such as a social workers country of origin FGM or other cultural beliefs such as forced marriage is normal practice, therefore they will ignore service users concerns on the basis the social worker deems this acceptable, despite the law stating otherwise.

Yours faithfully,

Sheila Hersom

Dutton, Linda, Thurrock Borough Council

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Dutton, Linda, Thurrock Borough Council

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Dear Dutton, Linda,

Thank you for your response

I have sent the same FOI to Southend, Basildon & Essex to answer and basically wanted to know if Southend liaised with yourselves regarding this SCR.

There has been numerous media incidents and reports up and down the UK whereas Social Services have failed children, just to mention to cases; Baby P and Victoria Climbe. It is apparent that concerned parents are frightened of reporting concerns due to the "nazi" tactics (as one person described) of social services.

I do find it alarming that one council would say "no concerns" to an incident whereas another would say "concerns" to the same incident.

I have also checked procedures and found councils regularly disregard their own policy and law.

From these FOI's I wish to campaign that transparency & honesty and a stricter policy on following the DPA is brought to the table across the UK to stop incidences like the above happening again.

Shall i pace this FOI as did not hold information or refuse to answer.

I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Sheila Hersom

Dutton, Linda, Thurrock Borough Council

I am out of the office until Wednesday 14 March.  For anything urgent
please call Chris Graves on 01375 652077.

Linda

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name removed 23 Oct 2012 (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

18 March 2012

Dear Sheila

You hit the nail on the head with this one question:

"a. Accurate record keeping or failure to amend or correct inaccurate records."

That is my concern about my own family's travails - inaccurate records and Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements - MAPPA - which APPARENTLY has NO DATA CONTROLLER for when we asked in 2008 for the CMHT records we were told they did not have a Data Controller as it was a PARTNERSHIP between a local authority and an NHS foundation health trust. And it is this that is at the heart of problems because if you cannot ever SEE or ACCESS these records then who knows what is SAID BEHIND CLOSED DOORS? YOU WILL NEVER KNOW WHAT HAS BEEN SAID OR DONE ABOUT YOU OR YOUR FAMILY.

Sheila Hersom left an annotation ()

We are campaigning about this - records are grossly inaccurate across the country which several persons that we know of have approached the ICO with these concerns (Data Protection Act)

http://www.fassit.co.uk/ is a good site to get access to your records however it has been known that social workers will illegally block access to records or use it against you for applying for them. In one case I dealt with an email was found from one social worker to another "can you lie for me please..."

I have seen another group on here, Freedom Advocacy doing a FOI on service users recording meetings. These recordings can be legally transcripted and used.

It has been clear in the media that records are inaccurate and social workers and their expert witnesses constantly lie, a case only yesterday

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...

On the news yesterday (17th March 2012) a group of women protested on the roof of Ken Clarkes house. I am unsure of their name but intend to find out their exact cause. I believe that it was about the corruptness of the social services and family courts.

Any one who knows about this group please leave an annotation for me.

Also another FOI cam back from another council that indicated that pay structures are related to targets and assessments, raising concerns that their is a financial incentive for social workers to hit targets. This has already been proved in the case of Dr George Hibbert (link above), that money was his incentive.

There has also been some interesting FOI come back on CRB checks whereas professionals have mislead their employers of their past; either criminal or ethical(remember CRB checks would not records convictions that took place in the professionals previous resident county or place of birth.)

This link shows a social work manager lied about families in their cases and also had a criminal conviction of conspiring to murder.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/l...

The system is barbaric whereas if you complain or challenge them you are threatened with biased professional witnesses and the removal of your child(ren)

Another question to ask is that when a person applies for police, all family members are checked. A FOI came back stating that only the social worker can be checked, not the family he or she lives with. Social workers frequently work from home therefore it raises concern that other "family members" have access to your files.

sandy Joyce left an annotation ()

Inaccuracies are fine, but refusal to mend them is not

Inaccuries are fine because we are all human, but leaving out relevant information is not

Nor is it acceptable to blatantly lie ... this causes a snowball effect when the next agency works with incorrect information, they then add to that information based on the inaccuries

This ruins lives and is total corruption when refusal to amend them occurs, as in my case

Sheila Hersom left an annotation ()

Hi Sandy Thanks for your comments. Would you be willing to name the council that has lied to you. Please do not post personal case stuff on here though

sandy Joyce left an annotation ()

Kent County Council - you'll find a lot of complaints against them here

Dutton, Linda, Thurrock Borough Council

Dear Ms Hersom

We would like to clarify for you that each Council is treated separately
for the purposes of managing FOI requests. This is because they are data
owners (Public Bodies) in their own right in line with the legislation.
Therefore, Thurrock Council cannot respond to, or supply specific
information when that is held by a separate authority - such as
Southend.

However, in theory, if we also held that same data (for whatever valid
purpose) then it would be considered data 'held' by us even if it
originated elsewhere, and would be in scope for disclosure under FOI
(subject as always to any Exemptions that might apply).

The local SET procedures (please see below)
http://www.thurrock.gov.uk/children/cont...
es
cover the three separate authorities (Essex County Council, Thurrock
Borough Council and Southend).

However, the existence of these procedures does not mean that ALL
information on families receiving social services where there are risks
to children identified (or otherwise), residing in each locality, is
always shared as routine business across the 3 authorities. This would
be excessive and would not be in accordance with the Data Protection Act
or local data sharing agreements.

Any request for personal data to be shared between authorities, will
always be subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act and will
be treated on a case-by-case taking account of all the circumstances of
a particular case; and in particular the purpose for the request.

We have local procedures in place to manage routine information sharing
requests (including those received from external partners/agencies) as
well as for internal sharing within Thurrock Council.

We also have corporate guidance and advice available from the
Information Management Team which is often sought in any non-routine
sharing scenarios.

We can assure you wholeheartedly that Thurrock Council takes Data
Protection and sharing/security issues very seriously. Relevant officers
within the Child Protection / Children and family social services arena
are very much aware that the Data Protection Act legislation and
guidance DOES NOT prevent sharing where the interests of a child/adult's
health and safety is believed to be at risk (this is one of several
Exemptions under the DPA which waives the usual provisions of
restriction). We will always seek to share relevant personal data in an
appropriate manner, on cases where the law allows.

We have not withheld any information from you that is held by us.
Neither have we refused to answer any of your requests for information.

Yours sincerely

Linda Dutton

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