False statements or reports from social services (aka) SS

Mr k Hopkins made this Freedom of Information request to Walsall Metropolitan Borough 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 partially successful.

Dear Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council,

We are compiling research taking into account ICO guidelines and
DPA and wish the following information regarding children's social
services.

From research many parents have complained that reports compiled by
social services are "inaccurate", "false" or "misleading". It has
been reported by parents that these reports or statements are not
allowed to be amended,despite evidence of reports or statements
being incorrect, contra to ICO guidelines and the DPA.

It appears that the complaints process is not been adhered by the
LA across the UK and all that happens is social workers say "we
will hold your letter on file stating our records are inaccurate"

Should the matter go to court, it has been reported that the LA
provide courts with the inaccurate reports or statements but fail
to give the courts letters by parents to show records how and why
the reports are inaccurate.

We wish to know under the FOI for the last 24 months
We refer to any written paper work compiled by social services or
any person working on their behalf.

1) How many parents have in the last 24 month period have
complained that social workers reports or statements are
inaccurate, misleading or false or any words to the same effect.

2) How many times have social workers or managers refused to
correct reports or statements?

3)How many times have social workers or managers said they would
put letters on file proving reports are inaccurate?

4) How many of the said reports that are inaccurate, misleading or
false have been used in court?

5) We have been told that notes of inaccuracies are added to the LA
computer system. Should any notes of inaccurate, misleading or
false statements or reports be applied on the LA's computer system
does these full notes of inaccuracies show up if any other
professional prints out or reads data. Do professionals show these
notes to courts that the reports that they are giving the courts
are proven to be inaccurate.

6. Are their any laws broken by making false reports and if so
what? How many social workers have been caught making false
reports?

Yours faithfully,

Mr k Hopkins

InformationRights@walsall.gov.uk, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

Dear Mr Hopkins

 

Thank you for your request for information, relating to False statements
or reports from social services, our ref:
RFI1067/14.                                                                                     

 

In accordance with provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and
the Environmental Information Regulations the council will respond to your
request within 20 working days saying whether we have the information that
you want, and if there will be any charges.

 

If for any reason we cannot provide you with the information we will tell
you why.  If we need to clarify your request, we will contact you again.

 

In the meantime, if you need to contact me about your enquiry please do so
quoting the above reference number using the contact details below.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Helen Dodd

Information Governance Officer

Walsall Council

Room 29
Council House

Lichfield Street
Walsall

WS1 1TW

01922 652517

Email:   [1][email address]

Website [2]www.walsall.gov.uk

 

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References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.walsall.gov.uk/

InformationRights@walsall.gov.uk, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hopkins

 

I write to acknowledge and apologise for the delay in responding to your
request for information. As you know the council is required to respond to
all requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act and / or
the Environmental Information Regulations within 20 working days, unless a
‘qualified exception’ applies or the request is both complex and lengthy.

 

I am sorry that in this case we have not met this timescale, but would
assure you of our best intentions in this regard. I can confirm that a
full reply to your request will be sent to you as soon as possible.

 

If you have any queries in regard to this process, please do not hesitate
to contact us

 

Yours sincerely

 

Suzanne Peace

Information Governance Assistant

Business Change

Walsall Council,

Room 29, The Council House,

Lichfield Street,

Walsall.  WS1 1TW

Tel: 01922 65 2511

Email: [1][email address]

Website: [2]www.walsall.gov.uk

 

 

[3]http://inside.walsall.gov.uk/ball_orange...

 

Disclaimer: IF THIS EMAIL IS MARKED PRIVATE OR CONFIDENTIAL - PLEASE
RESPECT THAT AND DO NOT FORWARD IT TO ANYONE ELSE WITHOUT THE EXPRESS
PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR. The information in this message should be
regarded as confidential and is intended for the addressee only unless
explicitly stated.  If you have received this message in error it must be
deleted and the sender notified.  The views expressed in this message are
personal and not necessarily those of Walsall MBC unless explicitly
stated.  E-mails sent or received from Walsall MBC may be intercepted and
read by the Council.  Interception will only occur to ensure compliance
with Council policies or procedures or regulatory obligations, to prevent
or deter crime, or for the purposes of essential maintenance or support of
the e-mail system. You should also be aware that any email may be subject
of a request under Data Protection, Freedom of Information or
Environmental Information legislation and therefore could be disclosed to
third parties.

 

E-mail Security: Communication by internet email is not secure as messages
can be intercepted and read by someone else. Therefore we strongly advise
you not to email any information, which if disclosed to unrelated third
parties would be likely to cause you distress. If you have an enquiry of
this nature please provide a postal address to allow us to communicate
with you in a more secure way. If you want us to respond by email you must
realise that there can be no guarantee of privacy.

 

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.walsall.gov.uk/

Mr k Hopkins left an annotation ()

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petition...
If you want change and think the system needs changing please show your support to make it a criminal offence for the ss to make false and misleading report's/statements. Its about time they too have to live by our rules.

Mr k Hopkins left an annotation ()

They cant answer with the truth so they waste your time with responses that don't answer your questions then you re ask the same question and they say they have already answered it. The question is are they incompetent,stupid,or just lying and covering their backs with nonsensical responses.

Please use the link below

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/wa...

Dear [email address],

I know you have been really busy dealing with all the foi requests. But it seems you have forgotten about this one for some reason.

Please bear in mind that the answers to this question need to be the truth unlike the answers you gave me before to a similar request.

I would also appreciate it if I got an answer before I get to be a pensioner. After all your 20 day deadline has been and gone along time ago.

Yours sincerely,

Mr k Hopkins

Mr k Hopkins left an annotation ()

Dear Mr Hopkins,

Further to your request for information about false statements or reports from social services, please accept my apologies for the lengthy delay you have experienced in being provided with a full answer to your questions.

 

I can however, now tell you the following details:

 

How many parents have in the last 24 month period have complained that social workers reports or statements are inaccurate, misleading or false or any words to the same effect.?

 

The Customer Care Team has advised that their records show there have been 33 cases of parents complaining of inaccurate, misleading or false statements in social care files. There may be more complaints, but if they have not been submitted through the formal complaint process, then this information is not captured centrally and not readily available. To find any further instances would require every social care case file to be reviewed manually.  It is considered, that to provide any further detail would exceed the appropriate limit and is therefore exempt under section 12 of the FOI Act.

 

The FOI Act provides that in answering your request the Council can consider the ‘appropriate limit’. This part of the Act states that the Council can estimate the likely cost of complying with your request in order to decide whether it must reply.  S.12 of the Act refers to the Fees Regulations which provide that where the Council estimates that the likely cost of responding to a request will exceed £450.00 there is no obligation to provide the information requested, free of charge.

 

In this case the amount of information held by the Council is extremely high and therefore I have estimated that to review all of the information held would clearly exceed the set limit.  This is because as well as the large volume of social care records,  it is not possible to easily identify specific concerns relating to accuracy of records within each case file as such issues may have been recorded in a number of forms within the records.

 

How many times have social workers or managers refused to correct reports or statements?

 

In total, out of the 33 reported cases of parents complaining about inaccuracies in social care files, the service area refused to amend 13 reports or statements. This documentation was not amended, as it was considered that they were accurate and contained no false information. As detailed above, this information has been provided by the Customer Care Team and relates to those complaints that have been made through the formal complaints process. There may be more instances, but if they have not been submitted through this process, then this information is not captured centrally and not readily available. To find any further instances would require every social care case file to be reviewed manually.  It is considered, that to provide any further detail would exceed the appropriate limit and is therefore exempt under section 12 of the FOI Act.

3) How many times have social workers or managers said they would put letters on file proving reports are inaccurate?

This information is not held centrally and would require each social care case file to be reviewed manually. Therefore it is considered, that to provide any further detail would exceed the appropriate limit and is therefore exempt under section 12 of the FOI Act.

4) How many of the said reports that are inaccurate, misleading or false have been used in court?

Social Workers complete many different kinds of reports in connection with court proceedings. PARIS assessments and reports shared with families can be and are amended if inaccuracies are highlighted throughout any involvement with that family.

 

Once a report is submitted to a court, that document then belongs to the court. Any issues or disagreements with a report that emerges throughout the court process, can only be rectified through that process. All those that are party to the court proceedings have the right to highlight any inaccuracies directly or through legal representation.

 

To identify how many court reports were amended throughout court proceeding would exceed the appropriate time limit. . To find any such instances would require every social care case file to be reviewed manually.  It is considered, that to provide any further detail would exceed the appropriate limit and is therefore exempt under section 12 of the FOI Act.

5) We have been told that notes of inaccuracies are added to the LA computer system. Should any notes of inaccurate, misleading or false statements or reports be applied on the LA's computer system does these full notes of inaccuracies show up if any other professional prints out or reads data. Do professionals show these notes to courts that the reports that they are giving the courts are proven to be inaccurate.

 

When any new case notes are added to or amended on the PARIS system they are visible to all relevant social care staff. Amended notes or newly added notes are available to read and print to all relevant staff and therefore would be available, if required for any court proceedings.

6. Are there any laws broken by making false reports and if so what? How many social workers have been caught making false reports?

 

If a social worker intentionally provided false information in a report this would be viewed as a serious disciplinary matter and the appropriate council disciplinary procedures would be followed.

 

In addition any social worker found to be falsifying records would be in breach of the BASW Code of Ethics for Social Work, which could result in a referral to the Health Care Professions Council for further investigation.

 

This could result in a social worker not being able to continue to practice.

 

 

Most of the information that we provide in response to Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 requests will be subject to copyright protection.  In most cases the copyright will be owned by Walsall Council. The copyright in respect of other information may be owned by another person or organisation, as indicated.

You are free to use any information supplied to you in response to this request for your own non-commercial research or private study purposes.  The information may also be used for any other purpose allowed by a limitation or exception in copyright law, such as news reporting.  However, any other type of re-use, for example by publishing the information in analogue or digital form, including on the internet, will require the permission of the copyright owner.

I hope that the information provided is useful to you. However, if you are dissatisfied, you should set out in writing your grounds for complaint and send to: Information Risk & Governance Manager, Business Change, Civic Centre, Darwall Street, Walsall  WS1 1TP.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for a decision. Please remember that, generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have first exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely
Information Rights Officer

Program Delivery & Governance
Business Change 
 
Walsall Council
The Loft, 
Council House
Lichfield Street
Walsall