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Crisis in infinite Courts

 

The President has published his 15th View from the President’s Chambers, and it is a doozy. We waited a long long time for the 14th, but the 15th came soon after it.

 

http://www.familylaw.co.uk/news_and_comment/15th-view-from-the-president-s-chambers-care-cases-the-looming-crisis#.V-I-7jU1Ouc

 

It has been pretty apparent for a long while that the number of care proceedings has just continued to climb from the post Baby P figures, which at the time everyone thought was a temporary surge in caution and new referrals and would eventually settle down.  (Back then it went from just over 6,000 per year, to around 8,000 per year.) It didn’t. There was a very short period when the numbers dipped, but those were clearly attributable to the issue of the brand new Public Law Outline and professionals getting to grips with the new model of doing things.  Over the last 8 years, care proceedings have just continued to climb, year on year, the only thing that differed was by how much.

But then over the last two years, the rate of increase dramatically shot up.

As the President observes in his View, we’re going to be pretty close to 15,000 sets of care proceedings this year, and are likely to pass that next year. He gloomily predicts that we are heading for 20,000 a year over the next few years (I’m not sure that I agree, and I’ll explain why later)

The critical thing, of course, is that this increase of between 200 and 300 % in the volume of care proceedings over the last ten years has not been matched by a 200-300% increase in the number of Judges or Court sitting days.  Nor by the number of social workers, or Guardians, or care lawyers.  And vitally important for the Crisis that even the President says is looming, is that there has ABSOLUTELY not been a 200-300% increase in the legal aid budget for care cases – in fact there’s not only not been increases in line with inflation, but actual cuts.

At the moment, each care case has a fixed fee in terms of solicitors (they can cost a bit more if the case takes twice as much work as the average) , so when care cases increase, the number of those fixed fees increase. When, as at the moment the increase in volume is about 23% on last year, which was in turn 20% on the year before, you can see that the portion of the Legal Aid budget that deals with fixed fees for solicitors, which has had NO INCREASE AT ALL is under huge pressure.

The other costs in terms of legal aid are – counsel’s fees, and the more cases that are in Court, the higher those will go – particularly as solicitors have more volume of cases to run in the office and are able to go to Court less, those costs will go up. And experts fees – there had been a considerable reduction in the use of experts since the 2014 law changes which meant that before the Court could agree an expert they had to be satisfied that it was NECESSARY rather than just helpful or useful.  But, that was all working on the basis that social workers would be doing more and more of the assessments, and if their volume of work has gone up like that, that’s less possible.

My best case scenario is that the legal aid budget for care proceedings is around 40% overspent from 2 years ago (it takes time for all the payments to filter through, but we could be in for that experience again where the Legal Aid Agency write no cheques at all in February and March, because they’ve got no money – it happened about 6 years ago, I think. If that happens now, firms will go under).  I think the overspend might be far worse than that, in reality.

 

So I agree entirely with the President when he says :-

 

Following implementation of the recommendations of the Family Justice Review, the average duration of care cases fell rapidly month by month – the graph, accordingly, showing a constant falling line. Over the last year or so the graph has ‘flat-lined’. That it has not, as yet, begun to climb must be a matter for congratulation to everyone involved in making the system work. To keep the line level as the caseload increased by 14% is an astonishing achievement. I hope I turn out to be wrong but I do not believe that this level of achievement can be maintained as caseloads continue to rise. The fact is that, on the ground, the system is – the people who make the system work are – at full stretch. We cannot, and I have for some time now been making clear that I will not, ask people to work harder. Everyone – everyone – is working as hard as they can.

We must, accordingly, assume that the line on the graph will start to go up – to move in the wrong direction. We are facing a crisis and, truth be told, we have no very clear strategy for meeting the crisis.

 

That’s brave and honest language from the man in charge of the system, and he is to be commended for it. Every time I’ve looked at the CAFCASS care demand stats, which are published each month, I’ve thought ‘either these numbers take a sharp dive over the next few months, or we’re all f***ed.’   And far from taking a dive, they’ve just ramped up higher and higher.

There IS no more money, there is not going to BE any more money.  So, either the Government and Legal Aid Agency work out a way of cutting VOLUMES, or COST PER CASE, or they just simply don’t pay nearly half the bills that come in, with no prospect of being able to pay them next year either.

 

As the President says
There are, in principle, three possible causes for the increase:

  1. that the amount of child abuse/neglect is increasing;
  2. that local authorities are becoming more adept at identifying child abuse/neglect and taking action to deal with it;
  3. that local authorities are setting more demanding standards – in other words, lowering the threshold for intervention.

I do not believe that child abuse/neglect is rising by 14% let alone 20% a year. So this cannot be the sole explanation. It follows that changes in local authority behaviour must be playing a significant role.

 

I think that there are fairly clear correlations between poverty in our society and neglect, and between poverty and substance and alcohol abuse (that’s not for a SECOND to say that all abuse is perpetuated by poor people, or that poor people are child abusers – just that as the level of poverty increases in the country, you’ll see a corresponding increase in the levels of neglect and alcohol misuse and substance misuse).  So I think there’s going to be an ongoing underlying increase until this country’s economic fortunes turn round.

 

Equally, I think that cuts to services that support and help families – which have happened and continue to happen, inevitably mean that some families without those services will fall into care proceedings.

My guess is that those two factors account for some of the underlying increase year on year – that 6-10% annual increase.  But the massive spikes – I don’t think that they are that, and there’s not the clear “Baby P” fear factor that we all thought accounted for the increases since 2008  (incidentally, the timing of the big increase and continued increases rather than care proceedings being roughly stable each year corresponds with the 2008 financial crisis and austerity since that time, disporportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable in society. With the benefit of hindsight, it wasn’t so much a Baby P factor as a ‘sub-prime mortgage’ factor)

 

The spike , my thinking is, is largely a result of the set of decisions within care proceedings that meant that Local Authorities who had children in care under s20 with parents not objecting to that were getting hammered by Judges for not having gone to Court earlier and being made to pay damages and costs.   Now, this is difficult, because I think that s20 drift (particularly with parents whose capacity to consent was compromised) was a genuine problem and a real issue and it needed to be tackled.  So I welcome those cases (though I think the damages figures are rather plucked out of the air in comparison to personal injury damages quantum), but you simply can’t get away from this :-

 

Judges told Local Authorities that if they held on to s20 cases and didn’t issue, they’d be told off, made to pay compensation, made to pay costs, and be in published judgments, so local and national press could report on them getting a judicial kicking.

Local Authorities issued way more proceedings.

 

 

Do I think s20 drift is an issue that needs addressing? Hell yes.

Do I think it is such an important issue that it is worth risking either – LAA not paying cheques for 3-4 months of the year and solicitors firms going out of business?  OR the alternative which is clearly attractive to the Legal Aid Agency – remove representation of children by lawyers, save 33% of the budget in one simple move?

I’m afraid that I don’t.

 

So, quick hotfix

 

  1. HRA damages claims about s20 drift or delay should be issued in the civil courts, as a civil case with the pre-action protocols.
  2. And not done within care proceedings or within care proceeding legal aid certificates.

 

Does this make it harder to get those HRA claims? Absolutely. Does it mean that s20 drift won’t be tackled as rigorously by the Courts as it is at present? Absolutely. Will it reduce the number of proceedings being issued. Hell yes.

 

 

I’m also afraid that from what I have heard about the effectivness of settlement conferences in avoiding final hearings in the pilot authorities, these are INEVITABLY  going to be rolled out, despite reservations that the Association of Lawyers for Children rightly have about them

https://suesspiciousminds.com/2016/07/06/settlement-conferences/

 

The biggest resource cost in care proceedings is the final hearing – that takes up Court time, Judge time, counsel fees, expert attendance fees.  So a scheme which in the pilots has changed the proportion of cases that settle before final hearing from about 30% to 90% is going to be massively attractive to the MOJ and the Legal Aid Agency.  Particularly in this climate. I can’t see how they won’t be rolled out nationally if the pilot when it reports even says that the proportion of cases that settle went from 30% to 50%.

 

Here is another idea of mine which would save money at final hearings but without being as queasy as the Settlement Conferences scheme.

 

At an IRH, if the parents are presenting as a couple and there are no issues which REQUIRE them to be separately represented by counsel at the final hearing, there will be a rebuttable presumption that they would have one counsel.  That will be a decision for the Judge to decide at IRH, having heard representations. Obviously if it is a case with allegations of domestic violence or coercive control, it won’t be appropriate for one counsel to represent the other, likewise if there is a disputed injury or sexual allegation where one party might have to implicate the other or decide on separation.  But I have lost count of the number of final hearings I’ve done where the Legal Aid Agency and hence the taxpayer, is paying for counsel to represent the mother and counsel to represent the father, and you could not slip a cigarette paper between their case and their submissions.  It adds to time, it adds to cost, and with a looming 40% budget overspend, it is a luxury we can’t afford.

To be honest, this is something which ought to be addressed at IRH’s anyway, but I’ve never heard parents counsel asked the question at any IRH – what is the need for parents to be separately represented here?

[In those cases where there’s an answer to that, then of course they should be separately represented, but too often it is just done without any thought or consideration, other than mum has her own team and dad has his own team.  It’s not going to save 40% of the budget, but it would be a start, and much better than robbing the child of a voice in the proceedings]

 

I think that the President places a lot of stock in shorter documents solving some of the problems of time and cost per case.  In my experience, shorter documents give less space for setting out the facts and the arguments clearly, and result in greater disputes.  To draw up a threshold which provides the factual allegations, the specific examples for which findings are sought AND contains the Re A analysis, is a constant battle to get into 2 pages, and LA’s are ALWAYS drawing them up with one hand tied behind their back. Something has to give, and if it is the choice between two lines where I can put in a significant allegation or dropping that allegation for a Re A analysis, I’ll drop the Re A every time. Sorry, but that’s how it is.   I think it was right to stop thresholds being so sprawling, but when Re A came in, the limit should have been made to 3 pages – 5 in exceptional cases.    (Try doing an FII threshold in 2 pages….)

Shorter social work statements – well yes, we’d all like to get rid of the waffle and duplication and jargon (not sure that the standard SWET model does absolutely anything in that regard) and a large chunk of the documents are now spent on the Re B-S analysis, so we can’t get rid of that.   Shorter statements, in space restrictions might also lead to less balance – if you have to squeeze everything in, isn’t there a tendency to focus on the stuff that helps your case, rather than provide the balanced accounts of the positive things that the parents have done. To write about the truly awful session of contact on 4th February but not make room for some of the positive feedback about other sessions?

 

In my experience, the most common question I hear posed to social workers in the witness box is :-

 

“But why isn’t this in your statement?”

 

So shorter statements might well be a mixed blessing. Less for people to read, but missing some of the facts, context, analysis and rigour that might lead to less need to call live evidence and to have final hearings.

 

I’m all for the President’s suggestion of research – let us perhaps start with a comparison of those authorities who are using SWET and whose Courts are hardline on page restrictions versus those who aren’t.  Does it affect number of proceedings, number of hearings, number of contested final hearings, time taken to conclude cases…

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About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

40 responses

  1. Stop paying exhorbitant fees to Private Fostering/adoption agencies who have a financial interest in taking children into care, and the contacts within LA’s to encourage this to happen, and you will see case numbers plummet dramatically. Problem solved.

  2. I can suggest 3 possible solutions to the problem:-

    1:-We could STOP allowing kids to be taken at birth or later for superficial reasons such as « risk of abuse ».; ” isolated cases of ,superficial bruising » “one smack leaving no bruising”“petty crimes committed 5 years ago or more” “failure to engage with professionals” “personality disorders and minor learning difficulties that have hitherto never harmed anyone” unexplained injuries that could have been caused by family,schoolmates,or accidents in the home but which are blamed on one likely person””,a parent who was in care when Young”,a mother who was raped in care or abused when a child””,a parent who has had one child removed has all subsequent kids taken” etc etc
    These would reduce the numbers considerably !!

    OR 2:- We could abolish “punishment without crime” so that hiçldren were never removed from sane parents unless a significant crime had been committed against them or other children

    OR 3:- We could abolish the presence of lawyers in family courts and leave families and social workers to argue things out before an iquisitorial judge who would ask all the questions.

    What we will get now of course are meaningless platitudes …………………..

  3. The number taken into care will continue to increase, as this has little to do with child protection.

    As Rotherham, and the many more not exposed rapes show, as does the still 4 a week babies/ children similar to Baby P, that were then dying of abuse and still are.

    That is why we have no reliable statistics on deaths and abuse, and still none on adoption breakdowns, and it is unclear if these are even now being monitored by LAs.

    Baby P, was the result of a system that targets and ticks boxes, and unfortunately for him, he, was the one, that was used as an example by the SS, that the system worked.

    That is why abuse not picked up by NSPCC , paediatrician, SS, OFSTED and why Shoesmith, was summarily dismissed so none of this would be exposed.

    Google my articles in the Solicitors Journal – From Bad to Worse.

    This is a modus, supported by all government agencies and law, to support the fostering and adoption industry, as each baby/child adoption, is worth £30,000 to the agency see transfer fees on net.

    Fostering, is increasingly venture capital owned and agencies command on average £900 per week, and far more if child is difficult/special needs.

    This is about the profit, that can be made from supposed child ‘protection’, not about protecting children.

    So numbers will continue to increase, as we are now running out of foster parents so children homes that can demand as much as £200,000 per year are being built.

  4. What about an analysis of outcomes/disposal of these proceedings.

    It would also be helpful to know how many multiple proceedings there are and, if significant, how many because of time limits.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  5. The President got it wrong as far as his reasons why the crisis looms shamelessly. It is because, more loved ones are removed under s20 by corrupt Judges, lying SW’s.inept professionals and blanket assessments. They choose usual “quick-fix easy route to Alienate Dedicated Parents and destroy Family. We have No Human Rights here in the UK and yet still they talk of repealing the ECHR and coming up with a ‘Bill of {un}Rights’.

  6. Excellent analysis of the onrushing train headed toward chlIlderton protection. The S20 point is a very good one in a very bad situation.
    I’m not sure about the single counsel point though. Firstly, parents presenting as a couple often have nuanced positions which will be lost in that situation. Secondly the presentation as a couple often changes between IRH and final hearing, and there would be substantial expense in a late instruction. Finally, as facts emerge during a hearing, a parent may have to hear harsh truths, make tough decisions; this process is less likely to be fair with a counsel only one of them trusts.
    Many of these comments are depressingg

    • We were told when Ryder LJ rolled out the first PLO that the issue of the need for separate representation would be raised at every IRH – it never has been. There will be many situations where it really is warranted and should continue. I think it is right that a Court actually make the enquiry as to why it is better to have separate representation in each particular case though. Frankly, if IRHs were at all like they were pitched to us all in the first PLO, a lot of the problems in the system would resolve themselves. Instead, they are largely “are you agreed? No. Okay, how long do you want for the final hearing?”

  7. Really interesting blog.
    IF significant spike is caused by back-log of drifting or quasi-consensual s.20 placements now being issued that’s essential for children and surely the spike should just settle? (As with Lancashire ‘statutory orphan’ cases). It is or should be perfectly lawful and HRA compliant to keep the right children purposefully and consensually with proper permanence planning on s.20 for as long as that remains right. If the case law needs clarification or LA’s need help to be more confident in interpreting this then then that should happen. If taking HRA cases out of family to general civil means LA’s leaving some children drifting w/o permanence in a way that damages their life chances and future option choices then better to handle the spike then disagree with that suggestion.
    Agree very much with the rest.
    Is it not also possible that general upward trend could also be driven by push to achieve Ofsted compliance on raising not just speed but numbers of adoptions and achieving fewer children long term in care given budget cuts. Pure speculation. Just wondering. I’d be interested to see ages of children cross referenced to rises too in any research.
    Whole thing illustrates well the vital need to improve capacity of research to meet urgent (indeed crisis level) needs of FJ[‘S’?] in practice as currently helpfully being looked at by Karen Broadhurst team.

    • Yes, I had meant to pick up on that later in the piece. I think that the 20% plus rises are attributable in part to clearing the decks of old s20 cases, so I think we will settle back to the 10-12 % yearly increases over the next two years. However, that’s still not sustainable.

      And it is uncertain whether Brexit will lead to a downturn in the economy and thus less money in Central Government’s coffers and even more austerity – it doesn’t seem a wildly unreasonable prediction that there will be at least a short-term impact on the economy when and if the Article 50 button is pressed.

  8. ashamedtobebritish

    When there is accountability for misfeasance, malfeasance, misconduct and perjury which would be dealt with in a criminal court … After all, lying to destroy lives in court is a criminal offence….alongside hard hitting monetary compensation …. Currently offering a destroyed family £200 is frankly an insult, we will see a dramatic decrease

    It really is that simple

    • Their illegalities should be simple to discover and face perjury prosecution but, they will duck and dive, cut corners, cover-up and get away with it. No one in power will vow to bring them down. We are all doomed and gloomed by this draconian state.

  9. Great blog as always- As a social worker I hugely value your perspective on events.

    One point to add that I have not seen mentioned is the concept of ‘the child’s timeframe’ e.g. can the problems be solved in a timeframe that will not adversely impact upon the child too much. My experience is that the ‘child’s timeframe’ mantra is now all the rage both in and out of court and whilst I understand and agree with it on one level, I am concerned about its actual implementation. What if the parent has suffered a recent horrific trauma, has no family support and is unable to ‘recover’ in a tidy timeframe?

    I know that its not popular to say but; some families need long term support. The current model is; turn things around within 1 year max OR go to court and remove. It is my view that this is not ethical. I get that long term support can be expensive, but if we know for example that a one hour daily visit from a family support worker helps it to be ‘good enough’ then so be it. Moreover we must not forget that there is no evidence that foster care and adoption is a bed of roses.

    To make another point I am glad that this blog allows a variety of opinions to be heard such as from Forced Adoption; it offer real raw, unfiltered feedback and im off the view that it should not be automatically be dismissed. Perhaps a challenge is that sometimes the (perhaps understandable) anger and frustration can sometimes get in the way of making clear and effective points people are seeking to make e.g. the saying ‘if you shout your point they will hear your anger more than what it is you are saying’.

    • ashamedtobebritish

      The time frame should be as long as it takes to support the family back together if safe.
      This one size fits all doesn’t work due to individuals being individuals- some get it in weeks, others take a year to see what the concerns are – but it’s better to take a year than sever the family tie for a lifetime.

      Sw’s with 10 -15 cases cannot possibly do anything other than fail, they’ll take shortcuts and make mistakes that cost lives, one person simply cannot deal with that number of cases efficiently

    • Tom, Can I ask one question! You say you are a Social Worker. If the Local Authority that you work for commands you write a statement that is untrue and against a family/child/loved one true wishes, what will you do?

  10. Lets face it any child or family with a genuine medico legal claim for susbtandard medical care and educational neglect by LA`s has had a ” care ” order placed on them and taken into care to be abused used as lab monkeys and to prevent them from making any claim for criminal medical negligence . These two departments have then been able to lie cheat and deceive their way out of their disgraceful failures using care orders and incorrect information held on LA data bases and any old rubbish the social workers I.R.O`s and others can concoct which is then cut and pasted by judges .
    Most of the babies and children who have been taken have vitamin b12 deficiency and pernicious anemia symptoms which have not been identified or treated . The Guidelines submitted by the British Committee for Standards in Haemotiology for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Vitamin b12 and Folate Deficiencies has not been adhered to which means that defective medical treatment is being offered which is illegal .
    The majority of the babies and children who have been taken have blonde hair and blue eyes . Children`s Services health Assessment forms ( IHA – YP ) have a section about hair colour and eye colour . They have been induced to have an unnaturally early puberty which can effect children as young as two and can cause six month old babies to have a false puberty . Many have been born with a low birth weight which causes precocious puberty . Forceps used during birth damage the optic nerve which effects the pituitary gland ( master gland ) which controls sex hormone and behavior . An imbalance in sex hormone causes precocious puberty to occur . The x-raying of babies heads also causes learning difficulties and precocious puberty . Generation after generation of these babies and children have been force adopted with sex offenders on an industrial scale .
    Dame Justice Goddard recently asked people who had been sent to Canada and Australia to be force adopted between 1920 and 1970 to come forward and make statements about the sexual abuse they had been subjected to . It seems that before being sent to Australia and Canada at around age three where they were force adopted with sex offenders who used them as personal sex toys they had first been sexually abused in care in the UK .
    If the vitamin b12 deficiencies these children have which is likely in people with blue eyes vitiligo and blood group A is not treated it will cause irreversible neurological damage and will generate funds for children`s mental health services S.E.N education and will lead to children developing MS dementia cancer diabetes and a host of other illnesses .
    The Child Protection system and doctors are committing a war crime and are knowingly neurologically damaging children through lack of diagnosis and treatment for vitamin b12 deficiencies . The Child Protection court are failing to declare an interest in methylcobalamin an active form of vitamin b12 which was reserved for the private sector in the child protection report . Many doctors then left the NHS or took early retirement many of whom took up private practice in order to take advantage of the methylcobalamin monopoly and cash cow which was created and are now able to charge upwards of £100 per injection for methylcobalamin which should only cost around 70p per dose and so are also guilty of knowingly enabling defective medical treatment of children suffering in care with deficiency symptoms which is highly illegal .

    • I would like to see some evidence for your assertion that the majority of children ‘taken’ have blonde hair and blue eyes. Because I don’t believe it.

  11. Dear Sus,

    Love your blog, as always. Can I just take one issue with something you say:

    “The other costs in terms of legal aid are – counsel’s fees, and the more cases that are in Court, the higher those will go – particularly as solicitors have more volume of cases to run in the office and are able to go to Court less, those costs will go up.”

    This implies that it costs more to use counsel as it implies counsel get paid more than a solicitor doing their own advocacy and it feed into the “fat cat barristers on legal aid” myth.

    In fact it has been the case for some considerable time that solicitors doing a hearing get paid exactly the same as counsel doing a hearing and that those fee (per hearing) are also fixed. It’s a mistake to imply that costs will go up any more if counsel are used at hearing. Of course the more hearings there are, the more costs are incurred, but those costs will be exactly the same no matter who does the hearings.

    Best wishes and keep up the wonderful work.

    Clive

    • That’s true – advocates fees is a more accurate way of expressing it. I left private practice before that equalisation of fees, and had forgotten that it makes a material difference.

  12. I can only repeat “Abolish social workers and leave crime detection to the police”
    That is how it used to be and that is how it should be now.

    • Wish I had the confidence in the police force for justice as you have expressed, My grandsons mother only was dragged through Middlesbrough Magistrates Court by Cleveland Police to end in INNOCENCE of UNEXPLAINED INJURY to her son,
      Cleveland Police then supported the Social Service department (Redcar & Cleveland LA) through FCP again unexplained injury case, only this time knowing that the name of my grandchild on all applications, orders, was in the name of a child that has never existed, hence useless, to help us or the court access to the truth which had already been judged in the magistrates court, and ended in the mothers innocence

      • Not so much confidence in the police as lack of it for social workers! At least the police and criminal courts can only find those accused guilty if it is “beyond reasonable doubt”;They would never remove a baby at birth for “risk of emotional abuse”

  13. The word “Necessary” is all but forgotten, we saw the judicial ping pong that happened with Re. B-S, and, at the time I put it down to a phase the courts were going through, still do sadly.

    Are we right in trying to apportion this current phase of discord at the increase to one particular factor, Section 20’s I agree would be a massive part in the rise however, I have monitored the situation for the past 6 years and the Child Rescue/ Family Preservation pendulum has remained at a dead stop, 2008 did see a massive increase in removals because of the Damned if they do/don’t rhetoric.

    We need now not to be looking at CP app figures as a reason to take action to stop the runaway train so to speak but actually looking at the overall reasons for the applications in the first place, are we seriously trying to say we are a nation that simply spews out feckless and bad parents! I am pretty damn sure we don’t.

    As a bit of an old sod in this lot now, what I do see as a concern is the factors of Re A (a child) [2015] EWFC 11 the President had said:
    “The second fundamentally important point is the need to link the facts relied upon by the local authority with its case on threshold, the need to demonstrate why, as the local authority asserts, facts A+B+C justify the conclusion that the child has suffered, or is at risk of suffering, significant harm of types X, Y or Z”

    Now are Local Authority Lawyers stepping up the game to make mud stick, have they had a shake down when attending legal planning meetings and instead of throwing caution their mantra now is to go full on, some of my recent cases would suggest that.

    The apps should not be increasing given what tools are available now, yes I know resources are thin the tools however remain and should not be ignored

    • They were quick to be dismissive of my character and accept wrong information about me. They painted me “black” even though I did no wrong and I am NOT who they portray me to be.. it then happened that false whistle blower was believed, got contact but,then showed her TRUE colours and caused real havoc with all types of abuses.. they then STOPPED her contact and duck and dive, cut corners and hind behind the bushes and tells me to “get lost”. Does this sound justifiable?

  14. The focus on what Munby says is too narrow. What you see in courts are just the tip of the iceberg. If there are those increases in court applications, think about what the increases look like for social work departments and the broader ramifications of that.

    Whether or not people here think social workers have a positive role to play with families, there can be little doubt that early help services are vitally important. I have seen that in my Local Authority that the number of young children being presented with acute injuries (accidental or otherwise) has dropped since we have invested heavily in early help services.

    The most important place to focus our spending is early help to prevent children and families coming to the attention of statutory services at all.

    • ashamedtobebritish

      Exactly that, but not ss overseeing it, they tend to make up their own version of what’s happening and before you know it, it’s at plo, the lies are thick and fast, leaving families unable to deal with the 1st one before another ten have accumulated.

      • Please stop referring to us as SS. This is deliberately antagonistic and unhelpful. While you may be deeply unhappy and angry at social workers, for the most part we work terribly hard to keep families together and this is often at great expense outside of work.

        By grouping us as the SS you simply shut down the conversation and it stops moderate people from paying attention to what you say. If you want to change the system (as opposed to ranting to the converted) and the way things work, you need moderates to listen to you.

        Personally, if I ever came across a social worker who had lied (about anything) and there was evidence, I would have them suspended pending disciplinary. Managers need to trust workers and if the trust is not there then there are significant problems. While people may think we want to remove as many children from their parents as possible, it is the last thing any of us want to do. No matter how much I believe a child should be removed from a parent, I always feel depressed that it has come to that. There is never pleasure or satisfaction. Simply sadness.

      • ashamedtobebritish

        Wow, over reaction!
        Ss is just quicker than typing out social services, as is sw, or Suess, or any text speak, don’t be so uptight.

        I’m actually not anti social services, I feel they have a role to play, however I am anti corruption that I have seen many times over within the social services departments across the country, watching social workers lie, ignore concerns and generally build cases to fit their own criteria entitles anyone to be angry, especially when backed up by lazy uninterested managers sitting there listening to one lie after the other then ignoring the proof that this is lies.
        These are lives being torn apart, often over very solvable and simple solutions that they choose not to take because it’ll take effort (and the lies will have to be acknowledged)

    • How would you prevent birth damage to a child, would you cover it up and deny a child any access to medical help, because that is what happened to my Grandchild, and us as a family. the medical evidence is still in existence (A) because I his Grandmother have it, (B) It will always be in existence in his undisclosed medical records at South Cleveland Hospital, now the James Cook UH

  15. Describing social workers as the SS is not text speak. It is deliberately offensive. ‘A social worker’ has taken the trouble to explain his/her work here. It might help the debate to read what s/he has written and try to engage with it.

    • ashamedtobebritish

      Which is what I did dear.
      I am not responsible for his dislike for opposing opinion, that is his problem and I choose not to allow it to become mine.
      He had my respect for a moment there, but lost it with the usual passive/aggressive nature of the beast.

      • I agree SS as an abbreviation for Social Services,LA for local authority. Seems to me seeing SS as deliberately offensive shows some sort of huge guilt complex.

      • This, as always is a deflection, from the substance of what they do.

        Perfunctory adherence to appearance ie what a person is labelled, and, deliberately construing personal insults, is the name of the game., it is all tactics.

        Social Workers, are now, except for their managers, to which the SS conspires to be for a career, and particularly in the future, all short term contract, or zero hours, often agency workers, totally prescribed and disposable.

        They are trained in one job, to assess to gain evidence to remove by standard court reports, attend court, usually with manager, and then after removal, a SW legally, is not needed.

        It is exactly the same in the COP under MCA, they are replaced by adult services managers, as soon as removal to residential achieved by SW.

        It is a very efficient system, and is akin to the processes in Nazi Germany

        SS and courts will soon be privatised as they are a huge money spinners.

        As merely a process that effectively just rubber stamps into adoption, foster care and residential homes for life.

        We are living in a totalitarian state.

      • When is this terrible, draconian and shameless practice gonna END!!! A NEW System needs to created with Family’s Human Rights adhered to.

      • We will need a complete change of political will.

        This system has been created by 3 successive governments, of all persuasions.

        Each has past legislation MCA, Children and Families Act, Care Act, which makes it easier to remove our children and mentally disabled, to make profit.

        And, they have put the government agencies in place ie CAFCASS, Official Solicitor, Court of Protection.

        And fed and backed by the SS LA, and all charities and other agencies, as all financed by the state..

        Human Rights can, and are ignored, as if relied on, courts hold the interference is proportionate.

        EU courts will not get involved, although a petition to the EU Parliament on forced adoption has produced scrutiny, but clearly, has had, as yet on the statistics, little effect.

        And it appears, the petition, may merely result in fewer, other than UK national EU children, being removed as the petition, included mainly member states, other than UK y complaining, when their children had been adopted by the UK authorities..

        Until we stop using people/children, as commodities and reintroduce the separation of powers and the rule of law, and reverse legislation and give parents rights to their own children and the SS owe a duty to them, when investigating abuse, the situation will only worsen.

    • Social Services are not independent, they do there masters bidding otherwise they would be out of a job, they are the little fish who toe the line otherwise they would be out on their ear, I personally could not do the job if I was paid my weight in gold, my heart is not made of steel, and I do know at the end of the day we are all answerable

      • IN my horrible experience with SWs. I have seen four come and go and they are told to LIE and Fabricate things against Family and their loved. If you were a SW and the Council asks you to LIE and write FALSE Reports! What you do? As you may have No Job?

  16. Social workers who remove new born babies at birth , from hospital for “risk of emotional abuse” deserve to be described as “SS”. The Nazi SS practiced “lebensborn” ,taking away babies from non aryans to be brought up by SS families !
    I appreciate the hurt feelings of contributor “social worker” but I can only point out that any single mum with a couple of kids hearing that a social worker had called on her whilst she was out would NOT say “what a pity I missed her” she would say “My God they are after my children!” or words to that effect………………

  17. Anyone who has doubts about social workers telling lies should read the Serious Case Review Surrey CC v Gloria Foster 2014 I think. This social worker lied blatantly and someone died.

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