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Children's Social Services - Will we ever get it right?

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Tynwald is going to debate this report on November 15:
There are nine recommendations for resolving the issues in Children and Families Social Services:
(Notes in brackets are explanatory and not on the order paper.)

Recommendation 1
That the Department of Health and Social Care should produce a training policy to ensure that the statutory aim of keeping families together is reflected in the policy and working practices of the Department.

Recommendation 2
That the Department of Health and Social Care should make every effort to ensure that social workers are competent and are seen as competent; that they communicate positively, not negatively; that they come with practical or emotional help at the outset; and that they do not give the impression that any with-holding of consent will be held against a family.

Recommendation 3
That the Department of Health and Social Care should undertake public education with the aim of ensuring that the way that social services and related agencies actually behave on the doorstep is adequately communicated so that people can talk about any concerns they might have and feel confident that they are going to receive help.

Recommendation 4
That legislation to place the Safeguarding Children Board on a statutory footing should be introduced into the House of Keys before the end of the 2016/17 session.

Recommendation 5
That OFSTED should be enabled as a statutory body for the inspection of Children and Families Social Services. (This would replace the Scottish Care Inspectorate inspection which is arranged by the Department itself)

Recommendation 6
That the Department of Health and Social Care should be required to produce a statutory annual Children in Need census to include the same standard statistical data required by the Department for Education in Whitehall and to include any other data as specified by Tynwald.

Recommendation 7
That the Children and Families Division should encourage and welcome complaints from families and should deal with them positively so that lessons can be learned and any grievances can as far as possible be resolved.

Recommendation 8
That a Tynwald Commissioner for Administration should be appointed and that a statutory Safeguarding Children Board be a listed authority under the Tynwald Commissioner for Administration Act 2011.
(This position would allow for an effective complaints process for families)

Recommendation 9
That core national policies in respect of children should not be introduced, amended or abandoned without the express approval of Tynwald.

**It is being suggested that, to help matters with this Investigation, we each write or email our MHKs and get others to do the same asking them to both support the following
9 recommendations and Recommendation 10 that was presented to Tynwald by Peter Karran on 15th June 2016 :
Recommendation 10

The Recommendations made by the Committee need to implemented beginning January 2017.

The Social Affairs Policy Review Committee needs to report back to Tynwald on the implementation of the Recommendations to the April Tynwald 2017.

The biggest worry is that the Government will try to water down the recommendations.
Please help us to ensure that this does not happen.

Feel free to just copy and paste from the email for the body of your own.

Stay strong.
We will not let this go quietly away.

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An overview of where things were as of Thursday 27/10/16.

 

Hi, All -

Just to confirm that the final file was handed over to the two
Investigators on Thursday, 20th October 2016.

In all, 10 case files and 1 Investigation Overview file was given to the
Investigators. The Investigation Overview file included the Covering
Letter for the Investigation as well as background documents (press
clippings, speeches given by Peter Karran to Tynwald, an excerpt from
the Social Affair Policy Review Committee Report, Consent Forms from
additional families, etc).

The Investigation is being led by Paul Burnett, Independent Chair of IOM
Safeguarding Children Board (SCB).
He has hired Bridget Griffin, a qualified Social Worker and external
auditor, to assist. Bridget's role as a qualified Social Worker means
that she is familiar with the Code of Practice to which all Social
Workers should be adhering and she will note any and all instances where
this may not be the case in the evidence presented and/or in the DCF's
own, internal records.

Paul and Bridget both spent Thursday a.m. being trained in accessing the
DCF's online records. This was done so that they themselves would be
searching data held on each family by the Department. They are able to
access this remotely so they will not be working in the DCF offices nor
will anyone from DCF be assisting in searching for or accessing this
information. I very much appreciate this step being taken by them: not
because I had any concerns about confidentiality - you are sharing your
stories and for that we are very grateful and none of you have anything
to hide - but because, sad to say, we have/had concerns about data going
missing.

Bridget asked a number of questions of me on Thursday and I was
reassurred by her line of questioning.

Paul and Bridget mentioned again speaking to individuals and to families
and expressed that they would decide how to progress once they had read
all of the files. It is thought that they may have specific questions
for some or all of you in order to help them understand what happened to
you and your family's experience better.
Paul and Bridget are both back on the Island the week of the 14th
November and it may be that those face-to-face meetings and focus groups
will happen then; we will keep you updated.
In the meantime, we have made it clear that they can and should come
back to us at any time should they need any more evidence for anything.

At this time, they are hoping to have the Investigation concluded by
December 2016 and to present it to Tynwald in January 2017. Paul has
already mentioned that, if the allegations are found to be correct in
the sample of cases we are using for this Investigation, he may go back
to Tynwald and ask that the Government do further work to test the
extent of our concerns beyond the initial Investigation. In any case,
their Report will not be naming individuals but it may say that the
concerns are upheld and that the Department needs to handle these; if
there are concerns that are proven that carry a automatic displinary
action as a consequence, the Department will have to see these through.

I hope that this email helps to both bring you up-to-date on how the
Investigation is being handled and the projected timeline.

About 20 minutes after I left the meeting with Paul and Bridget, I felt
like crying tears of relief: I do think that we have left you, our
families, in good hands...but rest assured, if that does not prove to be
the case, we will not stop until your voices are properly heard and
positive change is made.

All our best,
Marcia* & Tam

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This is all just posturing at the end of the day. I can't see it making one blind but of difference.

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This is all just posturing at the end of the day. I can't see it making one blind but of difference.

 

 

it won't change a thing no matter how true the complaints are, the 'independent' will be not so and will have been told what the required verdict/outcome needs to be. all those that complained will find themselves unsupported and basically given no credence and the department of fuck your family up will get a few recomendations and ignore what they want but have a big chip on vengence on their shoulders. their little lies have been backed up so they will start telling bigger ones.

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This is all just posturing at the end of the day. I can't see it making one blind but of difference.

 

 

it won't change a thing no matter how true the complaints are, the 'independent' will be not so and will have been told what the required verdict/outcome needs to be. all those that complained will find themselves unsupported and basically given no credence and the department of fuck your family up will get a few recomendations and ignore what they want but have a big chip on vengence on their shoulders. their little lies have been backed up so they will start telling bigger ones.

That's not exactly what I meant. But HQ perhaps had it right all along. They're unreliable witnesses who will provide unreliable testimony. A lot will be drunks, bullies and kiddy fiddlers where it was never going to be possible to investigate things properly as you can't rely on their view of events. It's fine claiming it was always going to be the inevitable cover up but maybe it's not that simple.

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They're unreliable witnesses who will provide unreliable testimony. A lot will be drunks, bullies and kiddy fiddlers where it was never going to be possible to investigate things properly as you can't rely on their view of events.

 

I think it's unfair to dismiss the testimony of Social Services staff like that.

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They're unreliable witnesses who will provide unreliable testimony. A lot will be drunks, bullies and kiddy fiddlers where it was never going to be possible to investigate things properly as you can't rely on their view of events.

 

I think it's unfair to dismiss the testimony of Social Services staff like that.

Where did I do that? I said that most of the witnesses or attestors against them, by virtue of their personal circumstances, are probably very unreliable witnesses.

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It's always about the adults, isn't it? Never the kids.

Totally the issue.

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*whoosh*

Have you verbally farted?

Edited by JackCarter

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I'm saying the Social Services staff are human beings, they're not the perfect objective and neutral robots you make them out to be. They are just as likely to be alcoholics, kiddie fiddlers, drug addicts, or bullies, as the rest of the population. Potentially more so. You can't just arbitrarily dismiss the evidence of a lot of people based on a stereotype.

Edited by llap

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I'm saying the Social Services staff are human beings, they're not the perfect objective and neutral robots you make them out to be. They are just as likely to be alcoholics, kiddie fiddlers, drug addicts, or bullies, as the rest of the population. Potentially more so.

 

You do them down. As I said in this instance it's the aggrieved parents who are the unreliable witnesses. Most of what they say will be written off as they're perhaps alcoholics, drug users, documented dysfunctional, or kiddy fiddlers.

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I'm saying the Social Services staff are human beings, they're not the perfect objective and neutral robots you make them out to be. They are just as likely to be alcoholics, kiddie fiddlers, drug addicts, or bullies, as the rest of the population. Potentially more so.

You do them down. As I said in this instance it's the aggrieved parents who are the unreliable witnesses. Most of what they say will be written off as they're perhaps alcoholics, drug users, documented dysfunctional, or kiddy fiddlers.

 

 

Some of them may be unreliable. You can't arbitrarily make that determination on a large number of people based on a single stereotype. As I said, there are alcoholics, kiddie fiddlers, drug addicts and bullies throughout the population, including Social Services staff; it's not isolated to families who are under the wing of Social Services. You seem to want to dismiss a specific population based on a perceived prevalence of certain things, when these things are (disturbingly) prevalent throughout the entire general population.

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I'm saying the Social Services staff are human beings, they're not the perfect objective and neutral robots you make them out to be. They are just as likely to be alcoholics, kiddie fiddlers, drug addicts, or bullies, as the rest of the population. Potentially more so.

 

You do them down. As I said in this instance it's the aggrieved parents who are the unreliable witnesses. Most of what they say will be written off as they're perhaps alcoholics, drug users, documented dysfunctional, or kiddy fiddlers.

Some of them may be unreliable. You can't arbitrarily make that determination on a large number of people based on a single stereotype. As I said, there are alcoholics, kiddie fiddlers, drug addicts and bullies throughout the population, including Social Services staff; it's not isolated to families who are under the wing of Social Services. You seem to want to dismiss a specific population based on a perceived prevalence of certain things, when these things are (disturbingly) prevalent throughout the entire general population.

To me it's down to Roger Mexicos point on denial of the middle classes. If you're in the system then you're in the system. You're no better than anyone else in the system. Even if you're holding down a job and your friends haven't quite worked out that you have a dysfunctional family yet. Maybe you dont quite think that you're a drunk, a bully, or a useless parent yet; but you still have to deal with social services if you've been quietly found out.

Edited by JackCarter

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