Archives for posts with tag: Nottinghamshire County Council
Sanam Navsarka

Sanam Navsarka, who died on 8 May 2008, suffered more than 100 injuries.

Hi, everyone.

Its been a while since I updated you all daily, but I really feel a need to tell you about something that happened today that really concerns me.

More children at risk

All of us will have either suffered abuse at the hands of others, know someone who has been abused or at risk of being abused or perhaps heard or read reports in the media saying a child has been abused and, at the worst, murdered. All too often social services are blamed for not being available for children to monitor and prevent abuse to children and young people. Sadly, it’s usually the front-line staff who are blamed for any abuse tragedy that comes under the media spotlight, instead of the department or the authority itself. However, what happens then is a new focus on child abuse changes, and public services spend money arguing about who is to blame and how services can be improved. This would be fine if, in fact, services did improve but, to be honest, my experience lately suggests services haven’t improved and that more and more children are at risk.

Resources wasted harassing a safe, healthy and happy 16-year-old

Public services have been complaining recently following the change in government, as David Cameron has cut public spending and requested that local authorities review their services and budgets. I would take the complaints really seriously if my local authority, Notts County Council, could demonstrate what impact such cuts could have on them. Instead, they decide to waste money on sending two social workers to visit my 16-year-old daughter at school unannounced, who has made it perfectly clear that she does not want to see them, she is not at risk of any harm, has never been at risk of harm or been hurt in any way at all. The school my daughter is at is in a rural area, so a good hour and a half would be needed to visit the school, to wait for my daughter to be taken out of an important GCSE class, to be then told by her “Go away!” and then to travel back to their office.

Priorities must be addressed before complaining about resources

Now I’d like everyone to imagine a child suffering with multiple fractures, no matter what age, who is in the social care system and locked in a room at temperatures in excess of 40 degrees after being beaten by its parents. Then imagine this child feeling desperate for the TWO social workers visiting my daughter to come and rescue her from such terrible things. How fair does that feel, especially if the social worker involved said that due to work pressures she didn’t have time to visit the little girl and sadly she dies? How can the authorities complain about low budgets and lack of resources? Maybe if they focused on what was important and addressed people’s needs in order of priority they wouldn’t be worried about the reductions in budgets that has been imposed on them! How many children will be abused or die at the hands of the authorities until someone reviews the system and starts looking after those that really are in need? Just a thought!

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Hi, everyone.

I hope all is well. I thought it was about time I updated you all.

I haven’t got much news regarding my work situation and the HPC.  I’m busy collating as much supporting evidence as possible for my defence which has to be submitted to the HPC by the 11th of February 2011. I’ve seen my treating consultant to confirm I’m fit and well, and I’m seeing my former consultant, Dr Chris, for an evaluation. Fingers crossed, this new evidence will help the HPC decide that “there is no case to answer”, my registration will return to normal and I can go back to work.

Child Protection Review Conference

As for Notts County Council, I don’t think they will ever cease to amaze me.  I attended a child protection review conference recently which was held to decide if the child protection plan that my daughters are on should continue. Both the girls have told social workers that they don’t feel a need for a child protection plan, they don’t feel at risk and never have, and that they don’t want social services visiting them. My eldest daughter has tactfully said that she feels that social services should be looking after those children that need them and reassured them that she is old enough to seek help if she needed it.  My younger daughter, however, is not quite as polite, and told the social workers she wants nothing to do with them. She has voiced her anger, saying it’s wrong that she was originally told that she didn’t have to see social services and was then later told that she does have to see social workers, whether she likes it or not.

In attendance at the conference were two representatives of my younger daughter’s school, one for my elder daughter’s college, the school nurse, a social worker, the chairperson, my treating consultant and me.  School, the school nurse and social workers exchanged and shared reports with everyone, and the chair opened the conference once they had been read. The college representative spoke first, saying that Laura is doing well at college, has plenty of friends and that there is no cause for concern about her. The chair asked if Laura could access counselling, and the college representative replied that she could. The chair asked if Laura had done so, and the representative said, “That information is confidential and no one can be forced into counselling”.  The chair was not happy with this response and could not accept that Laura is nearly 18 years old.  The college representative went on to say that Laura has applied to university and that she will support her with her application.

Nurse:  no concerns

The nurse spoke, saying there were no reported concerns with either of the girls, no reported A&E attendances and health records showed nothing different from the first initial child protection conference.  The nurse also confirmed again that Jennifer has refused to see her and that she has said she doesn’t want to see a counsellor.  The chair’s interpretation of this information was that Jennifer doesn’t want to see professionals because she’s frightened of being taken away from home. I couldn’t believe the chair wouldn’t accept that Jennifer didn’t want to see anyone because she didn’t need to!

“Persistent” misrepresentation of the truth!

The social worker went through her report briefly, and confirmed that both girls don’t feel a need to see social workers, and neither do they want to. She then went on to say Jennifer has presented with persistent knuckle injuries, one of which was a fracture. She also said these injuries were deliberate and a clear sign that Jennifer was suffering with stress and emotional difficulties. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Jennifer has hurt her hand twice since July 2010. The social worker also reported that this had been reported to the school nurse. However, the nurse had just said there were no concerns and no new information. The school representative went on to say that since the summer Jennifer has presented to them with numerous knuckle injuries. At this point I exploded and demanded to know how many times this had happened. The school confirmed “twice”, which were the two occasions everyone knew about. So I addressed the chair, saying, “There is an awful lot of weight being carried on two previous knuckle injuries that happened in summer 2010.  The two incidents have been changed to ‘numerous’, to ‘persistent’,and  then to ‘none’ by three different so-called professionals. Perhaps when people have decided if, when and how many injuries have  occurred, we can then decide if Jennifer is having any emotional difficulties.”

School then went on to confirm that everything at school was fine, and that there were no problems to report. The social worker went on to say she had not been able to meet with me and my husband as I wouldn’t speak to them and my husband was at work when they called.

The chair concluded that she felt the girls should remain on a child protection plan. I was furious, as I knew this decision would upset my daughters no end. I told the chair that her decision would only cause stress to the family and that it is not helpful in any way. Laura’s college representative also raised an objection, and said Laura was old enough to decide if she felt she were at risk or not. The chair would not listen to anyone. I told her that the only person putting my girls at risk of any harm was her. She wouldn’t listen, and said the plan would last for a further six months, although Laura would be taken off the plan in April when she turns 18. What madness!

The girls were initially angry. However, they were reassured when they discovered they do in fact have rights, and they have instructed a solicitor to act on their behalf. I obviously cannot be involved with their meetings with their solicitor, but I will continue to support their decisions. A social worker has been hassling the girls by letter, and by text message with Laura. Hopefully, a solicitor will help put a stop to this.

My daughters harassed while an abused two-year-old dies unchecked

It’s absolutely shocking that Notts County Council complain that social services are under-resourced, yet they can afford to spend money on two social workers visiting a 16- and 17-year-old who state clearly that they have never felt or been at risk, and if they did they would do something about it. It’s even more alarming that only 24 hours after the conference, a 2-year-old has died from severe cruelty from her parents. The parents have been sentenced to nine years and life. The family were known to social services, and even though reports were made to say the child was in immediate danger no one visited. Social services claim that they were under-resourced and couldn’t visit the day the child was found dead. Maybe the media should know how services prefer to spend their money!

My last posting talked about the support I’m giving to the charity NAPAC. I invited anyone to email me if they wanted any information regarding the charity. If anyone is willing to display a sticker on their wheely bin please email me your address and I will send one out for each bit. angela.bayley@hotmail.com

I will be in touch soon to let you know how things are going.

Take care, everyone.

Love and best wishes

Angela

Review of "Disruptive" in Rostrum magazine ("the voice of social work in Scotland"), January 2011.

It's not been all bad lately. This excellent review of my book has just appeared.

Hi, everyone.

I hope you all enjoyed the festive season and have a great New Year.

Inaccurate, opinionated, judgemental…

Once again I am sorry I have not been in touch for a while. Before Christmas I didn’t have a great time with regard to the work front. When I last spoke I mentioned that I was due to attend a hearing with the Health Professions Council (HPC) based on information my employers had sent that was given to them by Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC). The HPC had applied for an interim order suspending me from work, based on this information – “information” that was inaccurate, opinionated and judgemental.

Portrayed as psychotic childkiller

On the day of the hearing, the HPC received a short report written by an employee of Nottinghamshire healthcare. This report was extracts of my confidential medical records taken from the NHS database. It was also written in such a way that it was very damaging to me personally and professionally. I was horrified that someone had accessed my personal notes without my permission or consent and then circulated them to people outside my treatment team. The extracts of my medical notes portrayed me as some sort of psychotic childkiller. The authorities had done their best to discredit me, and the nature of the case notes they had produced were shocking, to the extent that if you read them you would think I was a patient from Rampton or Broadmoor Hospital. NCC also stated that I had physically abused my children! Entirely false, of course! It was awful.

Suspended

To cut a long story short, the hearing panel chose to suspend me from the register whilst the HPC decided if there were to be any allegations made against me and if there is a case to answer.  I struggled to defend myself as I couldn’t produce evidence to say I had been well for the past six months. Therefore the panel had to base their decision on my state of health in June whilst I was in hospital. I was furious that I had been suspended from the register, but could also understand why the panel had imposed the suspension order.

Character assassination

My Christmas present from my employer was the news that, because I had been suspended from the register, I had twelve weeks to apply for a non-clinical position within the Trust or they would look at terminating my contract. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Christmas is not the best of times for me, but I was determined that NCC’s and Notts healthcare’s attempts at character assassination were not going to spoil Christmas and New Year for me and my family. I contacted my trusted solicitor who advised me on what to do.

Christmas was brilliant

When I was a patient of Dr Chris Holman at The Retreat he taught me that if I face a difficult time then I should sit down and make a written plan about how to get through it. That’s exactly what I did. I set myself a plan to challenge services via their complaints procedures, raise a grievance with my employers and prepare my defence for the HPC. The plan, once I completed these tasks, was to participate in the festive season and make Christmas special for everyone by enjoying myself (something I find hard to do). I also planned a party to celebrate my 40th birthday. The final part of my plan was to enjoy the New Year and make sure 2011 is a better year for my friends, family and me.

Christmas was brilliant, my birthday was fantastic and having all my family and most special friends around me meant so much. Two of my friends came whom I had not seen for 24 years, and it was amazing to see them. New Year’s Eve was quiet, but I was happy with that after all the excitement the previous days. An outsider looking in would think my life was perfect and, to be honest, despite my work difficulties and the ongoing ridiculous child protection issues, my life isn’t too bad. So many have far more things in their life to be sad about and are maybe on their own dealing with it all. My husband said before Christmas that no one can take my family and friends away and, deep down, that’s all that matters. Instead of dwelling on what has happened, I have chosen to deal with any difficult issues head-on, and to look after myself and family as well as clear my name.

2011 has got off to a good start. My legal representative has guided me well. I have an appointment with my consultant for a re-evaluation and I have been referred to my previous consultant, Dr Chris, for an assessment. Following these assessments I will submit their reports to the HPC along with other evidence to prove that I am mentally well. I am seeing my solicitor on Friday to discuss my job situation to prepare for any case I could have on that front.

NAPAC logo

I am helping NAPAC raise their profile.

NAPAC – can you help?

I am also getting deeply involved with the charity NAPAC. The charity is for adults who have suffered any form of childhood abuse. The charity is desperate to raise their profile and I’m trying to think of ideas which might help do that. In the meantime, I’m involved with a campaign asking people to display a sticker with the NAPAC logo on it on their wheelie bins. I’m also distributing information about the charity and help for survivors.

Anyone wanting any NAPAC information, or willing to put the NAPAC sticker on their bins, please email me your addresses at angela.bayley@hotmail.com.  Any help or ideas would be most welcome.

The best news so far

Finally, the best news so far is that Rostrum, the magazine of the Scottish branch of the British Association of Social Workers, has published a review of my book. It’s brilliant and something to be very proud of. If social workers read Disruptive, as recommended in the review, then it will hopefully help many people in years to come.

I will try to write again when I have any further news.

Happy New Year!

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Snowman

My family and I have enjoyed being snowed in, despite all the pressures of the ongoing fight for justice.

Hi, everyone.

I hope you are all well and have been coping in the snow.

Not an awful lot has happened over the past week.

I have been preparing for a hearing with the Health Professionals Council. As you all know, my employers agreed with Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) that they would report me to the HPC, making the allegation that I am not fit to practise due to my mental health history. Evidence was sent to the HPC which was the minutes from inter-agency meetings that NCC have been having about me. Despite the meetings (in my opinion) being a huge breach of confidentiality and data protection, the information that the minutes contain is shocking. There are so many inaccuracies and allegations, for example that I have physically abused my daughters! I’ve never hurt them (and I have documentation to prove this) and I’m furious that this has been said to the HPC when it is absolutely untrue.

Understandably, the HPC have had to respond to this information and they have applied for an interim order to suspend or restrict my practice, something I have to defend. Regardless of any decision being made there will then be a final hearing in four to six months if it’s decided there is a case to answer.

I could really do without this stress, especially before Christmas. I’m in a position such that I can’t even voice my feelings of stress to any authority as it is automatically assumed I’m crackers instead of being a woman who could reach breaking point at the hands of others. Talking of breaking point, I keep wondering if NCC are pushing me to this point so my case against them is abandoned. I’m not sure if they are clever enough to do this, but if they are then they will lose. I have come this far and there is no way I’m giving up. I owe it to all survivors of sexual abuse to keep going, and to help open the floodgates for others to be able to come forward and make the authorities stand up and answer for their deeds.

As for my employer, I am not sure where I stand with them and I feel it inappropriate to comment.

Hopefully, it won’t be long before the second part of my story can be told.
I have an excellent union representative in London and another at home. The one in London asked me to speak to my colleagues for a character reference. I really didn’t think it would be a problem as I would be one of the first to jump to my colleagues’ defence if I had no concerns. I was horrified when two of my closest colleagues said, “No, I don’t want to get involved.” I’m so hurt, but the references I have received from others are amazing and have restored some of my faith in human nature. I have also been lucky to receive support from my friends and family, as well professionals such as my solicitors, union representatives, Team Prevent, some people associated with the Scottish Parliament and senior people associated with SurvivorScotland, which I’m so grateful for. My thanks also go to my co-author and publisher, who has now become a very important friend.

NCC social services invited me to a core group child protection meeting at the beginning of last week. The meeting was pretty uneventful. However, it would seem that mental health services have retreated and changed tack. Back in June/July they didn’t think twice about breeching confidentiality and did not seem to care about mine and my family’s dignity or reputation. NCC social services informed me last week that in a meeting with my consultant she refused to make any comment about my mental health. Services are still withdrawn too. All this since my husband made a complaint to mental health services.

Putting aside the stresses of the forthcoming hearing and the ridiculous child protection plan, I am feeling pretty well. Andrew and the girls are also well and we have had a great time in the snow, building snowmen. We have been snowed in, so the four of us have been at home together all week. It’s been great, especially at night when we are tucked up beside the fire whilst the snow has been falling. I haven’t forgotten those in need, though, and I have visited the elderly in the village just to check they are safe, warm, dry and have their essentials.

If the snow clears I intend to make it to the hearing. If, however, I don’t make it, the hearing will go ahead in my absence. I will let you all know how it goes and the decision the panel reach.

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Hi, everyone.

I’m sorry for not making contact for some time. Life has been pretty hectic and issues with my employers have made me very reluctant to post anything.

NCC have been having meetings with my employers and mental health services behind my back, discussing my medical and personal history as well as making judgements about my suitability to practise. NCC are claiming that because I have a mental health history I shouldn’t work with children. I have now received the minutes of the meetings that have been taking place and they make shocking reading. There are a lot of inaccuracies as well as opinionated and bigoted comments about me personally. It seems that NCC will stop at nothing to try and break me or silence me so that I retract my claim against them. Well, they are wrong if they think it will work. I received a package today from one of my solicitors which contained all the documents needed to be submitted to court, and he is determined to make NCC stand up and answer for what they have done.

My other solicitor is also looking at raising a case against NCC for disability discrimination as well as breach of confidentiality and data protection legislation. I will keep you posted as to how both cases proceed.

As for everything else in my life, things are not too bad. I’m busy getting ready for Christmas and the family and I are trying to think of something we could do together on Christmas day for charity or the local community. It would be much nicer to help others instead of sitting at home, over-indulging and watching rubbish Christmas TV. Helping others will help us appreciate what we have the most, and that is each other!

Finally, if I don’t post anything again for a while it’s because I am keen to protect my personal integrity. This is because all services are trying to discredit me by using the blog against me by saying that the blog is evidence to say I’m “bonkers” and should not be in a position of trust, especially with children. I intend to set the record straight and get back to the job I love.

I hope to chat again soon.

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Hi, everyone.

I thought it was time I should let you all know how things are and what I have been doing since we last spoke.

Since my discharge from hospital I have been concentrating on getting back to normal, spending time with my family and concentrating on getting back to work.

Social services have been hovering in the background. I initially decided to refuse contact with them but when I was informed that if I didn’t comply with the ludicrous child protection plan the longer the process would be and the department would disrupt the girls at school and college in order to see them. I met with the two social workers assigned to us and agreed we would see them as a family. I didn’t make it too easy for them, though. I decided that if they wanted to see us then they would have to come to the house when we were all together during the evening when it was convenient for everyone.

Hypocrites

The social workers finally met Andrew, and spoke to the girls individually. The social workers came across as such hypocrites as they said the girls were lovely and a credit to us and then in the next breath said they had to do a parenting assessment. Absolute madness! …As well as a complete waste of time and resources. After being a parent for nearly eighteen years, assessing my parenting skills now is surely farcical.

A bigoted teacher

I don’t think social services realise the disruption and distress they are causing the family. Since their involvement the girls have suffered humiliation as the department have been in touch with their schools and they have been taken out of lessons for welfare checks. Teenagers are easily embarrassed and find it difficult to explain to their peers such things as child protection etc. Andrew and I have experienced prejudice and judgemental attitudes. For exampl, a teacher at Jenifer’s school spoke to me the first time last Monday and was really pleasant and helpful. I spoke to the teacher again on Thursday and her attitude towards me was disgusting. She was rude and made various cruel references about Jenifer being on a child protection plan. She also refused to help Jenifer with her dyslexia and said, “Families like yours tend to use such things as dyslexia to explain the child’s difficulty when in fact they are not dyslexic and it turns out to be the parents that have the problem.” I was horrified and, to be honest, I’m not sure what to do apart from write a letter of complaint and try to ignore such ignorance.

Hoops to jump through

I’ve had a meeting with occupational health and on Tuesday I’m meeting with the occupational health consultant and my psychiatrist to discuss if I can return to work and, if so, what hoops I will have to jump through. I will keep you posted on how I get on.

Wherever Notts County Council is, there is trouble

Other than what I’ve reported so far, and doing the school runs, I’ve been spending my time helping Laura with her application for medical school and supporting her in her second year of college. I have also been looking after Jenifer, taking her to hospital appointments and physio sessions. She suffers with joint hypermobility and experiences a lot of pain. Like Laura, I have also been supporting her get back to school and with her studies as she is in her final GCSE year. I just wish the school would help too. It just seems that wherever Notts County Council is there is trouble, and I seem to be battling with them.

I’ve tried to focus my attention on positive things such as planning Jenifer’s 16th birthday party, decorating Laura’s bedroom and planning a trip to Scotland in October. Laura and I have also joined a health spa and gym, and Andrew and I have spent some good time together too.

Case progressing well

Finally, you may be interested to know that my case against NCC is progressing well. I’ve been assured that it will be either settled by the end of this year or early next year. Since my solicitor has requested one of my abuser’s personal employment files the defendants have gone very quiet. My solicitor is going to serve notice on them next week which may cause some rumblings. I will be relieved when the case is over so I can complete a second book.

I will be in touch at the end of next week.

Bye for now.

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Snapshot of the BBC coverage of the Khyra Ishaq case in Birmingham

Social services' neglect led to the death by starvation of Khyra Ishaq in Birmingham. If the way Nottinghamshire County Council is dealing with my case is anything to judge by, children in Nottinghamshire are at risk too, as social services appear to be all over the place in their handling of things.

Hi, everyone.

Ridiculous farce

This morning I received a letter from Notts County Council social services apologising for not inviting us to a core group meeting on 17 August. We should have been invited to this in order to discuss the child protection plan that has been imposed on us. Again, Andrew and I haven’t had a chance to have our say regarding this ridiculous farce.

Not allowed to cook for my daughters

I have spoken to the manager at NCC social services this afternoon who has informed me that the social workers assigned to us will be in touch shortly. I told her I was appalled that no one had been in touch for weeks, even though they think the girls are at risk. I informed her that the girls don’t wish to speak to them and Andrew can only meet with a social worker on an evening or at a weekend. I also said that I would consult my solicitor before speaking with them. The child protection plan states I have to be supervised at all times with the girls, and must not be alone in the car with them or cook for them.

Manager also questioned plan

I informed the manager that we cannot adhere to the plan, and won’t be doing so. I also told her that I informed social services of this on 23 July when I was discharged from hospital. She actually admitted that she had questioned the plan herself, and said that I would have to discuss this with the social workers assigned to us. Apparently, the social workers want to meet us on a three -weekly basis, so it looks like we are going to have fun and games over the next three months.

Taxpayers’ money

I am disgusted that the department is wasting taxpayers’ money on a series of errors and unnecessary assessments. I am standing my ground and determined that NCC are not going to disrupt our lives. I am not going to make things easy for them.

Wasting resources on my case

I spent the day with Laura, my older daughter, and we talked about the current situation with social services. Laura is 17, nearly 18, and even she has commented on how irresponsible and inadequate NCC social services are. We reflected on the poor girl in Birmingham who starved to death, partly due to social services’ lack of input and mistakes. Social services complain that they are overworked and under-resourced. Perhaps if they didn’t waste time on cases like mine they would have more time for those families that really do need the help?

Does a 17-year-old have any right to privacy?

I also passed on to the manager Laura’s concern about her health records being shared without her consent. The response I got was as there was a child protection issue and Laura is still deemed a child her records can be shared with anyone involved. Surely Laura has a right to privacy and confidentiality just as much as an adult? If anyone reading this has any thoughts on this issue or any knowledge of children’s rights I would like to hear from you.

I’ve been told a social worker is going to contact us today to make arrangements to see us. I won’t hold my breath and will keep you all posted.

Love and best wishes

Angela x

The tragic case of Baby P as described on Wikipedia

The way Nottinghamshire County Council are dealing with my case makes me fear that local authorities have learnt nothing from cases such as the death of Baby P. Not only are NCC wasting time, energy and resources on someone who is no threat at all to her children (me), but, if they really do believe I am a threat to them, they are demonstrating negligence as, after ludicrously claiming that my daughters need protection from me, they have not contacted us for many days. Am I right to suspect that they do not genuinely fear for my daughters' safety and that the fact that I am suing them for what they did to me when I was a child in their care explains what feels like their persecution of me?

Hi, everyone.

I hope you are all well.

I am sorry I have been away for a while. I have spent the last few weeks trying to make sense of the past couple of months and, more importantly, spending time with my family, trying to restore normality for them.

Shambles – spoke in my absence

Various things have happened since I last spoke. As mentioned in my previous blog, I was waiting for the child protection conference with Notts County council (NCC). It was held on 9 August at 2 p.m. I forecast that it would be a shambles and that no one would turn up. I was right on the first point anyway. A lot of people turned up, which, to be honest, was quite intimidating and embarrassing. Apparently someone attending the conference wasn’t happy I was there, so asked to speak in my absence, so Andrew and I had to leave halfway through.

My husband libelled

We were all handed various reports, including mine and the girls’ health records. No one had sought consent from the girls or me to release these records. This is surely required, especially if they were to be shown to people who are not healthcare professionals. In fact, even my younger daughter’s school representatives were given copies! The school admitted that the comments made in the documents about Andrew being aggressive when visiting the school were wrong. The social services report had various other mistakes and inaccuracies which we raised with the chair of the conference. She asked us to make notes and hand them to her when we left. Andrew and I were not in the meeting long and didn’t really have a chance to say much as we were asked to wait outside until the end, which is when we were told we would be informed of the outcome.

Told of conference outcome in a public place

An hour and a half later we were told of the chair’s decision in the reception area of the building (not exactly the most private of places). The chair told us that both girls were going to be placed on a child protection plan as she felt they were at risk of physical harm, and a further conference will apparently take place in three months. I was furious and protested, saying that the whole thing was a farce. I also raised the issue of the reports being incorrect and requested our copies back. She assured me that they would be sent to us in the post, along with her decision and the minutes of the conference. She also urged us to make a formal complaint in writing if we were not happy with the process.

Breach of daughters’ confidentiality

We arrived home and both girls asked how things had gone. They could see I was unhappy and when I informed them of the outcome they too were unhappy. Both girls mentioned the aspect of confidentiality and how they felt their right to have their health records kept confidential had been breached. Laura said that although we are all honest and open with each other, and there are no secrets between us, she still had a right to privacy and, hypothetically, the records might have contained things she didn’t want to share with Andrew or me, such as the use of contraception.

Wanting peace, not resurrection of the past

I was issued a leaflet informing us of what happens next. According to the leaflet written by NCC, and also their webpage, the next event would be a core group meeting, which would include Andrew and me, and which would be held within ten days of the child protection conference. During those ten days we were informed that we would receive the chair’s decision in writing, along with the minutes of the conference and the social services report. We were also told a social worker would be assigned to us within that same ten-day period to check on the family and make arrangements to speak with us all and do an assessment. As a family, none of us wanted the intrusion, and I, in particular, wanted some peace to concentrate on getting better and back to work. The last thing we wanted was the resurrection of the past! Nonetheless, we prepared ourselves as best we could for the next meeting and also for the intrusion of a social worker into our lives. Andrew said he would keep his diary pretty free as the social workers don’t work evenings or weekends.

No contact from NCC, although daughters supposedly at risk!

We waited for the letters and phone call, and guess what? We haven’t heard a dicky bird from anyone at NCC. To claim that the girls are at risk and then not to be bothered to check we are all OK is an absolute joke! No wonder we keep hearing of stories such as that of poor Baby P, or the little girl in Birmingham starved to death! Fortunately, my girls are not at risk and never have been, but I am concerned about those children who are at risk and being left for two weeks without social services’ input. The whole thing is a disgrace!

Fighting for my career and reputation

During the past two weeks I have been focusing on getting back to work. My job is a huge part of my life and is a real protective factor for me. Due to NCC contacting my my employers and telling them that I was a risk (because of the access I have to various dangerous drugs) I was suspended from duty, pending an occupational health assessment. I feel it is inappropriate to discuss anything related to my current position at work, however, and, in any case, the suspension agreement does not permit me to talk about it. What I can say is that I am doing everything in my power to get back to work, and my employers are supporting me continuously. Mental health services and NCC, however, are not being supportive at all, and I am currently fighting to save my job and career as well as my reputation.

Conflict of interest?

I may be being paranoid, but I am of the opinion that if I didn’t live in the area that is governed by NCC, life would be somewhat easier. As it is, at the moment they have control over my health status and also my children’s lives, via their schools. Consequently, Andrew and I have decided that once I am back at work we are going to move from the area. My younger daughter, who is still in compulsory education, has asked to change schools and requested to go back into the independent system at a school out of our locality. I have made enquiries at the school she wishes to attend, and hopefully come September she will not be returning to a school run by NCC.

We also have decided as a family what we are going to do if social services make contact. Andrew has said he will speak to a social worker only if they are prepared to see him after 6 p.m. during the week or at the weekend, as he cannot take any more unnecessary time off work. Laura has said she is going to write to social services complaining about the breach of confidentiality in respect of her health records, and to tell them she doesn’t wish to speak to them. Jenifer has asked Andrew to tell them she doesn’t want to see anyone as she doesn’t trust them. I have informed her that she will probably have to tell them herself but, for now, Andrew will keep them at arm’s length. I have decided I have wasted enough time and energy speaking with NCC, and also feel that as they are the authority I am suing (for exposing me to paedophiles when I was in their care as a child) there is a conflict of interest here. Therefore, I don’t wish to speak to anyone employed by NCC in the future. If they need to speak to me I will refer them to my solicitor.

All I have to do now is concentrate on the future, and hope we can get back to normal family life and how we were pre-2001.

I will keep you all posted and, hopefully, my next post will be positive and contain good news.

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Hi, everyone.

Case dismissed!

Good news at last! The police rang me on Friday to tell me that the CPS have discharged the case against me and said they are not pressing charges. The relief I felt was amazing and the investigating officer even sounded pleased that I was finally free of the stress the whole case had caused me.

Names, places and facts wrong

Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) social services visited Friday also. They came to show us the report they are submitting to Monday’s child protection conference. As a family we had all received letters inviting us to the conference. Bizarrely,  however, they got names, places and facts wrong. Laura received a letter to say she was going into care but the conference was about her sister. I received a letter detailing the girls names incorrectly and inviting a GP, whose name is unknown to us, and who is certainly not at our practice, to attend the meeting. Andrew received a letter saying Jennifer was the child being investigated and not Laura, and Jennifer received a letter detailing the purpose of the conference on a leaflet titled “For parents”.

The wrong parents described in report!

The social worker presented me with the report she was submitting. As I cast my eyes over it I wasn’t phased by the errors jumping out at me straight away. Dates, times and names were wrong, as well as grammar. NCC had spoken to Jennifer’s school and managed to write a report about the wrong parents. Facts about all of us were incorrect and both social workers seemed embarrassed. They kept reminding us of the complaints procedure when I kept mentioning all the errors that were being made. I was furious and said, “NCC have a nerve to question our parenting abilities. They can’t even write a report correctly. How on earth are we expected to have faith in the system?”

I also queried a key element in the report, which was their supposed concern about my daughters’ emotional wellbeing. I raised the question, “If you are so concerned, where have you been for the past seven years, never mind the past six weeks for that matter?” I have been experiencing mental health problems for seven years. During this time we have pulled together as a family and helped look after each other. We have never been offered any help or support by social services, even in the past six weeks when they started all this trouble. Surely if they were so concerned they would have done something to help? Instead they waste time writing silly and incorrect letters and reports.

Again I was told to highlight my concerns with the chair of the conference on Monday and follow the complaints procedure. Surely the time that has been spent on our case, and dealing with any complaints we have, would be better spent on protecting children who are starved to death by their parents?!

One failing authority assigned to prop up another?

The shocking fact is that the social worker who has been assigned to our family is from Birmingham. She claims she has been asked to work for NCC as they are a failing organisation! Again, they don’t make any sense and, to be honest, the whole service has been a joke. Birmingham has been big in the news as a failing authority, so God help us if NCC have requested their social workers to come to our area.

Conference will be a shambles

Tomorrow at 14.00hrs the child protection conference is taking place. There have been fifteen people invited to discuss concerns about the girls and to decide if they are placed on the child protection register. All this sounds very formal and official! In reality, I imagine that the conference will be a shambles. I think we will be the only ones on the invitation list to turn up, and the conference will consist of us questioning the authorities’ abilities and them making themselves look foolish. Let’s wait and see?

Will keep you all posted.

Love and best wishes

Angela x

Hi,  everyone.

The last time we spoke I was still in hospital waiting to be discharged or be reassessed for a further Section 3. On Friday 23 July I was discharged at 16.00hrs. I attended a care plan meeting to discuss my future care. Various health professionals were present. A representative from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Children and Young People’s Department arrived late, during the meeting.

Minimal care on offer

I presented to the professionals a care plan I had written myself, and after a lengthy discussion I agreed to what care was on offer (which was very minimal). A potential admission to The Retreat was discussed, but I was told it would be some time before funding could be secured, if any. The psychologist I have been seeing explained he would have to cut my therapy short as he was leaving, and he admitted there was no one to replace him. Therefore I was left with an open out-patients appointment with my psychiatrist, 72-hour support from the crisis team if needed, and then admission to the acute ward if necessary.

Daughter considered to be at risk

The social worker said a child protection conference had been arranged for the following week. Whilst I had been in hospital there had been an agreement in place between Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC)  and Andrew to the effect that I couldn’t be left unsupervised with my daughters when home on leave. I informed the social worker that now I was discharged from hospital I wouldn’t be adhering to the agreement. She asked if I could remain an in-patient at hospital until the date of the child protection conference. I was horrified, and explained that a hospital bed is for someone who is ill, not to be used as a babysitting service for NCC. The social worker said that as one of my daughters was considered to be “at risk of harm” (because of her age), she would have to speak to her managers. The meeting ended, and I left thinking, “At last I can start to get on with my life again!”

Frustrated and offended

No such luck! I’d been at home an hour and the social worker rang to tell me the child protection conference had been cancelled and her managers would be in touch on Monday to discuss the agreement. I felt so frustrated and offended. The authorities were claiming that my younger daughter was deemed to be at emotional and physical risk because of my mental health. Andrew and I have done everything for the girls, and made sure their emotional and physical needs were met. I thought social services had a cheek as I have been suffering with mental health problems for the past seven years and there has never been any contact with services or offers of help with parenting and the like.

Feeling victimised by NCC

It seems so coincidental that NCC has become heavily involved in my life and instigated other agencies’ involvement only since I decided to sue them (for placing me in the care of paedophiles when I was at their mercy as a child). I may be wrong, but I can’t help feeling victimised as there have been some serious errors made by the Department and they appear to be doing everything in their power to cause me stress and worsen my mental health. Furthermore, NCC has never once offered any family support, which would have been the obvious thing to do if they had truly been concerned about my family’s wellbeing.

Left to enjoy family life last week

Anyway, last week I spent most of my time catching up with household chores and enjoying my daughters’ company. The social workers’ manager didn’t ring. In fact, we heard nothing at all from them, so much of last week was pretty calm and we were able to settle down as a family to our old routine. Feeling mentally and physically well, I spoke to my employer and reported fit for duty, even though I am still suspended.

Over the weekend I took stock of what I have to face in the imminent future:

  • I have a medical with occupational health on 12 August so the doctor can pass me fit for work.
  • In order to go back to work, I need a decision from the police on whether they are going to charge me or not (with threatening my daughters’ lives).

Ten years in prison!

Thinking about the second item, I rang the investigation officer to take some advice, as it is worrying knowing that if I am charged, depending on the sentence, I could lose my job. I rang on numerous occasions and left messages but had no luck in reaching him. I set about doing some research on the Crown Prosecution Sevice (CPS) website and my blood ran cold when I saw what sentence I could receive if I’m charged: ten years!!! In prison!!! I felt sick all weekend, hoping and praying the CPS would throw the case out. As I hadn’t heard anything from social services I assumed we had heard the last of them. I just hoped and prayed Monday would bring some positive answers.

No advice, no answers to calls

Monday was just a day of frustration. I spent most of it on the phone ringing people and leaving messages. I wanted advice from the police about how the investigation is going and the prospect of being charged. I tried my solicitor, dealing with the criminal case, but he wasn’t available. My worries about my future increased. I couldn’t face prison and losing my job. I also rang social services, as I wanted to confirm that the case with them had closed. Again there was no answer there too, and my calls were not returned.  I tried to put my anxieties to the back of my mind and hoped that I would get some answers the following day.

Police seeking evidence!

On Tuesday morning there was a message on my answerphone from the police. It said that the CPS had requested further information and their investigations are ongoing. Therefore I still have to answer my bail on 12 August. I was worried! My solicitor had previously said the case wouldn’t go anywhere, yet they are obviously taking things seriously by wanting more evidence. I rang my solicitor, who couldn’t give me any answers or speculate as to the outcome of the police case. I asked him about what sentences I could receive and he just said it would depend on what I am charged with.

NCC persist in claim that my daughter is at risk, after leaving us alone for eleven days!

The post arrived.  There was a letter addressed to me.  Andrew kindly read it for me, and told me that we had been invited to a child protection conference next Monday, 9 August. You can’t imagine how angry I felt. The authorities were claiming in the letter that one of my daughters is at risk of harm or abuse. It stated that the social worker would have to write a report about our family circumstances. I’m puzzled as social services have known I’ve been at home for eleven days. I’ve had no offers of help or support and, as for the written report, I can’t understand how the social worker can write anything about my family as she has only met me once briefly and the same for Andrew and the girls. Again, if my daughter is placed on the Child Protection Register I stand to lose my job. I rang social services all day leaving messages. I wanted to discuss why the conference had been set up and what to expect. Again, no one returned my calls, so I’m left with feeling alone and in a world of the unknown.

All I want is to try and get on with my life with Andrew and the girls, and have some positive news for a change

I will keep you all posted as the next week’s events unfold.

Love and best wishes

Angela