UKCORRUPTFAMILYCOURTS

March 5, 2010

Chiefs criticised for withholding records

Social services bosses have been rapped after refusing to hand over records to a Staffordshire mother whose children had been taken into care.

After a lengthy battle the county council has been found to have breached the Data Protection Act by the Information Commissioner after its refusal to give documents to the woman.

The council has now been required to hand over all the relevant files to the mother who claims to have been unfairly treated by the county council. She cannot be named to protect the identity of her children who were originally taken into care over claims of domestic violence.

The mother, from Stafford, tried to get access to the files for two years. In June last year the council was due to deliver them to her but a last minute decision was taken not to because of concerns over what the mother may do with the information.

The mother has now received the files and claims they show her children were made to feel unsafe in foster care. The matter has been investigated by the county council which has also accepted the Information Commissioner’s ruling.

The mother said: “The local authority deliberately fought to prevent me having access to the files for two years. I believe this was because there were things they did not want me to see.”

In its ruling to the mother the ICO said: “I have confirmed my assessment that the council have breached the sixth data protection principle in this case.”

Cabinet member for children at the county council Ian Parry, said: “We have only acted, and will continue to act, in the best interests of the children involved.”

Mum triumphs in epic social services battle

by Lynn Grainger
A Stafford mother who had vital files about her OWN children withheld from her for two years has won a David and Goliath battle with social services after it was found they had breached Data Protection rules.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, asked for the files in February 2008, fearing they contained inaccuracies which had led to her having limited access to her sons.

She wanted to use the files in court but Staffordshire County Council withheld them over concerns she would subsequently publish file details ‘detrimental’ to her children on the internet.

According to the Data Protection act, the single mum should have received the information or a formal response within 40 days, but she has been waiting 24 months to see the vital information – which the authority have now agreed to hand over.

The victory follows a ruling last week by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the independent body responsible for regulating and enforcing access to personal information.


A letter to the mum from ICO caseworker Angela Ellison, reads: “I understand that, to date, no information has been provided to you in response to your February 2008 request, or any of the requests you have made subsequently during the course of your contact with the council.

“…I have confirmed my assessment that the council have breached the sixth data protection principle in this case.

“It is clear that the council had concerns about the release of the information to you. Nevertheless, you should still have received a response to your original request, and your further requests, within 40 days of each request.”

The files were due to be handed over in June, 2009, but a last minute decision was taken that legal advice should be obtained before the information was presented to her.

There were fears the mum would publish details of any alleged errors in the data on her internet ‘blog’ which could have affected her children, so it was withheld. Mrs Ellison said although in some cases information held by social services departments could be withheld, the county council should have obtained legal advice within 40 days and responded within that 40 day time frame.

Mrs Ellison concluded: “The council are now ready to provide you with the information to which you are entitled.”

This week the angry mum said: “This just proves I was right and this isn’t the end. I plan to take civil action against the council for the stress this has caused me for the last two years and the detrimental effect their withholding of my files for use as evidence in court has had for my children and I.”

Last year Stafford MP David Kidney said he was “spitting mad” over the case because he had received assurances the council would provide her with the files in early 2009.

A spokesperson for the county council told the Post: “We acknowledge the findings of the Information Commissioner, and we are pleased that the ICO recognise we have legitimate concerns over the release of the information. We have only acted, and will continue to act, in the best interests of the children involved.”

l The Stafford single mum at the centre of the row over access to her children’s files has called on parents facing similar difficulties to contact her through the Post.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “I’d really like to hear from other parents facing the same problems. I know I’m not alone. I won this fight and was proved right so I’d like to help others facing the same difficulties.”

Contact the Post on 01785 212370 or write to us at 35 Eastgate Street, Stafford, ST16 2LZ. Email lynn_grainger@mrn.co.uk





EXCLUSIVE: HOW THE UK’S MOST SECRETIVE COUNCIL USED A CHILD IN CARE FOR ITS OWN PROPAGANDA
This is Keelie Cooper. She was taken into care by Staffs CC. No gagging orders for Staffs CC: she’s being featured in an ad campaign on private adoption websites.
The Slogger was a tad surprised to stumble across this shot on the website of kids’ charity magazine Children and Young People Now. After all, Keelie Cooper was removed from a genuinely fractured homelife and placed with another family by Staffordshire Social Services last year. And the Staffs SS – as we all know rather too well – combine very often with the local judiciary to injunct any reporting of its clients. Or its suppliers. Or its cock-ups. Or its…oh never mind, let’s get on with it.
Just take in this gushing propaganda that’s been forced into Keelie’s mouth (my italics):
‘When things got too messy within my own family I turned to my best friend for help and we got the social services involved. At first I wasn’t sure this was a good thing to do as I have heard about a lot of social services messing things up….However, this was not the case with my “new” family and things have worked out fine. I came to understand the support that they can give you, both financially and by having someone to talk to if you feel you are not being treated fairly.’
This is terrific stuff, Staffs: Alistair and Mandy could use some of the talent you’ve clearly got tucked away in the PR department up there.
Now it seems to me (having investigated the case) that on this occasion the County Council did the right thing for Keelie. I understand she wanted to be rehomed with a friend’s family, and they allowed this. How very tolerant of them.
But the hypocritical double standards of this self-defensive publicity drive beggar belief. So while the charity mag itself (a Haymarket publication) does a worthwhile job – and is in no way complicit in this grubby attempt to glorify a derelict and controlling Council – I thought I’d share this shining example of local government honesty with a wider audience.
Amazingly, Staffs care management have still to return my call.
POSTED BY JOHN WARD

WEDNESDAY, 3 MARCH 2010
EXCLUSIVE: HOW THE UK’S MOST SECRETIVE COUNCIL USED A CHILD IN CARE FOR ITS OWN PROPAGANDAThis is Keelie Cooper. She was taken into care by Staffs CC. No gagging orders for Staffs CC: she’s being featured in an ad campaign on private adoption websites.
The Slogger was a tad surprised to stumble across this shot on the website of kids’ charity magazine Children and Young People Now. After all, Keelie Cooper was removed from a genuinely fractured homelife and placed with another family by Staffordshire Social Services last year. And the Staffs SS – as we all know rather too well – combine very often with the local judiciary to injunct any reporting of its clients. Or its suppliers. Or its cock-ups. Or its…oh never mind, let’s get on with it.
Just take in this gushing propaganda that’s been forced into Keelie’s mouth (my italics):
‘When things got too messy within my own family I turned to my best friend for help and we got the social services involved. At first I wasn’t sure this was a good thing to do as I have heard about a lot of social services messing things up….However, this was not the case with my “new” family and things have worked out fine. I came to understand the support that they can give you, both financially and by having someone to talk to if you feel you are not being treated fairly.’
This is terrific stuff, Staffs: Alistair and Mandy could use some of the talent you’ve clearly got tucked away in the PR department up there.
Now it seems to me (having investigated the case) that on this occasion the County Council did the right thing for Keelie. I understand she wanted to be rehomed with a friend’s family, and they allowed this. How very tolerant of them.
But the hypocritical double standards of this self-defensive publicity drive beggar belief. So while the charity mag itself (a Haymarket publication) does a worthwhile job – and is in no way complicit in this grubby attempt to glorify a derelict and controlling Council – I thought I’d share this shining example of local government honesty with a wider audience.
Amazingly, Staffs care management have still to return my call.POSTED BY JOHN WARD


http://nbyslog.blogspot.com/2010/03/exclusive-how-uks-most-secretive.html

NEW STAFFORD SENSATION AS HOWARD LEAGUE REVEALS: ‘WE SENT WARNINGS ON STAFFORD 3 YEARS AGO’

WHERE WERE ANDY BURNHAM & DAVID NICHOLSON? (Ans: On the ladder to success)

Frances Crooke of the Howard League for Penal Reform.

This is HLPR director Frances Crooke’s damning indictment of Staffordshire County Council:

‘We sent a child protection referral to Staffordshire county council [in 2007] following the chief inspector’s report into forcible strip searching and videoing of a child in Werrington prison. I got a reply. (Well done, Frances – you’re way ahead of the rest of us)

‘Apparently the council doesn’t think it has to bother to investigate properly because the threshold of harm has not been crossed. Forcibly stripping a child is, according the child protection experts in Staffordshire, a legal and proportionate response. We can all rest happy that the child did not, I am comfortingly told, sustain any physical injuries. There is no discussion about whether he was traumatised, or felt that he had been assaulted or even sexually assaulted.

‘The letter says that the strip searching of children in prison is compliant with Prison Service Standards. So, as long as the Prison Service sets its own rules and abides by them, they can do what they like. It appears that normal child protection can be blithely ignored by children’s services.’

Three years on, the arrogant unwillingness to talk to outsiders and release documents to ombudspersons remains firmly intact.

This is a perfect lab-test-case of where Cool New Labour Britannia is going, Andrew Lansley. Where are you in the media on this?

TUESDAY, 2 MARCH 2010

EXCLUSIVE: EXPLOSION IN CARE-ORDERS SUPPORTS THOSE ACCUSING SOCIAL SERVICES OF TARGET MANIA


The latest figures available from Cafcass show that a new surge has begun in children being taken into care.

There now seems little doubt that huge numbers of children are being deemed to be ‘under threat’ from their domestic situations as a direct result of high-profile media cases. Behind this, it appears there is a desperate attempt to hit and exceed targets in a bid to show that local council carers are on the ball.

Although the Guardian reported in January that last quarter 2009 figures were 20% up year on year immediately following the media glare of the Baby P case in Haringey, the latest data show that care orders are up 73%. In December alone, the increase was 150%.

This has levelled off in the last two months, but the organisations and social service departments involved are being put under enormous (and cynical) political pressure.

“The word has gone out to get the numbers up” one insider in Plymouth social services told The Slog this morning, “And mistakes are being made”.

Last year, The Slog’s mother-site nby revealed the case of Bernadette McManus,a resident of Plymouth who had four children removed in a raid involving three police cars and five officers. The reasons given by the police officers at the scene were described by close neighbours at the time as ‘total rubbish’. But later, Plymouth Tory MP Gary Streeter sent McManus (a constituent) a letter written in such a manner as to seem like a threat of reprisals if she spoke to the media.

Private Care charity Children & Young People Now has looked at the problems currently faced by the under-resourced and hugely overworked quango Cafcass. They concluded:

‘The Baby Peter effect is continuing to put an immense strain on children’s professionals…North Devon service manager Mark Saunders says: “Before this recent increase we were getting one or two new cases every four weeks. Now it is around three to four a week”..’

Eminent expert in the field Alison Paddle expressed concerns that the system is poor, as it only looks at papers submitted by the council to the court and rarely involves meeting with the child and the family. “They call these cases ‘paper children’, as to them they only exist in a report” she said. A victim of this mentality in Nottingham, who ‘can’t be named for etc etc’ (yawn) writes to The Slog:

‘We have never been charged with any offence, nor have we seen the inside of a county courtroom….I can offer only the speculation that social services’ endgame is alienation between the children and ourselves to make their job of permanently separating us that much easier. Then they adopt them out, meet their targets – and get more money in the next budget.’

A senior professional in the private sector told us this lunchtime, “Cafcass has lacked continuity and been forced to hire agency workers. There is a lack of continuity, but it’s not their fault”.

A Stafford council insider was considerably more blunt last night:

“It’s the same old same old. The media catch on to the fact that central government has no money but keeps on insisting that things are improving. So the politicians take more budget away and double the targets. Then the managers dump the shit on us. This is the reason more and more people are leaving the service”.

Abusive and unwarranted child care orders represent a complex subject. But this huge leap in the latest figures suggests that many abuses can be laid at the door of target-obsessed Ministers sitting safely down in Westminster.

http://nbyslog.blogspot.com/2010/03/exclusive-explosion-in-care-orders.html

FRIDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2010

REVEALED: HOW STAFFORDSHIRE SOCIAL CARE HIRED A CHILD PSYCHIATRIST FACING GMC INVESTIGATION AT £8500 A WEEK

undefinedChild psychiatrist George Hibbert is undergoing a formal General Medical Council Inquiry while being employed by Staffs Social Services.
Yet another reason why the people of Staffordshire are asking if there’s anything behind the slick social care logo (left)

Thanks to a ludicrous gagging order, this is an odd story because I can’t tell you the name of the victim of what I’m revealing:a heartless scam made possible by social care negligence.

Staffordshire Social Care (yes, it’s the capital of collapsing services again) uses the services of one George Hibbert – a psychiatrist located handily in Swindon. Dr Hibbert and his live-in partner Jill Canvin have an interesting past.

As the Guardian reported (16.8.2001) the couple tried with other promoters to launch GW Pharmaceuticals, a firm developing drugs from cannabis, onto the market.
GW was supported prior to its £175m flotation in June 2001 by a list of prominent people, many of whom saw the value of their investments surge five-fold in the public offering. GW’s flotation infuriated analysts and fund managers, who claim the offering was hyped and over-priced. Immediately after the flotation, shares in GW went into freefall as investors dumped stock.
“Hibbert did well out of it” a well-placed legal source told us yesterday. Investors didn’t.

George Hibbert is also doing well out of Broken Britain. He has a lucrative contract with Staffordshire Social Services: they send him lots of mothers (who’ve had their children removed and put into care) and he spends four to six weeks ‘assessing’ them. For this he is paid, on average, £8,500 a week.

The thing is, his assessments tend to suggest the ‘patients’ have conditions requiring ‘treatment’…at his clinic. One victim of this system – who can’t be named thanks to gagging orders – alleges:

“He told the social I was bipolar, which is rubbish. I discharged myself and got a second opinion from Stafford Mother & Baby Unit. They said the bipolar diagnosis was totally without foundation.”

The two psychiatrists refuting Hibbert’s diagnosis were Drs Singh and Hofberg. In the light of this outcome, a GMC investigation into Hibbert’s activities has begun. The Slog contacted the GMC earlier this week, and was given a ‘we can neither confirm nor deny Dr Hibbert’s fitness to practice’. But other sources confirm that he is indeed under formal GMC scrutiny: the inquiry reference number is ME/C1-205725548, and the investigating officer is Mark Elliot.

Environmental Law campaigner Dr Karta Badshar confirms the widely-held doubts about George Hibbert:

“He’s making a fortune out of this,” he alleged, “when there is often nothing wrong with these patients. He is also using cheap immigrant labour at his clinic, rather than properly qualified people. But you see, this can all be covered up because of the unhealthily incestuous relationship between social workers and judges. It is a scandal”.

The Guardian (like the Slog) has been hammering away at Staffs Social Care incompetence for some years. One spectacular examplefrom their pages in 2004 recorded how the authority had to:

‘….set up a £10,000 trust fund for her. Staffordshire county council is to take the unusual step on the recommendation of the local government ombudsman, who today finds the authority guilty of maladministration causing injustice to the girl, now 16…’

And as for Jill Canvin…she is (guess what) a solicitor specialising in childcare. A source who (again) cannot be named alleged on Wednesday this week:

“She turned up for a meeting as a supposedly objective legal person. Nobody know she was Hibbert’s girlfriend”.

Ms Calvin is (we were told by her pa Tuesday last) ‘moving on’. In rather a hurry, and far too much of a hurry to return five calls made to her offices by The Slogger over three days. George Hibbert also refused to answer our calls.

Next in the http://nbyslog.blogspot.com/2010/02/revealed-how-staffordshire-social-care.html: This is not an isolated case. How judges collude with ‘Social Worker Law’, and why their role should be reformed.

WEDNESDAY, 17 FEBRUARY 2010

EXCLUSIVE: ‘STOLEN’ CHILDREN – MYTH OR MURKY SECRET?

The Slog is in the process of putting together a special on abuses in the childcare system, systemic paedophilia in Britain, and the crisis faced by a shortage of reliable foster parents. But many observers think that disturbing signs of ‘child-stealing’ may hide something much worse than Broken Britain.

This site (and its predecessor Not Born Yesterday) has devoted much time and hundreds of column inches to the plight of non-coping families. As Gordon Brown remarked two months ago, “These people’s lives are more chaotic than most people understand”. But the chaos and frequent depression make them more vulnerable than socially dangerous in most cases. Whatever the Daily Mail likes to suggest, serious parental abuse and infant murder remain extremely rare.

The predators are sometimes paedophiles, sometimes cynical social care target-achievers – and from time to time, it increasingly seems to me, private and government organisations with an at least partially hidden agenda.

Most claims I receive about ‘stolen children’ turn out to have an innocent explanation. But a few don’t….and when this happens, a seedy world of judicial cover-up, gagging orders and local government incompetence comes to light. The police, in particular, play a role in some parts of Britain; a role that is, at best, hard to explain.

In this context, Ed Balls runs away to Tweet and mouth platitudes about crackdowns and databases of twelve million…while the ‘Minister’ for Women Harriet Harman shows no signs of caring formothers. But little is done.

In a forthcoming piece, The Slog tries to separate lunatic-fringe conspiracy theory from truth, and expose a disgrace that UK governments have been ignoring for decades.

If you have any factual evidence to support instances of stolen and/or wrongfully removed children, please contact me by emailing to john@johnaward.net.

There a thousands of Madeleine McCanns out there. Not all of them have erudite parents with access to the media.


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1 Comment »

  1. Why should we have to fight for our children to be with us? These rules, these laws, were written, created and justified by men in our society who sought, for some reason, to put mothers and children under the umbrella of the order of the court. Mother and children should only be under the order of God and humanity and should not be subject to ANY RULING that is NOT in the BEST INTEREST OF THE MOTHER CHILD RELATIONSHIP.

    You cannot take a child from a mother and say that it is in the best interest of the child. The mother nor the child created this warped and twisted society that they were brought into. Every activity that creates an unhealthy lifestyle of any mother and/or child, was created by the hand of MAN, not woman, and now MAN is trying to be the supreme decision maker in the relationship between a mother and her child/children. I do not put this on every man, just the ones who knew what they were doing when they created this replicating scenario around the world for power and greed. Mother and children will NOT BE BOUGHT AND SOLD in this narcissistic, psychopathic system created by the “invisible hand of greed” branded as the driving force behind the movement of money through the economic system. YES, IT IS TRUE, but, you WILL NOT MAKE A PROFIT OFF OF MOTHERS AND CHILDREN BEING SEPARATED without breaking some very serious laws of nature and mankind, and the price that will be paid will be the downfall of the corrupt society that has dominated for so long, OR it will be the end of mothers and children because you will destroy them all in your quest for gold.

    Mothers will NEVER COPE with the loss of their children. You can drug them, beat them, turn them into psychotic alcoholics and drug addicts, but these controls that you try to put into place will destroy what you are all fighting for and they will be the products of the male dominant induced societal behaviors and standards. Mothers will never forget their children, no matter what you do, no matter what they did to get into the state that they were in, it was created by MANkind.MANkind, is NOT KIND. It is cruel, and heartless at times for the sake of war (power) or the sake of money (greed). What will be done by the dominant forces that have tried to destroy our mothers and daughters and sisters and children? What will you do?

    It is SOMEONE’S RESPONSIBILITY to fix the world. WE PAY THEM ALL OF OUR MONEY TO DO THE THINGS WE WOULD DO in a big way, because we think “well, we can’t be everywhere, but the government can” so we pay taxes and give them the power to spend our money, the resources we receive for the labor that we do

    Comment by irevolutiontree — March 20, 2012 @ 8:27 pm | Reply


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