Dear Ms Parkes,
I sent you an email back in April regarding matters surrounding a complaint I had made to Essex County Council regarding children’s social care’s involvement with my family.
I pointed you towards the following FOI response to a request I made to the complaints team
When I say you or yourselves, I am referring to Essex County Council, who you represent.
The response is basically saying that the legislation states that Essex County Council cannot investigate a complaint while SWE are as the council may end up taking disciplinary action after the completion of the SWE process. It is quite clear from the response that yourselves are clear that the SWE process is NOT a disciplinary process, and that any and all disciplinary actions taken against a social worker in your employ can only be taken by yourselves.
It is obvious that where the children’s act states that a local authority can postpone investigating a social care complaint while disciplinary action is occuring that this is solely so that the disciplinary action doesn’t have to be rushed. The children’s act legislation details strict timescales that a local authority must adhere to at each stage of a complaint. Without having the legislation in place to enable a local authority to postpone a customer complaint while the local authority investigates a disciplinary matter, that could mean that local authority has to rush the investigations in order to keep within the strict timescales for answering the complaint. Hence they can postpone the complaint, write to the complainant as soon as the disciplinary action is finished, and investigate the customer complaint.
This protects the social worker from having any disciplinary action rushed, and it protects the local authority from having to rush a disciplinary investigation and ending up on the wrong side of an employment tribunal just because they had to investigate within the parameters of the children’s act timescales.
I knew that the response to my FOI request wasn’t true, and I put it to you that the moment you read it that you knew it wasn’t true. You knew that wasn’t what the children’s act legislation means and you knew that maladministration had occurred. You are an FCIPD, you are at the top of your game. As soon as you read that response, you knew it was maladministration. You knew that the complaints department had twisted the legislation so as to refuse to investigate my complaint.
In your role as an Executive Director at Essex County Council, you knew instantly that maladministration had occurred, that the complaints department had refused to investigate my complaint based on something that wasn’t true.
Not only did you not challenge that, you went further, you knew i’d made a FOI request, you were aware of that, the response I received to that request was quite obviously yourselves skirting around the questions I asked in an attempt to show that the local authority would never leave an employee not being investigated over a disciplinary matter for what could be in excess of two years.
At no point did you, or any member of your staff, speak up and challenge what the complaints department had stated, even though you personally definitely would have known it was maladministration, and i’m fairly certain that members of your staff would also know that isn’t how things are done, thus meaning that it’s maladministration.
You lack integrity. When a clear case of maladministration was presented to you, instead of challenging it, you condoned it, did your best to cover it up. It’s actually rather impressive the lengths that either yourself, of those in your team answering my FOI requests went to so you could attempt to work around the maladministration instead of challenging it.
You knew as soon as you read my email back in April that maladministration had occurred. You told me words to the effect that you would look into things. I’d phrased my email and questions as if what the complaints department had stated was true, and how that would mean that yourselves would leave an employee who was going through the SWE process without knowing whether or not they would be subject to disciplinary action for up to two years.
As an executive director your integrity and ethics should never be in doubt. Unfortunately, you have shown a complete lack of integrity, and you are an ethics free zone.
Not to mention that on one of the FOI responses from you it’s mentioned that ECC will investigate the moment they find out that a social worker is being investigated by SWE to see if there are any safeguarding issues. That is actually not possible, i’m not going to go into details why, you know why and I know why, i’ll drop a couple of links here to prove why it’s not possible.
SWE don’t send you any information on which you can do your own investigations.
In one of the FOI responses it is stated that you would investigate all allegations with a view to whether it’s a safeguarding issue. The fact that absolutely no investigation was done regarding the allegations my child made against Heidi Hibbett and that Heidi’s actions caused my child to attempt suicide. The LADO should have been informed, the LADO should have investigated and would have needed to contact my child and my family as part of their investigation.
Likewise with any of the serious allegations i’ve made that haven’t been investigated.
The complaints department, and indeed ECC as a whole seem to have the narrative that my complaints have been fully investigated, all of them. Turns out that isn’t true, something I kept on saying, but nobody at ECC actually cares enough to listen to a mere service user.
If you’ve been told that and believed it, that isn’t fault on your part.
What is fault on your part is that the moment you read my email back in April you knew straightaway that the complaints departments refusal to investigate serious complaints due to what is written in the FOI response linked earlier, was maladministration. You knew and did nothing to challenge that when as an executive director you had the power in which to do so.
You replied to me saying you would look into things and get back to me, you never did. What you did instead via a series of FOI responses, was to make sure that your department looked like it performed well, while making sure that at no point did you even hint that what the complaints department had stated was not true.
There is an ethos at ECC that it doesn’t matter what happens as long as ECC’s reputation is intact.
You don’t need proof that what the complaints department said isn’t true and is maladministration. You knew 4 months ago as soon as you read my email. You knew and actively sought to cover it up. Here is the proof anyway, your monitoring officer, Paul Turner, investigated and found it was maladministration. Of course Shamsun Noor then lied and said that i’d submitted many complaints and the one in question had been refused because they were late. Evidence to prove that isn’t true is also in the links. There were also only two complaints, one in December 2019 which was solely concerned with Gabriel Lowrie’s facebook, then another one in April 2020, there were not multiple complaints.
If you do read the links you will see that employees of ECC are allowed to just do what they like, there is no oversight from anyone. Not surprising when the executive director of human resources refuses to challenge a blatant case of maladministration by ECC employees, and in fact puts effort into making sure that her department does everything they can to skirt around the issue.
Shamsun Noor lied to the monitoring officer after the monitoring officer investigated and stated to Shamsun Noor that what is in that FOI response isn’t true, but saying my complaint had actually been refused due to being late. He’s the head of statutory and regulated customer services, but he also knows that lying is acceptable behaviour at ECC. When an executive director whose responsibility covers the behaviour of employees at ECC actively covers up for employees who act in the way your complaints department do, it’s no wonder they get to do whatever they like and get away with it.
There is no need to reply to this email, it has solely been written due to the fact i’ve started counselling and while I have no control over the way that ECC has and continues to treat me, I do have control over how I respond. In this case by stating that your actions, and inactions, have caused harm.
I am absolutely disgusted that an executive director at ECC was alerted to maladministration and actively sought to cover that up.
It is shocking what employees in the complaints department have been allowed to get away with.
It is shocking, and unsafe, the way that your department has stated that it relies on a couple of sentences with no substance from SWE to make sure that vulnerable people are safeguarded. It is absolutely shocking that my child attempted suicide, was very vocal bother before and after regarding whose actions caused that attempt, and no safeguarding investigation was done because the complaints department fabricated an excuse.
ECC’s attitude to employee behaviour is that they can do whatever they like as long as the authorities reputation is intact.
As I already stated I do not want a reply to this email, I am absolutely done with the games that ECC plays in an attempt to cover things up. I refuse to allow you to cause me any further harm. My complaints have not all been investigated in fact if ECC had an ounce of integrity, they would actually state that none of them have been fully investigated to the standards that ECC themselves say they handle complaints to.
It’s all smoke and mirrors and there is nothing in place to protect service users, both from the actions of employees in the complaints department, and no robust safeguarding procedures in place to protect vulnerable service users from social workers.
I have started a new blog with a view to sharing it with various organisations. My goal was the hope that pressure would be put on ECC to change the way they do things. For example this:
Absolutely has not been investigated in anyway, yet ECC have stated all my complaints have been fully investigated, your department have stated that you do full safeguarding investigations based on what SWE send you, they send you one sentence. Not to mention my complaints had been fully investigated yet ECC were stating they couldn’t investigate due to the SWE/disciplinary thing, which has now changed to the complaints were late. I’m not going to push organisations to put pressure on ECC to change the way they do things. It would be an exercise in futility given how much effort employees at ECC put into protecting each other and the council’s reputation. I’m just going to raise awareness instead.
My sole purpose in writing this email, and others I have written to other ECC employees is solely to express how I feel regarding my dealings with ECC employees, including yourself with regards to these matters. I do not require a response, indeed I do not want one as all contact with ECC employees regarding this matter has caused me a great deal of harm so this is a way of stating what I feel needs to be stated so I can move on and not have any contact with any representative of ECC regarding this matter.