Over a week now since the Oxfordshire County Council ‘independent review’ into LB’s death hit my inbox. Without warning. Since the awkward, slippery discussion with the Deputy Director of social care silence has again again descended on County Towers.
There’s a dog eared copy of the review by my computer. Well it’s not really a review. More 21 pages of typed words that have made me feel quite ill. A second state body acting in an explicitly self serving and systemically toxic way. Apparent sole concern; reputation safeguarding. Negating our experience and creating myths around what happened. OCC present LB’s death as largely due to a series of flaky decisions/non action by me.
The level of fabrication about what happened, is chilling. I’ve got an ‘intentional? No surely not… must be incompetence…’ loop in my head trying to make sense of this review. Then the fact LB died crashes in. [He died?] Followed by ‘these are public bodies… NHS? County Council?’ The world spins. There is no sense.
I’m haunted by the power that’s become so blinking visible through Sloven and OCC actions (and the equivalent non action by other publicly funded bodies that you’d think would intervene).
We live in an evidence based age and this OCC review has the stamp of ‘authority’ from, er, OCC. Independent Case Review: CS (dob. 17.11.94-d. 04.07.13) is a document that can be shared with all sorts of people/organisations across time. It’s already shared with Verita and apparently will be heading the coroner’s way. I’ve been told publicly by the coroner to stick to facts not opinion at the inquest. There is no question that any ‘official documentation’ given to the coroner might be a bit flaky. Publicly funded bodies have teflon coating and headed notepaper that guarantee ‘truth’ and legitimacy.
I haven’t gone through the review, line by line for factual inaccuracies. It’s too depressing, distressing and I work full time. But dipping in, randomly, the howlingly biased framing makes my brain weep. I’m portrayed as the never never; never doing this that and the other. OCC staff are the always and forevers. Staff member X returned from annual leave and “started work to bring professionals together to look at how CS could return to life in the community” (April 10th). Cue the Dambusters theme.
There’s no sniff of any scrutiny of the findings. Or basic reflection about them. Not by anyone; the ‘independent’ reviewer, the shiny new Deputy Director (who allegedly added an additional layer of quality assurance), other readers or the Director who signed it off and then pinged it, out of the blue, into my inbox.
No one seemed to stop and think;
‘Er, erm. Hang on a minute, Quite a few things don’t stack up here. I mean was his mum really ignoring all advice in an obvious crisis situation as this review suggests? Why would she? I don’t understand. Didn’t this set alarm bells ringing for staff? There seem to be a lot of questions for me. For instance why would it take X three months from April 10th to organise a meeting to bring professionals together? That’s a long time for a young laddy to be locked away. Should he have really been in there? I mean, if nothing else, this provision cost £3500 per week. And did we have permission to share his health and social care records without his family’s permission? Why weren’t his family involved?’
Nope. No one spoke up.
And no one seems to have asked the obvious question: ‘A young dude died here. We all know he should be alive. What the fuck went wrong?’
Sara once again your blog has affected me beyond words. What indeed went wrong, We live in an ammoral society. Power is misused continually. Accountability doesn’t exist. They will do everything in their power to annihilate you. Cant write more
just spent 2 hours trying to find some sort of answer can’t. Except in terms of good and evil, which doesn’t help. To be trite DONT LET THE BUGGERS GET YOU DOWN.
Sara I have the greatest respect for you but if you fail to challenge factual inaccuracies the myths will be held as accurate and they will impact the outcome of any/all investigations. Reputation safeguarding will see you documented as refusing offers of help. I have chased down amendments for non existent consultations/ patient records amiss by a calendar month and entries belonging to an entirely different person. Each and every and many more a banana skin that made a mockery of a two year PHSO investigation and in all probability will do the same with the GMC. Documentation in the hands of the coroner will be read as fact, if disengagement/ non action by yourself can be recorded unchallenged it is going to carry weight. You are the whipping boy.
I don’t know what happens to the passionate people who go into caring services and then move up the ladder. How they can fall so deeply into the swamp of seeing and believing us as less, and our sons and daughters as even less. How promotion and status becomes more important than the values they once held and the conscience that they may once have had. Or how they can so painlessly collude where the truth is being so expediently reinvented.
All I can suggest here Sara is you bung this lot over to the Ombudsman. If you complain to LA and ask for a rewrite the LA can sit on it for ages, peering up it’s own…….document.
A direct approach to the Ombudsman could give you a bit of respite. It could also investigate and provide paper evidence of the need for an apology from the LA and a re-write of this fabrication. If Ombudsman turns you down it should explain why? The people who block justice,by virtue of incompetence, misunderstanding or any other reason, will not reach enlightenment without a hefty shove.. …..
You need another shoulder here, one that does not feel pain. I Do not hold any hope that the Ombudsman will change anything apart from putting another piece of paper on the paper justice pile. But with hope the next feather…..just might….?
My best wishes and the kindest thoughts ………………………..Stay strong.
I can’t begin to imagine how awful this is for you. Could it be a two person job? A tag team job, so that when one of you can no longer cope with the grief and anger when reading this smooth tripe, the other can pick up the baton?
Sorry to repeat , but it sounds like just about every line contains either factual inaccuracies (X actually didn’t happen ) or spin, which can be challenged. For example “started work to bring professionals together” unless backed up by evidence of actions taken, is indistinguishable from the staff member sitting on her backside doing nothing. And “bringing together”? Do they mean arranging a meeting, but want to use something that is a bit more vague and so less easy to assess whether this was done, the rate at which this was done.
There are so many words they use to suggest movement which mean nothing, “working towards/ providing support/starting the process of exploring…..” Unless they can back it up with evidence: “As is shown by…”
I am pretty sure these people when asked to pay a tax bill, don’t say that they are working towards payment. Because it’s meaningless. It means you haven’t done it. A simple task such as a handful of calls to arrange a meeting is presented as a lofty goal requiring months of slow consideration such as achieving Enlightenment !
The Ombudsman!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never, over my dead body. They collude with the authorities, and are a complete waste of time.
It seems to me that there are two separate aspects to this. One, that it is inaccurate and designed to present a slanted and self serving case, second that it being presented to the coroner and might weigh against or undermine the fairly obvious conclusion that what happened should never have happened under any circumstances, and that the local authority’s view of you has no relevance to that at all. I read your blog: you were telling them he was having seizures, and they ignored you. You were right, they were wrong. The arrogance and stupidity of “Don’t listen to mothers” cannot change that or give them any defense.
Intentional or incompetence? Don’t really think it is either. It is a mind-set, and a very dangerous one that HAS to be challenged. The Coroner can give advice about sticking to facts, but it IS a fact that this report should not carry any weight, because nothing you did influenced what THEY – the people who let this happen – didn’t do. Take proper care of your son.
I can understand that it is too distressing to deconstruct it line by line. Think perhaps it should be a joint effort, perhaps someone else could underline the key distortions or mistakes – you don’t have to mount a full line by line argument – you could perhaps do what they have done, and find a couple of egregious points that will serve to cast doubt on the whole.
I went through through a clinical negligence battle. Slogging through the casually inaccurate professional documents WAS gruelling, but, not carrying your weight of grief,I could just about maintain a necessary degree of detachment. The people who write these things don;t expect to be challenged. They really do need to be. Can your lawyers help or advise?
The power that these people wield is of the Emperor’s New Clothes type. It may or may not be worth taking them to task on principal via the Ombudsman, but the Coroner’s acceptance really needs to be countered, briefly and forcibly.
It makes my brain melt, just reading what you are being forced to endure. I truly believe that in recent decades, the culture of spin – i.e., lying – in so many of our public institutions, has become normalised. A lot of people at the top have rip-roaring personality disorders and simply don’t care. That is how they sleep at night, (while people in your position don’t). Wishing you every ounce of strength you can muster Sara