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?’