Cluedo. And the OCC report

Today has been spent going through the OCC independent investigation. I ended up identifying 61 factual inaccuracies, comments and questions across the 23 pages. A foul, foul way to spend a sunday. For the diehard among you, the full list can be read here. Some summary thoughts (produced with George Julian) here:

ONE. How is it possible to review what happened to LB and the service provided to him without family input? How could this possibly produce any useful suggestions. And why weren’t we told about this review? If OCC were being transparent, seeking to learn, had nothing to hide, why not be upfront about it?
TWO. Given the obsessive focus both Sloven and OCC have demonstrated around my blog, wouldn’t the reviewer think about reading some of what I’d written? Both Verita and the Mazars have done so. It’s an information source after all. I’m not saying it’s an absolute truth but it presents our experiences and our thoughts and feelings about what happened. This knowledge could have made staff interviews more robust and led to a more coherent, accurate and useful report.
THREE. If a complaint is made about not being listened to and, in the process of making that complaint this point has to be stated more than once for accuracy, and then is inaccurately responded to, what hope is there? A reliance on ‘official’ documentation leaves this OCC investigation riddled with holes. Key things may not form part of documentation (deliberately or through incompetence). It’s naive and foolish to treat such documents as infallible.
FOUR. Who has a duty of care in this context? If, as OCC seem to be claiming here, I wasn’t coping why did they not demonstrate any concern for LB’s wellbeing? He barely features in the report.
FIVE. The report is littered with erroneous ‘althoughs’ and ‘howevers’. This isn’t a comment on the writing style and accuracy for its own sake; but these seem to be used to deliberately mislead the reader, to lead them to biased conclusions, even when evidence doesn’t stack up to support it.

Funnily enough (not funny really), the defence letter we received from OCC’s legal department presents spurious arguments like “this would seem to be an entirely reasonable response given the Council’s very high expectations…” throughout. This makes my internal organs fold in on themselves and turn to liquid.

SIX. Why does everything take so long, and need to be so bad before anyone steps up? It feels like the report paints a picture of failing parent, challenging son, and dedicated and compassionate staff who are constantly rebutted. Why is there no recognition or understanding of what we were experiencing? And why? And why the apparent surprise that we suddenly had LB admitted to STATT? Why did no one involved at the time listen to what we were saying?

SEVEN. What relevance is A4e support to this review? The focus on this in the report  either indicates the independent reviewer’s (mis)understanding of Direct Payments and/or is another attempt to pass the buck away from OCC and paint me in a negative light. My refusal to use their ‘service’ is mentioned in at least three places in the report. In some detail. Why? I’m left wondering if my  refusal to use their ‘service’ was a financial? political? problem. An additional bit of card marking. Adding to the rest.

EIGHT. Verita 1 was clear that discharge planning was not advanced (by any reasonable person’s standards) and yet this review suggests it was almost complete (largely through the efforts of the Care Manager who, as we are told in two places, came back off annual leave in April and got straight on with organising the professionals meeting). Well she didn’t. And I’d probably have felt more disposed towards her if she’d seen LB more than once while he was in the unit and attended more than two of the weekly meetings across the 107 days he was there really. Again, whose truth counts?

NINE. Perhaps the most disturbing element of this report is the undercurrent of parent blame. Implicitly and explicitly blame permeates the report. Well it’s drenched in it. It reads less as an investigation of OCC’s processes and involvement in what happened to LB and more an attempt to paint a picture of a flaky parent who  repeatedly refused countless offers of support and help and forged a resolutely independent (and flawed) path down direct payment alley. In the vein of “there’s always something or other with Mr Neary”.

George commented; “The reference to Direct Payments and choices, pretty much could have been written as ‘Inspector shrugs shoulders and says in a loud disgruntled voice: “Well, they wanted a Direct Payment, they made their bed so let them lie in it”; OCC 1 and OCC 2 hug and all three leave stage right’.”

Possibly (though it’s impossible to really judge given the number of contenders) the most damning statement in the review comes towards the end;

I consider it important to note that this [families choosing to use direct payments] also means that those families then have responsibility for the choices they make.

Ah. It was the mother what done it. In the kitchen. With the direct payment and a full time job.


Dealing with this report, from the moment I received it with no warning by email a few weeks ago, to the lengthy and tortuous work today, has been intensely harrowing, time consuming and distressing. How OCC, like Sloven, can continue to extract more from the fragments of our crushed lives, in seedy and self serving attempts to cover their own backs is just barbaric.
He died.

15 thoughts on “Cluedo. And the OCC report

  1. It’s sad that families are collateral damage in defending the institution – I saw parallels with our own experiences in a slightly different context.

  2. I am so terribly sorry you have had to read that and respond to it, which would involve going over every hurtful dig, responsibility duck and blame shove.
    I had a look. Seems to me that even when a fault on their part is found it is simply skated over. “X are working ceaselessly to improve the delivery of Y” or ” Z was not offered as A was already in place” I can’t see anything which puts your point of view and what you were trying to do .
    I think the great evil of direct payments is the total transfer of responsibility onto parents. From that point on it is all the parent’s fault no matter what . You the parents set it up and what you did and said can be twisted. Terribly. Yet we are all painted into the DP corner.
    If you weren’t the neurotic mother who worked full time you would be the neurotic mother who stayed at home and was over involved and sabotaging of her son’s independence. I assure you! There is nothing which can’t be used to present you in a bad light!
    I have sat in comfy offices getting lectures from patronising workers about my selfishness about working ” Your son is your job too” and, when the job had to go because special needs childcare stopped, lectures about not working. : “It’s important to have your own life”
    I love the way redundancies are used to make the little done sound more, you know, dynamic. It is usually slapping the adverb “actively”in front of a verb which is active by definition. “Actively seeking” “Actively arranging a meeting”
    The much talked up rather insipid attempt after leave to organise a meeting is written up as if the Care Manager was climbing Everest. What did it amount to really. Did she make a call or two?
    Please keep going iif you can stand it.

  3. keep going, the tale is going to Mother is unable to work with LA, Mother is having difficulty with sons transition to adulthood. Son is overjoyed to exercise choice and control . We respected his privacy/choices. Classically , refusal of offers of help, in my case I ” bizarrely refused ” help. Don’t even bother to duck this shit because it is all aimed at you and they won’t stop any time soon. It is vile but hold your ground and expect to be vilified throughout the coming months.

  4. It is shocking – not a review at all – just a ‘we did everything right’ document. A completely pointless exercise and waste of money.

    Their lack of genuine response to your concerns made me wonder if they thought ‘Well – he has learning disabilities – what else can you expect?’ I cannot think of another explanation.

    They were bogged down in a tangled web of who refers to whom and processes. The handy processes and rules allow them to distance themselves from the very real distress of the people they are supposed to be helping. I and my 89 year old aunt’s GP have recently had to fight for her to be visited at home by district nurses rather than getting exhausted visiting the surgery every day.No common sense and humanity in rigid rules.Human beings are infinitely variable and their care cannot be governed by inflexible rules.

    They believed that everything the care manager said or wrote over everything you said or wrote. I experienced this in the NHS when my manager arranged a meeting with me then cancelled it. She was believed when she said the meeting had taken place. Perhaps in public services managers are considered to be infallible.

    I am so sorry they have put you through this. I am appalled at the tone and just how many errors there are.

  5. Nic you are so right, except it is not the monthstocome but the years to come. Fifteen at least with me.

  6. For me the worst thing is that the people who constructed this thing, are completely immune to your grief and your integrity. They strip your soul bare and tear down who you are .. all securely closeted in a shared blister of absolute certainty,

    I left a ‘review’ of me,and my son’s ‘care’ last week. whimpering silently ‘i am am real….I am a good person……….I am intelligent…..I know I am……

  7. Sara, once again, I haven’t got the words to say how sorry that you are repeatedly being put through the wringer. Sally’s comments fill me with dread. I’m worried about our upcoming “review” and suspect that I will be in the weary mother camp too.There is a small shred of comfort that I have a sense of how parents will be judged. Please keep going!

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  9. When you are told that you have it wrong, it’s a bit like the wonderful Ingrid Bergman film “Gaslight”, has anybody seen it? Her husband wants to drive her insane so keeps denying what is going on, hiding things and blaming her, stealing jewels, putting them in her bag then telling her she must have done it. After a bit of this she is reduced to a wreck and is unable to report what is actually going on because she sees herself as insane, unable to perceive things correctly. Well it’s like that! And I certainly don’t even get to look like Ingrid Bergman! You might think the services were chaotic the workers were absent, the decisions were negligent, and so on. Their reality is that it was wonderful. So who is nuts?
    Let’s assume that you or any of us are mad. Selfishly working, not working ,under involved over involved ungrateful, too stupid to see the wisdom of the plentiful things offered to you by a generous State. Terribly demanding yet inexplicably rejecting. Crazy.
    You still have the right to have your point of view clearly outlined. Your grief, your experience of what was done, your objections. If there is a discrepancy between your experience and what others say happened the two sides need to be put clearly and given equal weight .
    They get us ,through the fragmented services which allow responsibility to be thrown about, by painting us as rejecting without looking at reasons for a rejection. When I asked for help I was offered parenting classes, mainstream ones. This was in the absence of any assessment of my parenting, such as it is. If I said yes, there would be no other help for the duration of the course. If I said no I was rejecting help. I started to think one of us was nuts. Every meeting would be framed as “explaining ” which is an interesting word. Explaining means that there is a right answer and you haven’t understood it.
    The whole of LB report is framed in the explaining way. You are being set straight. You thought it was X ,it is being clarified to you it was Y.
    Don’t let them Gaslight you! You are right!

  10. Where are the paid people who believe us and want to improve things? Why so quiet?

    Why are all the comments here from us, the unreasonable, deluded, ungrateful, over protective, neglectful parents.? Where are the comments from passionate entrants into these professions eager to challenge to improve things? Speak up! For we know you read this and other similar blogs.

    I was a training person yonks ago, One task was to encourage NHS/LA managers to make a much better fist of recruiting people.. One (how not to) slide showed a table with 5 punks in punk dress and hair style etc, These ladies and gents were facing across the table, a mohikan headed nose studded etc etc etc applicant who was being asked ”what makes you think you will fit into this organisation”…….


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