Blimey. Six months ago now that Oxfordshire County Council’s (OCC) secret ‘independent’, ‘internal’, ‘review’ arrived in my inbox first thing one Monday morning. Without warning. Six months ?? I’ve written about this a lot because we’ve been so distressed, incensed, baffled and depressed that a local authority could act in this way. Without apparent remorse. LB died. In ‘care’ they commissioned…
It turns out they can’t behave like this.
We’re fortunate. Lucky? [I don’t know what the right word is here…] Just bloody grateful to have pro bono support from someone I can only describe as a tornado of human rights expertise, action, commitment and sense. A remarkably detailed 27 page letter was sent to the Legal Officers at OCC. Carefully documenting the wrongness of their actions and why.
Some lowlights from this letter [my flaky lay interpretation]:
You can’t conduct a review into support offered to a family without involving the family in the review. You can’t treat local authority records as a definitive record of what happened when they are clearly flawed. Inadequate record keeping and inappropriate records (describing people disparagingly) is wrong. You can’t offer contradictory explanations why a review is commissioned and proceeded. You can’t circulate an internal report to external people. You can’t deny pre-publication right of reply to one individual/family. You shouldn’t share people’s personal data without requesting consent or informing them. You shouldn’t spring a review on people without warning. Meaningless apologies are meaningless. You can’t make vague reference to stuff (like changing practices in the future) and not follow it up. You can’t defame people and present them in a particular light that is offensive and untrue. Circulating such a review is a breach of a person’s (human) right to a private and family life…
And so it goes on. Issues raised around maladministration, defamation, data sharing and the processing of personal data.
I sent the letter to Agent T (big sis) earlier. She replied; “Just realised my jaw has been really clenched for the last half an hour just throughout rereading that letter…”
I’ve given this post a bit of a flippant title. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m sick of being such a consistent harbinger of public sector related misery. Sadly there seems to be no end to this position.
We’re expecting a response from OCC by 4pm tomorrow.