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A Smile, A Shrug, A Sob & A Security Alert

March 22, 2014

Here’s another funny thing.

A few days after the report into LB’s death was published which found that it was a “preventable death”, Southern Health shut down their Twitter account. No posts in. No posts out. The official announcement was that it was for “security measures” – someone had been attacking their account. A couple of days later, the whole thing was restored. It’s hard to believe a word of it. The timing was incredible, as it stopped people posting their responses to the report.

Three weeks before our HIgh Court hearing in 2011, I received a call from Steven’s social worker’s manager, needing to talk to me urgently. This was the story – the day before the phone call, a person had called at the reception desk in the Civic Centre and left a letter for the social worker. He showed me the letter – it was pretty vile. It didn’t actually make any outright threats towards the social worker but it was very unpleasant. The letter was signed by “A friend of the Neary family”. The manager told me that the matter had been reported to the police and the social worker had gone off sick, in a distressed state.

I immediately offered my help. I offered to meet with the police. It never happened. I offered to view the CCTV footage in case I recognised the person delivering the letter. I was told that wouldn’t be necessary.

After that initial meeting, I never heard another word about the letter. I couldn’t stop talking about it. If a friend of the family was really threatening the social worker, would they sign the letter, friend of the family? Why didn’t the police take any action? The whole story seemed to have many many holes in it.

One outcome was that the social worker was signed off sick for four weeks and therefore wasn’t able to appear as their key witness at the hearing. As the central person in the case and the main decision maker of the events of 2010, the judge never got to hear her version of events.

The social worker’s manager mentioned the annonymous letter on the first day of the hearing but it didn’t go anywhere. Neither the judge or the barristers questioned him about it. He made a rather nervous statement and then the matter died.

Was it genuine? Was it constructed by the PR department to paint the social worker as the victim? Was it invented to get the social worker out of giving evidence (where let’s face it, she would have been crucified)? Who knows?

But I remembered it when the Southern Health security alert popped up. I guess it must be quite useful, when you know you are going to be revealed as the perpetrator of a dreadful act, to suddenly shift the emphasis, so you become the victim.

A remarkable double coincidence or a PR strategy?

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From → Social Care

6 Comments
  1. Fake threats and “security alerts” are a time-honoured tactic — a few years ago whenever the subject of ME was brought up in the news, it was always accompanied by claims that various scientists who are hostile to people with ME and promote theories about it being psychological, etc., were receiving them, yet nobody was ever fingered, and the blame was thrown on all ME activists. The same was true of a bunch of men claiming they were “former Islamic extremists” a few years ago, one of whom boasted that he had done things that were plainly illegal (like take terrorism/guerrilla warfare training in Afghanistan) and had been stabbed in the street for publicly turning coat. When the police turned the tapes on, he admitted he had made it all up and inflicted the stab wounds on himself.

  2. anonymous permalink

    How uncanny as yesterday I was going to write that its not only CEO.s crying, watch out we are going to hear a lot more about how SWs are overworked and not at fault, they too will be crying they too will start to bleat that they are the victims for and in their defence of creating such misery against countless people.

    Accountability, Name and shame along with Prison sentences, for those who do not follow the Code of Practice…… Unless drastic action is taken then the system will never change and all will be ignored.

    Maybe the link below has no relevance to the above, for me it just about makes sense on why we us families have endured 3 years of taking disability back 40 years.

    So much money being wasted on incapacitating and dehumanising, when if you re-evaluate on how really we can move forward and save money, is by promoting Health without Medicalization we can then care for the old, care for the disabled, care for the mentally ill, in the most humane way possible. Oh, and saving the NHS billions……Care has become an industry of pain and suffering and greed.

    By displacing the vulnerable you create a Medical Nemesis…….

    Knowledge is power for us lay people to really understand the meaning and sense of such displacement that has been taking place. They call it Austerity! Which this itself is a lie……

    http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0303critic/030313illich/Frame.Illich.Ch2.html

  3. Sally permalink

    Well, I do think you have good grounds for suspicions.
    Yes, Social workers get threatened. In all services like that it happens. OK. The policy is to robustly investigate and to take action, involving the police.. If the threats are from some poor confused/insane person they still need investigating to determine that and to assess risk/set limits. If they are from a person perfectly able to control their behavior, they need pulling up.I have worked in several clinics where threats come in sometimes and the policy is that you investigate every one. You don’t go off sick. You aren’t sick. You might need to go off if they are lining up protection or are investigating, but neither was happening with the social worker you described.

    What is dodgy here is the threatening letter being used as currency (See, how under attack we are from this man’s allies), and as instrumental (social worker off sick, can’t testify)

    You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder at the timing. I remember when my son was pushed out of a school placement illegally, the communication books used which showed all the illegal exclusion strategies-went missing.In a classroom with 6 children. Couldn’t be found.

  4. Weary Mother permalink

    Hello I sent a comment this morning Mark, very innocuous, and it was with held for moderation?

    • Pauline Thomas permalink

      I watched your presentation on Youtube. It was a real eyeopener. It amazes me that your LA went to such lengths to deceive. It is the lies that really stick in the craw. It is sickening that people who work in public office should be so crooked.

      There is one point you made in your presentation where you said that Steven was being helped to be ‘independent’ by being made to mop the kitchen floor twice a day and he was being walked round the grounds several times a day for exercise. Whereas with you he did swimming and the gym. You likened it to prison. Mark in prison he would have rights. Something he never received in that place.

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