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Now That’s What I Call Munby Disc 1 Track 5

February 17, 2015

Been feeling as perky as a 1960s piglet today.

I was awoken at 5am after a lovely respite evening at the flat by two swans outside my bedroom window giving a mash up of Blue Suede Shoes & I Know Him So Well. Then lazed around watching an episode of Morse whilst finishing off my previous night’s Terry’s chocolate orange. Home by 10am.

And then along came this: http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/re-a-child-2.pdf – the latest in a long line of judgements from Justice Munby on the role of the State in social care decision making. There’s a running Twitter joke about how some of Munby’s greatest quotes should form a chart busting “Now That’s What I Call Munby”. Today’s track may not be the classic opening track but it certainly deserves high ranking on Disc One. The case involves Darlington council wanting to place a young boy for adoption, ignoring the request of the boy’s father to care for him. Munby describes a catalogue of bad judgement, prejudice and piss poor practice. Please read the whole judgement – it’s a real page turner.

The penultimate two paragraphs are incredible:

It will be noticed that I have, quite deliberately, not identified either SW1 or SW2 or TM, though their employer has, equally deliberately, been named. There is, in principle, every reason why public authorities and their employees should be named, not least when there have been failings as serious as those chronicled here. But in the case of local authorities there is a problem which has to be acknowledged.

Ultimate responsibility for such failings often lies much higher up the hierarchy, with those who, if experience is anything to go by, are almost invariably completely invisible in court. The present case is a good example. Only SW1, SW2 and TM were exposed to the forensic process, although much of the responsibility for what I have had to catalogue undoubtedly lies with other, more senior, figures. Why, to take her as an example, should the hapless SW1 be exposed to public criticism and run the risk of being scapegoated when, as it might be thought, anonymous and unidentified senior management should never have put someone so inexperienced in charge of such a demanding case. And why should the social workers SW1, SW2 and TM be pilloried when the legal department, which reviewed and presumably passed the exceedingly unsatisfactory assessments, remains, like senior management, anonymous beneath the radar? It is Darlington Borough Council and its senior management that are to blame, not only SW1, SW2 and TM. It would be unjust to SW1, SW2 and TM to name and shame them when others are not similarly exposed”.

For weeks and months, there has been on-going discussion about the hand wringing attitude of Ministers, NHS England, Department of Health etc etc etc etc etc when it comes to bringing about change in social care. They all claim a powerlessness. There is nothing they can do. Deaths/abuse/contempt for the law happens in a variety of social care settings and the top bods maintain they are hamstrung by systems. Sir James Munby has driven a stake through the heart of the matter. As long as the commissioners and Panels can hide behind a shield of invisibility there will be no change. They hold the power but no responsibility or accountability. No point going after the providers – as long as there is money to be made from the vulnerable, they’ll be sticking around. It’s the anonymous and the unidentified that need to be on the radar.

What’s the chances of Justice Munby becoming Patron/Mascot for the #LBBill? He’s just kicked the door wide open.

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From → Social Care

11 Comments
  1. Mumby for God!

  2. Deb permalink

    At last someone in authority singing from the same song sheet as families. It has been a long time coming.

  3. twittleyjules permalink

    What a star that man is!

  4. Another example of LA abusing their power but caught by Mumby. Thank goodness for the Courts, but when will the LA learn that they can’t decide to enforce behaviour. Disappointing to find such inept social work though – their values base should not be imposing their personal morality on people, but their evidence should also be factual and linked to the law. I’m hoping to retain capacity as I age as I’ve little confidence that I wouldn’t be conveniently disposed of at least cost otherwise. We’ve yet a deal to do though to wrest people in the assessment and treatment centres away from some of the (dare I say) profit-driven businesses of our care sector. I worry about who are the investors and do they bear any relationship to the political donators? Thank goodness for the courts and sound laws apparently uninfluenced by the political masters….just keep an eye on legal aid!

  5. Shirley Buckley permalink

    Mark Martin is trying to speak to Munby himself. I have sent a letter from Martin to Sir James and Lord Dyson via the Court of Appeal. Lets see if he deals with this one . I have also put in a formal complaint against Mr Justice Charles I wonder if they both will get lost?????

  6. Shirley Buckley permalink

    Martin’s letter: Lord Dyson – Sir James Munby I would like to live in Warwickshire for a home for myself and service with the Allied Health Care agency. Phone Martin Buckley on 07981911601 mobile

  7. Carole Cliffe permalink

    thank goodness there is some form of filter for the acts carried out by all to powerful local authorities who act as if unaccountable to anyone and feel it ok to have golden rules that bear no relation to common sense and ride rough shod over the most fundamental rules of civil liberty, human rights etc Sometimes its not like living in a democracy at all………..Munby is a breath of fresh air in this creaking draconian world……….

  8. weary mother permalink

    Well put Carole

    When we are small we are all afraid of the bogey man.

    When we are grown and have our precious sons and daughters, we are now afraid of life with all it’s possibilities for we believe a very bad thing has happened to our child. Sometimes the fear shrinks back to a very small quiet place in our heads and hearts, but always it is there. When our child is so very vulnerable we fear more for we believe there is now more to fear.

    As soon as we come into the remit of social services, we parents become very small children again for we learn that this this bogey man is truly huge.

    This bogeyman not only frightens, it can terrify. We hope it is really kind and gentle, and can help take some of the always fear of what can happen to ours next, away.. But more often than not It takes us and who we were away, in just a look.And In the stroke of a careless pen it can destroy us..

    We heave with gratitude for recognition. And are ashamed of ourselves. ‘Please see me’, for ‘I am an intelligent and caring mum…I do love and I SEE and I know my son/daughter, and we have shared history. I wish only for his/her, a full and happy life’. and for this joy I willingly give my own’.

    We plead all this to our ‘Bogey Man’, and we live a fear that never goes away.

  9. But the Bill does not change the law, it just moves all those in private NHS provision, to private independent living under the MCA.

    The MCA is far more draconian than the MHA it is foe life with no reviews.

    iIt does nothing about the tick boxed capacity test, which increasing is declaring more and more incapable to make up to 4,000 per week.

    It does nothing to make independent living providers accountable for their care, other than report the numbers, which could be found out from a FOIA Notice.

    It does nothing about compulsory inquests

    Or enforced psychotic medication being even centrally monitored, let alone banned.

    It says nothing about the fact that the MCA, is in fact illegal, under the CPRD ART12 To which UK iIS a signatory. And a class action should be taken by parents to Europe.

    This says that you cannot remove all a persons rights simply because they are disabled, which is what the MCA does.

    • Finola – I’m getting cheesed off with you coming into various blogs and criticizing LBBill. I could argue some of the points you’ve mentioned above are covered by the Bill but I know that won’t fit your view. Rather than continually pointing out the negatives and, as I read on a blog about Thomas Rawnsley where you questioned the integrity of the people working on the Bill, why don’t you come up with something yourself?

  10. Helen permalink

    I am not an expert – but it does seem that LA’s commissioners and executives get away with an awful lot and there is little scutiny beyond balancing their budgets – this is particularly so as they provide very few direct services – so my suggestion to go alongside the LBBill is that we should campaign to reinstate inspection of commissioning – and The LA to be inspected for the outcomes people have linked to the servies they have commissioned – or at least something along these lines.
    Helen

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