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An Apology

February 23, 2015

I wanted to make a public apology for a public mistake.

On Saturday I published a post on this blog about one of our support worker’s experience working in supported living. Yesterday, I removed the post.

I did not feel like I was breaching the support worker’s confidentiality at the time because, (a) he asked me to write the post, and (b) I showed him what I had written before publishing. I respected his request that he remained anonymous in the post as well as the name of the place and the area it is located. I now see that as it wasn’t “my” story, I shouldn’t have published it. I stupidly and irresponsibly overlooked the emotional impact of the story and saw it primarily as a concern for #LBBill to try and stop the practice of turning care homes into supported living homes.

After publishing, what happened next, took me completely by surprise. Very quickly, in every media I published, the comments focused on the support worker rather than what I saw naively as the core of the story. The comments turned to what action the support worker has/will be taking about reporting the place. I replied on each site/thread along the lines that I trusted him and was leaving it up to him to decide what action to take. This only seemed to stoke the fire and the comments became more critical of the support worker. I realized that if I tried to explain further about his situation, I would run the risk of compromising his anonymity. It was foolish of me not to have thought that through before publishing. Obviously I have no control over which direction a post goes in. Nor would I want to. But I could see that I was making a difficult situation for the support worker much much worse by my unprofessionalism. At that point, I decided to remove the post.

The second factor that arose that I hadn’t accounted for was that people started to express they felt responsible for taking follow up action and reporting the home. This arose out of the assumption that neither the worker, nor I, were going to do anything. I truly regret if my lack of thought burdened people with a sense of responsibility. The matter has been reported and I don’t want anyone to feel under pressure.

Even if my intentions were pure, it was wrong of me to use the experience of the people in the home and the support worker as a discussion point for LBBill.

Please accept my deepest apologies for that.

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From → Social Care

17 Comments
  1. Lisa permalink

    Don’t worry about it Mark. Every day when we all wake up we have no idea what will transpire. All we can do is speak from the heart. You do NOT have a Crystal ball , so how the hell would you know what reactions and comments would be posted !!? YOLO!!x

  2. Hi Mark I got the point. I’ve been thinking off & on all weekend and my latest blog is especially for you!
    Have a look at wisegrannie.wordpress.com when you’ve a moment.
    The trouble is when we focus on individual situations, however dreadful, we run the risk of neglecting the core problem of an unaccountable system, and end up tinkering round the edges.
    Keep the faith!

  3. well said – respect

  4. Helen permalink

    Hi Mark I was looking for something I had read in a blog about the legal meaning of supported living – I thought it was in the blog you removed – if it was any chance of a restating of this? Understand the reasons for taking the whole bolg down. Helen

  5. weary mother permalink

    All the above.
    No apologies needed Mark quite the opposite.

    Wise Granny, Individual situations illuminate and expose unaccountable systems to scrutiny? Without these individual spotlights, unaccountable systems will continue to operate unchecked and unchallenged. And without them justice will never be redeemed for the many casualties.

    Grief, impotence, outrage and fear are energy and life sapping emotions. Powerlessness compounds all the above. Yesterdays blog and the comments reflected honest heart felt feelings of caring and impotence in equal measure. No blame and no apologies necessary?

    I noted today 5 million pounds of lottery money has been given for research into supported living.
    For what? …for more training careers for the same old same old – and sans change. More paper Phd’s…….to rest in Uni library? More sans any at all improvement for the people who know all from miserable direct experience every day? I hope not.

    • Congrats weary mother. This is your 100th comment on the blog. Thank you for being such a loyal, wise supporter. This is the Love Belief & Balls equivalent to a telegram from the Queen.

      • weary mother permalink

        Crikey, no wonder my house is a tip!
        xx

  6. John Basterfield permalink

    As with joedd above, well said Mark – respect.

  7. I guess you could use the article in the Guardian on 18 February, equally shocking!

    • I read that and suppose it was lurking in the back of my brain when the support worker told me his story.

  8. Deb permalink

    Hi Mark, again I echo all of the above. Anything and everything you have ever written has done nothing more than inspire me to keep fighting the cause. You are certainly not responsible for the negative attitudes, comments and reactions of people out there who read your blog. Keep on keeping on …….. please. 🙂

  9. I don;t think you have anything to apologise for. I for one am glad I read it, and think the only reason to take it down was the possibility that your nice young man might find himself being victimised. The idea that he had a “moral duty” to take on the system singlehanded is nice in theory but very perilous in practice.

    My own LA is one of the better ones. But given the present system and shortage of funds, that is not saying much. They have some supported living flats which sound lovely – but still understaffed. I have heard accounts from my own care workers which are disturbing, if not quite so explicit , – and we do need to hear them, scary as it is.

  10. Pauline Thomas permalink

    I agree with all the sentiments expressed. I think your blog is truthful, informative and on occasions so amusing as to actually cheer me up. I am sorry you feel the need to apologise, when all apologies should be coming from the care company (care company?) that is responsible for such inhumane care.

  11. Just came across this on a site giving advice to whistleblowers:

    “The organization, however, as an institution seems to appear at times, in phantasy or reality, dedicated to the destruction of the moral individualist. Frequently the organization succeeds. Which means that whistleblowers are broken, unable to reconcile their actions and beliefs with the responses they receive from others ”

    Not sure it was always so hard to speak up – but we do seem to live in perilous times. Moral certainty is admirable, of course . – but the consequences aren’t always pretty

  12. Sally permalink

    No apology needed.. You never can tell where the focus will fall.. And its hard to describe something while remaining totally non identifying without all the details of the story being erased and the point lost.
    Glad you also noticed the Guardian article. I have been so angry about the bland response. When did it happen that a statement of an intent or goal is held to trump what is actually happening? The people involved were living in wretched states and clearly did not have the capacity to cope with unsupported independent living. The most cursory of visits would have revealed that, had it not been clear from the conditions which had put them into supported housing in the first place. As I remember the reply was a statement that supporting people in independent living was very important to the service involved etc etc.
    Could private individuals try that?
    “You haven’t paid your gas bill”
    “Ah, but paying gas bills is my highest priority and I am working towards even greater bill paying .”

    Happy 100th post Weary Mother!

  13. Cathy H. permalink

    I didnt get a chance to read the article. But I think it was Albert Einstein who said: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I think he was talking about gravity or friction, but goes to show that you can never predict what people will think about a topic.
    Im a huge fan of your blog. Dont stop.

  14. Just don’t stop …

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