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November 4, 2015

I’m sitting here listening to Mrs May present her surveillance bill and it’s sent me off down memory lane. Two strong memories of Hillingdon surveiling me:

One of the biggest shocks upon receiving the social care records prior to our first court case in 2010 was the huge amount of pages devoted to the Get Steven Home Facebook posts. This was pre blog and I wasn’t an avid Twitter user at the time, so the Facebook group was the main online focus of their attention. There were over 100 pages of screenshots, with notes scribbled over them and sections highlighted in either red or green!

One of the posts prompted a group email from the social worker to all her colleagues. The email included a screenshot of a post I’d written about their delay in showing me the Independent psychiatrist’s report. The social worker posed the question to the others, “Do we need to take action with regard Mr Neary revealing this sensitive information and his aggressive language?”

I couldn’t believe my eyes. This is the report they received on 16th August but sat on until the 28th October. It was the report they repeatedly told me they hadn’t received whenever I asked for it. It was their deceit that was eventually described as “deplorable” by Justice Peter Jackson. All I had done in the Facebook post was to point out the psychiatrist had pointed out that “minimal attention has been given to Steven’s autism”. I did end the post ” Lying bastards”.

The social work team had behaved in a deplorable way but I was now the villian. And they were using enormous energy considering what actions they should take on my villiany.

The second memory was last year and the day of the first payment of the personal budget. I’ve written before about the problematic prepaid card system, so I transfered the whole amount from the prepaid card into a designated account. Within an hour, the Direct Payments Manager phoned me. “What have you done with the money on the prepaid card? Can I remind you this is public funds”. I hadn’t moved out of my seat since doing the transfer. Once I’d regathered myself I said, ” Are you sitting in front of a computer watching what I’m doing?” She then delivered a lecture on the importance of monitoring for misuse of public money. It was deeply shocking.

Both stories show that I am well on their surveillance radar. There is a personal element but I’m sure they do it to lots of other people. In fact, I know they have. During the year Steven was in the ATU, I managed to get a mole and was horrified at some of the tales I was told. Both memories are about me seen as doing something wrong. But the reality is that it’s not about that at all. As the Ryan family found out, it’s all about reputation management.

And it seems to me that the more outrageous the behaviour of the State body, the more frantic they become in protecting their reputation.


From → Social Care

  1. Shirley Buckley permalink

    The LA makes a list of what they are going to get you for. I hold EPA for Martin, and from 2007 they were determined to get their hands on Martin’s benefits. It took them until April 2014, but now they have been made appointee (both the LA and DWP over ruled the EPA), and they are now taking £80 from his benefits to contribute to the residentail care home’s fees of £2400 a week The LA state, in spite of this, that Martin is elegible for continuing health care, the CCG say he is not although theyare paying half of the £2,400. They are out to get you whatever.

  2. Pauline Thomas permalink

    The whole set up smacks of Orwells 1984. When did people with LD and their families become state enemies?

  3. Sally permalink

    Mark you are so right.
    I am OK with a reasonable amount of assessment and monitoring. But we are way past that. The montoring is starting to feel punitive. It has become a protracted horrible experience to get any assistance and to try to keep it. Always they have the power They can stop funds at the drop of a hat and not resume them.
    I have noticed in the last 5 years all pretence of being there to helping parents has gone.I can’t remember the last time any DCT worker smiled at me, seemed to want to help or even, God forbid, took the initiative in offering help.
    Now every interview is an ordeal. It’s not just the humiliation of the lectures and warnings ( “you do realise that this is public money” is a classic, )it’s also the fear of unwittingly providing an excuse for funding to stop ,or in our case, stay stopped.
    In my Borough we are monitored so much and over such a long period of time that one assessment is not finished befor the next one is to begin.
    This is insane. We have disabled children and young people . There is nobody, no service which can or would look after them, we are it. So why are we treated as criminals?

  4. cherryblossom permalink

    Don’t they know it’s public money paying for their salaries and pensions? LA’s are more worried about being sued by their employees than by service users. Any criticism of an employee could mean an expensive payout for their hurt feelings even if they are lying bastard, public service parasites who have caused terrible suffering.

  5. Another weary mother permalink

    Absolutely. They are our public servants but treat us as the enemy. They are at the root of enormous waste of public money – the battle is about retaining power.

  6. We are increasingly pretending to be in a free democratic country whilst actually our Government seems to have increasingly set up a no challenge, ‘we are always right’ culture and that if you dare they will ensure you get punished for it. This has percolated our public services who ofcourse are also expected to be “on message”. Their staff particularly now in the atmosphere if cuts and redundancies seem to be bullied into submission. We also have incompetence covered up and defended. In this Community Living magazine issue how refreshing to read Alicia Wood saying we are human beings and do make mistakes (not to mention my own article on holiday memories when my mistakes reminded me not to underestimate the abilities of people with learning disabilities) – we need to admit, apologise and move on – whilst we also need to learn from them. When I ran an agency our induction stressed to staff that it was so important to hols our hands up and hopefully learn from our mistakes – indeed they are often our best learning. If we don’t we all know who the casualties are – it is the people themselves and their families, AND I wonder how many labels have been applied to people’s histories blaming them when actually it was their support worker or professional…
    It is extremely worrying as we see the untrammelled results of a government who continues to behave as always right. Very many vulnerable people and families are suffering and one wonders how much worse it will get before someone acts. At the moment it seems as if we have to rely on the House of Lords to check them, or the Church to speak out or ordinary citizens having to go to Law for the truth… which is just another example of how far public services will go to try to cover up their mistakes… with no accountability it seems for the mis-spending of public money. Most people would be very forgiving if at the start they admitted mistakes – not just to those representing the person but to the person themselves. If you had a learning disability, how empowering would that be to have an apology from the ‘authorities’ and to not always be the fall guy. Once authorities stray from the truth, they are in trouble as it will inevitably rebound on them but how do they pull things back. Have they thought it just encourages their own workers to lie? But when too will the Local Authorities get some ‘balls’ and tell the government and citizens the real truth – but most importantly act with integrity and honesty. Social workers should be speaking within their values and professional framework – not acting as if they have to do as they are told, and councillors should be told how it really is by officers.

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