Petition update

So Why is This S47 Unlawful Exactly?

Autistic Parent
United Kingdom

Nov 17, 2016 — Dear Supporters,

you will have seen on the main petition, a quote from a legal blog and a link to a relevant judgment (case law), stating the basics about how S47's are meant to be conducted to be lawful.

In our case:

1) the family were not contacted at the referral stage about alleged 'concerns' to either ask consent to refer, or notify that referral was being made;

2) the family were not notified at the 'initial assessment' stage, or to visit the family to see if concerns were warranted or not, or asked for consent to seek and share data;

3) the family were not notified at the strategy meeting stage (which was held 70 days before contacting family) to seek information or evidence from the family, it was an entirely one-sided process;

4) the family were not notified when the S47 commenced (the whole process by this point was already unlawful) and by the time the family were contacted, a whole 89 days had passed since referral was made and at the point parents met SWs, we were told S47 had started a week before and would be concluded in 10 days. It is unlawful to commence a S47 without having seen the family.

What else?

1. When SW phoned mother, no mention of child protection or S47 was made and a date to meet on a vague premise, was requested for 2 days later.

2. When family received a copy of referral, it incorrectly had father's address down as previous address and mother at current address where whole family lives – was this an attempt to make the mother appear like a single parent to further paint a negative picture? It would explain why the phone call from the SW only asked to meet with the mother. (There were other mistakes on the referral aside from the wholesale untruths within it.)

3. When mother asked for an agenda for the meeting due to confusion specifically over what it was even about, the SW manager offered to delay the meeting until the following week, to provide an agenda beforehand. If this was a belief of 'significant harm' and had reached S47 already, where was the urgency? Especially having already taken 89 days from referral to contacting family, this does not add up. They only asked to see mother, not children, so if they believe children are at risk, does this add up either?

4. When phoning mother, they said they'd bring a copy of the referral with them to the meeting. They didn't. As an autistic adult this disadvantaged mother even further because nothing specific about concerns was explained at the meeting either. Mother requested details of steps to follow after meeting and this was ignored.

5. SW manager stated the referral had initially gone to another SS department and then been batted to them, if it was so urgent, why would this happen?

6. Mother asked them not to use Egress to send documents for accessibility reasons and explained why several times, they ignored this in breach of mother's Equality Act 2010 and Disability Discrimination Act 2005 rights.

7. Copy of S47 report received almost a month after we were told their investigation report would be concluded by.

8. Several questions asked by email from mother, including why they had breached the protocols for S47 (including quotes of LAs own policy document), no reply received to these questions, despite being chased 4 separate times by email. This is despite SW's claim they wanted to be transparent. Separate email stated it was being conducted illegally to date already and this was ignored.

9. Information and evidence offered and sent before S47 report produced was completely ignored, meaning lies from referral were repeated as fact within the report.

10. Despite providing information with links about legal disability/equality duties and explaining that to criticise a protected characteristic of a disability is illegal, the whole premise of the 'concerns' is not only autism ignorance, but blatant disability discrimination criticising autistic parent's communication with professionals.

11. SW has at least twice in emails, attempted to paint a negative picture telling parent she 'understands she is anxious', which is untrue and was repeated despite parent stating it wasn't true and that there is a professional diagnostic report available, stating parent does not suffer any psychiatric disorder, personality disorder or mental ill-health.

Social workers have a favourite phrase to denigrate parents "does not work well with professionals" – what about social services and other professionals not working well with parents?

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