Children Services Directorate
Main Street, Biston
18th April 2011
Damon Markham sent me a form explaining how to make a comment or complaint. As my complaint will take more space than that provided on the form I am writing to you and will include all the relevant information requested on the form. If you want any other information please don't hesitate to ask.
My name: Dave Hook
My address: 80 Haslet Road, Biston, BN1 1NB
Telephone number: 01234 567890
Best time to contact me: Any time.
Ethnic origin: White British
Children Services interviewed me and my daughter in Biston Hospital on 6 September 2010 after a nurse had reported us to them with extremely prejudicial and untrue comments. They conducted an Initial Assessment and as a result initiated a Core Assessment. The Initial Assessment was offensive, prejudicial and, as anticipated by Obelix Mahjong, it upset my daughter.
I wrote to Obelix Mahjong on 6 October 2010 with my first response to the Initial Assessment. I spoke to Obelix about my concerns regarding the report and she suggested I put them on paper so that we could discuss them. I put them on paper and there was no response and no discussion.
After a meeting which never materialised I wrote to the manager on 25 October 2010 to voice my growing concerns. That was the last I heard from them until I wrote on 7 February 2011 expressing my concern at their silence. There may be some other explanation but the strong suggestion is that they knew they were at fault and hoped the problem would just disappear if they remained silent. Not a responsible, let alone helpful, action.
Three weeks later I got an offensive and disturbing reply from Damon Markham (N.B. a delay which puts them in breach of the Freedom of Information Act) which basically dismissed my concerns, making a token acknowledgement of the ridiculous accusations of witchcraft and asserted that "I do not see any evidence of prejudice towards either yourself or Helen."
Only when I responded to that letter pointing out that the Core Assessment was either not complete or being kept secret did I get what appears to be a hastily concocted document entitled "Core Assessment". It felt suspiciously as if they were trying to eradicate any evidence of their failure to complete the investigation. Ironically the assessment start date is stated as 15 September 2010 which is conveniently seven working days after the Initial Assessment start date. I recall Obelix apologising on 23 September for the Initial Assessment not being completed in the mandatory time. How could the Core Assessment have been started when the Initial Assessment had not been completed to conclude that a Core Assessment was the next action to take? Or is this just more shoddy fudging of the facts to cover their trail of errors. Another serious problem is evidenced in that when Obelix delivered the offensive Initial Assessment she
emphasised that the report was confidential and specifically for Helen. She explained to Helen that I could only read it if she expressly wanted me to. Obelix anticipated that the report would distress Helen suggesting that she knew it was not a fair report. And yet Damon Markham can send this faked Core Assessment directly to me in an attempt to cover their tracks. So was Obelix lying to Helen or is Markham simply casting confidentiality protocol aside in an attempt to protect himself?
The Core Assessment is unbelievable. It is a torrent of rubbish. It evidences some serious deception and maintains some of the aforementioned prejudice exhibited in the Initial Assessment. The idea that this sort of thing is the historical record held on an integrated computer system by our society's 'benign' organisations is frightening. The Initial Assessment and Helen's encounters with the Children Services has led to her not being able to attend the course at Biston College. I have suffered severe anxiety and consequential physical ailments and wasted a lot of energy and time dealing with the Children Services. The consequences of the Children Services' involvement with us has caused harm and no good. This is not the expressed intent or purpose of the service. If the Children Services had done no good that might be a concern given that Helen would clearly benefit from some help. It may be that the Children Services have no appropriate help available. But the fact that they have added to our problems and made the situation tangibly worse is something that warrants complaint. The fact that their disastrous trail of prejudice, omissions, inaccuracies and lies are archived away on an official database as a false record of history needs to be addressed.
The Core Assessment
This document is clearly falsified. It is also unfriendly and unsupportive. There is an insidious vein of negativity coursing through it. On the very first page (the cover) the 'Assessment Start Date' is clearly wrong and suggests an attempt to obscure a previous failing on the part of the Children Services Namely that they didn't complete the Initial Assessment in the required time specified by their own rules. The Core Assessment start date, as mentioned above, is logged as 15 September 2010 which is prior to the decision to do a Core Assessment. This small error can no longer be dismissed as a typo or some other accident when you observe the cascade of deception that runs through both these reports and our dealings with Obelix Mahjong and the Children Services.
On page 1 the list of dates that the child and family members have been seen or interviewed only ever mentions Helen. Apparently the requirement to document any discussions with anyone else is irrelevant even though the form specifically requests it.
On page 2 there is a needlessly negative comment which is in fact untrue. It states "Family members have co-operated with the assessment process, although there has been some reluctance, and missed appointments." This is galling. We have never been reluctant and never been late or missed an appointment. Not that there would have been any constructive point in mentioning it even if it were true unless it had some bearing on other matters. So why has the point been made? It has been made to deliberately suggest a negative view of us. It is a lie. Ironically it reveals a Freudian truth. If the comma were to become a full stop and "by the Children Services" were added to the end it would be true. It is an archetypal attempt to blame someone else for one's own mistakes. It is evidenced from the documentation that Obelix Mahjong has been late and failed to attend meetings. When I asked her to arrange the meeting that she said
she required with me, she stalled and said it was very difficult to fit in. When I offered to attend her office if it made it easier for her she thanked me and reluctantly agreed. I have explained this event previously (on page 3 of my
letter dated 25 October 2010) but it was neither entered in her office diary nor was she available at the designated time. No apology was ever offered either. It is Obelix Mahjong who has been reluctant and missed appointments. It is Obelix Mahjong who has cancelled appointments, turned up late and lied about either the requirement for a colleague to be present or not being able to get our attention. Does Obelix Mahjong have an identity problem? Does she think we are her and she is us? When she is reluctant to have meetings and fails to turn up does she think it is us? How insane can this become?
The very next sentence states "Helen had initially indicated that she would undertake some one to one (sic) work with the assessor as part of the Core Assessment, however in reality was reluctant to leave the family home." Yet more erroneous statements and negative implications. It states that Helen was always reluctant but lied by initially indicating willingness. The truth is that Helen 'was' willing to go away with Obelix and have a meeting. But after the whole affair with the Initial Report Helen, quite understandably, became reluctant to go away with her. I have pointed this out on page 2 of my letter dated 25 October 2010 under the entry for 5 October. Had Obelix read that letter she might not have made this evidently misleading and cruel remark. The fact is that Obelix knowingly wrote a prejudicial and offensive report and delighted in handing it to Helen stating that it was specially for her and her alone. When
Helen got up after reading no more than 18 sentences of the report and left the room it was Obelix who turned to me and said with a smile "I expected it would upset her." At the time I said that I didn't think it had upset her and that maybe she just needed the toilet or something. After Obelix and her colleague, Cathy, left I asked Helen about this and she explained that she did leave because she was so upset and wanted to burst into tears because the report was so offensive. When I read the report (with her permission) it became crystal clear. So, yet again, Obelix has chosen to obscure her own crime, in this case the offensive and illegitimate scrawling of her report, by blaming someone else, namely attributing Helen's reluctance to "go away with her" as Helen lying.
The next statement is most probably a lie. "Mr Hook has complained about the content of the Initial Assessment and a response is being prepared." It is possibly true that they were preparing a response but later decided not to send it. But three months after my complaint I had to write to them expressing my concern over their lack of a response. After that all I got was a fob off and the complaints were not seriously addressed. Only when I replied and complained about this letter (dated 22 February 2011) and pointed out that one of two things were evident that either they had not completed the Core Assessment or that they had kept it secret did they fumble a fake Core Assessment and send it to me as if it had always been there. But they should not have sent it to me. Apparently, by their own assertion, it is
confidentially for Helen.
I would love to know why the next statement has been added. It is a reference to the Assessment done by Dave Scott and I suggest you read that report because, unlike the implication here, that report fairly assesses the situation and makes it abundantly clear that the mother is a troublemaker. But Obelix Mahjong has cherry picked again and simply refers to the report being instigated by the mother's concerns about me thereby bolstering her negative construct of me. This is prejudice upon prejudice and is not an acceptable device for what is supposed to be a rational intellectual activity in support of a child in the community. I doubt that Obelix has read the report but if she has she certainly has not taken on board the content.
I would go on and dissect every piece of this report except that I am wasting my time and it would be a waste of your time to read my wasted efforts especially since it can be satisfactorily shown to be a fake with no legitimacy. Suffice it to say that it is full of the same rubbish described in my previous communications even to the point that Obelix (or Markham or someone) has had the evident aberration in their haste to cobble it together to cut and paste from the initial assessment which is already designated for examination because it is so appallingly wrong. I would suggest that if one believed what was in this report that one could hardly conclude that Helen would not benefit from the support of the Children Services. Well that would assume that the Children Services were benign but these reports paint a different picture. This Core Assessment report is self evidently out of order because it concludes "it is clear that there is no further role for Children's Services (sic)." It is also self evidently out of order because the stated sequence of interviews were never completed. If this report were a real one then it would also be invalid because it is based on an incomplete investigation. The whole affair is a fiasco. But it has injured and continues to injure Helen and me.
There is another very serious issue which results from all of this and that is the general approach of the Children Services. If this is the manner in which the department normally conducts itself then these issues go much further afield and must concern a much wider audience.
Your comment and complaints form asks three main questions: what is the complaint about? what do I feel you did wrong or did not do? and what would I like you to do to put things right? The complaint is about the whole involvement with the Children Services and their attitude, approach and actions. What they have done wrong is that they have used an aggressive and threatening mechanism of approach to intimidated us. They have used devices ranging from subtle insinuation and suggestion to outright lying. They have been disrespectful in the extreme and to compound the problem they have ignored or denied any objections raised. To make matters worse they have then proceeded to pervert the truth in official reports. Offensive actions cause damage! The Children Services have caused severe damage to us, both in our general well-being and to the point of causing me physical illness and stopping Helen continuing her education. What they did not do, with one exception, was to be supportive and sympathetic, to be fair in their enquiries and to be positively helpful where that might have been possible. (The one exception worth noting here is that Obelix's colleague, Cathy, didn't say much but what I recall of what she said was always friendly and supportive.) They did not follow their own rules and guidelines and they neither conducted their enquiries nor completed their reports correctly. They have offered no pertinent or tangible assistance to Helen or her family environment. What I want you to do about it is a far more difficult issue.
Obviously I would like the damage done to be undone but I don't know how that can be achieved. I would like the evidently erroneous 'official' documents dealt with in a manner to satisfactorily convey the truth. I want some real and convincing recognition of the offenses against us. What I would also like would be some real effective help for Helen. I think it would take some work and some discussion to figure out what would begin to redress the situation so at this juncture I will leave it with you to consider what has been said.
B.A. M.Sc. MBCS CITP