FAO Wallace Filbert
Customer Service Adviser
Local Government Ombudsman
26 June 2011
Dear Wallace Filbert
I would comply with normal deceptive diplomacy and say "Thank you for your letter of 23 June 2011" but I am beginning to wonder what on Earth is going on.
We are all human and we all make mistakes. But you will understand that my tolerance for accepting mistakes from official bodies is wearing thin. It is wearing thin because it has become a significant problem in itself. It is causing me, and consequently my daughter, significant harm. It is irrational and ridiculous to have a complaints procedure such that people can complain as much as they like and nothing will get done. It is beginning to look as though the only thing you or the council have to achieve is to fob me off endlessly with nice words about what can and should be done in order to keep your job and salary. This seems to be to make you look good at the expense of your victims. You get to keep your job stating that you are assigned the task of helping in some way but the reality seems to be that you just shuffle words and paper about to obfuscate the situation in the hope that it will go away and no one who is funded by the government will lose their job and nothing will actually get done.
I do understand that these are harsh words but it is getting ridiculous. How many times do I go along with another postponement? Recall that I told you I first complained to the Children Services on 6 October 2010. They had not supplied me with the Statutory Complaints Procedure so I could not name it as such and state that it was a complaint under the Statutory Complaints Procedure Stage 1. But it was undeniably a complaint. They have done absolutely nothing to address it. As I have informed you the case is documented at http://www.toxicdrums.com/children-services-abuse/index.htm so why should I delineate it yet again in this letter. I have explained at length to you (in letters dated 29 May 2011 and 3 June 2011 and an email dated 8 June 2011 (all accessible at the above url)) and supplied you with
access to the entirety of the communications between Children Services and myself. If you actually read my previous communications you could not rationally state "From the information I now have, it appears to me that the Council may not yet have had a reasonable opportunity to deal with your complaint under the statutory complaints procedure." As I write it is 262 days since I complained. Given that they are supposed to reply within two working days and, at Stage 1, deal with the complaint within 10 working days, what exactly would constitute a reasonable time to deal with the complaint? What is the meaning of these procedures if they are meaningless?
You have sent me two fact sheets. I will admit that I don't know what is meant by the title of Fact Sheet - G3 "Premature children's social care - frequently asked questions". Is that for premature babies? or is it possibly just another way of saying "children" because they are, by definition, "pre-mature"? But, that ambiguity aside, that sheet states "By law councils which provide social care services have to operate complaints procedures according to regulations and guidance issued by central Government." I am beside myself with confusion. How can these things be required by law if they are simply not required? According to that statement, printed in your fact sheet, the council has broken the law on this account. Does it matter if they break the law? Later on in the document it poses the claimed FAQ "What if the council doesn't keep to the timescales
set down for the stages of the complaints procedures?" and answers it with "If there are serious delays please let us know: we may decide the council has had enough time to deal with your complaint and that we should consider it for investigation." What is not serious about an 8.7 month delay for a 2 day requirement to respond? Another FAQ "The
council has not put the complaint through the complaints procedures but instead it has written to me to tell me that it cannot help me. What should I do now?" is answered with "Call our Advisor on 0123 456 7890 or 0123 456 7890, quoting your reference number. The probability is that we will then investigate your complaint." Admittedly they did write 139 days after the initial complaint and after more complaints that they were ignoring me, stating "I do not see any evidence of prejudice towards either yourself or Helen". That fits this FAQ entirely. The council have not put the complaint through the complaints procedure but instead have written to me essentially denying the validity of the complaint. According to your own fact sheets you should be investigating them now. But you are not and it gets worse. You wrote to me on 10 June stating "We are therefore asking officers
at the Council if they have considered your complaint and, if so, to send us a copy of their response. We have asked them to supply this information within 10 working days". I really want this point emphasised. You state that you "have" already asked them to reply within 10 working days. But now I get a letter
from you dated 23 June (13 days later) stating "So I am sending a copy of your complaint to the Council today asking the Council to put it through the Council's own complaints procedure." So did you request a response from them in 10 working days or not?
Incidentally I have still heard nothing from them with respect to the complaint dated 18 April 2011. It is 68 days since I wrote that letter and they have not so much as acknowledged it. Don't let this confuse you. There are still the issues of the earlier complaints. It's just that the complaints are mounting and they are still doing nothing about it.
Although it is not really acceptable I would have accepted your initial letter and I would have waited for the allotted 10 working days (and some) but to get another letter from you thirteen days later with content that seems to eradicate the meaning of the first letter is disturbing. I no longer know what to believe.
The fact is that the Children Services are clearly way out of order.
I want you to answer the questions I have put in this letter. To list them:
1. How many times do I go along with another postponement?
2. What exactly would constitute a reasonable time to deal with the complaint?
3. What is the meaning of these procedures if they are meaningless?
4. How can these things be required by law if they are simply not required?
5. Does it matter if the council breaks the law?
6. What is not serious about an 8.7 month delay for a 2 day requirement to respond?
7. Did you request a response from them in 10 working days or not?
B.A. M.Sc. MBCS CITP