Tag Archives: People Scrutiny Commission

SEND SPYING: A READER WRITES

I am waiting with bated breath to read your article on the BCC meeting today (26th September) regarding the subject.  I trust it will highlight the fact that every time she told a lie Nancy Rollercoaster closed her eyes. 

Her reliance upon the term “I think” was also rather telling.  If she “‘thinks” something she cannot be found to have made a definitive statement and may, legally, be marginally incorrect (wrong) without having made a false statement as opposed to using the term ‘I believe’ or making a statement of fact.  “I think” implies a lack of conviction and therefore provides ‘wriggle room’ for subsequent retractions or amendments. 

The fact that so much fuss was made over the definition of systematic monitoring and surveillance as well as the identification that the ‘fact’ finding report only considered the cases of data1 and data2 only serves to enhance the smell of whitewash emanating from the Cuntz Louse. 

Asher Craig was clearly only present as a member of Marv-el-louse Marvin’s glove puppet cabinet to try and shut down criticism of the council and it was good to see that she got put firmly back in her box by the chair and Cllr Weston. 

It is clear that Marv-el-louse Marvin has his rather smelly fingers buried deeply in this issue and the matter needs fully investigating by a properly independent body. 

Regards

SEND SPYING: COUNCIL ‘FACTS’ REVEALED AS LIES

A brief check-in with Bristol City Council’s People Scrutiny Commission on Monday. A sprawling meeting with lots of questions and very few answers. 

In a lovely twist, many of the public’s questions were ignored and went unanswered on the basis that SEND management were “too busy” preparing for an OFSTED inspection next week. Because a load of tweedy school inspectors wanking over spreadsheets takes priority over elected councillors, abused SEND parents and the public, apparently.

The meeting generated a huge amount of content of variable quality so we’ll confine ourselves to a few things that grabbed our attention and leave the heavy lifting to the mainstream press who turned out in numbers for the meeting.

The first question of the day came from internet SEND scourge Chopsy aka ‘Data Subject 2’, one of the targets of the council’s SEND ‘fact finding report’ (Bristolian passim).

She rather nicely set the scene when she enquired of the council’s Deputy Head of Legal Services, Nancy “No Evil” Rollason, who cheerily admitted to authoring the daft SEND spying ‘fact-finding’ report along with an absent colleague, why she had described a public information meeting any member of the public could book on via the internet as ‘confidential’ when it wasn’t?

Cue much umming and aahing from a perplexed Ms Rollason before she eventually explained she may need to, er, “verify and correct information received from officers.”

First question complete and this much-vaunted ‘fact-finding’ report appeared to have been urgently downgraded to ‘draft’ and retitled ‘Wild claims from desperate council officers about our SEND surveillance mess’.

A further question from Chopsy enquired whether council officers had been using their personal accounts to access parents’ social media? A question that got a resounding no from Ms Rollason who was at pains to explain access to parents’ accounts was all above board and would have been carefully managed through official and accountable council channels.

An answer, unfortunately, on a direct collision course with the truth as Chopsy had already been sent information through an FoI that clearly showed a SEND manager accessing SEND parent social media accounts from their personal social media account. Here’s a screenshot:

Chopsy  Officer account

If this was a court case, the case would have been thrown out at this point and Rollason bollocked by the judge as a clueless timewaster. However, as a meeting of city councillors, they simply shambled on as though one of their senior lawyers sitting in front of them spouting bare-faced lies was business-as-usual. Which, let’s face it, it probably is.

Some questioning from Easton’s Green Councillor Barry Parsons also caught our attention. Parsons queried Rollason’s claim that any surveillance was not ‘systematic’ because it only took place on two occasions for two specific investigations.

He reeled off a series of dates contained in the report, when monitoring of parents accounts took place. A claim rebuffed by Rollason who insisted, despite evidence, that there were only two ‘specific’ occasions only when parents’ social media was accessed.

A claim rendered unbelievable by more of Chopsy’s FoI material. This includes screenshots of Tweets collected just hours after they were made rather than as part of a, later, retrospective investigation:

Chopsy  Tweets  Hours

What Parsons didn’t ask, which also may have been interesting, was, if there were two investigations, where were the investigation reports, who were the investigating officers and who commissioned the investigations? All requirements of Bristol City Council’s Investigation Policy that management and officers are obliged to follow.

There was lots and lots more at this meeting, including a brief reference to the Bristolian’s evil Twitter twin @bristol_citizen. We’ll return to this at some point as the chair of the meeting Lib Dem Tim “Little Ass Hat” Kent correctly described the account’s inclusion in an investigation document cobbled together by SEND management fuckwits as “ludicrous”.

What wasn’t included at this meeting was also instructive. No one mentioned the social media protocol produced by Rollason’s colleague Kate Burnham-Davies in May 2020, which completely contradicts Rollason’s conclusion that the surveillance undertaken of SEND parents was lawful.

Who at the council is going to tell the Emperor he’s wearing no clothes?

SEND SPYING: “SACK ‘EM” SAYS TORY

Spy medium

Papers for Bristol City Council’s People Scrutiny Commission tomorrow which will look at council legal boss Tim O’Gara’s ludicrous ‘fact-finding’ report into SEND spying have been published. These papers include questions and statements from parents.

There’s also one statement from a councillor, Tory Geoff Gollop, which is a little bit odd. The Tory, well known for arselickin’ councillors starts off saying:

Whilst the report is extremely professional and detailed and may deliver what it was instructed to, the initial brief missed the most serious concern.

Has this Tory idiot lost all leave of his senses? Are we to understand that a report full of obvious bias, containing false statements and with a conclusion at odds with the same legal team’s opinion just two years ago classifies as “extremely professional”? What would amateur look like?

However, Gollop then goes on to say:

I am concerned that we employ people who thought it was acceptable and the fact that we have no document anywhere that makes such unacceptable behaviour an issue for potential dismissal.

That’s more like it. Almost a call to sack all the revolting fuckers responsible for spying on our city’s SEND parents. Something councillors could probably demand on the basis officers haven’t followed council policy, have almost certainly broken the law and have brought the council into disrepute.

Dismissal would send a clear message wouldn’t it?

SEND SPYING: WHY DOES A ‘FACT-FINDING’ REPORT CONTAIN LIES?

Spy medium

Papers for Bristol City Council’s People Scrutiny Commission tomorrow which will look at council legal boss Tim O’Gara’s ludicrous ‘fact-finding’ report into SEND spying have been published. These papers include questions and statements from parents.

Are Bristol’s SEND technocrats conspiring against parents with SEND children? This is part of a statement from a parent to the People Scrutiny Commission on 26 September 2022.

It begins to look very much looks like SEND managers and council legal ‘investigators’ are using their shitty little internal ‘fact finding’ report to councillors to try and stitch up outspoken parents. Will they get away with it?

SENDIASS is the Special Educational Needs & Disability Information Advice & Support Service. In Bristol, this is run by Send and You. The service is funded by Bristol City Council as part of their duties in Chapter 2 of the Send Code of Practice (CoP).  

On 20 January 2022, SENDIASS contacted Bristol City Council to say that an officer of Bristol Parent Carers had posted ‘confidential’ information online regarding a co-production meeting attended by the ‘Alternative Learning Provision Team and the council and other stakeholders’. Unfortunately, no such meeting actually took place involving a BPC officer*. 

The event that did take place on that day was an informal coffee morning hosted by Send and You for any parent carer in Bristol to attend. I attended. Send and You often hold things like Send Surgeries, virtual coffee mornings and information events on topics such as exclusions, transitions, personal budgets and SEN support. I don’t make a habit of attending Send and You parent carer meetings. I did on this occasion because the specific subject of the meeting was for parent carers to find out more about Education Other Than At School (EOTAS). As I was in the process of taking Bristol City Council to tribunal for EOTAS in one of my children’s Education Health Care Plans, I attended the meeting. 

I registered on Eventbrite as a parent carer, under my own name and with my own personal email address. Being part of the Twitter Send community, I posted some of the comments being made during the public parent carer meeting, because they might have been of interest to others. According to Bristol City Council’s report, someone from Send and You saw these quoted comments in some capacity and reported them back to Bristol City Council. 

SENDIASS Staff would have known full well that this was not a co-production meeting and I was not there as part of BPC because they organised it and ran it themselves. In light of this, I went back through my Twitter account and blocked a number of Send and You staff along with some Bristol City Council and Sirona officers who had been following me. 

The service appears to have conspired with the Local Authority to say that a BPC officer had released confidential information from a co-production meeting which did not actually exist. Remembering that Send and You ‘should be impartial, confidential and accessible,’ how can a supposedly vital service heavily replied upon by Bristol families now be trusted with personal information that would be highly beneficial to the council legally at Tribunal? 

How on earth has false information found it’s way into a so-called ‘fact-finding report’ from Bristol City Council’s Head of Legal Services? is this good enough?

Is this report simply another vehicle for bent council managers to attack parents of SEND children with lies?

SEND BOSSES SHARED TWEETS WITH SCHOOLS

Spy medium

Papers for Bristol City Council’s People Scrutiny Commission tomorrow which will look at council legal boss Tim O’Gara’s ludicrous ‘fact-finding’ report into SEND spying have been published. These papers include questions and statements from parents.

Here’s a particularly disturbing statement, which suggests that the spying goes far beyond a couple of parents involved with the Bristol Parent Carer Forum. While SEND management actions go far beyond spying. They also appear to be referring ‘difficult’ parents to child protection social workers as some sort of weird disciplinary measure.

Very ugly.

I am a parent of a child with Special Educational needs. I am not an officer or volunteer of Bristol Parent Carer forum but I have experienced tweets of mine being copied and shared with other agencies.

It took me almost 2 years and cost me thousands of pounds to ensure my son was in a suitable school place – this was decided by a judge during a tribunal process, through independent reports.

During this process I was referred to social services as Bristol SEND services raised concerns that I had fabricated or induced my son’s illness. Fabricated or Induced Illness (FII) is the term used for when a parent or caregiver of someone, most commonly a child, is accused of fabricating, exaggerating or inducing the symptoms  of that person.

False FII allegations are made by people in power, such as medical professionals, social workers, teachers, the Local Authority etc and they happen more often than is known and the cases are continuing to rise by the day.

Part of the reason these allegations came about is because in May 2021, an employee of BCC sent my son’s head teacher a copy of some tweets I had made about how my son feels in school. The officers told the headteacher that, “BCC communications team…. Monitor social media for us” and that she felt the school would, “rather be aware of the situation than not”.

SEND parents know that monitoring of families is prolific, especially if we appeal decisions of shoddy EHCPs which are not fit for purpose. This SEND surveillance is not just about [Bristol Parent Carer] forum officers – the leaked emails clearly show redacted names which are likely to be other parents.

Although my eldest son is now in the correct provision and social services have no concerns and are discharging us, my younger two children are being denied referrals to the Autism team. This is in part due to the school insisting that my children are not autistic and should not be referred and being denied Human Rights to go private.

The officer that shared my tweet sought to damage my relationship with the school – which they have been totally successful in and the actions of this officer now impacts the support my children are able to access and the hellish nightmare of FII accusations over the last year. The school for example, has actively called the paediatrician to ensure the GP request of referral for autism assessments is blocked.

I urgently need to get my children help as their SEN needs have been recognised by independent professionals but I am not able to get them they help they need due to the FII allegations, yet I have support of my GP, Social Services. 

Their needs are being ignored across health and education. Surely this is disability discrimination? I feel this situation has been deliberately created due to the surveillance actions of the comms team and the officer that shared the post with the headteacher. I believe  this is some form of punishment for advocating for my eldest and for contacting the Evening Post in 2020 to share with them how awful the SEND system is. 

This is simply unacceptable and I hope my story encourages other families to share the experiences they have had and not to be scared of the threat of social services.

The People Scrutiny Commission takes place tomorrow, Monday 26 September 2022, at 10.00am. The meeting will be streamed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVGK620pizA

It may be some of the most entertaining TV you see all week. One councillor is describing it as potential ‘carnage’ for Bristol’s SEND team!

COUNCILLORS SNUB MAYOR IN SEND SPY STATEMENT

Spy medium

A holding statement regarding the spying by council education bosses and External Comms officers on parents with SEND children was put in to cabinet today by councillors. 

The statement from senior councillors on the Overview and Scrutiny Commission seemed intent on keeping its powder dry for the People Scrutiny Commission on Monday. When councillors with direct knowledge of SEND issues may have the opportunity to grill some of the moral and mental inadequates directly responsible for the spying as well as the authors of the council’s unreliable fact finding report.

The suspicion is that OSMB councillors know that a cabinet meeting dominated by the Rev Rees, who can talk his personal brand of tedious drivel long as he likes and take any decision he likes, may not be the ideal forum to address the issues at stake. However, the OSMB statement still makes a few useful points.

Firstly, they completely distance themselves from the council’s flawed fact finding report and dump responsibility for that hot mess firmly on the officers:

It is therefore an officers’ report not an OSMB report, and its conclusions are those of Legal Services not of OSMB members.

OSMB statement to Cabinet – item 6 ,

OSMB also express some serious concerns about the director-level oversight of the spying. The direct responsibility of Education Director Alison “Pervy” Hurley and People Director Hugh “Cares?” Evans, both banking a small fortune in public money to, at least, get the basics right and leave an accountable paper trail behind them for their actions.

OSMB also has strong concerns about the statement in the report that there was “no formal written decision to authorise the gathering of these social media posts”. Although the officers’ report concludes that there was no legal requirement to undertake a DPIA, this has been concluded in retrospect and only after concerns had been raised in the public domain. There does not seem to be any evidence of the officers involved in the collation of social media posts considering whether a DPIA was necessary beforehand. There is also no evidence of any of the officers considering whether the action they were taking, (i.e. searching through personal social media of parent-carers of children with Special Education Needs) was morally or ethically appropriate.

OSMB statement to Cabinet – item 6 ,

The OSMB statement concludes with a snub to the Reverend and his cabinet meeting with councillors not even bothering asking them for a comment or response on the matter:

It is hoped that further inquiry via the People Scrutiny Committee session on September 12th will provide further additional context.

OSMB statement to Cabinet – item 6 ,

Full steam ahead to next Monday then. When some of the dodgy officers responsible for spying might have to show-up and explain themselves.

Book your tickets early.

*******A meeting of Bristol City Council’s People Scrutiny Commission will take place on Monday 12 September at 5.00pm for councillors to discuss this absurd report and next steps. People are encouraged to ask questions, make statements and, if possible, to attend and jeer at any spying director or manager scum in attendance (that’s if they have the balls to attend – look out for last minute sick notes). Details on asking questions and putting in statements are here under ‘Public Forum’.

IDIOT CHIEF COUNCIL LAWYER CREATES CRAP FICTIONAL FACT FINDING REPORT ON SEND SPYING (PART TWO)

A collection of legal interpretations that are such a load of old bollocks it’s hard to put into words

The council openly acknowledge that that they were spying on SEND parents at para 29 of their fact finding report.

SEND  report  para 29


And again at para 41

SEND report  Indexed pack

Having acknowledged parents were spied on, the report concludes with some bizarre legal analysis from council legal boss, “L’ill” Tim O’Gara explaining why nothing unlawful occurred. On the subject of the Regulation of Investigation Powers Act, which regulates how, why and when state actors can spy on us, he says:

SEND report  surveillance

A rather odd conclusion as the relevant legislation on directed surveillance makes no mention of ‘publicly available information’ being exempt as O’Gara seems to think:

RIPA  directed surveillance

Considering that O’Gara’s report acknowledges that the information on SEND parents was obtained on two occasions for what looks like a ‘specific investigation’ in a ‘manner likely to result in the obtaining of private information’ (eg. the identity of anonymous Twitter users and wedding photos), it’s hard to understand how this wasn’t directed surveillance as defined in RIPA.

RIPA authorisation would have meant that rather than providing a useless (and unrecorded) briefing to obtain permission for their dodgy investigation from clueless moron Education Director, Alison “Pervy” Hurley, the managers undertaking the investigation would have had to have obtained formal written advice and authority before undertaking any spying activities. To most normal people, a sensible course of action.

However, any authorisation would have had to come from a magistrate, who would be unlikely to authorise an investigation of parents because they were criticising some thin-skinned local authority managers and their shit service. This is on the simple basis that slagging off the council is not a crime and councils can only spy on people where there’s a reasonable belief that they are breaking the law.

O’Gara reaches similarly offbeat conclusions about data protection and the relevant GDPR legislation designed to protect our personal data from government and corporate snoopers and data thieves. In simple terms, the information council bosses accessed, processed and shared was undoubtedly personal data subject to GDPR legislation.

The council, therefore requires the consent of the owners of this data to process it. Something they clearly did not have. If they don’t have consent, then the council is required to have another lawful ‘reason for processing’ this personal data.

However, here’s O’Gara’s interpretation of GDPR issues raised his by council’s spying activities:

SEND  Report  GDPR conclusion

Where’s the council’s ‘lawful reason for processing’ SEND parents personal data in all this guff? Nowhere in three long-winded paragraphs of red herrings about ‘Data Protection Impact Assessments’ (DPIA) and ‘systematic monitoring’.

There’s no dispute that it was thicko Education Director Alison Hurley’s choice whether or not to do a DPIA, which is basically a risk assessment. Something you might expect a director-level public sector manager to undertake as a matter of course before implementing any new and, potentially, highly controversial policy.

But what’s this got to do with GDPR compliance? Are the council saying they complied with GDPR because they didn’t produce a risk assessment that’s not required? Ironically, a document that might have informed Hurley how to comply with GDPR? But which might have also left a rather unhelpful paper trail directly back to her?

Similarly, the surveillance Hurley authorised may or may not be ‘systematic’ and therefore subject to further regulation but where’s the answer to the crucial GDPR issue: what was Hurley’s ‘lawful reason for processing’ SEND parents’ personal data from the internet without their consent?

This central issue is avoided in O’Gara’s report, which tells ua that their spying activities were done

at the request of Contact and BPCF to substantiate the concerns being raised by BCC about the activity of the [parent carer] forum members;

Para 49, Fact-finding report – Use of social media by council staff re SEND Parent Carer Forum.

Are we being told that if the Bristol Parent Carer Forum requests personal information from the council on the parents it’s supposed to be representing then this exempts the council from the law? This is such a load of old bollocks it’s hard to put into words.

It’s further worth noting that an unnamed ‘Parent Participation Advisor’ from Contact, an allegedly independent national organisation supporting SEND parents, seemed to very enthusiastically encourage the council to spy on Bristol’s SEND parents. They told a council SEND snooper in an email extract at para 20:

I understand that some of the evidence may be subject to GDPR but I have been advised that anything that is posted publically [sic] is ok to share

Para 20, Fact-finding report – Use of social media by council staff re SEND Parent Carer Forum.

Did anyone at Bristol City Council bother to check if this legal opinion was accurate and check the legal credentials of whoever ‘advised’ this ‘Parent Participation Advisor’? Or was it just accepted by a ridiculously thick set of SEND managers and has this inaccurate claim then found its way into a formal council legal opinion, allegedly prepared by three lawyers?

This short, daft report signs off with just one recommendation:

SEND report  Protocol

Would it come as any surprise to learn that this is one great big fat lie too? Bristol City Council Children’s Services has a very detailed protocol called Use of Social Media Sites by Social Care and Safeguarding Staff on the internet in their Bristol Children’s Services
Procedures Manual
.

The relevant section would appear to be:

2.3 Covert/Overt Surveillance and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

Viewing a service-user’s social media content without their specific consent is not necessarily, of itself, unlawful.

However, consideration must be given, in all cases, as to whether viewing the sites constitutes ‘directed surveillance’ under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (‘RIPA’) and so requires authorisation under that Act. This is a complex area.

Whilst the following general principles apply, each case must be treated on its own facts, and legal advice MUST be sought as necessary:

  • If the consent of the service-user is obtained, then no further authorisation would be required;
  • If consent is not obtained but no privacy settings are in operation to prevent viewing, then the material available on the sites can be regarded as ‘open source’, and so a single viewing would not constitute ‘directed surveillance’ under RIPA and no authorisation would be required under that Act;
  • However, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner (now superseded by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner) made clear his view that repeat viewing of sites by staff may constitute ‘directed surveillance’ and if done covertly (i.e. without the knowledge of that person) then this would be ‘covert surveillance’. This would require authorisation under the Act in the form of a warrant from a magistrate.* It is for the employer to ensure that any covert surveillance is properly authorised, recorded and, most importantly, legally justifiable.

So why has the Director of Education and her SEND managers completely ignored their own publicly available procedures? And why is the Head of Legal Services and his legal team pretending in a report to councillors that these procedures don’t exist and instead published the exact opposite as their legal view?

I think we should be told ...

*******A meeting of Bristol City Council’s People Scrutiny Commission will take place on Monday 12 September at 5.00pm for councillors to discuss this absurd report and next steps. People are encouraged to ask questions, make statements and, if possible, to attend and jeer at any spying director or manager scum in attendance (that’s if they have the balls to attend – look out for last minute sick notes). Details on asking questions and putting in statements are here under ‘Public Forum’.

IDIOT CHIEF COUNCIL LAWYER CREATES CRAP FICTIONAL FACT FINDING REPORT ON SEND SPYING (PART ONE)

Inactive “activists” and non-campaigning “campaigners” star in desperately shite sham report that council’s top lawyer is pretending isn’t anything to do with him

SEND report  Cover

A little late but, as promised by outgoing Chief Exec Mike “Billie Jean” Jackson, Bristol City Council has published a heavily redacted ‘fact-finding’ report into their SEND spying scandal.

This is the scandal of senior education bosses casually obtaining personal information from the internet, including wedding photos, on parents with SEND children. With no regard for the law, this personal information was then gleefully shared among City Hall bosses and third party organisations to undermine the local Parent Carer Forum and the parents it supports.

The education bosses even appear to have attempted a spot of what’s popularly called “doxxing” by obtaining what they considered identifying information from the internet on parents and then outing them to third parties.

Luckily for the officers involved in this potentially unlawful conduct, their names have been redacted in the report. However, in order not to protect the guilty and help you avoid some massive tossers, we’re happy to name some of the key arseholes in the council’s senior education team involved in the spy operation: Alison “Purvey” Hurley, Director of Education; Vikki Jervis, Principle Education Psychologist; Virginia Roberts, WSOA/SEND consultant; Gale Rogers, Head of Children’s Commissioning; Jess Baugh, Commissioning Manager.

A number of unnamed individuals in the council’s external comms team, managed by failed journalist Saskia “Hindley” Koynenburg were also involved. Information on these individuals welcome. Why should they be allowed to skulk in the shadows and fuck with us?

The report, itself, is a grim farrago of half-arsed backside covering attributed to Bristol City Council’s “Legal Services”. Largely because legal boss “L’il” Tim O’Gara may not want his name anywhere near such a political document that may cost some of the idiots involved their jobs.

O’Gara’s report is just ten slim pages. Eight of which are wholly irrelevant and dedicated to a nakedly political and obsessive attack on the Bristol Parent Carer Forum (BPC), which two parents at the centre of the scandal are involved with. The council’s main angle on the pair is that they were “activists” and “campaigners” against the council and its SEND team and this was a conflict of interest with their roles at BPC. 

The obvious response to this is, so fucking what? And what right do council managers and directors have to spy on “activists” and “campaigners” anyway? Do residents of Bristol effectively forfeit basic human rights and their dignity if the council randomly labels them “activists” and “campaigners” on the basis of unreliable evidence gleaned off the internet?

Having dehumanised their SEND spy victims as “activists” and “campaigners” with no rights, the council’s report fails to identify anything resembling a “campaign” or “action” from either parent. Instead the parents’ only apparent action was to discuss the poor quality of Bristol’s SEND offer on social media with each other!

When did conversing with friends, acquaintances and relatives become “activism” and “campaigning”? Who made up this nonsense, which is basically cover for a crude state assault on the free speech of Bristol SEND parents on the internet? And a blatant attempt to stop dissent and criticism of a failing local public service so that the incompetents running it can pump out cheery fake news about the service instead and continue to bank fat salaries they don’t deserve.

Helpfully, the report clearly indicates that this “campaigning”/”activist” schtick is all a load of bollocks. Para 16 says:

SEND report  Veracity

Remarkably, the report is openly acknowledging that its “campaigning”/”activist” concerns may not even be true but concludes that doesn’t matter because some fantasists at City Hall think they might be true! A piece of Alice in Wonderland logic that opens the door for council bosses to unlawfully investigate citizens on the basis of false facts and fictional concerns. So that’s all right then.

Another purpose of all this meandering drivel seems to be that it allows O’Gara to avoid the actual purpose of his report, which should be an investigation into spying on parents by council bosses.

We’ll pick this up in Part 2 coming soon.

SEND PARENT SPY SCANDAL: GREENS FIRST PARTY TO BREAK COVER

Spy medium

A statement on the SEND spy scandal has emerged from the Green group at Bristol City Council. They’re the first party to go on the record. We anticipate seeing more statements on the matter in the coming week:

“The recent reports in the local media about leaked information showing that parents/carers of children and young people with SEND have had their on-line social media communications monitored by senior council officers and then shared with an external agency, have raised serious concerns for councillors across the council.

“The administration have confirmed that this happened but claimed it was at the request of the parent carers forum, a claim that organisation denied in a statement released on Thursday.

“This area of work falls within the People Scrutiny remit, the vice-chair of which is Green Party Councillor for Southville Christine Townsend. She is working with other elected representatives in trying to get to the bottom of exactly what has happened as the media reports are confusing and contradictory.

“Greens, and councillors from other parties, believe that these accusations are so serious that an external investigation is required in order to ensure full transparency. Only this will help to restore the trust of our residents in this area of the statutory education service.”

We broadly agree that an independent inquiry would be helpful. However, chances of the Reverend launching such an inquiry into his own administration are near zero. We also believe that any inquiry needs to be run by an independent QC, not by some ex-local authority time-server in a pin-stripe suit on a fat consultancy fee. We need someone who knows how to nail the guilty, not cover-up for bent council bosses.

Onwards and upwards through the shit!

COUNCILLORS CALL TIME ON CHILD ABUSE IN BRISTOL SCHOOLS

Kerry on People Scrutiny

If you’re ever looking for some visceral screen entertainment over the next few years, we suggest you take a look at Bristol City Council’s People Scrutiny Commission on Youtube. Finally, it looks like the gloves might be coming off against the council’s social care and education bosses for failures and evasions stretching back for years.

The Commission is chaired by Tim “Little Asshat” Kent who has a child with special educational needs in Bristol and has the scars on his back to show for it. He’s joined on the committee by Christine “Miss” Townsend, who has been accused in the past of being a ‘terrorist’ by local academy chain The Venturers Trust for complaining about their admission procedures, and Hartcliffe councillor Kerry “Rosie” Bailes.

Kerry has a child with special educational needs who’s been forced out of his primary school for three years now, because, as far as we can tell, his Hartcliffe school is run by some sort of Nazi freak fully backed by the council. Also on the Committee are Tim “The Ripper” Rippington who has family experience with autism and Bristol City Council ‘services’ and Geoff “Cods” Gollop who has a family member drifting around somewhere at the wrong end of the council’s adult care service.

All-in-all it looks like the focus of this committee might be on the human rights of children and service users. Rather than its usual business of blaming parents, covering up abuse and ignoring the systematic management failures of senior bosses and an embedded culture of institutional disability discrimination. An approach that bosses, for years, have tidily wrapped up in complicated bureaucracy and unfathomable technocratic jargon to give their ugly work a veneer of respectability.

The first meeting of People Scrutiny got off to a flying start with Kerry telling Hugh “Hell” Evans, the cheery, chubby Jacqui “Village” Jensen replacement as Executive Director Of Institutional Abuse (surely Executive Director of People? Ed), in relation to his ‘Building Rights: a review of Bristol’s policies and actions for people with learning disabilities and autistic people’ report:

 “This all sounds really amazing. A lot of it should already be happening. The law was changed a very long time ago and we just haven’t seen it. As public forum said, there is no accountability. You know that I’ve been in the system nearly four years now and I’ve seen no difference. It’s still very much a you’ll do as you’re told or else system and when I say or else, I mean or ,else. It is awful.”

My son was thrown into a car park at five years old. He was locked in an office for being autistic. This report talks about abuse in care homes. That’s happening in our schools under our noses. And when we complain about it, we are lied about. There is no accountability. What kind of consequences are there if none of this happens? You know it can’t go on as it is. This is our children, you know? What consequences are there? The people who abused autistic people in care homes went to prison. You know what? When are our children going to get justice. When is there going to be some consequences?”

Evans, unsurprisingly, didn’t offer Kerry a timeline on when council bosses and education ‘leaders’ might suffer any consequences for abusing children and ignoring service user’s rights. Instead a private meeting away from the public eye was offered by Education Director Alison “Burly” Hurley.

Kerry, not one to be easily distracted by useless private meetings with desperate arse-covering council bosses keen to keep a fat salary rolling into their bank account at the expense of abused children, has instead approached the Police and Crime Commissioner requesting a criminal investigation into the abuse of SEND pupils in Bristol schools.

Last week’s meeting is available on Youtube with more set to come