Accountability, responsibility and transparency (A.R.T.) are key factors for public confidence and unfortunately trust in this sector in particular is extremely low due to so many cases just like ours.
The Alphabet project aims to bring about important changes to the social care system. This will include how Local Authorities and their governing bodies are addressing the issues within Serious Case Reviews, their procedures and their processes, including the complaints process.
In the ‘Our Story’ section you can read about the serious concerns that arose during our family’s involvement with Wiltshire Council Child Services after Ethan died. Although we found it relatively easy to raise complaints with Wiltshire Council and the Governing bodies, it was impossible to get them to investigate anything at all before they each closed each complaint. We hope to gather information on a large scale in regards to the complaints procedures of Child protection services and their governing bodies. We will then use this data to campaign for the changes that need to happen.
We urge anyone that has had issues with any child protection organisations and their complaints processes, to contact us via the website. This includes any social workers that have tried to raise concerns within their organisation. Please redact any personal information about children before contacting us.
The whole point of an efficient complaint’s process, is to learn and improve as well as making sure mistakes are not being repeated. Sadly from our own experience, this is not happening in Wiltshire at the very least and could suggest why some mistakes in Ethan’s Serious Case Review were repeated with his siblings. The lack of accountability and responsibility is not only unsettling but is extremely negligent, especially from a service tasked with protecting children.
We aim to change how serious issues like ours are processed and responded to by Local Authorities (including regulatory bodies), through :
- Working with the public to gather large-scale data collection
- Identifying any concerns from the data collected
- Collating and processing feedback from the data
- Ensuring data collected is ethically and responsibly shared in order to create transparency and awareness
- Aim to provide significant support for those in need [This will also extend to social workers that have been mistreated after whistleblowing]
Our first task was to address the issue of gender discrimination in our case, to see what would be done about this.
Below is the response from Lucy Townsend, Director of People at Wiltshire Council;
16 th January 2023
Dear Mr Turvey
Thank you for taking the time to write.
I’m responding on behalf of the Safeguarding Vulnerable People Partnership (SVPP) which is the
name of the multiagency safeguarding arrangements in Wiltshire where the Council, Police and
health partners work together to look at safeguarding practice within Wiltshire.
The Safeguarding Vulnerable People Partnership has been working hard to improve how we work
with fathers, something which is recognised nationally as an area where change is needed.
You raise important points to ensure there is no gender discrimination against fathers. I wanted to
share with you some of the actions that have been taken so far in Wiltshire.
We have established a multi-agency Safeguarding Under 1s group, specifically focussed on improving
how we work with this age group and working with fathers is a key part of this work. This includes
the ‘Dads Matter Too’ programme which is providing early and intensive support from a range of
agencies to fathers and males who have a caring role. A group of fathers are involved in the project.
The experience and voice of fathers has helped inform the work of this project and learning will be
shared widely with practitioners following the formal external evaluation of the project in the coming
The Local Authority is also taking part in a national research project this year with the Fatherhood
Institute and CASCADE (The Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre, based at
Cardiff University), to improve engagement with fathers and father-figures (including stepfathers,
mothers’ boyfriends, and other significant men in children’s lives), by local authority children’s
We have also asked all agencies to consider how they can improve their engagement with and
support for fathers and males who have caring roles as part of this ongoing work.
I hope this has provided you with useful information and thank you again for taking the time to write.
Lucy Townsend, Chair of the Safeguarding Vulnerable People Partnership and
Director of People, Wiltshire Council
BODYCAMS FOR SOCIAL WORKERS
We are also supporting the petition created by Arthur Labinjo-Hughe’s family, campaigning for bodycams to be worn by social workers. Throughout our family’s involvement with child services after Ethan died, we learned that we had to record all interactions between ourselves and the social workers. This was due to the extremely large amount of discrepancies between what was being said in person, to what was being written in official reports. Ultimately false information in reports can be extremely detrimental to the children in these cases. We believe Bodycams would put an end to inaccurate reporting of cases and reduce the stress of writing up reports from notes each day.
We understand that social workers have immense amounts of cases to deal with and it would be understandable if recounting some of these at the end of the day from notes, could result in some information about cases becoming mixed up. There is software available that can immediately transcribe voice recordings or videos, which we feel would be extremely helpful and efficient for the professionals involved. This would save time and create extremely accurate accounts of interactions that could be reviewed by management if needed. This would also protect social workers and the members of public they are dealing with, much like the police. We also feel it is important that the families involved with child services are clearly informed that they are within their rights to record their interactions with social workers.
Please show your support for bodycams here: