Though the parents 2nd stage complaint against Cyngor Gwynedd Council showed serious failings within the Children and Families Department and was upheld by independent investigators in 2010 nothing has changed.
I have read through the report and noticed that many names involved back then are now ensconced as managers in Gwynedd social services, though it is not for me to say if these same people are now acting out of spite or have always been so unprofessional.
My experience working in the mental health field with dementia, learning difficulties, challenging behaviour and acquired brain injury was no use to me at all in this case and I was playing catch up for the first year learning about PDA, the boy’s complex needs and gaining his trust.
I stood back and watched as first the Council got in contact and after discussions agreed that support may be available and a social worker would be assigned. Everyone was wary because of the behaviour of social services in the past but it was agreed that help towards social skills and integration was more important.
A social worker was allocated and a support worker was granted. Unfortunately the support was still not provided and so in desperation a solicitor was contacted and only then was a support worker assigned.
The first social worker was replaced by a second , this time from Children and Families, as the disability team would not assess, due to the boy having too high an IQ. This social worker introduced himself as having no experience of Autism and was not a disability social worker but said he was there to help.
He did not endear himself to anyone over the next period by comments such as –
‘We are really doing the education departments job’
‘What to do you want a core assessment for? I don’t see what use it will be, can you explain to me how you think it will benefit *****? ‘
‘I’m a very busy man you know’ (when he failed to phone back)
‘This service is really for people that need a social worker’
But he was all my partner had to work with and the fact the boy was, finally, going to get help with socialisation and independent living skills was enough for me to still my misgivings and keep my professional mouth shut.
The help and support that eventually began was anything but.
Communication was poor and I mean mono-syllabic from the support worker when asked for feedback. One day he just grunted at me when I tried to engage him.
Different days different times and sessions that were arranged with less than 24 hours notice – and sessions were strictly on a take it or lose it basis.
The stress of dealing with this ‘care support’ had a knock on effect in dealing with other aspects of care and we all suffered for a period.
So a letter of complaint was sent to Support Services at Cyngor Gwynedd Children and Families Dept asking for continuity of times and reminding them that due to the boy’s complexities the family had no idea of where he was taken, what subjects were discussed or how he engaged with others if at all and simply a plea for feedback to help us to help him progress with socialisation.
It is called team work and every professional in the care field will recognise its importance for the child and family – except, it appears, at the Children and Families Department of Gwynedd council.
A letter was duly received apologising for blah blah blah and informing us that we had to ask the social worker to ask the support worker to communicate with us re the sessions !!!! But they did take on board our need for certain times to avoid clashing with the child’s education.
To be fair we were allowed the same time and day every week which removed so much stress and I am grateful for that. Imagine being grateful for a regular weekly slot from a children and families service(!) but I truly was.
The feedback from the support worker however did NOT materialise.
(Another social worker was asked further down the line again if we could have some feedback – again nothing)
In fact we did receive reports written by the support worker eventually. We asked Social Services for their file on the family and they were included. So much interesting information (and mis-information) But that is for future posts.
My misgivings and worry about what I considered unprofessional and totally unacceptable behaviour turned to anger when I returned home and found my wife crying. She had had a phone conversation with the social worker which had caused her upset.
Then after I listened to the recording of the conversation I became quite upset, too.
A meeting between the social worker and my wife had been arranged but I wanted to be there for support so I emailed Cyngor Gwynedd Customer Care to raise my concerns about their social worker, Jamie Haydon and cancel the meeting.
My email and first contact with Cyngor Gwynedd Council was dated 29th Feb, 2016.
More than one in four calls to Gwynedd Council are going unanswered because its departments are being deluged with complaints.
Frustrated residents are giving up after failing to get through to officers within a reasonable amount of time, a report has said.
In total 144,862 calls were abandoned out of more than 500,000 made directly to council workers last year. The problem is particularly acute at peak times on Mondays, Tuesdays and Friday afternoons, the Corporate Scrutiny Committee will be told.
The local authority has admitted that the findings are unacceptable and that it planned to draft in new call centre staff to resolve the issue.
Fewer than half of the calls were answered within 15 seconds last year.
A spokesman for the council said it had been inundated with people ringing them to complain.
“We have experienced unprecedented demand over the past few months with the number of calls; and as the report notes, one of the biggest problems facing the service is lack of staff in the call centre, this was something the council hopes to fix by bringing in new employees.”
The spokesperson added: “As is clear from the report, we have identified a number of things that contribute to these problems and have taken steps to address them, working together with the extremely hard working members of staff at the contact centre.
“We are also recruiting more staff to deal with these problems in the short-term because some of those solutions, like the greater emphasis on self-service, could take a little time to bear fruit.
“The Council is not happy with the performance as it is.”
But UKIP’s Assembly Member for North Wales, Michelle Brown AM blasted the council’s record.
She said: “It beggars belief that the council are seeking to blame the public for their poor performance, especially when the calls have been generated by local people unhappy with the council’s poor performance in other areas.
“Only in the world of a dysfunctional local authority does it seem acceptable to say, ‘if people stopped calling to tell us how badly we’re doing, we would be able to answer their calls more quickly.’
“It’s no surprise to me that people are calling to complain when they are paying more in council tax but getting less for it.
“Nowhere in their plans for dealing with the problem do they mention actually addressing the problems the local people are complaining about.
“It seems logical that if the council want fewer people calling to complain, they should improve their performance as a local authority and give people less reason to complain in the first place.
“The council have clearly forgotten that they work for the local residents, not the other way round.”
see also Gwynedd’s Failing Council – https://gwyneddsfailingcouncil.blogspot.co.uk/
I wonder if the Children and Families Department in Gwynedd ever ask themselves the question “how did we get here ?”
They have had Assembly Members for Wales, Members of Parliament, District Councillors, County Councillors, the Ombudsman for Wales all notified of systemic failures in the Department and asking questions of their behaviour.
I have been astounded at how ineffectual all these people are against council managers – whom, it appears, can behave as badly and unprofessionally as they like and there is no comeback – but that is for another post.
My involvement only began, last February, after a phone conversation between my wife and a social worker.
Remembering that – Gwynedd need to be reminded that challenging bad behaviour does not mean people are whiny bastards – it just means they are challenging bad behaviour.
Just came across this link on the web.
Its slightly long winded so I will not reproduce it here in its entirety but I would like to comment on some of it as it seems so…well…personal to me.
This is an excerpt from a Cyngor Gwynedd Council report written by Margaret Kenealy Jones.
During this year we have recieved(sic) numerous complaints from the same individuals.
The individuals in questions will recieve(sic) a response and will return within a couple of weeks with a slightly different issue they would like to be addressed. They will also contact through different channels, for example
Solicitor or the Local Member of Parliament.
A parent has been in contact herself regarding the hours of support work her son recieves(sic). As she is unhappy with the response,she contacted her Solicitor and her Local MP. In this case, as the Service had only recently recieved(sic) Access to the child in question they had not been able to produce a comprehensive assessment of need and therefore the hours agreed during the summer period was based on the information provided by the parent directly.
The Service are in the process of working with the family to complete a comprehensive assessment of the child’s needs in order to ascertain the amount of support needed. This has been closed as a complaint, and is now an operational matter being monitored by Senior Managers.
Does the new regulation allow for such a whitewash of the facts in this case ?
No mention in the report that this particular case has been ongoing for years.
No mention that in 2010 an Independent Investigation upheld an official complaint against the Council in this case.
No mention of the person being so ignored and denied access to services by the Council and so, in desperation, contacted a solicitor – and only then – strangely – were services granted.
No mention of the Ombudsman for Wales agreeing with the parent that a stage 2 investigation should be allowed.
No mention that the Ombudsman for Wales was then mis-informed in this case and superceded their original decision only after Gwynedd council supplied said ‘extra’ information.
No mention that Liz Saville-Roberts, MP, was contacted, as advised by the Autism Champion for Gwynedd, Elin Walker Jones.
Please, Kenealy, you are required by Statute to produce a yearly report.
I understand it is your job to paint the council and yourself in as good a light as possible but official reports presented to the public should always be used to give some modicum of accuracy and fairness.
Will you be updating the public on how this case has progressed in your next report ?
I have been trying to raise a stage 2 complaint against Gwynedd Council since June, 2016, without success. Gwynedd have done everything in their power to thwart an independent investigation into what I consider to be unprofessional behaviour and systemic failings within their Children and Families Services (!) Department.
I have noticed a pattern in all those who have contacted Gwynedd Council on my behalf. They are all told that I am NOT the birth father. Why ? What difference do these people think that makes ?
Are they saying that a step parent cares less for a child ?
The last person to point this out this was Gwynedd Council’s Head Of Legal Services , Iwan G D Evans.
Does Mr Evans think that people who marry others should have less care for their partners children ?
Or is this an attempt by Iwan Evans to somehow belittle the concerns I am raising with other people ?
Local Councillors are elected by the community to decide how the council should carry out its various activities. They represent public interest as well as individuals living within the ward in which he or she has been elected to serve a term of office.
They have regular contact with the general public through council meetings, telephone calls or surgeries.
Councillors are not paid a salary for their work, but they do receive allowances. By law, all members of the Council are required to complete a declaration of interest form, the details of which are published annually.
Craig ab Iago
Arthog, 59 Ffordd Rhedyw, Llanllyfni, Gwynedd, LL54 6SN
Home: 01286 479093
Home mobile: 07825 661721
Stephen W. Churchman
Liberal Democrat Group Leader
Minffordd House, Garndolbenmaen, Gwynedd, LL51 9TX
Home: 01766 530661
Home mobile: 07927 609359
21 Stryd Llyn, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 2AD
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3 Pant yr Onnen, Rhiwbryfdir, Blaenau Ffesiniog, Gwynedd, LL43 3LN
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Plaid CymruBowydd and Rhiw
Anwen J. Davies
PlasyngNgheidio, Boduan, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 8YL
Home: 01758 720327
Llais GwyneddEfailnewydd / Buan
Tyddyn Sydney, Treborth, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2NJ
Home: 01248 355180
Dyfed Wyn Edwards
Swyddfa’r Arweinydd, Cyngor Gwynedd, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 1SH
Work: 01286 679868
Home mobile: 07824 415345
Bodaeron, Heol Pensarn, Y Bala, Gwynedd, LL23 7SR
Home: 01678 520378
Home mobile: 07879 337371
Parth y Gwyddwch, Ffordd y Coleg, Llwyngwril, Gwynedd, LL37 2QN
Home mobile: 07703 824182
17 Stryd Fawr, Llanberis, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 4EN
Home: 01286 872319
Home mobile: 07747 757630
Thomas G. Ellis
Y Gilfach, Trawsfynydd, Gwynedd, LL41 4SE
Home: 01766 540902
Home mobile: 07867 982584
Alan Jones Evans
Cefn Isaf, Rhyduchaf, Y Bala, Gwynedd, LL23 7SD
Home mobile: 07879 227 819
Aled Ll. Evans
Bryn Llwyn, Chwilog, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 6NX
Home: 01766 810703
Home mobile: 07786 015186
24 Tan y Coed, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1LU
Home mobile: 07874 225209
23 Maes y Dref, Hirael, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1YL
Home: 01248 355798
Rhianfa, 9 Parc yr Efail, Efailnewydd, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 5TJ
Home: 01758 612235
Home mobile: 07811 441326
Coed Anna, Nanhoron, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 8PR
Home: 01758 730326
Home mobile: 07929 348432
Gareth Wyn Griffith
17 Bryn y Môr, Y Felinheli, Gwynedd, LL56 4LY
Home: 01286 676869
Plaid CymruY Felinheli
Labour Group Leader
19 Llwybr Main, Mynydd Llandygai, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 4LJ
Home: 01248 601 081
Home mobile: 07941 736 483
LabourTregarth a Mynydd Llandygai
E. Selwyn Griffiths
5 Cefn y Gader, Morfa Bychan, Porthmadog, Gwynedd, LL49 9JA
Home: 01766 513142
Home mobile: 07444 299813
Plaid CymruPorthmadog (West)
Llidiart Ysbyty, Tremadog, Porthmadog, Gwynedd, LL49 9RN
Home: 01766 513025
Home mobile: 07836 366899
Llais GwyneddPorthmadog – Tremadog
Plas Uchaf, Talsarnau, Gwynedd, LL47 6YA
Home: 01766 780971
Home mobile: 07919 582741
4 Cae’r Eglwys, Rhostryfan, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL54 7LQ
Home: 01286 831553
Home mobile: 07827 812 935
John Brynmor Hughes
The Sun Inn, Llanengan, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 7LG
Home: 01758 712660
Home mobile: 07909 922571
20 Maesegryn, Llanegryn, Gwynedd, LL36 9SH
Home: 01654 711051
Home mobile: 07854 969441
Sian Wyn Hughes
Hiraethog, Lon Isaf, Morfa Nefyn, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 6BS
Home: 01758 720968
Home mobile: 07980 100095
Plaid CymruMorfa Nefyn
29 Heol Newydd, Porthmadog, Gwynedd, LL49 9ED
Home: 01766 514905
Home mobile: 07446 790289
Llais GwyneddPorthmadog (East)
Cabinet Member for Resources
Cae Glas, Llanfachraeth, Dolgellau, Gwynedd, LL40 2EH
Home: (01341) 423693
Home mobile: 07799 761735
Plaid CymruBrithdir and Llanfachreth / Y Ganllwyd / Llanelltyd
Aeron M. Jones
2 Gernant, Bethesda Bach, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL54 5SJ
Home: 01286 832425
Home mobile: 07882 847043
Aled Wyn Jones
Llwyni’r Wyn, Trefor, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL54 5LB
Home: 01286 660662
Home mobile: 07778 164157
Anne Lloyd Jones
Hendy, Tywyn, Gwynedd, LL36 9RU
Home: 01654 710457
Cefn-y-Bwlch, Lon Bwlch, Cwm y Glo, Gwynedd, LL55 4ED
Home: 01286 870831
Home mobile: 07964 286372
LabourCwm y Glo
Charles Wyn Jones
Dwyros, Ffordd Glanffynnon, Llanrug, Caernarfon, LL55 4PP
Home: 01286 676733
Yr Hen Fecws, Carneddi, Bethesda, Gwynedd, LL57 3SF
Home: 01248 605468
Home mobile: 07810 874882
Elin Walker Jones
8 Lôn y Bryn, Eithinog, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2LH
Home: 01248 364234
Home mobile: 07808 472204
Eric M. Jones
Afallon, Groeslon, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL54 7TU
Home: 01286 830626
Home mobile: 07469 215011
John Wynn Jones
Cabinet Member for the Environment
131 Ffordd Penchwintan, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2YG
Home: 01248 352670
Home mobile: 07734 173407
Linda Ann Jones
Llys Gwilym, Llan Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, LL41 4NY
Work: 01766 832378
Home: 01766 762775
Sion W. Jones
10 Cremlyn, Bethel, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 1AJ
Home: 01248 670491
Home mobile: 07565 306965
22 Pentre Uchaf, Dyffryn Ardudwy, Gwynedd, LL44 2HF
Home: 01341 242758
Home mobile: 07340 035378
22 Maeshyfryd, Bryncrug, Tywyn, Gwynedd, LL36 9PS
Home: 01654 711851
Home mobile: 07747443619
IndependentBryncrug / Llanfihangel
I. Dilwyn Lloyd
Eryri House, Carmel, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL54 7AB
Home: 01286 882 149
30 Maes Berea, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 4TQ
Home: 01248 370955
Home mobile: 07788 134010
Liberal DemocratsMenai (Bangor)
Cabinet Member for Planning and Regulatory
Isfryn, Llanllechid, Bethesda, Gwynedd, LL57 3LB
Home mobile: 07765 400140
Ger y Llyn, 41 Heol Tegid, Y Bala, Gwynedd, LL23 7EH
Home: 01678 520685
Home mobile: 07824 983305
Plaid CymruY Bala
Meusydd, 5 Blaen Ddôl, Dolgellau, Gwynedd, LL40 1SE
Home: 01341 421355
Home mobile: 07551 301187
Plaid CymruDolgellau (South)
Esgairgyfela, Aberdyfi, Gwynedd, LL35 0SP
Home: 01654 767267
Home mobile: 07866 201803
Edgar Wyn Owen
Glyn Awel, Waunfawr, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 4YY
Michael Sol Owen
Plas y Coed, Lôn Caernarfon, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 5LG
Home: 01758 612132
Home mobile: 07786 500420
Plaid CymruPwllheli (North)
W. Roy Owen
Independent Group Leader, Leader of the Opposition
39 Maes Meddyg, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 2SF
Home: 01286 672 618
Home mobile: 07817 674915
W. Tudor Owen
Langdale, 2 Uxbridge Square, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 2RE
Home: 01286 672436
Home mobile: 07774 628909
30 Kingsley Avenue, Maesgeirchen, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1TA
Home: 01248 370166
Home mobile: 07944 694801
Parc Glas, Pentreuchaf, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 8DX
Home: 01758 750196
Home mobile: 07876 725730
E. Caerwyn Roberts
Ysgubor, Llandanwg, Harlech, Gwynedd, LL46 2SB
Home: 01766 780344
Home mobile: 07704 805767
Gareth A. Roberts
4 Bryn Heulog Terrace, Bangor, LL57 4SY
Home: 01248 372930
John Pughe Roberts
Cerddin, Llanymawddwy, Machynlleth, SY20 9AJ
Home: 01650 531234
Home mobile: 07713 165941
W. Gareth Roberts
Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing
Cwrt, Aberdaron, Gwynedd, LL53 8DA
Home: (01758) 760478
Home mobile: 07967 467379
Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Leisure
9 Glantraeth, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1HQ
Home mobile: 07912 433202
Plaid CymruMenai (Bangor)
Brig-y-Don, Llanbedrog, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 7NU
Home: 01758 740555
Home mobile: 07789 554507
Dyfrig L. Siencyn
Plas y Bryn, Ffordd y Gader, Dolgellau, Gwynedd, LL40 1RH
Home: 01341 422243
Home mobile: 07712 199541
Plaid CymruDolgellau (North)
Verano, Pier Road, Tywyn, Gwynedd, LL36 0AU
Home: 01654 712225
Home mobile: 07778 564755
Cabinet Member for Education
Alaw Cynfal, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, LL48 6PR
Home: 01766 770015
Home mobile: 07855 441206
7 Maes Hyfryd, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 1DN
Home: 01286 678654
Cabinet Member for Housing, Customer Care, Libraries, Deprivation and Equality
Strade, 65 Cae Gwyn, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 1LL
Home: 01286 673828
Home mobile: 07810 648647
Plaid CymruMenai (Caernarfon)
14 Bron y De, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 5AT
Home: 01758 613859
Home mobile: 07872 665467
14/4 Stryd y Ffynnon, Gerlan, Bethesda, Gwynedd, LL57 3TR
Home: (01248) 601583
Home mobile: 07778 552247
20 Min y Môr, Cricieth, Gwynedd, LL52 0EF
Home: 01766 522802
12 Ffordd Deiniol, Deiniolen, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, LL55 3LL
Home: 01286 871406
Home mobile: 07729 394230
Gethin Glyn Williams
Dwynant, Bontddu, Dolgellau, Gwynedd, LL40 2UR
Home mobile: 07890 705180
3 Llys Llywelyn, Nefyn, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 6JF
Home mobile: 07486 686783
John Wyn Williams
1 Blaen y Wawr, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 4TR
Home: 01248 370 737
Home mobile: 07989 134 456
Llais Gwynedd Group Leader
Gwynus, Pistyll, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 6LY
Home: 01758 750557
Home mobile: 07768 960695
R. H. Wyn Williams
Llwyn, Lôn Rhoslyn, Abersoch, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, LL53 7BE
Home: 01758 712779
Home mobile: 07483 228140
R. Hefin Williams
Ffiolau’r Grug, Rhiwlas, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 4GA
Home: 01248 352 890
Home mobile: 07922 997 592
Cabinet Member for Economy and Community
19 Y Sgwar, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, LL41 3UL
Home: 01766 830652
Home mobile: 07787 934308
Plaid CymruDiffwys and Maenofferen