One of the things that frustrates us the most about current social work practice is the bloody minded way in which professionals refuse to correct records when mistakes are made. But this latest case is not without its funny moments.

An ongoing child protection complaint involving a mother who has been routinely denied access to her children’s records, has taken a bizarre turn.

Trying desperately to access information held by the local authority in question, and having made several complaints about the way she and her family have been treated by the council, the mother decided to enlist the help of complaints ombudsman, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).


The case was accepted, and so the professional for the HCPC made a telephone call to the relevant social worker at the council to collect details about the child protection professional the mother had lodged a complaint against. The council then wrote to the mother about the conversation.

Stay with us. This is where it gets silly.

In the letter, the local authority social worker tells the mother she is lying about the ongoing investigation, and then accuses her of impersonating the HCPC professional:

Webb Letter 1

The mother, confused and a little upset by the accusation, decides to email the HCPC professional to ask her to confirm the investigation and that it was the HCPC who called, and not her. The HCPC professional then sends the mother a reply:

Webb Letter 2

Without any confirmation that it was in fact an HCPC professional who called, the mother may now be faced with an uncooperative council at best, and at worst, a bias which may affect the outcome of her complaint.

So, what can we take away from this story (other than the importance of correcting errors when they’re made)? Well, as it’s a Friday, we think it might be appropriate to point out the obvious difficulty the social worker had in identifying an HCPC professional, and to offer the mother a glass of wine and tell her that she’ll live to fight another day.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend,

Researching Reform