Monday, 13 January 2020

An Ombudsman,Cyngor Gwynedd Council And Compliance.

With regard to the recommendations from two Ombudsman for Wales Investigation reports into Cyngor Gwynedd Children's Department. 

The Chief Executive, Dilwyn O Williams, confirmed to Cyngor Gwynedd Care Scrutiny Committee, held on the 14th November, 2019, that all recommendations had been met and goes on to mention a 'miscommunication' with the Ombudsman - amongst other things.

We rang the Ombudsman for Wales seeking clarification of the officer's comments.

The Ombudsman for Wales informed us that that statement from the Chief Executive regarding compliance was not correct - at that time - but could comment no further until viewing the webcast.

Nearly two months have passed since the meeting between the Ombudsman and the CEO, in Cardiff, to discuss (non) compliance in regard to recommendations regarding assessments and retraining of officer's. Already long overdue.

The Ombudsman for Wales has, we notice, without delay issued special reports when other Councils have failed to address recommendations and improvements. 

Another Ombudsman's Investigation into Gwynedd SS Adult Department, dated 2018 - Case number - 201700388 led to the following recommendation -   

Undertakes a review of its ASD procedures, specifically those for adults and children with high functioning ASD, and ensure that the requirements of the SSWA 2014, MHM 2010 and ASD SAP have been met.

A recent FOI request to the Ombudsman for Wales has provided evidence that the Council, at that time openly admit to not yet carrying out this review, thus NOT ensuring that the Council was and is even now meeting the requirements of the SSWA 2014 , MHM 2010 and the ASD SAP.
Regardless of this, the Ombudsman then signed off on compliance, we do not know if such a review has since been undertaken.
This case - involved untrained council officer's behaving in a way that caused injustice(s) to and impacted on the human rights of a 'high functioning' autistic adult with mental health issues, features in the Ombudsman's casebook on Equality and Human Rights 2019/20 -

Copy and paste the address into your browser.

Whilst this case is reported by the Ombudsman for Wales, it is concerning that this Report, published in 2018, has still not (to our knowledge) been presented to either Full Council, Cabinet or even the Care Scrutiny Committee.

Ultimately, responsibility for the organisational culture within the Council lies with the Monitoring Officer and also with elected members.

"The Monitoring Officer has a statutory responsibility to ensure that the Councils operates in a lawful manner and that it does not do anything which could amount to maladministration."

From -  "Do we have to accept it, Dilwyn", one councillor asked in response to the recent Wales Audit Improvement Report, critical of Gwynedd Council and how it dealt with its Youth Service cuts, through to Councillors and Cabinet Members who have no wish to examine evidence of maladministration.

Cabinet Members who fail to present critical reports of their departments for scrutiny.

Senior managers who bully and overwhelm an Independent Investigating Officer to remove critical references and recommendations for improvement of the Children's Department in her final, final, final report.

The Council's own report of their data breach that manipulated our evidence to whitewash its failings and create essentially an inadequate report. An earlier blog gives more detail -

A social worker who misled an Independent Investigating Officer and Independent Person, during the Stage 2 Complaint investigation into her inadequate assessment of an autistic child's needs - we have evidence that senior managers and also the Director of Gwynedd Social Services were aware of this and re-wrote their response letter accordingly to cover this up.

A Monitoring Officer who mentions that there will be 'implications' and 'consequences' to a complainant, if that complaint is to proceed in the way they wish, then repeatedly failing to respond and explain to the complainant what those 'implications and consequences' would be when asked. 

A disabled social worker, who claimed disability discrimination and bullying by her senior managers within the Children's Department was suspended for two and a half years. The Employment Tribunal found against Gwynedd Council.
The Tribunal Report can be found here -

How many Cyngor Gwynedd employees has this Council suspended for protracted periods of time and why ?

It would be interesting to have the thoughts of the Union representatives on such matters. 

Something is very wrong within Gwynedd Council.


Thursday, 28 November 2019

Where Is The Third Ombudsman's Report ? - Cyngor Gwynedd Council.

The 14th November, Cyngor Gwynedd Care Scrutiny meeting was full of surprises - for many reasons.

Warnings, by the Committee Chair, that a live issue was ongoing appeared to be ignored in senior officer's attempts to negate criticism and 'spin' their version of events. Anoma lies were noted in their narrative to Councillors.

The statement from Dafydd Paul informing the committee that the Ombudsman had ordered the Council to act regardless of the family's wishes was of particular concern.
(I am taking this comment from the english translation)

The english feed is now working for the meeting of the 14th November and can be found here -
Whilst Councillors and the public await a more detailed explanation for the behaviour of senior managers within the Children's Department and their Complaints team it must not be forgotten that yet another Ombudsman's Report should have been presented for scrutiny at the meeting.

Dafydd Meurig, the Cabinet Member for Adults, did not present the highly critical Ombudsman's Report dated the 4, July,2018 into the department he has responsibility for.

In point 69 of that report the Ombudsman for Wales writes -

"69. - In my view, these failings not only caused Mr A a significant injustice but also impacted upon Article 8 of his Human Rights.
 However, I have decided that the finding I have made of maladministration is so clear and so serious that to consider the human rights issues further would add little value to my analysis or to the outcome.I have therefore decided to say no more about that."
A recent FOI request into this case was responded to by the Ombudsman for Wales in the 'public interest'.


Something is very wrong with Gwynedd Council.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Cyngor Gwynedd Council SS Cuts Challenged By It's Own Care Scrutiny Committee.

What a difference a year makes in the life of a Cyngor Gwynedd Care Scrutiny Committee.

The english feed is now working for the meeting of the 14th November and can be found here -

Last year, concerns had been raised with the Committee before the meeting and one councillor was  contacted by phone to ask if he wished to see evidence of our claims.
"Er..No" was the reply.

As both Cabinet Member, Dilwyn Morgan and the author of that years report, Dafydd Paul, told the Committee they were not willing to discuss individual cases no scrutiny was permitted of the maladministration found within the department they both have responsibility for.

Mr Paul proceeded to ignore the elephant in the room and began a diatribe how he had been working on the Council's Complaints Procedure for years - even referring to it as 'his baby'.

For why ? Welsh Government have done all the hard work by publishing the Complaints Procedure and Guidelines that all Council's are expected to uphold and adhere to.

How very different this year.

The Scrutiny committee, with a new Chair, Dewi Wyn Roberts, challenged the Services proposed social services savings - including 2 #MentalHealth posts, #CarersSupport  and #WomensAid, to name a few.

Then came the questioning of the Complaints Manager, Dafydd Paul. 

This years Annual Complaints Report, I believe, was authored by the Head of the Service, Marian Parry Hughes and presented to Cabinet in the summer.

Mrs Hughes was present at the meeting but left shortly before her Report was scrutinised. Surely she should have been answering questions as it was her Report ?

Maybe too embarrassing ?

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint that the Children's Department had interfered with an Independent Investigation and that the IO reported feeling 'overwhelmed' and 'bullied' at a meeting that Marian, herself, chaired, in order, the managers said, to 'correct inaccuracies'.

The Ombudsman commented the council provided NO evidence of these 'inaccuracies' when asked.

There is a post from June covering that meeting in more detail here -
Copy and paste the address into your browser.

It was a meeting that we asked to attend but Dafydd Paul refused us. The Independent Person  - appointed to oversee the interests of the child - was not in attendance at this meeting either.

Now the Investigator had  contacted the Ombudsman with her concerns and asked for advice.
The Ombudsman did not advise.

Luke Clements,  Professor of Law and Social Justice at the School of Law, Leeds University who has had conduct of many cases before the European Commission and Court of Human Rights highlighted this particular case and his thoughts can be found here -

The Adults Social Services Complaints Handling Report was finally presented to a meeting that had, according to the agenda, overrun by two hours.

No mention of the appalling 2018 Ombudsman's Report into the mistreatment of an autistic adult and his family by Gwynedd Adults Social Services - case number - 201700388.

Something is so very wrong within Gwynedd Council.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Cyngor Gwynedd Council And Their Problem With Autism.

So what was in the 'Independent' Report that Cyngor Gwynedd Children's Department felt the need to 'overwhelm' and 'bully' the Investigator to change ?

Four possibly five pages are missing from the original Investigation Report and where the original upheld all parts of our complaint - as did the second - the third version did not.

This part related to the inadequate assessment of an autistic child's needs undertaken and questioned the ability and professionalism of the social worker involved.

Our complaint also involved one officer responsible for mishandling and censoring our personal data but that customer care officer left the Council before being interviewed by the Investigators.

That officer then rejoined the Council after the Interviews had been completed.

The social worker on the other hand simply misled lied to the Independent Inverstigator and the Independent Person.

A Subject Access Request (SAR) reveals that senior managers were aware of the social worker's deception and covered for her, presumably to cover for their own failings. This social worker is now a 'team leader'

The Ombudsman for Wales was given this evidence but commented that they had not included it in their second (2019) Report as more serious issues were concentrated on, though this (we were assured) was not meant to trivialise the issues lied about.

To be fair the PSO Wales did comment that one officer's evidence was 'disingenous'.

There is a Care Scrutiny Committee meeting on Thursday the 14th, 2019, at which, the Social Services Annual Complaints Handling Report should be scrutinised.

It could be an interesting meeting as it is now known that there are, in fact, two Ombudsman for Wales Reports highly critical of the Children's Department and its failings, including causing injustices and possibly impacting on a family's Human Rights.

It should be of concern that the Children's Annual Complaint Report, authored by Marian Parry Hughes and presented to Cabinet in July, makes no reference to the failings found by the Ombudsman, nor the behaviour of the department heads and their treatment of an independent investigator.

The Complaints Report for Cyngor Gwynedd Adult SS is also on the agenda.

This, too is of interest as we await the Adult department's explanation of their treatment of an autistic young man and which the Ombudsman reported on, last year.

It makes for grim reading relating to assessors within the Adult Care field using the man's disability against him. Appalling.

The Ombudsman for Wales Report into that investigation can be found here -

Copy and paste the address into your browser.

The Mother of an autistic man with mental health issues raised a complaint on behalf of her son, on 6th of November 2015 and was unhappy with the Council's response on 19th of November 2015, so raised further concerns with the Council on 23rd of November 2015.

After the mother receiving a copy of her son's Care and Treatement Plan the mother submitted another complaint on 13th of December 2015.

A meeting was held with the mother and husband in January 2016 to discuss the complaint, but all concerns were not addressed properly at this meeting.

Following further reassessments and failure to implement her son's care plan and provide him with adequate support, the mother raised her complaint to Stage 2 on 15th of September 2016.

The stage 2 complaint was investigated by an Independent Investigator and concluded in November of 2016, but most parts of the complaint were not upheld.

Two recommendations were made, one of these was that the Council agreed  to 'improve the information on ASD on their website' - we note that they have done no such thing.

Documentation of this particular complaint and the details of it are absent in the Annual complaints Reports for the relevant periods, except for one mention in the 2016/17 report that mentions a stage 2 that will be available in the next quarter, even though the complaint had concluded months before, the Stage 2 was not included in the next Annual Report either for 2017/18.

The Mother then complained to the Ombudsman in April of 2017, yet the Annual Report covering that period states that no Stage 2 complaints had gone to the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman's Report was completed on the 4th of July 2018, yet there is no mention of this Ombudsman's Report in the 2018/19 Annual Complaints Report, but it is stated that there were no Ombudsman's investigations undertaken during 2018/19, although this one was obviously still ongoing in 2018, this is not mentioned anywhere.

The case in question relates to failings of a man with 'high functioning autism' and the Ombudsman's Report is indicative of how Gwynedd treat such individuals. It makes for shocking reading, yet who is to know about such failings and maladministration if the details are omitted from the Annual Complaints Reports by Officers

The idea of the Annual Complaints Report is supposed to inform members, scrutiny commitees and the public what is going on within the Department and of any failings and lessons to be learnt. Sadly this case is yet another example of Gwynedd Council's lack of transparency and wish to be open and honest and as a result, no scrutiny of such horrendous failings will ever take place (as is usually the case)
The following is a small excerpt of the Ombudsman's Report, it speaks for itself.....

"69, In my view, these failings not only caused Mr A a significant injustice but also impacted upon Article 8 of his Human Rights.11 However, I have decided that the finding I have made of maladministration is so clear and so serious that to consider the human rights issues further would add little value to my analysis or to the outcome, I have therefore decided to say no more about that."

One of the Ombudsman's Recommendations that the Council agreed to was that Gwynedd Council, within 6 months of the final report (4th July 2018 ) -

 "Undertakes a review of its ASD procedures, specifically those for adults and children with high functioning ASD, and ensure that the requirements of the SSWA 2014, MHM 2010 and ASD SAP have been met."

 So, Gwynedd Council....did you undertake that review within 6 months?

(Part of Gwynedd Council's Compliance correspondence with the Ombudsman for Wales)

Monday 11th March 2019

"Ymhellach i’r cais isod am wybodaeth, dyma’r gwybodaeth diweddaraf gennym am y sefyllfa o ran gwasanaeth ASD. Nid oes adolygiad penodol wedi bod ond mae hyfforddiant dwys wedi ei gynnal (ac yn y cynlluniau) yn y pwnc. Wedi paratoi ateb isod. Croeso i ti basio hwn ymlaen gan hefyd esbonio fod ddim adolygiad penodol wedi digwydd eto."

Further to the request below for information, here’s the latest information we have about the situation in terms of the ASD service. There has been no specific review, but intense training has been undertaken in the subject (and in the plans).I have prepared an answer below. You are welcome to pass this forward, by also explaining that no specific review has yet taken place.

"The staff delivering Learning Disability services are acutely aware of the increasing need for timely and effective provision of high quality services for people living with ASD. We have implemented an extensive training and awareness programme as evidenced by the Training Unit. In addition, we are proactive members of the North Wales Integrated Autism Service (details attached). We have also begun work to establish a new team within the Learning Disability service which will be taking a preventative approach to service delivery, with effective ASD provision being an integral part."

No....thought not. Have you since? Who knows? and what are your 'procedures' for dealing with high functioning autistic adults and children now? Do you even have such  procedures?

This recommendation specifically asks for the Council to address their procedures for dealing with 'high functioning autistics' but yet again the Council refer to what the Learning Disability Service is doing - this is not a service that is open to 'high functioning' autistics, so is irrelevent.....

The 'intensive training' mentioned is mainly PBS (7 sessions) and 'Indirect Support' ( 26 sessions) again this is the domain of the Learning Disability Service, though there are 'Autism Awareness'  days. ( 3 sessions) Hardly Intensive Training for those Social Workers and Officers dealing with high functioning autistic people.

In relation to the Ombudsman's 2019 investigation into our own case The Head of Children and Families Department states in her Annual Complaint Handling report of 2019, under 'lessons learnt', that -

"It is not a requirement for Social Workers to have any expertise in autism. Neither are they required to undertake autism training. Autism training is currently available to Derwen Service staff, but it is not open to the rest of the Department's officers. There was a strong view in the Ombudsman's final report that there was a need to raise awareness amongst all of the Department’s remaining officers, and therefore another lesson would be to ensure that autism training is available to all within the Children and Supporting Families Department."

Yet again the training given is for those that work with autistic individuals with a learning disability, not for the officers that will be the ones working with 'high functioning'autistic individuals. So Marian Parry Hughes have you any plans to provide autism training to all of the Department's Social Workers ?  More smoke and mirrors.....

The Reports of both department's are NOT an accurate record bearing in mind that there are now at least THREE highly critical Ombudsman's Reports, that Council Officer's would rather not explain or discuss and certainly do not want scrutinized.

One Councillor has already referred to one Ombudsman's Report into the Children's Department as 'damning'.

What would he make of the Ombudsman's Report into Gwynedd Council of July, 2018 ?

A young autistic man with other issues that was left to rot in bed after having support withdrawn.

Something is very wrong with Gwynedd Council Social Services....

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Did Cyngor Gwynedd Council Dogpile A Wales Audit Officer ?

Cyngor Gwynedd Council had a full council meeting on the 3rd October, 2019, to receive the Annual Improvement Report 2018-19. The webcast can be viewed here -

and the Improvement Report, authored by the Wales Audit Office can be found here -

Copy and paste the address into your browser.

Now the English feed  is not working for this Council meeting, either. But I am hopeful this will be fixed along with the others soon. Some Councillors are speaking in English only but you will still get a taste of the mood of the meeting.

The Ombudsman's 2019 Report was raised at this meeting and was referred to as "damning". Our thanks to that particular Councillor yet something else happened which drew attention and that was the treatment of the Auditor, Jeremy Evans when he was questioned by certain councillors during his presentation.

This was not a meeting the Auditor would have enjoyed.

The main subject of complaint(s) from Councillors and Cabinet Members appeared to be with sections of the Report  regarding the Council's Youth Services and the Children's department.

Now the 2019 Ombudsman's Report highlights an Independent Investigator who reported feeling bullied and overwhelmed by senior officers during her investigation and that her Report was sanitised twice that removes reference to the failings of the department.

I am also reminded of the Children's Department Data breach, 2018, in which the council's Information officer took three attempts to include the full facts in her Report and even then there were issues. But it had become obvious that the Information officer was being 'handled' by someone more senior so we left the matter feeling genuinely sorry for how the officer had been used.

That Report can be found here -

Bearing this in mind and the fact that the 2018 Ombudsman Report has yet to see the light of day, I ask the councillors present to reflect on the behaviour of certain councillors towards the Wales Audit Officer and for those councillors who did not attend to view the behaviour that was metered out to the Auditor -

Is this acceptable or appropriate ?

Monday, 16 September 2019

Cyngor Gwynedd Council - Sorry Not Sorry.

The letter of apology from the Chief Executive of Cyngor Gwynedd, Dilwyn Williams, made me think of all the other Mea Culpa's we have received in the past four years.

We have not yet replied to Mr William's letter as we await confirmation that the 'recommendations' of the Ombudsman have been completed. Cyngor Gwynedd have a history of non compliance in this case, with 'recommendations' made by independent investigators and even those of the Ombudsman for Wales.

Gwynedd Council agreed to implement the Ombudsman's latest 'recommendations' within three months. Those three months are now up.

The CEO apologised for the failing to update a child's CIN plan - surely the responsibility for the Director of Gwynedd Social Services, Morwena Edwards. But the apology from the CEO may be more sincere considering it took Mrs Edwards 5 months to officially respond to our Stage 2 complaint - badly. The Ombudsman for Wales 2019 Report calls her decision to then reverse her thinking after the publication of the Ombudsman's 2018 Report 'illogical'.

There has also been an apology from Head of Children and Families, Marian Parry Hughes.

Once again, the sincerity of this apology is in question as Mrs Hughes was the most senior manager at the meeting with the Independent Investigator who reported she felt 'overwhelmed' and 'bullied' after completing her investigation.

Mrs Hughes also played a major part in the case of a Gwynedd social worker in which the social worker raised bullying by her manager, at a recent Employment Tribunal - the case can be found here

Copy and past the address into your browser.

This Tribunal makes mention of Sharron Williams Carter -  who was also in attendance at the meeting with the Independent Investigator of our Stage 2 complaint.

Sharron Williams Carter was also the senior officer tasked with carrying out the 'recommendations' from the Independent Investigation way back in 2010 that was highly critical of senior management. The 'recommendations' were not implemented.

Apologies from the CEO included him apologising on behalf of Melvin Panther. The same manager whose emails about us were censored and withheld. More on that here -

Mr Panther was the manager of the disabled social worker who took Gwynedd  Council to the Employment Tribunal.

We have also received an apology from Senior Operational Manager, Aled Gibbard.

Mr Gibbard has also featured in this blog before - badly handling another complaint. More -

Mr Gibbard was also present at the meeting in which the Investigator felt 'overwhelmed' and 'bullied'.

Delyth Davies - whose inadequate assessment of a child's needs was the main issue of the Stage 2 complaint was also present at this meeting.

Now the Ombudsman for Wales was given evidence that a social worker had lied to Investigators during the investigation and that the authors of the Directors response letter were aware of this deception.

A draft response letter that had Director, Morwena Edwards, asking the two authors - "What if the Ombudsman sees this..."

Marian Parry Hughes has just authored and presented to Council the Complaints Handling Report. Her Report makes nothing of her Department's annus horribilis. For her it is like nothing happened at all. Not even a nod in the direction of the Ombudsman who refers to the number of inaccurate references to legislation that she as Head of the Children and Families Department had made.

It is the same with the Director's of Social Services Annual Report 2019 - 'move along - nothing to see here'.
So how are County Councillors informed of the systemic failings found within Gwynedd Children and Families Department and their mishandling of complaints, year upon year ?

We have informed various committee members...and they choose to remain silent and do nothing.

What of Dilwyn Morgan, Cabinet member responsible for the Children and Families Department ? He has still not responded to us after being sent a copy of the Ombudsman's Report in June.
Something is so very wrong within Gwynedd council.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Cyngor Gwynedd Council CEO Apologises For Children's Services.

In June 2019, we received a letter of apology from Dilwyn O Williams, Chief Executive of Cyngor Gwynedd Council.

Mr Williams confirms the department has accepted the recommendations as stated in the Ombudsman's 2019 report.

He then apologises to us all as "a family on behalf of Gwynedd council for all the failings that have been noted within the Ombudsman's report". 

He goes on to apologise on behalf of the Children's department for the delay in providing a response to our complaint.

Mr Williams then apologises on behalf of a senior manager. He writes that the officer has asked for "his sincerest apologies to be passed to us as a family and his reassurance that this was not his intention to offend you as a family".

The Chief Executive adds - "Furthermore, I would also like to apologise for the failure to review *the* Child In Need plan" and ends asking for acceptance of "this sincere apology."

The letter is short and gives no detail of the failings of the children's department and its complaints department. Nor does it mention the behaviour of the senior managers in their treatment of the Independent Investigator in order to whitewash and sanitise the final, final Report.

Now a month later the CEO was in attendance at the Cabinet meeting of the 23rd July, 2019.
This meeting was to receive the Children and Family's Annual Complaints Handling Report, authored by Marian Parry Hughes. Mrs Hughes report contains anoma lies just like the last report (and the one before that and the one before that) but that is for another post.

The Cabinet member with responsibility for the Children's SS department, Dilwyn Morgan, had been sent a copy of the Ombudsman's report for his attention and consideration in June but at the time of writing has not replied. Nor did he attend this meeting where he should have presented the Report.

The Chief Executive made no mention of his letter of apology to the meeting nor did he reference the Ombudsman's report. He did make reference to the Ombudsman on a couple of occasions but not in regard to the report.

The meeting can be viewed here -
(Copy and paste the address into your browser)

As I write there is a problem with the english translation feed so it is only available in welsh but I am confident that this will be fixed shortly.