The issue of recording what is said between parents and social workers in meetings or assessments was raised by parents at #CPConf2015. This sparked a lot of interest, following Louise Tickle’s article for the Guardian on 17th June 2015 – ‘Social workers under scrutiny as parents capture sessions on camera’
There has been a recent and shocking example where a parent was able to record her interaction with a foster carer to prove that she had indeed been verbally abused by the foster carer, who lied about what she had done.
It’s an important issue with potentially profound implications for both those who record and those who are recorded and we are interested in looking in more detail at this issue. It may be interesting to explore further at CPConf#16.
Hopefully the following questions may spark some debate or comment. Please let us know if there are other relevant questions/issues you would like to see explored
- Do those who record such meetings do it covertly? Or is everyone aware?
- What impact is this having on relationships between parents and professionals? Is this changing the dynamic for better or for worse?
- If the recordings provide evidence that needs to be before a court then how practically is this done? For example, who is preparing transcripts of such evidence?
- Are the courts usually willing to accept this kind of evidence?
- What kind of guidance is coming out of reported cases?
- What kind of policies are local authorities or Cafcass generating to deal with this issue?
EDIT 12th August 2015
We made a FOI request to every LA asking for their policy about recording interactions between parents and professionals. The replies have been coming in over the past few weeks and show that the majority of local authorities have no policy and no plans to produce one. Some have good clear policies – and a worrying minority appear to have a policy that is actively unlawful.
We need to crunch the numbers and look more closely at those policies which may be unlawful. Once that is done we hope to publish the results alongside a suggested protocol for recording such interactions, to make things clearer for everyone.
EDIT 17th September 2015
The FOI data is in and has been analysed – see this post. It is clear that most LA’s do not have formal policies and a worrying minority have policies that do not appear to have a lawful foundation. Protocol will follow, to assist those LAs who have not yet devised a formal policy.