We need everyone to help us stamp out intimidation, bullying and victimisation of workers, it has no place in the 21st century and it certainly has no place in services dedicated to children.
By Sarah Anderson, Chair, England & Wales
I was at a meeting in Birmingham yesterday (where I am very excited to say we set a up yet another Regional Group) I asked everyone to come up with words for how they felt about their fostering work lives and here’s what they came up with:
Controlled, bullied, intimidated, isolated, ‘no voice’, made to feel ‘not good enough’, told “who do you think you are”, silenced, humiliated, victimised, blamed, powerless, useless, ‘not in control of our own working lives’ and more…
Some members have given us feedback that they feel there will be repercussions for saying they are in the union, some are afraid to go to meetings for fear of being seen, some are being told they can’t join, many are being intimidated.
Here are the facts:
You are entitled to join any independent support you like, including the IWGB whether your LA or IFA officially recognise the union is irrelevant, union recognition is only relevant for purposes of collective bargaining, and is nothing to do with you joining the independent support body or union of your choice.
NMS’s state that we have the right to independent support and advocacy, its a statutory framework so its a legal right and LA’s and IFA’s have no right whatsoever to impose restrictions on who that independent support can be, refusing this breaches the organisations legal obligations.
If anyone is telling you otherwise then this is not true and is for purposes of intimidation, bullying and victimisation, something that is absolutely against their own professional code of conduct and legal statutory framework and is a reportable offence.
How do we stamp this out?
We are working on some robust legal responses for those who continue to act with impunity, we also can do some of the following:
1.Send a warning shot to Directors of Children’s Services and Directors/CEO’s of IFA’s. They are often are unaware of what their front line SW’s and middle management are up to, they will not want the world knowing they run an organisation for children that actively promotes intimidation, bulling and victimisation, and actions that flagrantly go against their own statutory legislation and the law.
2. If they ignore us we could consider a judicial review. Amongst the grounds of a judicial review challenge are:
The public body uses a power it has for inproper use.
The procedure followed by the public body is unfair or biased.
The action taken is in breach of the human rights act.
The actions are in breach of European Community law.
The public body failed to comply with one of its legal duties.
3. We will report individuals to their own professional body, the HCPC, for gross misconduct.
4. We will mount multiple, evidenced reports to Ofsted.
We think number one will be enough as no one wants Judicial Reviews, numerous individuals in their organisation being investigated by their professional bodies for gross misconduct, or negative Ofsted reports.
Fear is subsiding, FCW’s across the UK are getting so much bolder, meetings are well attended, open meetings gather a lot of interest. The IWGB is growing at such a pace now, numbers are rising exponentially, we are driving a whole new fostering narrative and leading the way.
So we want you to help us stamp it out, if you have been intimidated into keeping quiet about the union contact us immediately, lets do this together.
IWGB Chair, England and Wales