Fury as law firm boasts of 'great win' over parents of vulnerable children

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Fury as law firm boasts of 'great win' over parents of vulnerable children

Post by sassy on Tue Jun 14, 2016 10:00 am

Baker Small apologises after series of tweets appeared to gloat at parents who failed to win funding of their children’s special needs provision

A law firm that specialises in contesting claims for children with special educational needs (SEN) has apologised after publishing a series of tweets that appeared to gloat at parents.
Baker Small, a law firm that acts for local authorities, triggered widespread anger among parents of children with disabilities with the remarks made on social media on Saturday. The firm subsequently deleted them and made a donation to charity.
One of the tweets said: “Crikey, had a great ‘win’ last week which sent some parents into a storm!”




Another referred to a tribunal victory over an attempt by parents to get funding for an intervention that can help autistic children, called Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA). It said: “Great ABA Trib win this week … interesting to see how parents continue to persist with it. Funny thing is parents think they won Wink
Several people reprimanded the law firm for its remarks. “Probably not that funny on reflection?” tweeted Daisy Russell in response.
But the person writing on behalf of Baker Small replied: “Whenever someone thinks they have won and they have conceded 90% of their case, it does make me smile.”
“A little more gravitas might be in order, you are dealing with vulnerable children’s lives,” a campaigner for ABA wrote.
Later the Baker Small Twitter account posted another message with a picture of a kitten laughing, beneath the words: “Some great tweets received today from people who just see a one-sided argument … just shared them with my cat…”
The law firm’s tweets were later deleted, but were still visible on the Special Needs Minefield blog. Debs Aspland, the blog’s author wrote: “This company was not just celebrating a win, they were laughing at the parents who had lost. Somehow, the child at the centre of this didn’t appear even to be considered.”
The anger over the law firm’s flippant postings has roots in a deeper unease at local authorities’ increasing determination to fight parents at tribunal for funding of their children’s special needs provision.
Baker Small is, or has recently been, contracted to provide legal services in relation to contesting SEN and disability tribunals to a number of local authorities including Buckinghamshire, Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Gloucestershire, with total contracts estimated as being worth up to £1m.
The Milton Keynes-based company has for years caused unease among parents concerned by the “adversarial” nature of its style on behalf of local authorities at SEN tribunals.
In a now-deleted description of Mark Small, the company’s founder, the firm’s website appeared to advertise his skills at helping local authorities cut costs: “Mark also has experience of advising local authority SEN departments on a range of matters including managing and terminating ABA programmes, [and] parental complaints.” That had led some parents to refer to him as “the Terminator”.


Baker Small tweet, which has since been deleted. Photograph: web  
The Guardian has been contacted by numerous parents who describe bruising experiences during SEN tribunals, when the local authorities were represented by Baker Small.
Baker Small posted an apology later, stating: “We recognise the strength of feeling following the deletion of some of our tweets and for the content. We reiterate our sincere apology.” The company said it would make a donation to Children’s Hospice South West; it did not reveal the size of the donation.
But the issue is unlikely to blow over. Responding to the apology, one Twitter user wrote: “A professional law firm mocking parents who are fighting for the rights of their disabled children. Despicable. This not a game.”
Tania Tirraro, who founded the Special Needs Jungle blog, wrote: “It is clear that local authorities are in bed with legal firms who have a win-at-all costs attitude and who do not take into account – or do not care – that a vulnerable child is at the heart of the case”.

She questioned whether councils “should be permitted to spend taxpayers’ money hiring expensive solicitors” to act in a process that was not meant to be adversarial.
Diane Kay, who has an 11-year-old son with SEN, said there was a widespread lack of understanding of how hard it was for parents who had to fight local authorities for the services required by their children. “We are treated like unreasonable consumers,” she said.
In an emailed response, Mark Small said: “Inappropriate tweets were sent from the Baker Small Twitter account which, in the context of the work we undertake both for public bodies and parents, were unacceptable and showed a lack of sincerity to parents.
“We understand all too well the pressures of the SEN system and the challenges faced by parents to secure appropriate provision. We are sincerely sorry for the tweets and for the upset caused.”

http://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/jun/13/baker-small-law-firm-parents-tweets-children-special-educational-needs


Utterly vile.





_________________
This planet is our home.  Our life and hers are interdependent - Doreen Valiente


The Left want to make life easier for as many people as possible, The Right want to make life easier for themselves and fuck everyone else.
avatar
sassy
Convicted Hex Offender

Posts : 17436
Join date : 2015-01-04
Age : 71

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Fury as law firm boasts of 'great win' over parents of vulnerable children

Post by Miffs2 on Tue Jun 14, 2016 11:26 am

Councils can afford these bastards?
Austerity?
avatar
Miffs2

Posts : 2013
Join date : 2016-03-05
Age : 51

View user profile

Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum