CRASH prefers to avoid the vernacular but, if, “Polishing a turd“¹ is OK for UK Cabinet Meetings, it’s OK here. Also, we found it had already been used about Southern Health [Sloven] – on December 5, 2015 at 7:16 pm – by ‘thelovelywibblywobblyoldlady‘ on Dr Ryan’s blog (here) in the run up to publication of the Mazars Review:
“It must by now be plain and obvious to all (including Sloven) that the report is so damning, Sloven are attempting to polish a turd before the report is (finally) released.”
Unfortunately, after a brief clean up by second Interim Chairman, the excellent Alan Yates, it’s time to get the shovels out again. Southern Health has revived its slippery complaints handling (and other) tactics. For example:
- Disclosing data without third party consent, when it suits the Trust to do so and especially when the data is grossly inaccurate.
- Withholding third party data, on which consent has been granted, when it suits the Trust to do so.
- Refusing to disclose data relevant to a complaint.
- Appointing a senior official to liaise with a complainant and supply evidence, rather than the Complaints Manager and her staff.
- Deny complainants equal access to evidence, especially transcripts of interviews with those accused of misconduct.
- When this skulduggery is identified, instruct the investigator to publish a draft report and set an unreasonably short deadline for the complainant to comment.
- Recommend an advocacy organisation, which is, “Rationing” services and, “Driving towards getting people ‘self-helping'”, owing to lack of funding – ideal [for the Trust]in dealing with complaints from mental health and/or learning disability patients!
- Offer help and advice from Advocates who are not permitted to advise.
- Appoint an official, who is explicitly engaged in an incident, to handle the resulting complaint and check the draft investigation report for factual accuracy!
- Attempt to trick complainants by quoting GDPR³ and The Data Protection Act 2018 as a defence to data breaches when the breach occurred under The Data Protection Act 1998, i.e. before the new legislation came into force³.
Probably more bullet points to follow!
Southern Health has not responded to a request for comment.
And the Chief Executive of an Advocacy Service commented recently, in writing:
“It is clear from my conversations with [advocate] that [Southern Health] managers have put their own spin on the recorded communications that date back to 2016 and these have been embellished to their advantage, which is highly unprofessional.”
We believe Southern Health’s Freedom to Speak-up Guardian is a decent and professional individual but cannot be expected to be available 24/7. So the Trust decides Complaints Team members should act as back-up contact for whistle-blowers, despite that they report to an Associate Director, who does not believe complaints staff should take whistle-blowing disclosures and has already identified one whistle-blower.
It’s time to get the shovel out again Alan.
Next [and related] post: “Patronising disposition of unaccountable power!”²
¹ Trying to make something hopelessly weak and unattractive appear strong and appealing. An impossible process that usually results in a larger, uglier turd [Urban Dictionary]. Buy your own sewage polishing filter pads from Amazon here→!
² Title of Hillsborough Report by Bishop James Jones.
³ General Data Protection Regulations (“GDPR”). The Data Protection Act 2018 received Royal Assent on 23 May 2018 in advance of the application of GDPR on 25 May 2018.