Council apologises to Wigan man over social services communications error

Phil Bailey, from Ince, slammed the local authority's social services after it admitted a breakdown in communications and promised to review the out-of-hours provision.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 7:00 am
Phil Bailey is still unhappy despite an apology from Wigan Council
Phil Bailey is still unhappy despite an apology from Wigan Council

Mr Bailey lodged an official complaint against the town hall after saying social workers had ordered him out of the house he was living in due to an accusation being made to police against him.

In its response the local authority has said it is sorry for the upset caused to Mr Bailey due to the communications mix-up and admitted its out-of-hours workers were not completely informed about what was happening when they turned up.

The council has now said it is going through the service it offers outside of normal working hours.

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Mr Bailey, though, said he remains extremely angry at the actions of the council’s employees and the distress it caused him as he had to contact a number of police forces in the North West trying to find out what allegations had been made against him.

He said: “They’ve admitted they were wrong but I’m not letting them get away with this.

“I lost £10,000 through having to have time off from my business. They just caused chaos.

“Saying there was a communications breakdown is not good enough. I’m taking this all the way. There is nothing on my record like the accusation that was made.

“I went round the police stations asking if anyone had made a statement against me.

“I don’t want them doing this to other families because it has been absolutely horrendous.”

The letter says Mr Bailey complained that the information given to him by Wigan Council’s children’s social care workers when they visited him out of hours was different to what he had been told the day before on the telephone.

The council acknowledged there had been problems with the visit but did say they would have been cleared up within the space of 24 hours on the phone.

The response said the employees turned up at the address unsure about the concerns behind the welfare visit but it was not unusual for out-of-hours work to be based on limited information.

The letter read: “From the discussions with all those involved it is apparent that there was some form of communications breakdown.

“I appreciate that the breakdown in effective communication caused Mr Bailey some distress and would like to apologise for this, however from the case recordings I can see that any misinterpretation of information from the earlier visit would have been clarified the same day during the telephone discussion.”

Despite that, the town hall has said that the service which visited Mr Bailey’s home is now being looked at.

Sandie Hayes, practice director of children’s social care, said: “Wigan Children’s Services is reviewing its current out of hours arrangements.

“This will include ensuring that all staff are appropriately trained and familiar with council policies and procedures.”

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