Publication - FOI/EIR release

Questions regarding Scottish social Services and Social Workers practices: FOI release

Published: 5 Mar 2019

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
5 Mar 2019
Questions regarding Scottish social Services and Social Workers practices: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/201900000116
Date received: 21 Jan 2019
Date responded: 18 Feb 2019
Information requested

 

1. Is it an offence for the Cafcass FCA and (Scottish Social Worker) or any member of Cafcass or (SS – Scottish Social Workers) to provide a report to the family court/Sheriff court where mistruths have been told to the FCA or SS - Scottish Social Workers and the FCA / SS Scottish Social Workers report
is based on lies ?

2. What is the policy & procedure & in law regarding the “Duty of the family court Judge or Sheriff Court” who is presented with evidence that:
a The other party lied ?
b The FCA / SS Scottish Social Workers was presented with ‘evidence of lies’ and ignored it?

3. What are repercussions for the FCA or SS Scottish Social Workers who supplies the judge with dishonest reporting?

4. What are the guidelines set out in law from Ministry of Justice/Scottish Government where the FCA and SS Scottish Social Workers misleads a Judge?

5. What are the guidelines set out in law from the Scottish Government where the SS Scottish Social Work Department closes a case whilst there is still an order from a member of the judiciary that explicitly states their involvement?

 

Response

 

I would like to apologies on behalf of the Scottish Government for not responding to your original email as a freedom of information. After reviewing your original correspondence as requested in your email dated the 21 January 2019, this letter is our official response to your FOI request entitled: 'Following Judge Moore claiming that Social Workers acted like the SS of Nazi Germany'.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested as we are not responsible for the subject matters you raise or the information you have requested is publically available.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. In the first instance, West Lothian Council and the Judiciary of Scotland may be able to help you with your request.

You may wish to contact them as follows:
West Lothian Council: https://www.westlothian.gov.uk/contactus

Judiciary of Scotland:
Judicial Office for Scotland,
Parliament House,
Edinburgh,
EH1 1RQ
email: judicialofficeforscotland@scotcourts.gov.uk


In answer to your request, we have provided a factual response and information below on lines of inquiry you may wish to pursue to seek a resolution to your concerns.

Question 1: Is it an offence for the Cafcass FCA and (Scottish Social Worker) or any member of Cafcass or (SS – Scottish Social Workers) to provide a report to the family court/Sheriff court where mistruths have been told to the FCA or SS - Scottish Social Workers and the FCA / SS Scottish Social Workers report is based on lies ?

CAFCASS is the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service. CAFCASS’ duty is to safeguard and promote the welfare of children through the family justice system. CAFCASS only operates in England & Wales. There is no equivalent organisation in Scotland.
Scottish Courts and Tribunals Services have distinct procedures and process which apply in court and
can be found on their website: https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/

If you have concerns regarding the Crown and Procurator Fiscal Service, their complaints procedure can be found at http://www.copfs.gov.uk/about-us/comments-complaints .

If the complaint is against the judicial office holder, the Judicial Office for Scotland has a complaints procedure on its website at: http://www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk/15/0/Complaints.

Both social service employers and workers must adhere to the Scottish Social Services Council Codes of Practice. The Codes of Practice sets out the standards of professional conduct and practice required of social service workers as they go about their daily work, and the responsibilities of employers in making sure their employees meet the standards. Adherence to the Codes is taken into account during inspection of services by the Care Inspectorate. Employers are responsible for governance of the practice of their staff. This includes managing the performance of their workers, supporting and monitoring their workers' professional judgement and investigating and resolving complaints about the work of their staff.
If you have concerns around the handling of your case or disagree with the decisions made you should contact West Lothian Council to raise a complaint at: https://www.westlothian.gov.uk/complaints or you can request information through freedom of information request at: https://www.westlothian.gov.uk/freedom-of-information

If you are not satisfied with the local authority’s response to your concerns, after following the complaints process, you can raise a complaint with the

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO),

Freepost EH641,

Edinburgh, EH3 0BR

(telephone: 0800 377 7330, www.spso.org.uk/contact-us).

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC), as the regulator of the social services workforce in Scotland, can investigate allegations of misconduct by registered social service workers. However, the SSSC will expect that employers' procedures have been completed before an investigation is undertaken. Full details of how the SSSC deals with complaints is available on the their website www.sssc.uk.com.


Question 2: What is the policy & procedure & in law regarding the “Duty of the family court Judge or Sheriff Court” who is presented with evidence that:
a The other party lied ?
b The FCA / SS Scottish Social Workers was presented with ‘evidence of lies’ and ignored it?


Question 3: What are repercussions for the FCA or SS Scottish Social Workers who supplies the judge with dishonest reporting?


Question 4: What are the guidelines set out in law from Ministry of Justice/Scottish Government where the FCA and SS Scottish Social Workers misleads a Judge?

The judiciary, including the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Services, are independent of Scottish Government. In order for the decisions of the judiciary to be respected and obeyed, the judiciary must be impartial. To be impartial, the judiciary must be independent. To be independent, the judiciary must be free from interference, influence or pressure. The principle of the separation of powers of the State requires that the judiciary, must be, and be seen to be, independent of the Scottish Government.

The Judicial Office for Scotland will consider any complaint about the personal conduct of judicial office holders, but cannot deal with complaints about judicial decisions or the way in which cases have been handled. The usual way to challenge a decision is to appeal. If you are considering appealing a judicial decision, we would recommend that you obtain legal advice. You can obtain such advice from a solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau. More information can be found at: http://www.scotland-judiciary.org.uk/15/0/Complaints-About-Court-Judiciary.

The Scottish Government does not offer guidance to the courts on how they go about their business. That would be an infringement of the independence of the courts, which the Scottish Ministers and Parliament are obliged, by law, to uphold. Scottish Courts and Tribunals Services have distinct procedures and process which apply in court and the guidance can be found on their website: https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/.

In the law of Scotland, perjury is not committed merely by lying in court: rather, it is the making of false statements under oath, the statements having to be competent evidence in the case in which they were made and material to the subject of the case or investigation. As with other crimes, it must be established beyond reasonable doubt, and according to corroborated evidence. If you have evidence of the possible commission of perjury, you should contact the police. Decisions on what prosecutions to pursue are not a matter for the Scottish Ministers. Section 48(5) of the Scotland Act 1998 provides that they are for the Lord Advocate to make independent of any other person.
While there is some legislation that relates to perjury, in practice perjury is always dealt with at common law (which means in keeping with judicial decisions in previous cases). This is not a matter for the Scottish Government. There may be guidance available within the court system, but on that matter you should seek any information that might be available from the Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service. You may find information about doing so at: https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/about-the-scottish-court-service/contact-us/freedom-of-information.


Since there is not a statute best account is available in such text-books as Criminal Law, by Sheriff Gerald Gordon. The current edition, the fourth, is edited by Professors James Chalmers and Fiona Leverick, and published by W Green (ISBN 978-0-414-05746-3). While this is publicly available, and thus we are not obliged to supply it in terms of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, to help you I have attached the material discussing perjury. 


Question 5: What are the guidelines set out in law from the Scottish Government where the SS Scottish Social Work Department closes a case whilst there is still an order from a member of the judiciary that explicitly states their involvement?

As advised earlier in the response, both social service employers and workers must adhere to the Scottish Social Services Council Codes of Practice. The Scottish Government National Child Protection Guidance for Scotland ( 2014) outlines each agencies duties to protect as set out in legislation and guidance for practitioners working with children. In addition West Lothian Child Protection Committee website has guidance on ‘Interagency Child Protection Procedures Edinburgh and Lothian’s’ which you might find helpful.
If you may wish to contact West Lothian Council to find out more about their local procedures for case handling.

 

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG