Saturday, 14 December 2013

(15 Nov 13) request for information about Circles Network Fife advocacy policies and procedures in Fife - October 2011

I had originally sent an FOI request to Fife Council social work head of adult and older people's services on 21 October 2011 at 14:33.  However on 21 November 2011 at 16:52 I received an Email from the senior social work manager for mental health saying:

"I am sorry Chrys but having consulted our Social Work Contracts section, I must advise that we do not hold the information you request in relation to Circles Fife advocacy project"

I then sent an Email on 30 November 2011 at 09.24, to the local manager of the Circles Network Fife Advocacy Project, copied in to the chief executive and regional manager of Circles Network, also the Fife Council senior social work service manager with the same request as in the FOI:

"I am writing to request information about the work of Circles Fife advocacy project. 

I would like information about the training of advocates in Fife, both paid and volunteer advocates.  I would like a copy of the training programme and outcomes, also how you evaluate that staff have taken on board the training received.  I would like to know how frequently the Fife advocates undertake training.

I would like a copy of all your policies regarding the provision of advocacy.  And I would like to know how Circles Fife actively involves service users in planning and managing the service.

I would like a copy of your evaluation tool, the process by which you qualitatively evaluate your service, and how you actively involve service users in this process.

I have questions about the collective advocacy undertaken by Circles Fife:

  • where the groups are being held and details - days, times, venue?
  • are these groups 'open'?  can anyone attend, if not open how can someone take part?
  • who is facilitating the groups - paid worker, volunteer or both?
  • what is the collective advocacy group agenda, aims, objectives?  are they all the same or have different focus?
  • how are these groups facilitated?  resources used, methods, action plan etc
  • are any of the groups time limited?  eg are they running for say 8wks at a time? 
  • how do they ensure that group members are able to say what they want?  how do they encourage freedom of expression? 
  • what training is available for their staff, volunteers and others linked with Circles Network Fife, in collective advocacy, working with groups, scribing, reporting back (accurately and without bias or influence)? 

I would like a copy of all the forms used by Circles Fife in their advocacy work, including the forms used when meeting clients, support and supervision forms used with staff, complaints forms for users of the service, complaints forms for carers of people who use the service. 

I would like to know about the advocacy support available to people in acute inpatient wards in Fife.  How does Circles Fife make sure that patients and their carers know about their advocacy project, what is available, how they can get in touch etc?  Is Circles Fife proactive in reaching carers of people with a 'mental disorder'?

I requested this information from Fife Council who did not have it and recommended that I contact Circles Fife directly for this.

I look forward to hearing from you."

In response to this request I was invited to a meeting with the Circles Network regional manager, for Scotland and Ireland, and informed in a phone call that I would receive copies of all the information I had asked for.  

When I got to the meeting on 14 December 2011 at 2.00pm in Cupar there was no information available.  I was told by the regional manager that it was their "intellectual property" and I was accused of having a "derogatory manner".  (Copy of my complaint Email I sent that same day in next blog post)

I also found out that the Circles Network regional manager on 22 December 2011 had contacted a colleague of mine in another health board area, misrepresenting what I said and slandering my reputation.  I have a copy of this Email.

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