Some of the details have been redacted to protect Mr & Mrs Parnell’s daughters:-

Parnell explained that they had embarked on adoption due to infertility issues.
They were approved on 24th April 1992 by Stockport and Ms Carol
Poulson was their assessing social worker. Carol informed them that their
assessment was her first adoption assessment.

and Mrs Parnell met XXXX and XXXX for the first time at the
matching/pre-placement meeting on the XXXX (XXXX’s birthday) following which Mr and Mrs Parnell attended the Foster Carers home
everyday until the Girls were placed on the 16th April 1993, the
Foster Carers had recommended that the Girls were placed separately and they
had stated that they thought about adopting XXXX, she had been placed with
these Foster Parents 10 months before XXXX.

XXXX and XXXX are the youngest two of nine siblings and were 3 and nearly 2 years
old when placed, and at the point of placement they had no permanence order in
place, and they were not freed for Adoption Mr and Mrs Parnell have never been
given a Care Plan for the Girls. Stockport MBC brought these children into this
Borough and they have not looked to the Girls needs and Stockport didn’t have a
Care plan for these two looked after Children that was in this Borough. Ms
Carol Poulson completed her role following the placement however they were
never subsequently appointed a social worker. Mr and Mrs Parnell sort out the
freeing order as they were anxious that 3 years and 6 months was a long time
for the Children to wait from being taken into care under a section 31 order,
before them being freed for Adoption. Freeing Orders were granted in November
1995 and the Adoption Orders were approved on the 10th May 1996, the
Girls are now 18 and 17 years of age, and they have not received the
appropriate care from Stockport Social Services for the whole of their
childhood (looked after children taken into care by a Local Authority) .

and Mrs Parnell, XXXX and XXXX have never subsequently been appointed a
permanent Social Worker, they have spoken too and seen a number of duty social
workers throughout the years and they have telephoned the duty office but feel
there was no consistency and have had a poor service from Stockport Social
Services (adoption team /children social care) and feel Stockport MBC are just
passing the buck to different departments, or to its partners of its statutory
duty, and passing it on to the placing Borough, and that Borough which has no
duty to children that don’t live in their area after three years, it was longer
than that, XXXX and XXXX had lived with Mr and Mrs Parnell before they could
be Adopted.

whole family thought that when they adopted and were adopted they would be
treated like any other normal family with all the given rights and protection.
They accepted from the beginning they were not replacement parents, but
additional ones. Contact Orders were made stating that the children’s birth
mother was to have indirect contact. part of that agreement was the Parnell’s
to agree that they would not emigrate or take the children permanently out of
the UK. Mr and Mrs Parnell kept to the contact agreement and sent letters and
photographs twice a year however the birth mother never wrote back. (We learned recently that Stockport Council had never passed on this letters and photographs to the birth mother – Sheila)

….The children’s social
worker Ms Jayne Acton kept in touch and visited however Mr and Mrs Parnell
believed this was on a personal level, not a professional level, Jayne has been
the only source of information to the Parnell’s about the birth Family and
their siblings. Mr Parnell commented they only received minimal profile
information and have been given no official information why all the children
were taken into care, what had happened, where the other children had been
placed and what the girls should be thinking to why they can not see their
birth parents, Brothers and Sisters. …….

Trish Tummon from Stockport Council Adoption Team suggested that they threw the
girls out. Mr and Mrs Parnell were horrified at this advice as the girls were
having real difficulties and need help and support, one of the girls (XXXX) did
an anger management plan which helped her a little but what she really was
asking for, was she didn’t want to be angry in the first place, and wanted help
with that, both children were asking for help at children in need meetings and
when in contact with Duty Social workers.

..Ms Clynch asked if
the girls had a statement, Mr Parnell stated no, and they say it is not with
out trying they have been requesting assessments and still awaiting one now…

Clynch asked had the family had any support. Mrs Parnell stated that they used
to go to After Adoption when the girls were toddlers, but became less when the
girls were at Werneth High this may have
been an area of ridicule from their peers. Sarah Rowls undertook counselling
provided by After Adoption, the girls really got on well with her however she
left After Adoption and the girls didn’t want to go see anyone else.

Clynch asked about support groups – Mrs Parnell stated that they had family
group meetings, and had been on parenting courses and also surviving Teenager
classes, it only slightly helps to help the parents but what really helps is
when the children get the professional help that they deserve to their needs,
it is their health and wellbeing that is paramount.

Clynch asked did they not go to the Local Authority for support. Mr Parnell
States that he has tried over many years requesting help from social services,
GP, Teachers, police, and their MP in the year 2000/02 MP was asking questions
to Chief Executive, and as things got so bad Mr Parnell requested a Child in
need meeting the first CIN was in reddish green centre, chaired by Adoption Team
Manager Mrs Hilary Thomas, Kite, CAMHS, Youth Offending Team, Early
Intervention Team, Community Outreach Team, School and Social Workers were just
some of the people that attended, the meeting recognised that something needed
to be done, and the girls were willing to take part, assessment were
recommended under CAMHS and Early

..There was a change in
policies and the whole criteria changed….

Clynch asked had there been any further CIN meetings. Mr Parnell stated they
have had 4. At the last meeting they were informed that their case was being
closed because of the girls ages, the children in need meetings were never to
both of them as social service have only the needs to the individual and not
where two are suffering to each of their own needs, no meeting were ever done
for XXXX only XXXX why, if each had their own meetings to their own needs then
this family would never be away from meetings, thus preventing what is to be as
to a normal family life which is
everyone’s human right to have and enjoy.

Clynch asked if Mr and Mrs Parnell have had support themselves – Mrs Parnell
stated that they did undergo counselling and attended a number parenting
classes arranged by the Community Outreach Team, or the Youth Offending Team
and facilitated by Mr Dave Stokes for 12 weeks which they found very helpful,
Mr Dave Stokes as stated at the meeting on the 16th January 2008
that when the help they were being given was in place there should have other
departmental help for the girls at the same time, when help is not there across
the board then that help is possibly not enough and could only fail, they
required more help and for all professionals to work together, when all
concerned can determine what is recognised as this families needs then only can
this family progress and try and live a normal family life expected to all.
There has also been family group meetings in order to help the family to help
themselves to work together….

the placing Borough provided some support, Mr Parnell stated he is now aware
that for three years the girls remained the responsibility of the placing
borough, during this period the placing and receiving borough should work
together for a smooth transitional handover of the responsibility for the care
of looked after children within the borough of a Local Authority. These
children XXXX and XXXX should have been looked after under the responsibility
of Stockport as they had lived here for more than three years and were not yet
adopted. (where is Stockport’s care plan and what about their duty as a Local

was much difficulty in getting a freeing order as Mr Ian Arnott the official
solicitor to the supreme court was on indefinite sick leave (3 years) Stockport
MBC were only active in the care of XXXX and XXXX in writing to Wigan in
relation to the above matter and other issues where it was that they wanted
Wigan to do something that Stockport should be performing, as to its duty as
the Local Authority where the girls lived.

The Children having
nightmares, tantrums and suffering traumatic issues that they didn’t understand
why, Mr Parnell states they all, the girls, his wife and he suffered
depression, his wife and daughters continue to suffer from depression, …and
Mr Parnell knows the wellbeing of all his family and his wellbeing is what is driving all his concerns which is
fuelling his protest on the steps of Stockport town hall every day over the
past 12 months, he has taken this matter to Parliament and has been given
permission to demonstrate in Westminster on multiple separate occasions.

Parnell stated that they have been passed between Child Care Team at Baker
Street and the Adoption Team at Reddish Green Centre. No one wants to take
responsibility both teams say go to the other or go to the police Mr Parnell
has followed these instructions and is just being passed round and round
someone needs to step in and take lead responsibility.

Parnell has continually asked for a Post Adoption Support Services Advisor, and
this has never materialised. Mr Parnell states this is because Stockport does
not have this single point of contact required in law, (and he is now in
possession of a letter from the executive councillor, leader of Stockport
Council stating, “There is not a single Adoption Support Advisor” and this is “in line with some other authorities” just
because others don’t have an advisor, does it make it right, the law states
Stockport as with all Local Authorities should have, the Statutory requirements
under the regulations, “there should be appointed an Adoption Support Service
Advisor who’s name and contact should be made known for the first port of call“,
see; Adoption and Children Act 2002).

Parnell states that professionals working with children must be trained in what
they are doing, to understand and thus able to help with what is required to
this families adoption needs and the needs of the children which is paramount.
Ms Amy Mather trainee was seconded from another department for 1 month she then
passed over to Ms Pam Talbot – between them they both did not have the continuity or knew what they
were dealing with there is a lot of background issues to be considered, and ½
hour interviews are in no way appropriate and have seemed to cause more damage
than help, Ms Amy Mather left,-undertaking a financial assessment, why this
assessment before this there should be as requested an assessment to see what
is this families adoption needs. The financial assessment, in their attempts to
fill in forms they have been unable to get the correct understanding of how it
should be filled out, I am still awaiting their correct completed form to be
returned for our signatures. If Stockport had an Adoption Support Service
Advisor who should be complacent with filling in forms and giving advice to
both us and people working as service providers. We have not received help and
are still awaiting the delay is now just a long line of delays this family has
had to suffer, please can lead professionals help sort this out.

….There is no Care Plan
in place and no body has taken into account that this family is isolated from
their family and friends because of the girls behaviour, they have lost all
their family relationships. Mr Parnell said that he understands that a care
plan should take into account all aspects of a child’s needs including medical,
educational, social, and support available from within the family or from
social services, with information shared with all agencies

Parnell was concerned about their finances (what is this when the priority is
to life and caring together for these children, how would, and did this time
effect the girls), how were they going to get by – the children at this stage
were not Adopted. However they were not helped and their situation financially
wasn’t taken into account. No one at Stockport appears to understand their
needs and their financial strains placed on this family, they have had to do
their own research. Welfare Rights Representative Mr Rob Jenkins didn’t turn up
to a meeting that was to advise both the Council and Mr Parnell of the Legal
aspects of these adoption placements no follow ups have ever been done this
family is still waiting. Mr Devon Sherwood arranged a meeting which he did not
invite key people and at that meeting, He started by saying he had to leave he
had another meeting, and as far as that he was concerned this matter was
closed, Ms Hilary Thomas who was to be at that meeting was not there because
she had not been invited by Mr Sherwood.
….The girls state that
they want help when asked by duty social workers, but Ms Laura Dodson say’s
they don’t want to work with social services, the only thing that can support
this is the girls have not kept appointments, this doesn’t mean they are not
willing to participate, you have to understand they have lost confidence in
social services, because in their eyes, the past failings they ask for help, they
are told they will get it, then nothing is done.

Parnell states that as with the past trauma suffered, and the damage that’s
been done, there was no excuse, but why is it still going on, does no one know
what is happening to this family, especially to the children. It is not good
enough to say you are not responsible towards care of these children and their
family. Mr Parnell states he is responsible enough to say they cant deal with
his children on their own, and they require help. He requests this.

and Mrs Parnell’s complaints are that:

Stockport MBC has
broken the law, they have not performed their statutory duty of a Local
Authority, to safeguard and promote the health and wellbeing of children and
young people within its borough.

Stockport MBC has
not appointed a permanent social worker for our children and there as been no
continuity between duty social workers.

Stockport MBC has
not performed any assessments in view of seeing what are the children’s needs
in respect towards their adoption, Health, Education, Social, and Support

Stockport MBC has
no Care Plans drawn up for these looked after children in the care of this
Local Authority – as a result the procedures throughout their childhood in
relation to their health, education and support have failed the girls as a
service not received – no chronology / no information, from or passed between
all agencies and partners.

Stockport MBC has
not supported the family when the children were younger and this has had an
adverse effect on the children and their parents wellbeing, so care required now,
that’s still not in place and is awaiting to be addressed, minimum help then,
maximum required now.

Stockport MBC has
failed to keep all informed of what is required and has not kept things
ongoing, no reviews, just closing cases when going gets tough, professionals
should be well trained when dealing with children that are looked after and to
all the issues they may have.

Stockport MBC has
failed to perform requested assessments, that this family has a statutory right
to request, in failing to assess, services are not being recognised to those
that are required for their best quantity of life.

Stockport MBC has
failed to recognise the views and recommendations of the placing Borough, Wigan
MBC, as to the children’s special needs which are over and above the normal,
for which Mrs Parnell on behalf of the children, did receive an assisted
adoption allowance that was paid in respect of the Children Act 1989 and was
not in agreement to be paid under the 1991 regulations or any amendments of
that Act or Regulations. Mr Parnell showed the investigators a copy of a letter
from Wigan. The letter states “because of the girls emotional wellbeing,
health, attachment etc”, however Wigan refuse to disclose what is the reasons
of their needs as this is confidential to the children (and it is to them to be
protected). This payment has impacted on Mr and Mrs Parnell’s council tax, this allowance is being means tested by
Stockport, and as it is provided to help support financial costs that are over
and above the normal required for a family without their given problems, is
being taken away only by Stockport, it is disregarded by the Department of
Health and Social Security, Department for Education and Skills, Department of
Work and Pensions and the Inland Revenue, the monies are means tested to the
Parnell’s income. Mr Parnell has no income and cant claim any benefits as he
caring and sorting out matters concerning this adoption placement. The only
income before this allowance is XXXX, only
Stockport count the allowance, all other government departments, and that’s
after reaffirming that they should be disregarded, they are not counted by them
as income.

agree the previous pages are a brief summary of the meeting between Mr &
Mrs Parnell with Ms Clynch and Ms Calvert and this summary as amended following
the amendment made by Mr Devon Sherwood which was received on the 14th
July 2008 is now to the request of what is to be investigated. The required
investigations should take the progression that the originally submitted
complaint be fully read (copy enclosed) and in conjunction with this summary
which outlines our complaint against Stockport MBC. We wish this complaint to
be investigated at the next stage following the stages it has already gone
through, to help understand the process we believe that:

1 was when it was brought to the attention of the service managers, who provide
the service, for their informal attempt to put things right the managers are:

Hilary Thomas Service Manager Adoption Team.

Sue Westwood Service Manager.

Gill Moore Team Manager Early Intervention.

Elaine Brooks Line Manager.

Heather Edwards Service Director.

Colin Masters Service Manager.

Barry Khan Council Solicitor Head of Legal Services.

2 was when it was put to the Councils Chief Executive Mr John Schultz and was passed to the Independent Corporate
Complaints Officer for a formal response :

Anwar Majothi The Improvement & Performance Office (Complaints).

Mr Devon Sherwood
Complaint Resolution
Manager Children & Young Peoples Directorate.

Stage 3 ? Independent
Investigator review process, investigation at this stage by persons:

Ms Christine Clynch
Independent Investigator.

Ms Cath Calvert Independent