Had a case management meeting today, with the LA who are opposing my requests for changes to my son’s statement. The tribunal judge ordered the meeting. Wigan council, as far as I’m aware, have no dispute resolution or mediation, and if they did I’m sure the council would hate the outcomes, as it might force dialogue.
The council have a barrister representing them on both my SEN and Disability Discrimination claims, who more than likely charges a fair sum to the council. Why the council’s solicitors are deemed incapable of representing the council is a mystery, but today, I experienced the most money wasting, insulting practice so far on the council’s part:
I have asked that a sentence be inserted into the statement stressing the importance of not discouraging my son to use tactile means of interacting. By this I mean touch, smell, kiss on hand; the kind of sensory interaction that kids with severe visual impairment and learning disabilities often need, and enjoy, and which, at his previous school were being actively discouraged without any discussion or consent from parents, which is unacceptable.
The council* refused to insert this sentence, saying it is parental view. I know, I know!! Parents’ views are equally, if not more important and should be respected and listened to (cue nostalgic moment as I remember the refusal of Wigan council to let me anywhere near meetings during the Pathfinder work) and when I asked for a reason for disagreeing with the comment, I was told “I’m not here to justify my reasons, that’s for the tribunal”.
*(Note, the barrister wasn’t in attendance today. Maybe it was expected the council official who was in attendance would know what to do).
So I guess Wigan council have now resorted to not justifying very simple actions unless taken to tribunal, and I suppose that’s why they need to employ a barrister because that level of opposition can only be maintained by someone who is paid to defend very large egos, or to speak for very small minded people who seem to enjoy messing with disabled childrens’ futures.
How can any disabled family be expected to live a life on an equal footing as their neighbours, when a very large local authority refuses even to provide the bare minimum answer to a simple question? Wigan is a Labour run council, and everything Ed Milliband says is the opposite of what happens here. Wigan council is being allowed to suppress the voices of the most vulnerable people in our society, and it’s very disturbing.