Honest Account of The Family McGeown's
Experiences Following Being Reported
To Herefordshire Social Services Child Protection
by Dilwyn Playgroup Management
  I would like to inform my neighbours the villagers of Dilwyn and Weobley district. About an ongoing issue that’s affected my family since 23rd April 2015. On two separate occasions Dilwyn Playgroup Management reported us to Herefordshire Social Services for serious child safeguarding issues. We are being subjected to an ongoing Social Services investigation of neglectful parenting.
Villagers Natural Curiosity
  Many parents and villagers have seen the investigating social worker observing our children in Dilwyn School and on the playground or have asked playgroup personnel about the nature of what's going on. I welcome this natural curiosity that is a feature of a small Herefordshire community.
  Having grown up and lived for 30 years in a Leicestershire village community. I know from experience that when things like this happen the best course of action is to promote and provide accurate information to the widest possible audience. Openness is the best course of action. A person can then make up their own mind about the issue and judge us as they wish.
The following is an overview of our situation
  All correspondence and relevant documents accessible as PDF files. Most information has by necessity been obtained through Freedom of Information, Subject Data Access Requests or formal complaints. Herefordshire Council has withheld significant details and I am greatly frustrated by not knowing what I don't know.
  In all this time Herefordshire Social Services, Children’s Wellbeing Directorate, have not sent a single piece of correspondence to us freely and honestly. Based on my dealings with them I can only conclude they are an organisation that treats the honest citizen with contempt.
Documents Available to View or Download
Correspondence To & From Playgroup Managment PDF
Correspondence To & From Social Services PDF
Correspondence Information Access Data Officer PDF (Fredom of Information)
Initial Assessment Social Services PDF (Social Workers Report)
MARF Form PDF (Document Playgroup Reported us to Social Services With)
Medical 16May PDF (Paediatrician’s report that vindicated us)
Playgroup Chronology Log PDF (Playgroup recording information against us)
Social Services Log page5 PDF
Social Workers Instructing Referral PDF (Instructions for initial visit)
http://www.dellam.com/06981911-SARUP REEHAL LTD ( Social Worker)

Link, google:- reports.ofsted.gov.uk Then put in Dilwyn Playgroup URN:- 223516 Click & open Dilwyn Playgroup & its under Concerns About Providers
Dilwyn Playgroup OFSTED Compliance Action 27/6/2015 PDF

Social Worker Gone PDF (All information lost)
Our Family
  I have been together with my wife Megan for 22 years. We moved a few years ago to rural Herefordshire to enjoy its distinctly different lifestyle. Almost immediately Megan had the good fortune to become pregnant and we joined the ranks of later life parents that are numerous in the parish.
  We now have two lovely little girls, Freya was Five years old last May and Pippa turned four in August. We know that we are not perfect parents but strive to achieve the “Their Good Enough Parents” standard. We guide our children's development with all the love we can find but know that discipline is also required. We try to use words and reason first but we feel that any discipline we use is appropriate and reasonable. Particularly when it is affecting other people or property. It seems to meet with approval by most of the normal people we interact with. We Do Not Hit our Children. We Do Not Beat our Children.
Big Soft Dad
  I know that like many dads with little girls I am far too soft with them. They can get away with all sorts before I say no or chastise them. In contrast my wife Megan can sometimes be very quick to stop the girls misdemeanours and discipline them. Particularly in public environments where other parents accompanying seemingly impeccably behaved children are present.
  We honestly believe that combined overall our girls receive about the same amount of discipline and chastisement as the other delightful children from widely ranging social backgrounds that they interact with.
Background Dilwyn Playgroup
  Dilwyn has a good and well-established OFSTED registered playgroup that operates 3 1/2 days a week in the village hall. This playgroup is staffed by paid professionals and unpaid volunteer parents. Normally the senior paid professional undertook the position of playleader/preschool manager.
  The parent volunteers were encouraged and helped to obtain a qualification in early years childcare, normally using Ludlow College. With this qualification the volunteer could then be counted in the maximum children to member of staff ratio required by OFSTED. I believe that a volunteer undertaking the qualification could if necessary be counted into the ratio but the preference was for the volunteer to be an additional staff member so as to enhance the childcare.
Delighted With Playgroup
  This approach worked well and we were very pleased with the experience Freya had after her second birthday when she could start playgroup. We were delighted when Pippa turned two and joined her sister. The primary motivation for sending our children to playgroup was because interaction with other children dramatically helped and broadened their development. It did additionally provide Megan with time to do a little paid work. To this end we gratefully took advantage of the government helping hand of 15 hours free at playgroup when the girls turned three.
Megan Becomes A Parent Volunteer Spring 2014
  My wife Megan was so pleased with Dilwyn Playgroup that she started to help with fundraising and administration/management committee. With the encouragement of Maddy Spinks the then playgroup chairperson and Hannah Davies the then paid professional manager. Megan decided to become a parent volunteer for two days a week. In Spring 2014 she enrolled with Ludlow college to work towards the on the job qualification and paid around £1400.00 for course fees from her own money.
  The primary motivation was not for financial reward, indeed it cost Megan significantly in time and money but to be part of the wonderful institution that was Dilwyn playgroup. Also the girls loved having mum at playgroup. Freya would move to St Mary's school Dilwyn in September 2014.
Megan Disciplines Her Own Daughter September 2014
  In September 2014 Pippa was misbehaving and being rough with other children in playgroup so Megan slapped her arm to make her stop. Hannah Davies the then manager roundly told off Megan. It was something like “ What you do at home with your own child is your business but you must never use a physical sanction on your own child in playgroup. When Pippa is at playgroup everything that happens to her is playgroups business” Megan felt suitably told off and Hannah Davies noted the incident and then, probably using common sense, it was put aside.
Link, Playgroup Chronology PDF, page 1
Megan Raises Her Hand, 13th March 2015
There was an hectic Friday when the paid staff were busily engaged to and fro attending to the administration for finding new staff. A period occurred when Megan found herself alone in the main hall to supervise around 19 children. She became a bit overwhelmed and went to slap away the leg of a child who was kicking her whilst putting their wellies on. She did not make contact, she stayed her hand but the thought was there.
Megan Unwanted as Volunteer, 17th March 2015
  On a following workday a meeting was arranged to address the issue. Julie Wall, tutor from Ludlow college said that Megan had to be withdrawn from the childcare course (the college refunded half of the £1400.00 fee as a good will gesture). Playgroup management dismissed Megan from her post as a Dilwyn Playgroup volunteer. Other action was that they would refer the incident to the Local Authority Designated Officer who would carry out an investigation and hearing to determine whether Megan would be able to take a job working with children. Also they would inform OFSTED.
Megan Very Upset
  Megan was very upset and felt she had let people down particularly those that had encouraged her to start volunteering the previous year. I communicated this shortly afterwards to fellow villagers at a theatrical production in particular playgroups former chair Maddy.
Playgroups Business is Playgroups Business
  I understand that if this is what playgroup wanted and felt required to do, then that was their right to do so as their business. We could all regret that things had not turned out as hoped but it was not meant to be. With a couple of conciliatory letters that should have been the end of it.
Enter Social Services
  Megan received a phone call from Herefordshire Social Services informing her that Dilwyn Playgroup on a Child Safeguarding Issue had reported us to them on 23rd April 2015. This had been done using the Multi-Agency Referral Form system, multiple agency intervention required.
Link, MARF Form PDF
Dilwyn Playgroup First Reported Us 23rd April
The referral submitted by Louise Lewis, the current playleader/manager was:-
  “The incident. We had a parent volunteer (Megan) on placement she was studying towards her level 3 at Ludlow college.
  On 13th March Megan got angry with a child and she felt she wanted to hit him, she told the manager at the time she didn’t hit him but the thought was there.
  Looking back at her record she had hit her own child (Pippa) in the setting in September 2014, she was reprimanded at the time and told the behaviour was unacceptable. I think the manager thought the training for level 3 would help her understand how to deal with children’s behaviour.
  A meeting was held with her College tutor on the 17th March. At the meeting Megan showed no remorse for her thoughts and said she couldn’t say she wouldn’t hit a child if she became angry with them. She was offered Parenting Classes or Angry Counselling which she took offence to. The college made the decision to remove her from the course and she was told that she could no longer volunteer at playgroup.
  Megan is quite a fiery character and has had quite fierce confrontations with a Teacher at Freya’s School and a parent in the playground. Megan regularly handles her children quite roughly in front of people. Jim (James) is a calming influence on Megan and I have never witnessed any ill treatment from Jim.
  My concern is that Megan is not suitable to work with children”
Teacher identified by playgroup as Mrs Kyle's. Parent identified by playgroup as Maddy Spinks, (head of school governors). Link, Playgroup Chronology, page 4.
  There are a number of points of contention in this referral but I will leave those that know Megan’s character to make their own evaluation.
Social Services Required Visit
  Social Services required to visit us and our children as an enquiry into playgroups referral.
Link Social Workers Instructing Referral, PDF
First Visit, Social Worker, 6th May
  Early evening of 6th May Social Worker Paul Coleman visited us at home. He spoke to Megan and myself around our kitchen table as we had given the children an early tea then engaged them watching a DVD in the adjacent room.
Interrogatory Questioning
  I found his questioning of Megan and myself very interrogatory with some of it phrased so that it would be very easy to unintentionally give a wrong incriminating answer (eg, self “We don’t hit our children” Social worker “its not against the law if you hit your children” self “but I have told you we don't hit our children”).
  Megan found the length of this questioning caused her to get very upset and made it increasingly difficult to provide precise structured answers.
Visited Bedroom & Spoke to Girls Alone
  He then required as instructed to visit the children’s bedroom and the girls seen and spoken to alone. We freely allowed him to do this.
  Pippa ever curious followed him into the bedroom. After a short period Megan asked him to stop talking to Pippa and come downstairs because she was starting to feel uncomfortable.
Satisfied With Information Obtained
  Paul Coleman then informed Megan that we would probably not hear from him again as he felt satisfied by ourselves and our children including the home environment. He would produce a report that reflected this and assured me he would provide a copy when completed. He then left.
Loving Fathers Distressing Experience
  I found having to sit at a table while a social worker upset your wife and then having them ask your children questions along the lines of “is this your bed, do you feel uncomfortable when daddy comes into the room”. A very distressing experience for a loving father. I find the explanation of “its their job they have to do it” provides very cold comfort.
Playgroup Challenge Family Life
  Now I accept that issues between Playgroup and Megan in her capacity as a volunteer staff member is the internal business of Dilwyn Playgroup. As are reports regarding this to OFSTED and LADO. It is none of my personal business, nor do I wish it to be.
  This referral and Social Worker enquiry is an altogether different action that has reached out from Playgroup to challenge my family, my home life and myself.
Dad In Charge of Mornings
  We could not envisage a problem with Pippa continuing at Playgroup but we changed our routine. With myself taking Pippa and settling her in to playgroup with its associated staff interaction in the mornings. Megan would collect her in the afternoons. I felt this would give Playgroup staff opportunities to approach me with any issues that they may hesitate to put to Megan.
Polite Letter to Playgroup
  I also sent a polite and businesslike letter to playgroup management asking to meet and discuss their referral and concerns about my family.
Link, Correspondence Playgroup PDF, page 1
Second Visit, Social Worker, Friday 15th May
  Whilst working alone at home on the early afternoon of Friday 15th May. I answered a knock on the door to find Social Worker Paul Coleman standing there. I was informed that after his last visit the case was being put through for closure until on the previous day, Dilwyn playgroup submitted a second separate report, Thursday 14th May.
  “Case previously put through for closure then a further incident was reported when Pippa’s Playgroup rang the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub to express concerns that Pippa has bruising to her arm and leg on 14/05/15.”
Link, Initial Assessment social services PDF, page 6
Also Link, Social Services Log and Case notes, page 5
Heated Exchange
  A heated exchange then took place with me maintaining that like all active children Pippa gets knocks and bumps during healthy play but she hadn't any nasty bruising yesterday or today. The Social Worker maintained that he wanted Pippa medically examined by a social services arranged expert.
Trusted Doctor Weobley Surgery
  This I wanted none of and I was going to contact our GP at Weobley surgery and appeal for their help in establishing that we did not harm our children.
  This was a satisfactory suggestion to social services and Megan took Pippa to Weobley evening surgery to be examined by the nice Dr Dua. During this Dr Dua contacted Dr Meyrick, Consultant Paediatrician, at Hereford County Hospital for his help. It was arranged for us to attend Hereford Hospital for Dr Meyrick to examine Pippa with a social worker present the following morning.
Medical Hereford Hospital, Saturday 16th May
  We attended as arranged spending significant time interacting as a family with social worker Sarah Atkinson who provides weekend cover. Dr Meyrick then showed all of us to an examination room.
World Gone Mad
  Now I do understand that as explained by Dr Meyrick “Although it must seem sometimes that it’s a world gone mad some terrible things do happen. Sadly Herefordshire is not immune therefore it is important that procedures are followed”.
  This understood, as you sit there with the doctor examining your little girl as a social worker looks on. The pain you feel in the stomach brings forth images of a twisting bayonet.
Examination Concluded, Doctor Unconcerned
  Examination concluded the social worker went to another case leaving us to talk with Dr Meyrick. We asked if this would end the issue. He explained that he didn't find any pattern of bruising that would concern him but his report was only allowed to be technical. Depending on how social services interpreted his and the attending social workers report would end the case or not. We then left Dr Meyrick with what I thought was good will on all sides.
Distressing Two Months 16th May - 17th July
There then followed a very distressing two months of letters and requests to social services making heartfelt appeals to be told the outcome of the enquires and medical examination.
Link, correspondence Social Services PDF
  We eventually obtained through a Freedom of Information, Subject Data Accesses Request the medical reports and limited amount of other information. This was received on 17th July. Dr Meyrick and Sarah Atkinsons reports had all been received into Herefordshire’s Social Services System by 20th May.
Link, Information Access Data Officer, PDF
Vindicated by Child Care Professionals
Dr Meyrick’s and the attending Social Workers reports completely vindicated us.
  “None of the marks to my mind were anything other than those a boisterous 3 years old child may get whilst playing, running etc. Dr Meyrick was of the same view and neither of us believed this was a child protection matter”
Link, Medical 16May2015 PDF
Complimentary About Parenting
  The two childcare professionals were indeed complimentary about our children and parenting.
  “Both children were dressed in summer dresses; they were clean and very well behaved. They were happy engaging children. Parents came well prepared with books, toys, drink and food for both girls. Both girls seemed happy in their parents care. Both have a good vocabulary”
Playgroup Withholds Consent
  We don't know the full details of this second time Dilwyn Playgroup reported us to Social Services because Playgroup specifically withheld consent for details to be released to us.
Link, Information Access Data Officer PDF, Page 8
Playgroups Second Reporting, 14th May
  What we do know from a number of documents is that they reported us on Thursday 14th May.
Link, Initial Assessment Social Services PDF, page 5
An OFSTED Inspector Calls, 14th May
  Coincidentally this is the same day that around noon Dilwyn Playgroup had an unannounced visit by an OFSTED inspector investigating concerns.
Link, Correspondence Direct Playgroup PDF, page 12
  OFSTED found deficiency with their child protection referral and a potentially prosecutable offence of failure to notify changes. OFSTED issued Playgroup with a notice to improve regarding child protection referrals. Also a warning letter for the offence.
Link, google:- reports.ofsted.gov.uk Then put in Dilwyn Playgroup URN:- 223516 Click & open Dilwyn Playgroup & its under Concerns About Providers
Dilwyn Playgroup OFSTED Compliance Action 27/6/2015 PDF
Misguided or Malicious ?
  We know the day but not the time Playgroup reported us to social services. Was it before the OFSTED inspector’s unannounced visit? During the visit and with the guidance of the OFSTED inspector? Or was it in a fit of spite after inspection as a punishment to us for getting them a telling off by OFSTED?
Neglectful Parenting, June – October 2015
  As the medical undertaken raised no child protection concerns Social Services transferred their enquires to neglectful parenting. They wanted to conduct a “comprehensive assessment to explore family functioning” (referred to as a core assessment) to enable them to make their case against us. Then implement a “child in need plan” with “parenting work to be carried out with both parents”
Link, Initial Assessment Social Services PDF,
page 5, practitioners recommendations, page 6, managers decision.
  Alcohol or Drug Misuse are typical of what would tick the boxes of reasons a family would have a Child In Need Plan placed upon them.
Secret Strategy Meeting, 16th June
  On Tuesday 16th June Social Services arranged a strategy meeting at their New Bath Street Offices. Inviting a number of participants including representatives from Freya’s school and Pippa’s Playgroup. We were not to be informed this meeting was taking place and despite separate requests to a number of the participants. Information is still tenaciously withheld from us.
Link, Playgroup Chronology Log, page 4, entry for 9/6/15.
Unprofessional Social Worker is Ltd Company
  Resulting from this meeting a Social Worker from “Herefordshire Children’s Wellbeing Directorate, Child In Need Team” was imposed upon us to conduct the comprehensive assessment. This Social Worker, Sarup Reehal was not a member of Herefordshire Council staff but a separate entity “Sarup Reehal Ltd”. So unprofessional in conducting business that he is repeatedly under threat of Compulsory Strike Off Action.
Try goggling his company registration number:- 06981911
Link, http://www.dellam.com/06981911-SARUP REEHAL LTD
Sarup Reehal Ltd Visits, 22nd June
  His first home visit to introduce himself and provide us with information and explanation of what was happening was 22nd June 2015. He turned up with nothing. Told us he believed his visit was under the most significant Section 47 Enquiry status and that we could not have copies of information such as the medical report. That either I cooperated or they could force me to.
  After his visit I submitted my first freedom of information, Subject Data Accesses Request and contacted a specialist solicitor.
Link, Information Access Data Officer PDF.
Solicitor Contacted, 23rd June
  The solicitor informed me that until Social Services conducted their Core Assessment they would not make their case against us and therefore we had nothing to base our response on. She advised that I cooperate with the core assessment and request a completion date to enable me to evaluate it with my solicitor and discuss the way forward.
Link, Correspondence Direct Social Services PDF, page 3
Children Observed at School, 8th July
  The Social Worker required to observe our children away from parents and if we did not cooperate he could have it arranged for him to do this whilst they attended school. This St Mary's school Dilwyn very kindly allowed to happen on Wednesday 8th July. The Social Worker experiencing our children at their brightest and best in the schools excellent care.
Link, Correspondence Direct Social Services PDF, page 3
Core Assessment, Home Visit, 15th July
  The Social Worker then home visited my wife Megan & myself on 15th July to undertake his core assessment. This was a very emotive meeting. He then required to observe us as parents interacting with our children. To prevent further delay of another visit I firmly encouraged him to accompany us to meet our children out of school.
Social Worker in Playground
  He was alongside us with the other parents in the playground as the children came out. Then we joined the regular throng of parents and children on the parish playground alongside. Where I encouraged him to join in as we interacted with the children and other parents.
Information Gathered, Assessment in Timely Manner?
  I urged him to prominently display his Social Worker identity badge so all could see who he was. He seemed somewhat uncomfortable with open scrutiny. He then informed us he had gathered all information he required. He promised to produce the Core Assessment in a timely manner but at worst it would require completion within 35 days. He then departed.
Nothing Received, 1st October 2015
  We have received nothing. To this day, 1st October 2015, Herefordshire Council have not made their case against us.
Link, Second Information Access Data Officer, PDF
Appeals to Playgroup to Discuss Concerns
  Concurrent to this we also sent a number of letters to Dilwyn Playgroup management appealing for them to discuss their concerns and actions with us. Their replies became increasingly dismissive “please contact your social worker as they are the lead professionals in this matter, they can explain in detail why playgroups have to follow these procedures”.
Link, Correspondence Direct Playgroup, PDF, page 4
Playgroup Recording Information
  Playgroup unbeknown to us was also recording information about Pippa, presumably for forwarding to Social Services. Even the contents of the lunch box that I packed up for her was entered into the record.
No Breakfast With Dad
  But the one that really gets me bearing in mind that I had taken over regularly getting the children out of the house and into school and playgroup was:- “On two occasions Pippa’s keyworker heard her discuss with her peers that she had not had breakfast”
Link, Playgroup Chronology Log, page 2
  As anyone who has seen her enthusiasm for food knows if there's any child in Dilwyn that’s not going to miss out on breakfast then it’s my Pippa. The normal challenge is to make sure she doesn’t have two breakfasts.
Playgroups Contempt
  If Playgroups staff have such contempt for me as a father that they couldn't discuss such a small issue as this with me when I settled Pippa in each morning. Then I am completely puzzled to understand what I have done to them that they consider is so wrong.
Five Months Without Fair Dealing
  We have been living in the shadow of these damaging allegations for five months. We feel this has been arbitrary interference by Herefordshire’s Children’s Wellbeing Directorate into our home and family life. We feel their actions have been totally disproportionate. Five months under investigation and they still will not justify their case against us. This is unjust. This is not fair dealing.
Then Received on 9th October
  Response to my second Freedom of Information, Subject Data Accesses Request to obtain the Core Assessment and Social Services case against us. The Social Worker has gone. The information is lost. The case is reallocated to a new Social Worker and they will be in touch so that we can start all over again.
Link, Social Worker Gone PDF, all information lost
You Just Couldn’t Make It Up
  “Mr Sarup Reehal has left Herefordshire Council and the social care department. Mr Reehal’s manager has searched for any records…..no further information has been found”
  “the core assessment has not been carried out. You are correct that such assessments must be carried out in a timely fashion and completed within a specified time period. This has not been done”
  “There are no case notes for the visit to St Mary’s Primary School on 08/07/2015, the home visit on the same day, the home visit on 15/07/2015, the visit to St Mary’s Primary School on the same day, or the visit to Dilwyn Playgroup on 17/07/2015. It would appear that they have not been recorded.”
  “Social care are reallocating your case this week to a new social worker, and the social worker will be in touch with you next week.”
Bill Wiggin MP Asked For Help, 30th October
  Despite writing to Jo Davidson, Director Social Care assuring our cooperation we had received no contact. So I attended the surgery of Bill Wiggin our local Member of Parliament and asked if he could help.
  “I agree that the current situation is particularly unsatisfactory. As you have requested, I will write to Jo Davidson, the Director of Children’s Wellbeing at Herefordshire Council, to ask if they would be willing to consider closing the case, given the lengthy and thorough investigations which have already been undertaken.”
Link, Bill Wiggin Letter 1 PDF
Assessment Concluded, Case Closed, 3rd December
  Received letter, 3rd December, from Jacque Purdy the New Social Worker allocated and briefed about difficulties experienced and asked to ensure better communication.
  “I am writing to advise you that the assessment has now concluded and as such your family’s case is now closed”
  This was the first and only correspondence or contact from social services since 9th October.
Link, Case Closed Letter 2 Dec 2015 PDF
  Thank you Bill Wiggin MP. Who knows where we would have been if he had not intervened on our behalf.
Seven Months From Social Workers 1st Visit
To Groundless Case Closed
  An average of 40% of all Social Services initial investigations are revealed as groundless (Home Office Statistics, see www.false-allegations.org.uk).
  Our family has been living in the shadow of a Herefordshire Social Services investigation and assessment for Seven months.
  We have been subjected to disproportionate, unprofessional, untimely and incompetent actions.
  We have been denied the enjoyment of a family life free of worry and fear.
Who Protects Loving Families of Good Character
From Herefordshire Social Services ?
Happy to Talk
  I have not wanted to unwelcomely burden my neighbours with this issue but I am very happy to talk about it openly and honestly. As with every conversation I feel a little more weight lifted from my shoulders.
Thank You To The Good People Around Dilwyn
  Since placing this information on-line for open scrutiny we have received flowers, cards and good wishes from people of the highest calibre. This has been really appreciated, particularly by Megan.
  This has made all the difference to us, with the Good Will of people of such high standing; we can say Stuff The Bastards.
Jim Mcgeown
For my wife Megan & daughters
Freya aged 5 & Pippa aged 4
Return to Top of Page