Former MP John Hemming has criticised the family court’s refusal to name a local authority which breached a father’s rights.
The man’s four year-old daughter had been living with her mother after her parents separated, but was taken into foster care amid concerns from the local authority that she was being neglected. However, they did not ask the father if he was able to care for his daughter, nor did they ask him to suggest other possible carers.
In a judgment last year, Her Honour Judge Heather Anderson declared that the local authority’s actions were a breach of the father’s right to a fair trial and to respect for family life. The council accepted their mistakes and admitted they had not done enough to correct their errors.
The judge ruled that disclosing the name of the local authority itself, or any of the individuals involved in this case, “will not serve any useful purpose”. She added that social workers “work under huge pressure, much of it imposed by the requirements of the court”.
This week, John Hemming criticised the judge’s decision, claiming that the public should be told which local authority was responsible for the breaches.
The former Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley said that the “taxpayer funds this local authority, voters have elected the councillors responsible for it” and, as a result, the public has “a right to know what is done in their name”.
He added that it was “simply not good enough to keep the name of the council secret” because of the “huge pressure” the social workers were under. “Unless we know where things have gone wrong they cannot be put right”, he insisted.
To read Judge Anderson’s original judgment in full, click here.
Photo by Matt McGee via Flickr