Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Story Forty - The Binders

In the year Steven was in the Unit, he filled up 6 lever arch binders. For the first few weeks, these binders used to drive me bonkers and they created a lot of tension between me and the social worker and the Unit manager. I wasn't allowed to read them.

The official line was that if I read them, it would breach the confidentiality of Steven, the staff compiling the logs/reports and any other person named and written about in the logs.

All the staff and the support workers were allowed to read the logs. Any visiting professional was given full access to them. The only person who wasn't allowed to see them was me.

On one occasion the social worker was going on about Steven's choices and encouraging him to make choices about his life (Oh yeah!) Feeling rather belligerent, I asked her whether we could give Steven the choice as to whether I read his logs. She replied that this wasn't a choice that was his to make.

I said that the main reason I'd like to see them was that it would help in conversation with Steven - we could talk about things he'd been up to. That cut no ice and she reminded me that any feedback or information must come through her or the Unit manager. So, there was an unease about Steven and I talking about normal day to day stuff. I just felt that they must have an awful lot to hide if they were so worried about Steven talking to me about how his day had gone.

After a couple of months, I gave up on the log. Partly it was because they couldn't actually stop Steven talking - I'm not talking him revealing Unit secrets - just the normal stuff of his day to day life. And most of the support workers had given up on Hillingdon's rule that we weren't allowed to speak to each other, so they would tell me the stuff they considered important.

But the biggest reason for giving up the binders was that they were a pile of shite. I couldn't trust any of the information they contained. The logs were just a tool for Hillingdon to build up their case. They bore no resemblance to the reality of who Steven really is.

But then who's life could stay real when it is reduced to the sterile, clinical recording of a log.

1 comment:

  1. But you're forgetting- the first purpose of logs is to cover your own back when/if things ever come to court!