The court application was accepted and immediately the court appointed the official solicitor to act on Steven's behalf. The first thing she wanted to do was to meet Steven. Chris kept telling me how important first impressions were to the OS, so I became a nervous wreck about the meeting.
I would have liked the meeting to take place at home on one of Steven's home visits. The Unit wanted it at the Unit. They won.
Needless to say they wanted to make the visit as difficult for Steven as possible. They objected to Stevens two main workers being with him. They said it had to be Unit staff. By now, they knew we would be calling the guys as witnesses for us at the hearing. That led the council to undermine the guys more than ever, saying they couldn't be trusted not to lead Steven during the interview. In the end, we compromised and had one of the guys and a Unit worker present.
I was pacing the flat all day. Late afternoon I got an email from Chris - Sophy Miles (the OS) had sent him a transcript of the meeting within 2 hours. I burst into tears. This will sound like a terrible indictment of all the Hillingdon professionals but it was astonishing how well Sophy had related to Steven. The transcript showed an interest in Steven and an empathy for him that had been absent all year. It was so moving. And Steven played a blinder. He expressed himself clearly and calmly. He could tell Sophy where he wanted to live. He could explain why he liked living at home and why he didn't like living in the Unit. It was the most incredible stark contrast to all the mental capacity assessments and best interest interviews, that were so loaded against Steven.
The best thing of all was that it was clear that the OS would be taking the same position as my legal team and the IMCA - that living at home was overwhelmingly in Stevens best interests.
The relief was immense. Tomorrow, I'll tell the story of how I celebrated that night by reserecting the balcony Olympics.