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 Post subject: Clerk's Notes
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:33 am
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I have just recieved the Clerks's notes - which are interesting reading. They seem riddled with errors and omissions.

So, for example, a section of informal chat at the begining while they were photocopying notes is included, however (just a section) while significant points are omitted. Equally they spell my name incorrectly, change our job titles, have added text which we just don't recognise. Rather strange!!

Do you know if we can ask for corrections to the notes?

Neither DW nor I took notes - mainly because we were so nervous.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 4:15 pm 
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Unfortunately, PJ, I don't think the notes as such can be corrected as they have to be contemporaneous. It would be possible to write a letter 'for the record' disputing what was said, and this letter - together with the response - becomes part of the case file. This may not be worth doing unless it's part of a wider complaint.

The test I would use for a (successful) complaint is "Is there an error so serious as to cause an injustice, and is it probable that - but for this error - the final decision would have been different?"

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 Post subject: Re: Clerk's Notes
PostPosted: Thu May 20, 2010 7:08 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
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Location: Berkshire
PJ wrote:
I have just recieved the Clerks's notes - which are interesting reading. They seem riddled with errors and omissions.

So, for example, a section of informal chat at the begining while they were photocopying notes is included, however (just a section) while significant points are omitted. Equally they spell my name incorrectly, change our job titles, have added text which we just don't recognise. Rather strange!!

Do you know if we can ask for corrections to the notes?

Neither DW nor I took notes - mainly because we were so nervous.


Our experience was there was nothing in the notes at all other than unanimous decision= no, we tried to make an issue of this fact to no avail. At the time, and probably still today I felt that although the appeals code says the notes do not need to be verbatim, I believe they should be and open to debate where one party feels there are inaccuracies. The appeals process is supposed to be a legal process, and yet there are no controls effectively in place to enforce it as such, and this is wrong in my view. Unfortunately the ombudsman's hands are tied, he can only ensure that procedures were followed, and cannot apparently change a decision, also wrong in my view. In fact the ombudsman's office actually failed to understand the points we were making anyway so you end up feeling like you are banging your heads against a wall. Our clerk openly admitted she hadn't the time to write the notes up until well afer the decision was reached and delivered to us as she had so many appeals and not enough time.

Appeals are often handled well, but so much of the time they are not, and it is simply not fair. :cry:

Oh and by the way, it seems to be absolutely impossible to leave the forum :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 9:08 am 
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I completely agree, LFH. We’re told that the appeal system is a formal, quasi-legal process, yet that process doesn’t seem to include the need to keep accurate, contemporaneous notes! They seem more akin to an artist’s impression :lol:

To be frank, you wouldn’t get away with such a casual approach in any professional walk of life. We had a fully qualified lawyer as our clerk – surely lawyers must be aware of the need to cross all the ‘t’s and dot all the ‘i’s?

If the clerks are too busy, and I can quite see how they might be, then tape the appeals and transcribe the tapes later. The tapes are then the contemporaneous record and should be available to parents on request.

It’s axiomatic that – as Etienne and Sally-Anne have rightly pointed out – those who succeed at appeal tend to be happy with the process and those who don’t, aren’t. Nevertheless, I do feel the whole process should be somewhat more accountable.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 9:34 am 
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Location: Berkshire
Rob Clark wrote:
We had a fully qualified lawyer as our clerk – surely lawyers must be aware of the need to cross all the ‘t’s and dot all the ‘i’s?



You'd think, wouldn't you ? :roll:
Blood starting to boil all over again. Grrrrrrrr
Who mentioned clerks and notes :evil:

PS I am over it all, really :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 11:20 am 
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Rob Clark wrote:
If the clerks are too busy, and I can quite see how they might be, then tape the appeals and transcribe the tapes later. The tapes are then the contemporaneous record and should be available to parents on request.

.


Yes - exactly such a simple answer - so why dont they do this? :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 3:43 pm 
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viewtopic.php?p=92593&highlight=tape#92593

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 4:10 pm 
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I can see where the code is coming from, however, this means that the accuracy of the notes (which are of critical importance) depends on the effectiveness of the person making notes.

In out case we felt that the notes were rather poor and didn't accurately reflect what was said in the meeting.

I would much prefer a duty to record the meeting - just to protect both sides.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 5:19 am 
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I do sympathise, PJ. An inaccurate record of the hearing makes things very difficult in the event of a complaint, especially where the facts are disputed by the parties.

The clerk has a very demanding task, keeping up with what is being said, making instant judgements about what the significant points are, and recording them accurately.

I would always advise appellants to give the clerk a copy of their presentation, so that there is unlikely to be any dispute about the parental case. The authority's case should be essentially what was in their written statement, as they shouldn't be introducing any significant new information at the hearing. That leaves: (a) what is said in the Q&A session, and (b) how detailed the notes of the decision making are.

No one is going to routinely tape record hearings while the Code of Practice is written as it is, clearly advising against. It's certainly a possible solution, but it would undoubtedly make appeals even more formal and intimidating as everyone will be watching every single word they utter in case it should later be used in evidence against them.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2010 11:35 am 
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Etienne wrote:
I would always advise appellants to give the clerk a copy of their presentation, so that there is unlikely to be any dispute about the parental case. .


Which i did in my appeal thaks to your advice - the clerk seemed to like it and i did think it was a way of making sure my points were well remembered :)


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