Steve Burns (of the planning department) is constantly quoted in these minutes but he wasn't at the meeting - customary SMBC incompetence. The meeting was held at Bredbury Library because Mr Parnell was not allowed into the town centre despite being a completely innocent man. And despite all the high profile attendees at this meeting, no help was subsequently offered to the Parnell family, even though their legal obligation was to help.
Thursday, 15 July, 2010 20:43
Dear Mr Parnell
Please find attached the draft minutes of the meeting of our meeting. If you wish to make any changes to the minutes before they are agreed, please let me know.
Service Director (Legal and Property)
Business Services Directorate
Minutes of Meeting at Bredbury Library Community Room
5th July 11:00 am
Duration: Approximately 2 hours.
Mr and Mrs Parnell
Alison Roberts Adult Social Worker
Barry Khan Service Director, Legal & Property
Terry Dafter Service Director, Adult Social Care
Steve Brown Head of Community Safety
Colin Masters Benefits Processing Manager
Peter Jones Recovery Team Manager, Revenues & Benefits
Robert Jenkins Welfare Rights Central Team Leader
Dominic Tumelty. Head of Children’s Social Care
Mr and Mrs Parnell
Barry Khan chaired the meeting and took the minutes.
Everybody introduced themselves.
A brief history of the claim record was described regarding benefits and the issues with regard to the receipt of the adoption allowance. A previous claim for benefits had been rejected on the grounds that the income to the family was higher than the rate set for support and this decision was appealed by Mr Parnell in 2006. The decision of the Council not to give the benefit was upheld by the Commissioner who agreed with the Council’s interpretation of how the adoption allowance should be treated.
Subsequent to that, a meeting was arranged with the Service Director of Finance and Mr Parnell to discuss the issues. The Council then contacted the Department of Works and Pensions to ensure that they had treated the income into the family appropriate and the DWP confirmed that the Council had given the correct interpretation on the regulations.
A further claim was received in February 2010, with a request for backdating the claim. This claim was discussed.
In addition Robert Jenkins discussed the situation with regard to Jobseekers Allowance for Mr and Mrs Parnell’s children. It was stated that they could be entitled to “sign on” but it was recognised that any income that this was bringing into the family was not be used to support the family - redacted by Sheila - . This did not address the greater issues with regard to the behaviour of the daughters to Mr and Mrs Parnell. However if they were signing on, then this would mean that the Child Benefit and Child tax credit should not be paid and it could be recovered.
An issue was discussed about whether child benefit and child tax credit was still being claimed and whether this was actually allowed under the benefits scheme. It was discussed that if child tax credit and child benefit are still being paid when the daughters were ‘signing on’ then this could be an overpayment and that money may have to be paid back.
Redacted by Sheila - and Mr Parnell stated that he considered that historically the family should be entitled to Council Tax Benefit when he was receiving the adoption allowance.
Mr and Mrs Parnell explained the issues that they were having with the daughters whilst they still stayed in the house - redacted by Sheila
Redacted by Sheila
Steve Burns stated that he would try and discuss getting someone to look at the benefits issues and arrange for someone to talk to the Daughters, from example someone from MOSIAC.
Redacted by Sheila
Mr Parnell stated that he was just a normal dad but that he had been put in a situation whereby he was having to find out more about the rules regarding benefits and adoption than the average dad. There were complicated issues and it was recognised that sometimes things might not be right.
They recognised the problems now caused with the daughters living in the same house and that they had started filling in forms with Stockport Homes for separate accommodation for the daughters.
Steve Brown stated that they would try and get MOSIAC involved
Mr and Mrs Parnell made it clear that they have never given up on the girls and that the girls had been through a lot by going through the care system and suffered before they were placed with them. They stated that they have been very open with their daughters and have told them all the information they were given. When the daughters were 18, they only had a letter and photograph. They considered that there should have been more information and more involvement with the Social worker.
They discussed the birth mother who had the age of 36 had 9 children who were taken into care.
Mr and Mrs Parnell had been keen to adopt when they unfortunately discovered that they could not have children themselves. They had spent a certain sum of money on fertility treatment. Mrs Parnell was told that she would have to give up her job and Mrs Parnell agreed to do this as they were keen to have a family. They had two children placed with them when they were young.
Mr Parnell stated that the issue regarding the funding and benefits was very confusing. It was suggested to him that we needed to concentrate on current benefits and not issues that were a number of years old when the children were very young.
It was noted that the daughters’ behavioural problems increased when they got older, with a noticeable increase in behavioural problems when they were about 10 years old. Mr Parnell had previously been told by the police to give his daughter a ‘good hiding’ but he did not consider that this was an acceptable course of action, nor that a police officer should give this kind of advice.
Redacted by Sheila
The details of the amounts of money going into the household were discussed.
Dominic Tumelty clarified that once the children are adopted they are not classed as “Looked after Children”. Once the children were adopted, they are considered to be the children of the adopted parents.
Mr and Mrs Parnell clearly explained that they considered that there issue was that they had asked for help and that the buck was passed and nobody took overall responsibility for dealing with their issues. For example they claimed that that the Early Intervention Team was going to do a CAMS assessment but this was denied as the case was passed on to the YOTS team due to an incident with the daughter on a bus.
They had issues in the fact that due to the destruction caused by their daughters, the house had been repaired too many times to keep getting it repaired.
Alison Roberts stated that she is an Adult
Social Worker that has been involved with the family. She stated that she had
concerns about the safety of the household. She stated that it was hard for the
parents to set boundaries with the daughters - redacted by Sheila
Steve Burns stated that if that behaviour continues then the police may become involved. It was recognised by Mr and Mrs Parnell that they did not want to get their daughters into trouble and that they have always been supportive of their children. They did not feel it was their daughters’ fault that they were behaving in this way but that they had reached their limits in having to deal with the obviously difficult situation at home.
Steve Burns stated that the Council would look into the benefits issue and get somebody to engage with the family to try and assist with the issue regarding housing and behavioural issues of their daughter
Barry Khan thanked everybody for being in attendance and stated that the meeting was beneficial for all those concerned. Mr and Mrs Parnell had conducted themselves in a civil and dignified manner at this meeting and that the consistent attendance at the town hall was not the best way of resolving the matter.
Alison Roberts stated that when there were incidents with the children, Mr Parnell would then displace the frustrations he feels by obsessively attending the town hall. The real issue was not with the Town Hall but with the issues at home.
It was agreed by everyone that the meeting was useful and that the Council would explore ways in assisting the family.