This is the official blog of ex-Sgt Ellie Bloggs. I was a real live police constable then sergeant for twelve years, on the real live front line of England. I'm now a real live non-police person. All the facts I recount are true, and are not secrets. If they don't want me blogging about it, they shouldn't do it. PS If you don't pay tax, you don't (or didn't) pay my salary.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Social Services Questionnaire

Please take the following questionnaire to find out how you would rate as an employee of a 21st Century Social Services department.

1) You are the Emergency Duty Social Worker when you receive a call from an anxious PC Bloggs telling you that she is with an elderly female whose boiler has broken down and the temperature is under three degrees.
Do you:
A) Provide emergency accommodation for the lady at great public expense.
B) Immediately call for a gas-man to go round.
C) Offer practical advice such as raising the lady's relatives, finding a mains heater etc.
D) State that you are the only person on duty and can therefore do nothing, and that since the police have attended it is their problem if the old woman dies.

2) You are a Community Mental Health Worker whose job it is to provide support to mental patients in the community. One evening you are on duty when a patient calls telling you she has taken an overdose and is about to hang herself.
Do you:
A) Remain on the phone to her while driving to the address and calling an ambulance with the other hand.
B) Dial 999 and begin to make arrangements for a duty officer to attend the address.

C) Dial 999 and be ready to attend if required.
D) Dial 999 and go back to bed, turning off your phone and switching on the answerphone message that goes: "We are not coming out of our warm office until a police officer has personally threatened to sue us."

3) Once more you are on duty at Social Services when PC Bloggs calls up telling you she has just taken a ten-year-old boy into police protection because he has been assaulted by his father and is scared to go home.
Do you:
A) Go straight to the police station and take responsibility for the lad, relieving PC Bloggs to go back on patrol.
B) Have a few cups of tea, put your feet up and attend in four hours. The boy is safe with PC Bloggs and she won't mind babysitting him for a while.
C) Phone around foster-homes to get accommodation for the boy which you can instruct PC Bloggs to take him to.
D) Ask to speak to the boy and inform him on the phone that he has to go home and should learn to do as he is told. Tell PC Bloggs she cocked up by taking the boy into police protection and suggest that the paperwork is thrown into the bin as this will make it easier your end.

4) You have been shafted as duty officer five nights in a row and this time PC Bloggs calls to say that she has arrested a fourteen-year-old girl for shoplifting and her mother won't attend the police station as she has two other small children at home to look after.
Do you:
A) Go to the police station immediately so that the girl can be interviewed and released.
B) Wake a colleague from bed who has no training and send them instead.
C) Phone up the girl's mum and threaten to take her child away from her if she will not attend.
D) Tell the police there is nothing you can do and the girl will just have to be either released or kept in a cell for 8 hours until the next duty officer comes into work.

How did you score?
Mostly A's: You are hardworking and compassionate. Apply elsewhere.
Mostly B's: You are excellent at delegating jobs to other people, but you do it far too quickly to be a really good Social Worker.
Mostly C's: You are just too practical to do this job.
Mostly D's: Congratulations, you are ready to apply to Blandmore Social Services.

Copyright of PC Bloggs.


Anonymous colleen said...

Interesting you deal with those situations quite regularly?

09 November, 2006 02:23

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PC Bloggs - oh how right you are. I put 'D' for every question. God help you if you have a mental health unit on the ground, they let their clients wander off with alarming (well not anymore) regularity and then pick up the phone to make our problem. They don't like it, if, when they want you to go round to the H/A and pick up the patient, you ask them for a full risk assessment and when they're going to get the warrant that you'll assit them to execute. As for secure or non secure children's homes.......

09 November, 2006 07:04

Anonymous InnerLondon PC said...

Brilliant, truly brilliant!

As for mental health assessments, we now refuse to see them with out first seeing the warrant and having an ambulance present. In future we'll also be wanting to know what arrangements they have made to secure the place if we have to force entry, after the last time when the new boy on team had to spend 5 hours standing on the door waiting for boarding up to arrive as they hadn't thought about that.

09 November, 2006 07:08

Blogger ExtraSpecialCopper said...

Not just Blandmore from the sounds of it

09 November, 2006 08:33

Anonymous Old Man said...

Hey, I scored all 'D's and I was chairing the meeting, when we developed the questionnaire.

We agreed that: don't get a 'D' and you can't be a Social Worker.

So, stop complaining, and get on with the Job!

(BTW: PC Bloggs, I really appreciate your take on things; please carry on hitting NAILS on their HEADS as accurately as you have been doing to date.)

Best Wishes,

Old Man

09 November, 2006 09:37

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say this appalling excuse for a questionnaire is deeply flawed.

Why ? It makes the assumption that there's anyone there to answer the phone !

09 November, 2006 09:50

Blogger PC Bloggs said...

colleen - I would say I go to one of these as often as I do crimes. 3 suicidal women in one day last week!

09 November, 2006 15:11

Anonymous PC Nutter said...

Ah PC Bloggs, i notice you went to 3 suicidal women in one day last week. Its true men know how to do things better, see they get the job done properly.

09 November, 2006 15:15

Blogger totallyun-pc said...

The first D answer covers all of the questions anyway! the London Borough of Ponlife is mob-handed when the cleaner is in the office!

09 November, 2006 19:14

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent questionnaire. As for point 2, the suicidal woman who claims to have taken an overdose and is threatening to hang herself -these things can be a nightmare. If she is willing to see the CMHT and wants to come in to hospital be it A&E or the acute psychiatric wards fair enough, in she comes. If she refuses though and starts playing silly buggers, then it gets interesting. If she's informal then the answer would be to get a consultant psychiatrist (stop laughing) to actually do a home visit. They will say that an emergency section is the job of her GP who will obviously say that's the job of the psychiatrist. This is all very well provided it's MON-FRI 9-5pm. Outside those hours and you are seriously buggered. You then rely on NHS24. (Dear me, I can see tears of laughter running down your face.) Trying to get somebody out of hours and particularly over the weekend is hellish, that's provided there is an acute bed for her anyway. Nobody can force treatment on her until she is detained. I suppose the police could always try the old "Why don't you come outside for a fag, love?" trick provided she smokes and doesn't know too much about the mental health act. I've been in situations where if she has overdosed and is refusing to come in then you practically have to wait until she becomes sleepy before she can be admitted. Paramedics can't force treatment either so it's a waiting game. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous anyway. Why the hell was she let out into the community to cause the police all that bother? Quite clearly as a psychiatric patient she need banging up - permanently....

09 November, 2006 19:34

Blogger Executive Intelligence Network said...

Wow... the social workers here have implemented their practice over there!

09 November, 2006 19:44

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 07:04, ahh the police and mental health services - how we love each other. Could it be part of the problem that you carry warrent cards and we don't? As for letting them "wander off" and then picking up the phone to make it your problem - the obviously solution is to bang them up to stop wasting the time of the police. You can't keep somebody locked up or detained indefinately. There comes a time, if the patients is getting better obviously, when you have to relax the restrictions and then run with that. This will require risk assessments and enough paperwork to destroy an Amazon rain forest. Hopefully they will stay out, provided the patient does what he or she is told, complies with medication and doesn't tell you to fuck off, and keeps away from the booze and the heroin. I've always thought that medication should come in cigarette form myself to ensure compliance or perhaps in a bottle of White Lightening or some super strength lager. If they become unwell (usually due to non-compliance with medication because it doesn't have crack cocaine or herion labelled on it) then they will usually tell you to fuck off. I can't lay hands on them because they will accuse me of assaulting them or in the case of a female possibly accuse me of rape. The CMHT don't have special powers or a magic wand that will make them behave because class A Drugs are just fantastic, it's like medicine as one patient told me. True there is the mental health act but that is up to the medics provided you can get one to get up off their arse and actually do a home visit. Confront a medic with the possibility of actually doing a home visit and they will go out of their way to avoid it. They will be quite happpy to leave things as they are until the patient does something that comes to the attention of the police. Of course they are exceptions and some medics will go out armed with the required paperwork...

09 November, 2006 20:15

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you must work in Oxfordshire

09 November, 2006 20:48

Blogger totallyun-pc said...

Care in the Community Is what the Gov't call it (read my blog on what i think of communities)

It should read Cared for by on one so the police pick up the mess!

I can't remember how many long shields I've had smashed by hammer weilding patients who's care in the community action plan, is to be left alone and unsupervised cos social service are either too lazy/busy/scared/incompetent/beleagoured/left wing/timid/righteous. (delete as necessary)

09 November, 2006 20:54

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Utter bollocks!!! Hmmm could it be like the police they spend a lot of time form filling and drowning in paperwork? Yes I'm sure there are some pony-tailed jesus sandle wearing leftie social workers out there but not all of them are crap. You know it and I know that mental health is the bottom of the pile when it comes to funding. Look at the recent cuts in the NHS. You know "the NHS has just had it's best year ever." Not in mental health it hasn't because it was the first area they focused on in order to make cuts because there is no votes in mental health. Care in the community doesn't work because it was done on the cheap. Fact is there are some lazy social workers, psychiatrists, CPNS etc but there are also lazy police officers and judges. You can't tar everyone with the same brush. Mental Health "services" are a lot like the police. Drowning in a lot of paperwork and political correctness bullshit. I'll give you an example and this might come your way. Apparently on the acute psychiatric wards patients, I mean service users naturally, nurses no longer restrain. It's now called "positive handling." So patients are positively handled down to the ground and Haloperidol and Lorazepam positively injected into the buttocks, where they are then positivly marched to their rooms. Of course they're being bloody restrained but it's now politically incorrect to say that. So next time that insightless, unmedicated paranoid schizophrenic, tooled up with a hammer and on heroin comes at you, remember you not restraining him, you are positively handling him....

09 November, 2006 21:19

Blogger gonorr said...

Nail on head it seems to me was hit.

09 November, 2006 21:29

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have to agree with the above comments. The problem with mental health is that it's not as fashionable as say, breast cancer awareness week. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not having a go at breast cancer which is obviously serious but then so is paranoid schizophrenia which nobody seems to want to stand up and bang the drum on. I suppose a smelly drug ridden paranoid scizophrenic wouldn't make the same photo opportunity as someone with breast cancer. The treatment of the mentally ill in this country it seems to me is a national scandal. If resources and funding were properly targeted, then perhaps the prisons or the police wouldn't be so busy....

09 November, 2006 23:14

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Provided that funding and resources were put in place in the first instance. There's no point in having a go at mental health "services" because they're just as stretched as the police. If you don't believe me, try working in this area...

09 November, 2006 23:36

Blogger totallyun-pc said...

your missing the point "anonymous".

Mental health workers are SUPPOSED to deal with mental Health patients. The clue is in the title. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying your all bad or lazy, and accept some are not! BUT IT IS YOUR JOB! and as for funding, you do what you can, just like the police.
so why do the police, who deal with EVERYTHING else, have to be part of the treatment package when the medication runs out?
Please, stand behind a perspex shield one day when someone has poured water all over the kitchen floor and grabs hold of the two ring burner with their bare hands in an attempt to fry everyone when the social workers want to get them back into hospital... where they should have been in the first place!

10 November, 2006 01:54

Anonymous Anonymous said...

heh heh, yes I hear where you're coming from. The problem is that we have to let them out. We can't hold on to them forever. I know what you're saying and I hear your point of view. Just like me as a CPN standing in front of somebodies door where they are thrusting a samuri sword through the letter box and they have a burning pan of chip fat to throw all over me meanwhile the police stand behind me. I know what you're saying, how the fuck did this happen in this first place? This is all do to with risk assements and all that bollocks. This may surprise you but occasionally we have to let them out. Most of them are poor buggers and harmless but there are the hard core who are seriously dangerous, will not take the meds (unless it's herion or crack) will not do what they are told and will tell you to fuck off. I know what you are thinking. Well that's your job you bastards. It all depends upon if they're sectioned or not...

10 November, 2006 02:35

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