Joyce Nicoll: System needs right to record

Joyce Nicoll: System needs right to record

The Scotsman recently reported the broadside levelled by a sheriff at the damaging performance of a social worker and police interviewers investigating what turned out to be a groundless accusation of child sexual abuse.
The problems arising from flawed legislation designed to protect the child in such allegation cases and the way the professional procedure is built around inherent conflicts of interest are also happening point for point with incapacitatedadults.
Perhaps it is a more serious issue, given that the right to record should go to the heart of the legal rights of such adults, yet the system enables social work to determine whether an adult’s views are heard, what they are and it can seek powers over that person’s life.
The problem is appearing in different regions where social work is seeking welfare guardianship powers for themselves under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act (AWIA).
Incapacity affects a wide range of adults with brain damage reducing their cognitive function, including those with dementia, epilepsy, stroke damage and learning disabilities. Social work controls the information flows internally to and from other team members and externally to the court, supervisory bodies and to the person, their family and their lawyers. It compiles the case record for the court and effectively establishes the facts the court will consider.