Complaint and More

14 minute read

This is a long post so go get a drink before you go any further.

The point of this post will be to answer some of the emailed questions I have received from the last two posts (No Rescue and Post No Rescue). It will also give you all an update on my feelings on what is currently going on (loads of questions on this that I hope I answer).

Why do you write a blog?

Well the idea of blogging about grief and autism came from a counsellor that I was talking with. They pointed out the positives of sharing Tams and my journey through grief. He pointed out that sharing the information on our journey might just help someone.

This point of view struck a chord with me. It also felt a little uncomfortable as sharing info on my life was not part of my makeup. But then again helping someone and documenting Tams journey seemed like a good idea. I did not see it going to the place it has become - a warning to people that find them in the same unfortunate situation.

How did Tam end up needing to be in care?

Well over a period of time running up to the end of January 2023 Tam became more and more of a handful. His meltdowns became intense, and to be honest violent. I was getting injured quite often and was putting dislocations of fingers back in myself, glueing bites shut and spending hours wrapped around him to stop him hurting himself.

It was a mixture of autism, puberty, PTSD, and grief. It was a lot for my beautiful boy to cope with.

Tam was getting bigger and stronger and I was worn out. The various services that abandoned us plus COVID lockdowns and his inability to attend school due to his behaviour and lack of mental health support led to me no longer being able to cope (shit that took some writing down).

The night Tam was removed from the house the police did it due to the fact as the officer who attended said - “We are going to have to remove Tam as if we don’t we will be coming back with a body bag for you Alan”. At the time the blood was pouring out of my leg where Tam had managed to bite me again.

So Tam was removed under a voluntary section 20. It devastated me at the time but it was the only option I had left.

Did you expect that you would be talking about so many poor services?

Simple answer is no.

The complicated answer is that I had no idea of what services were out there. I had no expectations of what would be there and how they might help. All of my expectations have come from people either within the service or in an adjacent service. Those people painted one picture of the service they provided and I saw a totally different picture. Rarely did the impression that I was led to believe add up to what the service actually could do. I wish I understood the difference between expectations that I was given and the reality of the situation.

What services have not let you down?

Well it is a short list.

Thomas Bewick School never let Tam down and communicated with me with care and offered support at every step. Cannot fault them. What we were told met what they did. Thank you to the staff of Thomas Bewick for your care, empathy and support that you provided us over the years.

PCG - I am being careful here as I cannot remember if it is OK to mention the full company name. They have been nothing but brilliant. No missteps, they have shown that they are learning to understand more and more each day. Excellent team that I would be totally lost without them.

Northumbria Police - I bet you weren’t expecting that! The staff that have attended incidents have been nothing but excellent. They have been exceedingly professional and caring. On the day they had to remove Tam they did so with respect and it was very emotional for everyone.

And to be honest that is it.

Can you repair the relationship with NCCcs?

I really don’t know the answer to that question. If it was one incident that had happened the answer would be yes I could work on it. The latest incidents have me questioning everything about the organisation and thinking that the problem is that their internal organisational culture is so rotten.

Another part of me thinks why should I repair the relationship? I am not the one who has made promises and not delivered, I am not the one who has caused harm to my son.

Then lastly I remember that unfortunately the childrens services are a necessary evil in the situation that Tam and I find ourselves in.

So, I don’t know. I suppose an update on where we are might help me to work that out.

Update on events

Firstly other than the complaints department and the lead assistant director asking me to do something I have had no communication with the NCCcs team that is supposed to be looking after the daily running of my son’s care. Yes, a month and no communication on events. It beggars belief that this situation is allowable and that it has actually occurred.

Tam is struggling a little bit as he does this time of year. The team have done an excellent job of redirecting and deescalating him. I cannot speak more highly of them. I am so proud of Tam as I know he is trying so hard to control the outbursts. My heart always broke when Tam came down from a meltdown and I could see the hurt and sorrow that he had.


I have logged a formal complaint against NCCcs about the latest incident and a past incident that I believe should have been investigated.

This came to be after a conversation with a person who rang me from the NCC complaints department. They listened and advised me of the process. I will say that my brain was wandering (other problems on my mind) and I might have not taken everything in. She was very thoughtful and empathetic so I thank her for that.

A few days later (and cutting this short as I cannot bring myself to talk about everything on this) I got a phone call from the person who is doing the investigation. After been told how busy she was and how full her diary was she gave me an appointment for a conversation.

She then explained that once she had read the complaint, investigated and had a conversation with me she would write a report and talk with her boss and then pass it back to the complaints department. I missed something when I was on the phone call. The name of this persons boss and where they worked was mentioned. But I kind of missed the importance of the statements that she made.

It came to me a little while after. The person investigating my complaint about NCCcs works with the people I am complaining about. That cannot be right. Also the boss that she will be sharing the report with is the lead assistant director of childrens services. So one of the many bosses of the childrens services team will read the report before it is passed back to the complaints department. That cannot be right, can it? Surely a complaint about the actions of a department should not be investigated by colleagues within the same department and the report should not be read by the a lead assistant director of the same department that is being investigated before the complaints department sees the report. All of that feels wrong. All of that does not feel like it should be the way it works.

So the complaint process is fucked up. Totally fucked up. Why the hell should I trust that this is going to give me anything but people protecting the backs of their colleagues (so they will reciprocate later on). Is this real? Am I expected to trust this process? (Not rhetorical I am interested in your views)

Right now I am taking the option of looking after my own mental health and just ignoring the process. I see no good coming out of the complaints process. If I continue down the line of hoping for some kind of honest investigation I will be sorely disappointed and let down. I have to look after my fragile state of mind and just accept that it is pointless. The cards are stacked against me in relation to having an open and honest resolution to this sad and tragic set of affairs.

I have never worked with a company that would allow such a fucked up system to exist. I have known and worked with many complaints departments and to be honest they scared me so much I behaved myself even more (yes BenP I know you read this I am specifically thinking about your team). Complaints teams that I have witnessed in the companies I worked for were autonomous, had the power to investigate without interference and delivered their findings unopposed to all sides at the same time.

NCC your complaints system is not fit to be called that. I can see nothing but an arse covering exercise as an outcome.

So, do I continue with the complaint? I don’t know. I think that my fragile mental health will be impacted badly if I do. If I don’t is that me just giving up? Well NCC has pushed me real close to giving up on life before this is them just trying again. I have no clue as to the right thing to do.

Modifying “Post No Rescue”

On Wednesday night just gone I received an email that I suppose came as no surprise when I thought about it.

The email pointed out that they were aware of the complaint, It also noted that they had read my post “Post - No Rescue” and asked if I would change some language that I used in the post - specifically the a***e word (I have redacted the word). For completeness the request made by NCCcs was:

This is extremely distressing for these staff and does not help to support effective working relationships. Please could you consider removing this defamatory statement to facilitate a more professional relationship with the Newcastle staff that support Tam. Thank you for your consideration.

So….. I had a bit of a reflection and had to admit to myself that it was written while I was in an angry state of mind. I modified the post with the idea of it being a move to a better place. Part of me screamed “NO DONT” but that is the angry part of me that to be honest I don’t like and was not part of me before all of this grief.

You can look at the post now and it still has the disappointment and a little of the anger that I have been driven to by the circumstances. However, the anger and language that I used does no good to Tam, me or anyone else.

So, it is changed. I wrote a short email reply that pointed a few small things out and offered them to check that I had in good faith modified the language. I did my part in “facilitating a more professional working relationship”. I also pointed out one thing that I think is extremely relevant in relation to the language I used and the level of anger that they generated in me :

If I went into their lives and performed actions that meant that their children had to medicated would they not say the same about my actions. I hazard a guess that they would.

A hour or so later my brain got the better of me and I ended up writing another email to the same person pointing out the irony that I am asked to modify some language in a post that i wrote and I did it. The irony being that I ask for honesty, empathy, and openness from the NCCcs team and I get nothing. No communication since the middle of December. Well apart from the fact an email telling me I have hurt some peoples feelings and could I change the post (which I did).

The outcome of my email pointing out the irony and also having a conversation with the “Complaints department” at about the same time was …..

I am aware that ***** has already spoken to you today in relation to your complaint and I will be discussing communication around Tam and his care planning with the team tomorrow and will get back to you.

That reply came on Thursday and …… I have heard nothing more and it’s now Saturday. I thought it would warrant an update before the weekend.

Am I expecting too much? Not a rhetorical question. Am I?

So right now if I have any questions about the incidents of the past few days I have no way of finding out the stance of NCCcs. Still being ghosted still have no support. I refuse to reach out to the people as I left it with a request for information and until I get answers to those questions I do not want to move on with more questions and communication (I know I might be cutting my nose off, I know but it is a point of principal). I was also promised information about the findings of the faulted investigation and that I would also have an opportunity to have my say. Neither thing has happened. I deserve answers to the questions that I raised, I deserve to know the outcomes of the investigations as they relate to the care of my son.

Conclusion to all of this

I wish I had a solid understandable conclusion to draw.

I have been told I have access to a complaints procedure, but now I understand the process I don’t actually see a complaints procedure, I see a process that I doubt will come to anything worth my time and limited energy. I don’t know what to do with this information.

Changing the post. Well I have to admit that it was written from an angry place so I feel nothing much in editing the post to be less inflammatory. As to the irony of the situation that the person who asked me to change it to allow a more professional relationship with the NCCcs team, well that is not lost on me. I have seen little that I would consider professional. Ghosting a parent because they ask questions is not professional conduct, it is petty and juvenile.

The fact that I hurt their feelings with the use of a singular word and that the phrase - ‘You have shown a lack of respect, humanity, empathy and decency’ is not mentioned says more to me than anything else.

The fact that a lead assistant director can not make a change and restart communication in more than a couple of hours also says a lot. I would be livid that it happened in the first place and would offer a personal heartfelt apology and then behind closed doors I would have read them the riot act to people involved from letting it happen.

Will I be able to have a professional relationship with the NCCcs team. Well I will say that they will have to treat me as if I cannot talk or hear. They will have to put down in writing everything that they want to communicate so that we have an audit trail of everything said. I will be asking for minutes of any teams meeting with actions, responsibilites and deadlines. I don’t see that any of these things are either out of the ordinary or unwarranted in a professional relationship. I know for a fact that they have been missing in all of my previous interactions with the NCCcs team. I think the bigger question is can they?

So will things get better? Well I answer that with a question - Could things be any worse? If you start from the bottom there is no other way but up. (I have a horrible feeling that I might be proven wrong on that statement)

Sense check

A little sense check

Is anything I have written about that is not factual? I have read it back and I OK with what I have written

Have I said anything that might hurt someone’s feeling? Nothing I have said is not supported by the facts of the situation - questioning the complaints procedure might hurt someones feeling but I stand by what I think of the procedure and how it is done - I will take a chance with that one

Should I post this? It is part of Tams and my story so is in line with the reason for the blog

Does posting this help me? Well from a mental health perspective it helps me unload my weary head

Final note : I left this aside for an hour and have just reread it. It depresses me that I am living through this. How the hell do I work a way out of this situation to one where I feel that Tam is safe with the NCCcs part of the management of his care. I have no clue.



Dad and Broken Human. (click the envelope to reach out)