The Connor Manifesto and 107 Days of Action

Readers of this blog will be familiar with the appalling death of LB, whose real name was Connor Sparrowhawk.  I wanted to keep you up to date with a campaign for justice for LB organised by his family and many others.  Since LB died an independent investigation was set up into his death, and found that it was preventable.  Sara Ryan, LB’s mother, has collected various posts and analysis about this report, here.  She has also written a timeline of events since LB died, which make for dismal reading.  

The campaign for justice for LB has grown.  Several local media outlets have written about what happened to LB, as has the Telegraph and Community Care.  The family are still fundraising for legal representation at the inquest.  Sara has written a manifesto, describing what justice for LB looks like – I’ve asked her permission to reproduce it in full below.  The #justiceforLB campaign has set up a fantastic campaigning webpage called 107 days, where you can adopt a day to make your own contribution to justice for LB – be it by fundraising, writing, blogging, giving a lecture or however else you feel is appropriate.  The webpage is called 107 days because that’s how long LB was in the Assessment and Treatment Unit before he died.  He was admitted to the unit on 19 March 2013; a year ago tomorrow.  He died on July 4th.  Please take the time to read the Connor Manifesto, and think about what actions you could take to help achieve justice for LB and for the men and women who – like LB – are at risk of incarceration and exclusion from mainstream society, their homes and families.  

The Connor Manifesto

Connor Sparrowhawk

Posted on March 17, 2014 on My Daft Life, by Sara Ryan.

We’ve been asked what  #justiceforLB looks like by various people over the past weeks. Tonight we received a reminder from the real David Nicholson’s office that we said we’d email this to them. A very cool and reassuring reminder.

We agreed we’d email our list during the meeting last week. But it seemed a bit too enormous to knock into ‘proper’ shape, too scratching at the surface, too insignificant really considering that LB died. Howl. And we were/are too weighed down/crushed and battered over years by the baseline level of shiteness that exists in learning disability provision to really come up with a meaningful list of anything.

But, hey, let’s run with our fledgling list (already emailed to NHS E towers). In advance of the launch of the #107days of action campaign (to coincide with the date LB went into the unit and the time he spent there), here’s our starter for 10 for actual change (and no more talk/lessons learned) to improve the lives of learning disabled dudes:

What does #justiceforLB look like? 

For LB

  • To achieve all of the below
  • Staff, as appropriate, to be referred to their relevant regulatory bodies
  • A corporate manslaughter prosecution brought against the trust
  •  Meaningful involvement at the inquest, and any future investigations into LB’s death, so we can see the Trust and staff account for their actions in public

For Southern Health and the local authority

  •  Explanation from the CCG/LA about how they could commission such poor services
  •  Reassurance about how they will ensure this cannot happen again
  •  An independent investigation into the other ‘natural cause’ deaths in Southern Health learning disability and mental health provision over the past 10 years

For all the young dudes

    • A change in the law so that every unexpected death in a ‘secure’ (loose definition) or locked unit automatically is investigated independently
    • Inspection/regulation: It shouldn’t take catastrophic events to bring appalling professional behaviour to light. There is something about the “hiddenness” of terrible practices that happen in full view of health and social care professionals. Both Winterbourne and STATT had external professionals in and out. LB died and a team were instantly sent in to investigate and yet nothing amiss was noticed. Improved CQC inspections could help to change this, but a critical lens is needed to examine what ‘(un)acceptable’ practice looks like for dudes like LB
    • Prevention of the misuse/appropriation of the mental capacity act as a tool to distance families and isolate young dudes
    • An effective demonstration by the NHS to making provision for learning disabled people a complete and integral part of the health and care services provided rather than add on, ad hoc and (easily ignored) specialist provision
    • Proper informed debate about the status of learning disabled adults as full citizens in the UK, involving and led by learning disabled people and their families, and what this means in terms of service provision in the widest sense and the visibility of this group as part of ‘mainstream’ society

And, if anyone would like an example of how the final point can be achieved, tune in to thePhil Gayle Show on BBC Radio Oxford where he, and his team, regularly cut through the crap, focus on what is important and have learning disabled people as guests on the programme to talk about what is important to them.

As it should be.

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2 thoughts on “The Connor Manifesto and 107 Days of Action

  1. This story is so heart breaking and could have been prevented if only they had listened to his Mother.
    I too have had to endure my son being incarcerated against his will and not listened to under the guise of the MCA 2005.
    I have been character assassinated and used as a conflict of interest.
    I was lucky because I pulled my son out in time to save him from death.
    I am picking up the aftermath of him being kept in a perpetual state of ill health again under the guise of the MCA 2005 and for his “BEST INTEREST” The list of PhysicalI injury and Mental Health Injury is endless and evidence based. Now they want to seek Health and Welfare and displace P nearest relative that being my husband and myself.
    Can they really do this take P from his home and family? When family have shown that P had an exceptional life that whilst P voluntarily left home in good physical shape believing to seek help to get better he returned home a shivering wreck after being incapacitated incarcerated and dehumanised against his wishes….That all his Human Rights were violated.
    Us families seek Justice for the blatant disregard of a human being. What happened to LB and to others including my family member is a crime against humanity.
    May peace be upon us families, and strength to believe that this injustice will not be tolerated any more.

  2. This is happening to all groups of vulnerable people including the elderly. The MCA has been abused by social workers / services to create a distinct career path for adult social work equivalent to child protection. These social workers are like Hilter with the Jews. Many these days are illiterate and and well able to deny human rights themselves, all to gain power / control in the mere belief they are doing something better for the vulnerable person.

    Once a family carer is in conflict with the ‘system’ it is hell and a power game, They win by fabricating things about the family/ carer and demonising them..

    Lawyers willing to take on these statutory agencies or even challenge safeguarding / DOL actions are very thin on the ground. Mark Neary’s lawyer seems to have disappeared. Most lawyers get good money from the ‘bankrolling state system’ so will not wish to upset the ‘flow of funds’. Legal aid is a non starter for most.

    The previous and current goverments have been reckless with the care system, creating laws that actually destroy family relationships by giving socoal workers power in safeguarding work. It will get to the stage of criticism that child protection now faces .

    There is a need for a national campaign beyond the individual tragedies; nothing will change otherwise.

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