For those who are out of the loop, let me share a story with you, sadly this is not a work of fiction.
I went onto Twitter last night and saw this tweet from Baker Small being shared by parents along with some comments about it being so inappropriate.
Being a Saturday night and being a mum of three children with SEN, I was sat at home wishing I could I have a drink but knowing that alcohol wasn’t possible due to children not sleeping. So I went looking for more details. Guess what I found?
This company were not just celebrating a win, they were laughing at the parents who had lost. Somehow, the child at the centre of this didn’t appear to be even considered. Of course, this tweet has now been deleted. BS – may I introduce you to Screenshots? Deleting tweets is never enough.
Families challenged the Twitter account, the responses from them were even more provocative:
May I point out one huge difference, BS? When parental solicitors champion their wins, they do not ridicule their opponents. They champion their win and share so families can have hope!
As the evening progressed, one mum had had enough and put a formal complaint into the relevant authorities:
Now, at this point, anyone would have realised that it was perhaps time to just bow out and walk away. However, BS decided to just block parents – BS, can I just explain that having a live twitter feed on your website sort of made this pointless and the fact that people just have to sign out of Twitter and find you, without signing in, and all your tweets are still available – I’m always available at a cost to offer social media training.
Then the childish tweets arrived:
The Morning After
The cold light of morning saw a quick apology:
Quite meaningless when the parents they needed to apologise to had all been blocked.
At least they didn’t try the “we were hacked” excuse. They owned their total balls up!
BS obviously have heard that it is more important to have engaged followers and that high numbers of followers means nothing. Sadly, they appear to have misunderstood what “engagement” means.
BS also offer a service for families, however, given the impression parents received last night, I’m not sure they will be queuing up for that service.
Let’s also hope that LAs look at this and think twice before using them. BS gave enough information that anyone so inclined could do a bit of research and discover the identity of the parents mentioned.
What do you think?
Would you use them?
I have had two families say they had help from them, and I am sure there are a few others. However, when this level of contempt is aimed at us, it really doesn’t sit well.
The whole Children and Families Act is supposed to be about working together and child centred approaches. It would appear that the child, the one who lost access to an educational provision their parents really wanted, was not a consideration last night.
Oh and in case you wondered, I am, obviously, one of the parents blocked by them.
29 thoughts on “Baker Small (BS), what were you thinking?”
Key point you put there – I’ve never heard one parent ridicule their legal opposition, ever. Win or lose, none of it is a laughing matter, and although on the one hand you can say it’s all about the money, on the other it’s also true that this is real lives, real emotions being played with. Unnecessarily, if everybody would just do some better planning ahead and making sure the right educational provision is there for all in the first place.
I couldn’t agree more. Our LA did no planning, no prevention and hired Baker Small to work against us. They treated us without respect, we accused them of game playing, but nobody believed us. The stress we have been put through it overwhelming and our son is now a school refuser as baker small managed to get him in the LA provision, which is not suitable and an hour away from home, He is only 8
If, on reading this, the family of the Child/Young Person referred to in the ‘kick off’ tweet realise it is them… they may well like to consider seeking assistance/advice re a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 and showing this to the relevant local authority responsible for commissioning this ‘service provider’.
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A group of parents are fighting two local authorities at present who are refusing to fund a Lanarkshire wide Autism support. They have turned it into a political fight. SNP 3 year initiative but 2 labour councils refusing to continue funding. Why do we need to fight for everything as parents of children with special needs?
Wow – I missed all this. How hurtful for everyone engaged in a bitter tribunal fight. There is nothing remotely funny about fighting for children in the greatest need. Good on you for fighting back xx
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95% of these disputes/ appeals should be resolved at mediation.
There in virtually no reason why SEND Tribunal has to deal with the vast majority.
We have chaired 116 mediations in 2015 and there were alternative decision arrived at through consultation with parents, families and young persons in 89%.
Unfortunately some LAs don’t respond to requests for mediation. Legislation offering something isn’t enough when there is little accountability. I have had many friends and colleagues use mediation and their experiences have been positive.
The SEND Tribunal takes an extremely dim view of an LA not responding to a request for mediation.
The whole point is to advocate consultation and not confrontation, whilst reduce the burden on Tribunal.
If I can offer any support please let me know through the Collis Mediation Website
Great, I’m going to a Tribunal in the next couple of month and Baker Small is working for my LA. Great!
Some families are making this whole saga part of their bundle for Tribunal.
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As I read this story in the Guardian, I was outraged by the cruel and inhuman tweets coming from a so called law firm. Parents fighting for their children with disabilities are and should be recognized for doing a great service, not only for their kids but also for society. All too often government loses perspective: the more help and assistance given to children will ultimately reduce “costs” in the future as children will be more productive as adults. My heart aches for the cause of these parents . God bless your efforts in challenging such a discussing law firm.
I was just one of many and like I said in the post, Saturdays nights when you have a child with SEN often involve no alcohol and social media. Thanks for your support.
as a parent with one son fortunate to have a statement (at least for now) for what are very mild sen in the context of what some parents deal with, this just about made me puke. the answer is never use baker small (of course we aren’t just parents; some of us may also be decision makers as to which providers of legal services a body will use – did you think about that bs?); speak to others who may be in a position of buying legal services and keep urging LAs not to (like they listen).
i’m also a lawyer and gloating at anyone after a win is crass and cheap.
the only way these businesses learn is if their bottom line goes down.
all you parents keep fighting (like you would give up!) .
We never give up – but having feedback like this helps keep us motivated. Thank you
It is absolutely appalling that Local Authorities are able to spend our own hard earnt tax money against us hiring expensive law firms like Baker Small! They evidently do not realise there is a vulnerable child at the centre of this. It is simply disgusting to laugh at a parent who has lost their battle to receive treatment which they know works for their child and the win is simply for financial gain of the Council. Why should councils be permitted to use these vicious expensive solicitors when parents can’t afford them? If my local authority were using Baker Small I would completely lose my trust in them .
Would it even matter if parental solicitors would mock they’re opponents? (not that they do)
They would be mocking people who suffered a professional loss, that’s not so nice. But it’s nothing compared to mocking people who suffered a loss that could endanger the financial stability of their family and the health of their children.
Double standards? The only double standard I see is that some people can behave like the scum of the earth and have a high paying job, while others have to nod yes to their boss to just be able to pay the medical costs of their kids.
I’ve just found out that BS has contracts with Barnet and Camden LA.
I am absolutely disgusted that these people are being paid by taxpayers’ money from local authorities and can actually sit back and ridicule parents of vulnerable children. We just want a fair crack at giving our kids a good standard of living. Wow, I really am speechless to how horrible these people come across, although they really solidify the stereotype of lawyers.
Baker Small’s conduct on Twitter is beyond shocking. Unprofessional, callous, immature, inflammatory, smug and borderline sadistic. My heart goes out to the parents and I hope they can let go of the anger they must be feeling. Local Authorities should clearly find alternative legal representation: a less adversarial approach is needed and continuing to pay the now toxic Baker Small with money from vulnerable taxpayers that BS have mocked is unacceptable. Baker Small have brought this on themselves – being held to certain standards of professionalism come with the territory.
Baker Small have now deleted their Twitter account. Shame they don’t have the decency to apologise publicly rather than running to hide.
you will be aware that 6 LAs are reported to have cancelled contracts with BS.
‘crikey’ as someone once said! i hope that teaches the firm a little decorum.
Their quote in the Law Society Gazette – http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/councils-fire-sen-law-firm-over-gloating-tweets/5055874.article#commentsubmitted – implies they’ve never received any complaints. I strongly suspect that isn’t true. If anyone has complained about them, they might like to make a further complaint to the Solicitors Regulation Authority about BS economising with the truth again.