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Very Funny on Clegg and Adoption


David Cameron to speed up adoption process for Nick Clegg

The Prime Minister has vowed to tackle ‘absurd barriers to mixed-party adoption’ as he sets out proposals to fast-track Nick Clegg into the Conservative household.

‘Nick has been with us now for almost two years and it’s high time he became a full family member,’ said Mr Cameron. ‘In an ideal world he should be with his biological party, but it seems unlikely they will ever have him back.’

The new cross-party adoption plan will help speed up the process of adopting Clegg into the Tory family by removing unnecessary ‘red tape’ such as adhering to any tiresome manifesto pledges. Clegg will also undergo a modest surgical procedure to remove any remaining traces of social conscience.

‘Nick has already made great progress integrating into his new Conservative foster home,’ said a Westminster Council social worker. ‘He has quickly learned how to break promises, sacrifice principles and make shameless political u-turns. Although he still has a few minor health complaints, he’s almost one of them.’

But critics of cross-party adoption are not happy with plans to take in Little Orphan Cleggie. ‘While everyone feels sorry for Nick, he really needs to be placed with a party that wants him,’ said backbencher Nadine Dorries. ‘He’s a cuckoo in the nest and should be housed with his own kind.’

Psychologists warn that unless Clegg finds a home soon he could suffer a serious identity crisis. ‘Nick needs to know that people love him,’ said Dr Raj Persaud, ‘and he certainly can’t get that from the opinion polls. But wherever he ends up, he still needs to be reminded about where he came from, especially since he appears to have forgotten most of his liberal heritage.’

‘We realise that Nick is a problem child,’ said Mr Cameron, ‘but the important thing is that he feels loved. Nick should know that there is always a place for him with us here, in the cupboard under the stairs.



Barclays are a rubbish bank who show less customer care even than other high street banks

Problems with Barclays Bank

Closure of current account of Personnel Solutions UK Ltd





30 April 2011

Personnel Solutions ceased trading.  However, its account with Barclays Hatfield branch was kept open to process final payments and receipts including Corporation Tax, VAT and outstanding invoices.

It was my intention to invest the balance in the account; this would realise approximately £12,000 pa gross, or £100 pcm.


31 October 2011

The last transaction was completed, so I called Barclays business advisers to request the account be closed.  They told me to make an appointment at a local branch, as this could not be done over the phone.  They did however say that I would incur no charges in closing the account, its funds could be transferred to wherever I directed, and they confirmed that, after bank charges, the final balance was £38,926.31.

The mistake I made at this point was to expect that Barclays would transfer the money at my direction; I could have issued a cheque to myself for the full sum, but had I done so, the account would have had to stay open, with further unspecified bank charges levied, bringing the account into the red (for the first time ever) and thus risking the cheque being bounced.


1 November 2011

I met with a personal banker in Knebworth branch, James Preston.  I explained that I needed to close the account and transfer all the funds to my personal First Direct account.  I asked that this be done by BACS, as I felt that sending a cheque for this large amount was not secure.  He completed a form with all the BACS details of my personal account, held jointly with my wife, who is the other director of the company.  I signed the form to authorise it, but he then established that my wife as co-director would also have to sign the form.

However, Mr Preston did confirm that the account would be closed with effect from 1 November, and that the funds would be transferred within three to five days.

I handed back to Mr Preston the account’s chequebook, both debit cards, the remote banking reader and the telephone contact card.  That was my second mistake, as I now had no note of whom to contact.


3 November 2011

The Knebworth branch of Barclays being shut on Wednesdays, I had to wait until the following day to hand in the transfer authorisation form with my wife’s signature on it.



8 November 2011

I contacted First Direct to confirm that the money had arrived, and was alarmed to learn that it had not.  I therefore (after considerable research for their number, 0845 6052345) got through to the telephone business advisers, who said that it might take longer, and that I should wait a few more days for the money to hit my account.  They were unable to confirm that the account had been closed, but suggested that if I had further queries, I should contact my Hatfield local business manager, Joanne Price, on 01707 346812.


9 November 2011

Ms Price confirmed that the account had been closed, but when I asked her where the funds were, she was unable to answer, as she said that this was being dealt with by a central processing office inLeicester.  She said there was nothing she could do, but that if the money had not arrived by the next day, I should contact her again.


10 November 2011

I left a message on Ms Price’s voicemail, which promised to call me back within three hours.  She never called.


12 November 2011

I received a bank statement which showed that a payment of £38,926.01 had been made November, leaving a nil balance (the bank had taken a further £0.30 from the account without explanation) and the statement “Account closed”.  However, there was no sign of the money appearing in my First Direct account.


14-17 November 2011

I checked every day with First Direct, but there was still no credit from Barclays.


17 November 2011

I contacted Barclays Business again, and eventually spoke to Chris White, a senior manager based inCheshire.   I explained again in full detail what had happened and asked him to find where my money was.  He said he knew nothing about the situation, could not identify why I had not received it, but suggested it might have gone into an internal Barclays suspense account (despite all the details having been set out on the form prepared by Mr Preston on 1 November).  Mr White said he would start an investigation and hoped to get back within five days, but at no point did he seem to understand the urgency of the situation or how anxious this potential loss of my money was making me.  He only said he would come back to me, not that action would be taken to deal with my concerns.  I said I wanted to make a formal complaint, but this was barely acknowledged; Mr White said that if I had a complaint, I should submit it to him, and I said that was exactly what I was doing.

I contacted the Financial Ombudsman Service and logged a complaint about how Barclays had appeared to have lost my money and seemed indifferent about this (Helen Hunter on 0800 0234567 Ms Hunter undertook to contact them to instigate their complaints procedure.

21 November 2011

I was called by Karl Wigram of Barclays complaints department (01606 844228, He told me:

  • The bank did not know where the money from the closed account had to go (despite all the details being on the form completed on 1 November by Mr Preston);
  • Any payment of the money would have to authorised by both directors (notwithstanding that this had already been done on that form);
  • The bank would only issue a cheque to Personnel Solutions UK Ltd (despite, as I pointed out to him, the company having ceased trading and no longer having a bank account because Barclays had agreed to close it);
  • The bank had not acted on the instructions given because there was a limit of £5,000 on BACS transfers (nobody had previously suggested that the closure could only be done by cheque);
  • A cheque for the closing amount had been issued, but the bank did not know where to send it and Mr Wigram knew neither where it was nor who the payee was.

I said that I was very angry and anxious about the delays and the total contradictions between what had been arranged with Mr Preston on 1 November and what Mr Wigram now was saying was Barclays policy.  He said he would escalate this matter to a level two complaint to be investigated by someone else who would get back to me within 48 hours.

I made it clear that investigating the complaint was secondary to getting my money paid to me, but that as part of their response to the complaint, I would expecting their proposals for compensation for loss of interest and the inconvenience and stress I had experienced.


22 November 2011

A cheque arrived from Barclays for the full amount, in a first class envelope but dated 11 November.  There was no postmark on it.  I immediately paid it into my local HSBC branch inStevenage, and was assured that it would be credited to my First Direct account that same day, although Barclays could still withdraw it for up to six working days.

I telephoned the Barclays complaints department; Mr Wigram was not available, but I left a message for him, that the cheque had been received and that no stop should be put on it.  I gave his colleague full details of the cheque and the complaint to which it referred.

Andy Nelson of the second level complaints team (01606 844228) called back.  He acknowledged that there had been internal contradictions at Barclays, with the telephone business banking team, having told me that I could not close the account unless I went into a branch, raising an instruction to close it but not following through on that.  He confirmed that the cheque I had already banked would be honoured, and offered to consider compensation.  I suggested I would have lost about £100 in interest, not to mention annoyance, anxiety and effort in chasing this matter.

I rang him back with the details of the Nationwide account I was contemplating (MySave Online Plus offering 3.12%) and left a message for him to that effect as he was not in the office.  He replied later in the afternoon, offering compensation of £76.53 in lieu of lost interest on the Nationwide account.  My response was to ask for at least double that, to account for my anxiety and stress including that of my wife, who was minded to tweet about this experience with Barclays unless a reasonable offer was made.  He said he would come back to me.


25 November 2011

I called Mr Nelson, who said that he had not completed his investigations.  He stated that the bank had eight weeks (presumably from the date on which my complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, 17 November) in which to complete his investigations.  He was not yet in a position to respond, or to say when he would, but did not anticipate it would take the full eight weeks.  I replied that I was not sure that this was sufficient to stop my wife tweeting her concerns, and he seemed resigned to that.

An answerphone message was left by Graham (no surname given) to call him back on 0845 300 4149, or he would write to me; I did not pick this up until after business hours, so I planned to call him on Monday.


26 November

Another message left by Graham to the same effect, as I was again out (it was Saturday).   When I called him back on the number given, I got the standard message that I could only access his local business team on Mondays to Fridays.


28 November

I called Barclays at 9.05 a.m.   Graham Barber (his surname was revealed for the first time) said that he was not in the office when I called back on the answerphone so could not respond to my call when he had asked me to do so.  He said he had no knowledge of Andy Nelson’s dealing with my complaint, and was dealing with the Ombudsman referral for the first time.  There did not seem to be a system for linking my original complaint direct to Barclays with my complaint to the Ombudsman that Barclays were not taking my complaint sufficiently seriously.  I explained again to Mr Barber what the complaint was – first, slow handling of the complaint, and now a request for compensation, and that Mr Nelson had offered cash for the loss of interest but that I was also looking for compensation for the distress caused.  Mr Barber said he would contact Mr Nelson to ask him to get back to me with the bank’s offer.


30 November

Mr Nelson phoned to say that Barclays would not improve their offer, thereby failing to offer any compensation for the distress they had caused.  I reluctantly accepted this and asked him send me a cheque for the sum of £76.53, which he agreed to do.  I advised him that I could not be held responsible for any adverse publicity which might arise from the failure to compensate me, which he did not seem to be concerned about.  Now I just await the arrival of the cheque…..


9 December

The money finally arrived – £76.53 – with a covering letter that was apologetic and mainly accurate, but refusing any further payment.  I banked it straight away – now it’s up to my wife if she wants to tweet about Barclays.

Views on adoption from an adoptive mum and Adoption Panel Member

We’ve heard a great deal recently about delays in the Adoption
Service.  Much of the press response to
this has been based on myths and misunderstandings.  For example, unless a baby is relinquished by
its parents for adoption at birth, there is a statutory duty on the courts to
carry out procedures which take AT LEAST one year to complete.  It is therefore impossible for contested
adoptions to take less than one year. This is the real reason why so few babies are adopted.

However, the  elephant in this particular room and the chief reason for the delay in placing
children for adoption lies with the courts.  To take a child from its parents is a very serious decision and is,
rightly, treated very seriously by judges.  However, those concerned with adoption are increasingly frustrated by
the courts’ apparent unwillingness to trust the professional judgement of  social workers but instead to commission assessment after assessment of parents
who have clearly failed their children and who show no reasonable prospect of  change within the child’s timescales.

Even when  psychiatric and family centre assessments have been carried out and recommend
the child’s placement for adoption, further assessments are often commissioned
at the behest of the parents’ solicitors when it is clear to all concerned that
these will lead to the same conclusions.

Judges want to  leave no avenue unexplored before terminating parental rights and this is
highly understandable. However, the effect is to leave children in limbo with
no clarity about their future and no real prospect of effective therapy until a  decision is made and their future is clear. Their chance to transfer to a
loving and permanent family is delayed, often beyond the point when the
‘attachment window’ is closing so that therapeutic work and repair is much more
difficult and less sure of success.

Children who are neglected suffer significant harm in the care of their parents. This
harm doesn’t necessarily show in the form of bruises or burns but is none the
less damaging and much longer lasting than physical blows. Failure to attach to
significant adults in the early years of life affects children’s ability to
learn, to make relationships, to empathise with others, to understand causes
and consequences and to live in society as a responsible adult. The burden of
proof that children have suffered and are suffering these consequences is much
too high. This benefits parents, whose rights are taken seriously and who do
not lose their children without due process, but it deeply harms children who
wait too long for justice and for security and stability – the essential
foundation stones of their lives.

These delays are  unnecessary. They flow partly from a culture which does not trust social
workers to do their jobs properly and partly from the deep reluctance of the
courts to take the ‘draconian’ decision to remove children from their parents.
This misunderstanding of ‘the right to family life’ causes immense damage to
children and gives failing parents a wrong understanding of their position. If
children’s welfare is indeed paramount, then their right to family life must be
interpreted as a right to a family which will provide them with the essential
benefits of family life: food, warmth, stimulation, boundaries and
socialisation and, above all, love. Where birth parents cannot provide these
things it is a tragedy for them. It doesn’t have to be a permanent tragedy for
their children if robust decisions are taken at a sufficiently early stage and
with children’s interests truly in focus.

Independent Member, East Essex Adoption Panel
(in a personal capacity)

Response to Nkunda Rwanda

Hi, thanks for the link.  I found it very interesting but hard to follow!  Still think the jury is out on whether Kagame shot down the plane but also still think we should all concentrate on what he’s doing now!  Is he an enlightened ruler who has brought huge health, education and economic benefits to his country or is he an evil dictator bent on quashing all opposition with violence and murder?  Or both?


I found the Open Society debate that’s now on Youtube really interesting and useful.  We need more people willing to talk, I think, and less people willing to shout.


Please keep sending me stuff that helps people like me (interested and willing but pretty ignorant) to understand what’s happening.  All we can do from here is bear witness but that, I feel, we must try to do as much as we can.