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    • Can I  ask what you mean by "... they recommended a firm... "?   I ask because I'm a bit surprised that Social Services are even allowed to do that.  (I may be mistaken and that this is common practice, but it seems a bit odd to me).   If they did do so and the work has turned out to be sub-standard and unsatisfactory, I would have no hesitation in making a formal complaint to the council and also to my (or your friend's) local councillor(s).  You acted on the council's recommendation and you should have a reasonable expectation that the firm recommended should be reliable and professional.  I would also insist that trading standards be asked to investigate this firm.  (Where I live our local county council trading standards department runs an approved trader database).   A complaint to the council might not directly assist you but it might help to prevent others being taken in by this firm.
    • Hello Susan, welcome to CAG.   Hopefully Paul Walton will see this message and reply to you, but it would also be a good idea to start a new thread of your own so we can advise on anything else connected with your refund.   Best, HB
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      Sorry for only updating you now, but after your guidance with submitting the claim it was pretty straight forward and I didn't want to unnecessarily waste your time. Especially with this guide you wrote here, so many thanks for that
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Sneaky colleague is after my job, disciplinary hearing due

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I have worked with the NHS for 9months. Sometime during October 2012 I began working alongside a colleague (NC), we were discussing some workplace issues they were having regards their team leader. In particular, this colleague didn't get on with their team leader and proceeded to tell me how they would have preferred to be offered my job (we were hired during the same recruitment drive). At the time I said that if they were really unhappy with their base of employment I would be willing to swap as I got on well with all staff. They said they would think about it. Around the same time this colleague became aware of my sexuality, and remains one of only two members of staff who I have disclosed this information to.


Around the same time I began having trouble with my own team leader (an admitted control freak) who, due to my line manager not communicating my absences or holidays, requested that I begin signing a register each time I started and ended a shift. No other member of staff has, or was requested, to do this. During some of my absences NC and my team leader arranged for them to cover my shifts, this continued long after I had returned to work. During a week long holiday in December 2012, I discovered that my team leader and NC had arranged between themselves for NC to begin working at my base during one of my shifts on a regular basis, thus making me surplus to requirement.


In November 2012 during a break I updated my status on facebook with an insensitive remark. The remark did not identify any confidential data, nor did it reference any person whom I worked with. Although insensitive, the comment was bland and would not have raised much concern from any of my friends or family who were able to view it. As I am wary of security settings on Facebook, my employer remains visible only to myself. I had only one work colleague added, but my posts were visible to the general public. (You can probably guess where this is going!) This colleague has reported the comment made, citing that it could bring the Trust into disrepute. Less than 24 hours later I was brought before my line manager and read the riot act, I was immediately remorseful and apologised profusely. Agreeing with all requests that I remove the post and make a formal apology.


I attended an investigatory interview in December 2012, during which I felt that I should mention to the investigating officer that the person who had reported me had also made such remarks in the passed as for me to question their intention. I was told to "park it" and told that raising this would "not make things easy for me". This was not noted in the minutes provided after the meeting. In response to this I told the investigating officer that I felt it was relevant, as I felt it was part of a wider act of victimisation. This was misconstrued in the meeting notes as me saying that I felt that the insensitive remark was relevant. Something I did not say, and have asked to be redacted. During this interview I remained regretful and apologetic, demonstrating that I understood the seriousness of the matter and did not wish to dispute that what I had written was insensitive.


During the interview I was told that the likely outcome would be a sanction, and that if I agreed to Fast Track this then there would be no need for a hearing. I agreed to the Fast Track. This was denied, and my Union Rep was notified in December 2012 as to why. I was not told this until January 2012 when I received new paperwork pertaining to a disciplinary hearing in March 2013.


The main reason for the disciplinary is stated as "bringing the Trust into disrepute", however if my employer was only visible to myself, and only the work colleague who reported me knew exactly where I work I am unsure how this can be the case.


I do not wish to take my Union rep along to the hearing as they are utterly useless. I am at a loss as to what to do though. I have already begun searching for a new job as this process has affected my mental health adversely. I have had to increase my anti-depressant medication, been attending staff support for counselling, and have become very anxious, stressed and depressed.


I don't know if anybody will read all this, or be able to suggest something but I just needed to "offload" as I cannot trust anybody at work at the moment. :(

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The problem is, only you know what you wrote. I've known the NHS give written warnings over Social Media 'transgressions', but if what you updated related to the Trust in a negative fashion, or patient care or confidentiality then you could be on a sticky wicket, I'm afraid.


In what way is your union support useless?

"Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me". Martin Niemöller


"A vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a half-brick in the path of the bicycle of history". - Terry Pratchett


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In what way is your union support useless?


He wasn't very helpful in backing me up when i tried to raise concerns about motives and victimisation, even as a separate grievance. He also failed to pass on the fact that, despite what they had said during the interview, the investigation officer would not be willing to accept a fast track soloution. Something my rep was made aware of in december, but which i only found out about last week by accident.

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