Parents angered at ‘insensitive’ tweets
Council urged to sever ties over special needs funding comments
ANGERED parents in Hillingdon have called on their council to sever ties with a law firm used for special educational needs and disability (SEND) funding after the solicitors posted ‘insensitive’ comments on Twitter .
The firm Baker Small represents Hillingdon Council in SEND tribunals where parents or carers appeal against a decision by the council on the child’s funding.
Baker Small tweeted on June 11 boasting of a ‘great win’ that sent the parents ‘into a storm’, causing outrage among many.
The firm later deleted the tweets in question and apologised for the comments, but has since closed its Twitter account.
One Hillingdon mum, who asked not to be named, told the Gazette: “I would absolutely like to see the council stop using them after their insensitive comments.
“The process is very stressful at the best of times for parents.
“The prospect of having to face people with an attitude such as that which Baker Small has displayed puts further stress on parents.
“That money could go an awful long way to supporting children with additional needs education which, after all, is Hillingdon’s duty.”
The Baker Small tweet read: “Crikey, had a great ‘win’ last week which sent some parents into a storm! It is always a great win when the other side thinks they won!”
Baker Small until recently represented around 20 councils at the tribunals, but at least eight councils across the country have already reportedly cancelled their contracts with the firm since the controversy.
The deputy leader of Hillingdon Council, Cllr David Simmonds, said: “Baker Small has apologised for their inappropriate comments and assured us they have taken steps to ensure it does not happen again.
“Hillingdon Council will always pursue the interests of children and will seek to do this in the most efficient way for local taxpayers.
“This often involves a variety of professionals with relevant expertise on both sides of every case and we will continue to approach every situation on its merits.”
Baker Small’s Twitter account @bakersmall is no longer active and the Milton Keynes-based firm’s website is also unavailable.
The Gazette also found Baker Small’s phone line was down, and we received no response via email.
I would like to see the council stop using them after their insensitive comments’
n REASSURED: Council deputy leader David Simmonds says Baker Small has apologised