40 people died in ‘barbaric’ secure hospitals the government pledged would close

40 people died in ‘barbaric’ secure hospitals the government pledged would close

Decency and compassion are values clearly associated with the people of the United Kingdom. It therefore comes as no surprise that the news from Sky that “At least 40 people with a profound learning disability or autism have died while admitted to “barbaric” secure hospitals the government has promised to close since 2015” has caused outrage and disgust.

Whilst the response of the British people can be relied upon, it seems that the promises made by the Government are somewhat less solid. Many people will remember the scandal of Winterbourne View hospital which was exposed by Panorama on 2011.

The then Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “appalled” with what he saw. In response to today’s revelations Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care was equally outraged and promised change. The difficulty is that these detentions have been going on for far too long despite the outrage and promises.

The Government needs to set a firm end date after which these detentions will end and suitable provision provided. Further, adults need to be given the funds to allow their legal representatives the tools and time to challenge detentions.  This is not too much to ask for, is it?


Anna Kennedy OBE

Anna Kennedy interviews Indie film producer Julie Wallman

Anna Kennedy interviews Indie film producer Julie Wallman

Today we are pre recording my next show at Womens Radio Station and my next guest is the inspirational Julie Wallman. I met Julia on Twitter over a year ago and it was suggested that Julie follow me by a friend and mentor of her’s who is a senior official at Pinewood Studio.

Julie was going through a tough time and shared her story. I was so impressed with Julie’s tenacity , creativity and story.

Julie and I decided to meet and our first meeting took place at Bafta in Piccadilly since Julie is a member.

Julie’s dream was to work in the film industry and many years ago Julie became a runner on a film set where Marlon Brando was filming, at this time Julie was working for free, not her choice but Marlon changed this for her and she eventually received a wage for this job. She never forgot this story.

Julie’s twin sister had an accident on a film set 15 years ago that was not safe, she finally won her court-case. Sadly her Sister is no longer an Art Director doing the job she loved and is registered as disabled. Julie never forgot this story.

Julie went to London in her teens with a dream and £200 in her back pocket. She got her first job as a carer.  One wet day Julie arrived at a Client’s door carrying a package. She knocked on the door.  An angry Man answered the door and said that she was late. If you know Julie she is ‘never’ late for anything and was always early with her Clients. Julie showed the Man her time sheet. She was in fact early. The Man let her in and immediately she knew her Client was dying. The parcel was half of her homemade meal she always delivered to the Client as he would not buy proper food only spend money on cigarettes and booze. The Elderly Man sadly died not long after and he had put in his Will that Julie could stay ‘free of charge for a year in his flat’ and Julie was invited to go to Israel to where he was to be buried. This Man in his kindness had given her the ‘chance’ she needed to get into the film industry.

Julie never forgot this story. Julie landed her first media London job after sending hundreds of CV’s working for the Discovery Channel. The boss was a very letchy man commenting on the way she dressed….she realised he liked her in a non professional way. Julie would go sick and get constant calls from her Boss and cards from him were put into her work drawer admitting his feelings for her. Julie contacted HR. HR decided her Boss was too valuable and they offered Julie a job on another Channel TLC for half the money she was on.

Julie took that job to avoid ever meeting her Boss again. Not long after Julie was headhunted to work for a top TV Company in Rome. Julie flourished at her role, which was to train a team of 6 and eventually this led to her problem solving areas within the company.
7 years later Julie’s mum was poorly back in Ireland so she decided to move back and she got a job as an assistant working for the famous Film Producer/Writer Roger Corman. Not long after she moved up to becoming a Script Supervisor. It was a structured and organised environment. Julie never forgot this. In a 3 month period in between working with Roger Corman Julie was able to assemble an Irish Crew to work on a film in Jersey Channel Islands called ‘The Crooked Mile’ She was involved with the script and able to work alongside the writer so the script worked for the locations and budget.

The Writer was happy as he put his full vision on the script and the Director the same! This movie won a ‘Tribeca Award’. Julie was able to do 2 jobs, work as Producer and Writer. It worked beautifully for her and the team! She learnt and never forgot that preparation of the script is key to a good, safe and happy film set and meant all crew were paid! Julie travelled all over the world for many years with her job and she loved it.

Years later she noticed that The film Industry was changing…she felt not for the better.. A few years ago a very hurtful event occurred to Julie in her life. This in turn meant she began to struggle with her work as a script supervisor. It felt like the organisational Head structure was changing. Scripts were not finished and not locked down, new changes were coming in the night before….Crew were being run ragged! and Julie felt this was not fair as it could be avoided if more preparation was done in the first place. Why were scripts not locked down and too long in duration?  The job Julie loved was becoming unbearable. Shortly after Julie was diagnosed with PTSD and depression by the GP and given anti-depressants. Julie stopped taking the tablets, they were taking away her ‘spirit’.

During this time Julie has done voluntary care work with the Elderly and went back to working on scripts that she has written or co-written herself.  Julie really struggled with the BFI and Creative England online process and waiting process for funding, but lets not forget she was able to produce a film that won a ‘Tribeca’. As an Independent Producer she felt there was no chance of making a film for ‘up and coming talent’ without BFI or Creative England support. She was right about that too!

BFI and Lottery funds have said yes to a movie titled Genuine Fakes but at the last minute mentioned a clause that you can’t Produce or Write means she won’t get funding from them. Julie feels this is mean spirited. BFI first said you will get ‘clouded’ by doing 2 jobs and Julie proved this is not the case, they now say you can’t do 2 jobs. But a Writer and Director is 2 jobs and Producers all feel it’s not fair as Julie has done all the work and must stay as Lead Producer. Then Creative England said ‘don’t like the script’ and Julie feels this is not good enough for public funded bodies just to say this when she has already assembled an amazing team and built a community around the film.  She feels like she has been discriminated against by the BFI and Creative England because of her diagnosis and people are quick to say ‘you will be treated like everyone else’ but that’s not good enough where reasonable adjustments need to be made to help Julie.  She feels the BFI and Creative England have really let her down.

She hopes her letter creates a platform for others to openly discuss their experience with the BFI / Lottery Funding and Creative England.  Julie wants to thank her amazing team who work in an open, honest and transparent way. Her team continue to ask her why the BFI and Creative England have not stepped upto the mark? Julie is also waiting on a written apology from the BFI for the way she was treated at her meeting with Ben Roberts who is in charge of the BFI / Lottery Film Fund.

Julie Daly-Wallman  was only diagnosed 5 months ago with high functioning autism after the process took 2 long years. Julie wants to embrace who she is and hope others do too!

SNJ: Updated EHCP Flow charts and a brand new one for the Annual Review!

SNJ: Updated EHCP Flow charts and a brand new one for the Annual Review!

Resources: The SNJ/DfE SEND system Flow Charts

Special Needs Jungle have given permission to share this from their website post: https://specialneedsjungle.com/flow-chart/ which is extremely useful:

The EHCP process flow charts

The EHCP process flow charts that we collaborated with the Department for Education on in 2014 had become out of date since the ending of the Independent Support service. So, I’ve finally managed to tweak them so that they reflect the new state of play AND, we’re also releasing a BRAND NEW flow chart to help you through the EHCP Annual Review.

As you would expect from us, the flow charts are easy to follow and understand so they are also suitable for sharing with young people, with support. They are meant to be a ‘headline’ overview, not a deep dive into the legalities of SEND so please don’t email me telling me I’ve missed this or that – it’s meant to be simple. If there is an error, however, please email me (rather than tag me on social media that I will miss). If you want to get in touch generally, this is always the best way (but don’t ask for support services, that’s not what we do).

What’s changed?

The main flow charts are essentially the same but better reflect our familiar infographic style and, thanks to help with wording from the national IASS Network, I’ve updated the text to show how the government has changed support for families. Read more about that here if you’re not familiar with the changes. As such, the DfE logo remains as the information is unchanged from the original approved co-production, but now more accurate, in line with the support contracts that they issued to the Council for Disabled Children-led consortium.

Click here to access the charts

All-new Annual Review flow charts

Secondly, so many thanks to our Editorial Assistant and team member, Marguerite Haye, we now have a brand new flow chart to help you find your way through the Annual Review. Actually, Marguerite completed the text for these waaay back before she started her current role as head teacher of a small special school and it’s taken me an embarrassing amount of time to get them made up into flow-chart style.

Anyhow, they’re ready now and I hope you find them useful.

Where can you get them?

I’ll be having them professionally printed in larger quantities soon and you will be able to order them via the website in hard copy to be sent out by post. As you would expect for a voluntary enterprise, there will be a small charge for these to cover costs and time.

However, from now, you can download them entirely for free yourself, you may print them and share them online, under the following Creative Commons Licence:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

This means they can be shared for NON-COMMERCIAL purposes and many not be remixed or altered in any way. Credit is also required, so logos MUST remain intact.

If you would like to talk to us about working together to make similar flow charts commercially (without the DfE logo) featuring your own organisational branding, please get in touch

The flow charts come both with a blue background for sharing and downloading, and with a white background if you want to print them at home to save your ink.

Click here to access the charts

Please do share them with parents, schools, GPs, health visitors, CAMHS services and anyone else who needs to have a quick overview of the SEND EHCP system. 

Aviva Community Fund – vote for Autism’s Got Talent!

Aviva Community Fund – vote for Autism’s Got Talent!

Exciting news! Autism’s Got Talent project has been approved for the Aviva Community Fund! Please click on the following link: https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/voting/project/view/4-854 and vote for us.

It takes a minute and this will highlight the amazing work this charity does by the selfless volunteers – your support is really appreciated.

Oliver Wendt Autism Hero Award finalist – assisting nonverbal children with autism wins Autism Hero Award

Oliver Wendt Autism Hero Award finalist – assisting nonverbal children with autism wins Autism Hero Award

Please read an article about Dr Oliver Wendt who also received the 2018 Autism Hero Entrepreneurial Award from the Anna Kennedy Online Charity, after reaching nearly a thousand users in England, and flew over especially to attend.

Oliver shared “Thank you all once again for a truly wonderful awards event! My team and I are very grateful for the award, and I have very much enjoyed the weekend in London. I am truly honored.”