Social worker told grandparents he was ‘God’ as he refused to let them adopt their own grandson
- Social workers trying to prevent couple raising grandchild accused of bias
- Judge called their evidence ‘begrudging’ and ‘grossly overstated’
- After condemning social workers he ruled grandparents could bring up boy
- North East Lincolnshire Council workers named as part of effort to make family courts more transparent
- Couple claim one of the social workers, Neil Swaby, wanted to play God
A couple have claimed a social worker had wanted to play God as he refused to back their bid to adopt their own grandson.
Neil Swaby, Rachel Olley and Peter Nelson were named and shamed by a furious judge for bias against the grandparents who wanted to give the two-year-old a home.
The evidence they gave to a court as they tried to prevent the couple from raising the child was described as ‘visibly biased’, ‘begrudging’ and ‘grossly overstated’.
Slammed: Three social workers have been named and shamed by a furious judge for bias against grandparents who wanted to give their two-year-old grandson a home
The couple, known only as Mr and Mrs G, said one of the North East Lincolnshire Council social workers, Neil Swaby, had refused to explain why he was not backing their bid for adoption.
Mr G told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme that he had asked Mr Swaby: ‘Who do you think you are, God?’ and Mr Swaby had allegedly replied: ‘In this situation, yes. Get used to it, your grandson will go for adoption.’
Mr G added: ‘The judge asked Miss Olley’s advocate to stand up and he said to her, “basically your case is a shambles”.
‘I could have hugged that judge. I have never known anything like it.’
The condemnation of the social workers came in a hearing in which the judge ruled that the grandparents should bring up the boy, with occasional help from the child’s other grandparents.
Referring to the social workers, Judge Simon Jack said in the adoption case heard in Hull: ‘I found it very difficult to give any weight at all to their evidence.’
The judge said social workers had claimed one set of grandparents – named only as Mr and Mrs G – were already bringing up two older children and the little boy’s brother, and all of the children had difficulties or behavioural problems.
The other set – named as Mr and Mrs C – were said by social workers to have problems with drink and domestic violence.
The social workers, employed by North East Lincolnshire council (headquarters above), were named under new guidance for the family courts intended to make proceedings more transparent
But Judge Jack said there was no evidence Mr and Mrs G had problems with the children and ‘so far as Mr and Mrs C are concerned there is no evidence that I am aware of that any domestic violence or any drinking has had an adverse effect on any children in their care’.
The social workers were named under new guidance for the family courts intended to open up the habitually secret workings of lawyers, experts and social workers who decide on the future of children in the state care system.
The most senior family judge, President of the Family Division Sir James Munby, has ordered that social workers and medical experts in family courts should be named in the same way as witnesses in other courts.
The Hull case came about after the death of the two-year-old boy’s mother, who had a history of drug abuse and violence with the child’s father.
Judge Jack said: ‘Neil Swaby seemed very reluctant to accept anything positive could be said about either set of grandparents. I had the clear impression… he was intent on saying only things which supported the local authority’s case.’
The judge said Miss Olley gave evidence the two-year-old had behavioural problems, but this ‘conflicted very strongly’ with an adoption social worker’s statement.