Help defend freedom of speech: Sanctioned by Social Work England

by Rachel Meade

Help defend freedom of speech: Sanctioned by Social Work England

by Rachel Meade
Rachel Meade
Case Owner
I am a social worker who was sanctioned by Social Work England and may lose my job for questioning the reform to Gender Recognition Act.
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Rachel Meade
Case Owner
I am a social worker who was sanctioned by Social Work England and may lose my job for questioning the reform to Gender Recognition Act.
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Your card will only be charged if the case meets its target of £50,000 by Feb. 12, 2022, 12:32 p.m.


My name is Rachel Meade. I am a social worker who has spent my working life in the health and social care sector. I have been improperly sanctioned by Social Work England, the regulatory body for social work registration, for speaking up about women's rights during the government’s consultation period on reform to the Gender Recognition Act. Following the sanctioning by Social Work England I was suspended from work by my employer and continue to subject to a disciplinary process and have been informed that I am at risk of losing my job, which is my vocational career.


I have instructed my legal team Cole Khan Solicitors to instigate proceedings against Social Work England & my Employer, I am taking my case to an employment tribunal as both these organization's continue to subject me to discrimination on the basis of my protected beliefs under the Equality Act 2010.


I am crowdfunding to pay legal fees to take this case to an employment tribunal. It is essential that Social Work professionals are able to express views and raise concerns about areas of change to public policy that may impact all clients across all protected characteristics. There should be no area of legislative change that is beyond question, particularly in areas of health and social care, where clients are reliant on professionals to constantly interrogate new evidence to enable them to act in their best interests.


This is even more important due to the release on Dec 21st 2021 of the Women's and Equalities Committee Report, recommending that the Government enact a policy of allowing the changing of sex merely by self-declaration with all independent safeguarding processes removed.


Who am I?

 I originally qualified as a nurse and then later trained as a social worker which I have been for over 20 years. I currently work in a busy hospital and have seen first-hand pressures facing the NHS and social care during the pandemic. I have a young family and like everyone try and juggle all demands in my daily life.


I am extremely concerned around the erosion of sex-based rights, as in some cases policies have changed ahead of the law in allowing men who identify as women to access previously single sex spaces for women such as domestic abuse shelters, rape crisis center's, female only bays on hospital wards, prisons, changing rooms etc. It is also a policy issue affecting women's sports and parliamentary all women shortlists. As a social worker these changes to public and social policy may affect our care of clients in areas where there may be a clash of rights and needs, and we should be able to debate and question changes in practice without fear of reprisal.


Social Work England and my employer are both bound by the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act to promote and foster good relationships between groups of people with protected characteristics and those without.  By discriminating against me when I flagged up concerns within a private group they are failing in their duty and inhibiting social workers from asking questions that may be necessary in the care of vulnerable clients.


Summary

I was investigated by SWE due to a complaint being made by a 'friend' and former colleague who screen shot posts I shared within my private Facebook group over a 2 year period suggesting that these were indicative of my fitness to practice as a social worker. These posts were in the context of Government consultations to proposed reforms to the Gender Recognition Act 2004. Many were from National newspapers such as The Telegraph and The Guardian as well as women's rights advocacy groups such as Fair Play for Women and Women's Place UK.


The proposed reforms included a self-declaration model of changing legal sex removing the current need for checks and balances- i.e. the requirement to have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and to be seen by 2 medical professionals. Since the idea was introduced, some policy makers have acted ahead of the law by allowing men who identify as women to access women only single sex spaces as well as encouraging schools, under anti bullying policies, to let boys that identify as girls to use girls' toilets and changing rooms and share accommodation on residential trips. Schools are also encouraged to socially transition pupils with dysphoria within school setting without informing parents. We have also seen police forces across UK recording crime statistics by self-declared gender identity instead of sex skewing crime statistics.


It is vital that professionals working with vulnerable members of the public, in health, social care, education, with children and families, the elderly and within the criminal justice system are able to interrogate these ideas and policy changes without fear of losing their job.


I am in the process of challenging Social Work England - my professional regulatory body who I believe have discriminated against me due to my gender critical beliefs. They placed a public Fitness to practice warning sanction on my record for a year. I was suspended by my employer as a result of Social Work England's decision and am facing a disciplinary process which I have been told may end in my dismissal.


Call to action - I am crowdfunding to raise money to fund my case so I can challenge Social Work England and my public sector employer for discriminating against me due to my gender critical beliefs.


What are we trying to achieve? - We need to stop regulators and statutory bodies from discriminating against professionals who are gender critical and express their protected beliefs. We need to further strengthen equality and human rights protections so other people are not afraid to speak out for fear of reprisals.


What is the next step in the case? –  I am continuing to challenge Social Work England's discriminatory sanctioning of me and the actions of my employer and issue my claims in the Employment Tribunal and I need financial help to help me fund my legal costs to help me fight my case.


Please donate to support this challenge and share with anyone who may wish to support me.


How much we are raising and why? - I am trying to raise £50,000 to go towards legal representation.


Thank you so much for anything you are able to contribute and / or sharing my crowd funder page.

Rachel



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