Unlawfully Harassed by Social Work England & Westminster City Council

by Rachel Meade

Unlawfully Harassed by Social Work England & Westminster City Council

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.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: April 29, 2024

Thank you, Thank you!

The Remedy Judgment landed late on Friday afternoon here is a link to it.

Link to Remedy Judgment 

Social Work England and Westminster City Council have been ordered to pay a total of £52,88…

Read more


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.


Opening Submission

Closing Submission

Rachel



Update 31

Rachel Meade

April 29, 2024

Thank you, Thank you!

The Remedy Judgment landed late on Friday afternoon here is a link to it.

Link to Remedy Judgment 

Social Work England and Westminster City Council have been ordered to pay a total of £52,880.55 in damages as compensation for injury to feelings, and aggravated damages. Social Work England has in addition been ordered to pay £5,463.56 “as exemplary damages” as a result of “its serious abuse” of its regulatory power”. This takes the total award to £58,344.11. The Tribunal stated that exemplary damages are “designed to punish conduct that is oppressive, arbitrary or unconstitutional”, and said, “Awards of exemplary damages are reserved for the most serious abuses of governmental power.” It is understood that this is the first time that a Regulator has been ordered to pay exemplary damages because of the manner in which it has carried out its regulatory function.

The Tribunal have also made recommendations that both Social Work England and Westminster City Council are to provide training to managers on freedom of expression and protected belief.

I am hugely relieved that this is all finally over and that the ET have awarded significant compensation to reflect the serious nature of the harassment I experienced just for expressing legitimate beliefs and concerns.

I want to say a massive thank you to everyone for all of your support for me and my legal team. Your generosity has been incredible, and I cannot thank everyone enough. I would not have been able to pursue this case without your support.

You have done much, much more than just help me win this personal vindication and some compensation. The judgment will help professionals in health, social care and teaching to be confident to have the conversations about the Cass Review that they are going to need to have in the months to come, and to do their jobs properly to protect children.

We still need to raise funds to cover the shortfall in legal fees so if you can afford to contribute, please do. You can also help by sharing this link on all your networks.

Thank you so much.

Love Rachel x




Update 30

Rachel Meade

Feb. 12, 2024

First day of Remedy hearing

Today is the first day of my final two day remedy hearing.  I went through the nerve wracking process of giving evidence again this morning. This afternoon my barrister Naomi Cunningham will be arguing for “exemplary damages” against Social Work England  (SWE),  as well as compensation for  injury to feelings,  aggravated damages and legal costs. We will also be asking for the tribunal to make “recommendations” for action by SWE and Westminister City Council 

Exemplary damages are financial awards intended to act as a punishment and deterrent for conduct by public servants that is oppressive, arbitrary or unconstitutional. Awards of exemplary damages are reserved for the most serious abuses of governmental power.  We will be asking the tribunal to consider whether SWE is guilty of oppressive, arbitrary or unconstitutional action  

Social Work England is the regulator, established by statute and given statutory powers, entrusted with the regulation of social workers, a profession of over 120,000 registrants whose work is with some of the most vulnerable adults and children in society. 

The tribunal found that it subjected me to harassment by subjecting me to a prolonged investigation, sanctioning me and referring the complaint against me to a Fitness to Practice hearing after the sanction was withdrawn. The process was prompted by a complaint which was a clear attempt by an activist to silence me. If SWE had taken the precaution of looking at their social media activity this would have been obvious.  

My barrister Naomi Cunningham will argue that professional regulators wield daunting powers, conferred by the state, over those whom they regulate; they can inflict public humiliation, and seriously damage or even end professional careers. They should use those powers with irreproachable fairness.  

We are also asking the tribunal to make recommendations with the aim of starting to change the culture in Westminster City Council and Social Work England so that I and others no longer fear further discrimination. 

This includes a recommendation of  training of managers and HR staff on freedom of expression and protected belief both at SWE and Westminster City Council 

We are also asking the tribunal to recommend that SWE makes a public statement and sends the tribunal’s liability and   remedy judgments to the Chair of its Board, to the Chair of its Audit and Risk Committee, and to the Minister in charge of its sponsor department, the DfE.

I have not yet raised sufficient funds to pay for this final legal stage, and I will need to pay the bill at the end of the hearing. This final stage of the tribunal is critical to making sure that the impact of the judgment has the widest possible impact in reducing the chilling effect on social workers, and enabling them to do their job without fear. 

Thank you again for all your support for me and my legal team. Please do donate one more time to get my case over the finish line!

You can read the full submissions by Naomi Cunningham.

Update 29

Rachel Meade

Feb. 8, 2024

Final push! Remedy hearing imminent

My hearing to determine remedy at the Employment tribunal is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, next week- 13-14th February. 

Unfortunately our attempts to agree appropriate recommendations  and compensation with WCC and SWE without having to go to the hearing have not proved fruitful.  We are now forced to incur further costs and another two days in Court.

The hearing will determine any compensation claims, as well as any other actions and recommendations we will be asking the tribunal to consider making.  I will be asking the tribunal to make orders and recommendations which should help protect all social workers, and prevent people going through what I have had to go through.

I cannot thank you enough for all your support so far. 

Unfortunately, there is still a shortfall to cover my costs for the upcoming hearing. 

If you can contribute, please do. You can also help by sharing this link on all our networks. 

Thank you so much. 

Love Rachel x

  


Update 28

Rachel Meade

Jan. 9, 2024

We won!

The judgement has landed and I am vindicated!

My employer, Westminster City Council and my professional regulator, Social Work England were wrong to have sanctioned me for expressing my legitimate views around sex and gender.

It’s been a very difficult and harrowing three years for me and my family.  I would not have got to this point, come so far, or achieved justice without your incredible support and generosity. I cannot thank you enough.

But, we still need to raise funds to cover the shortfall in my legal costs and representation for the two-day remedy hearing in February. This is important not just for me, but for the whole social work profession, and everyone who believes in freedom of speech on equality and gender critical issues.  I want to ask the tribunal to make recommendations that will help Social Work England and my employer to take the lessons from this process properly on board, and make sure that everyone concerned with managing and regulating social workers understands that we are entitled both to hold and to express sex realist views for the greater good, and to protect those who are vulnerable in society.  

So if you can afford to contribute, please do.  You can also help by sharing this link on all your networks.

Please see link below for press statement / court decision:

https://www.colekhan.co.uk/news/uvzuy6kcrtb5lwg59pxbs44tqbeuj2

Love Rachel x 


Update 27

Rachel Meade

Jan. 8, 2024

Awaiting judgement outcome

Hi, 

Happy New  Year 

Hoping the judgement will be out shortly and will provide an update as soon as we are able.

Thanks again for all your support, contributions and shares 


Rachel 

Update 26

Rachel Meade

Nov. 12, 2023

Judgement delayed

Hi 

Sorry for the delay in providing any updates.

Just to let you know that we have heard from the judge and they hope to be in a position that the judgment is finalised and ready to be announced in early/mid-December.

Fingers crossed it will be good tidings.

Huge thanks again for all your continued support it makes such a world of difference.

Rachel 

Update 25

Rachel Meade

July 15, 2023

Hearing has ended

The tribunal hearing ended yesterday. If you wish to get an idea of closing arguments then please see this link to tribunal tweets. ( hoping it works)
https://tribunaltweets.substack.com/p/rm-v-westminster-city-council-and-bda

 The Tribunal will reconvene on 7th / 8th November ( earliest available date) for their decision and have also pencilled in dates for February in case a remedy hearing is needed. 

Thanks again for everyone’s support.must admit is a huge relief it is over.  Once again any shares or donations still gratefully received.

Much love to all

Rachel x

Update 24

Rachel Meade

July 14, 2023

Final day of hearing

It’s the final day of the hearing today and closing submissions will start at 2pm. Once again the  outstanding tribunal tweets will be tweeting.

Apologies for not putting any links on here yet will try and sort that out in next few days technology is not my strong point.

I can’t thank my legal team  enough who have worked so incredibly hard and been so supportive throughout the whole long process.

And of course huge thanks to everyone who has supported me with your kind words which has  kept me going and through your incredibly generosity via the crowdfunder.

Fingers crossed we will get a positive outcome  which may help others.

Rachel x



Update 23

Rachel Meade

July 5, 2023

Start time 2 pm tomorrow

Just to let you know that the tribunal is starting at the later time of 2pm tomorrow.

I am so amazed at your generosity and all your kind words and will try and hold on to them tomorrow.

Thanks again 

Rachel 

Update 22

Rachel Meade

July 4, 2023

Start date delayed to Thursday

Just a quick update to let you know that the start date for the tribunal has been delayed till Thursday due to lack of judicial resources.

Tribunal tweets will very kindly be tweeting if you want to hear details of the trial.

Thanks so much for all your support and generosity.

Much appreciated 

Rachel 



Update 21

Rachel Meade

June 20, 2023

New Campaign Video for my Tribunal!

With only a couple of weeks to go until my employment tribunal against Westminster and Social Work England, I've been lucky enough to be able to make a short campaign video. It outlines my case, the impact that it's had on me and the main legal points I will be arguing, so if you've ever wondered what I look and sound like in real life, this is your chance to find out! 

This is such an important case as the outcome will determine whether I and every other UK Social Worker will be able to use our voices, protected in law, to raise questions about areas of concern, take part in democratic processes without fear of censure and flag up safeguarding concerns so we can do our jobs to the very best of our ability.

So without further ado, please watch the video, and help me with this final push to raise as much awareness as possible to my case.



Any donations are as always, hugely gratefully received (but please only give if you can afford to). Any shares are, of course, also vital to raise awareness of the case so please share on social media or to anyone who might be interested or able to help.

Thanks so much for all your support, I really am so very grateful,

Rachel xx


Update 20

Rachel Meade

June 18, 2023

Slight delay with exchanging papers

The case papers were meant to be exchanged at the end of last week between all parties but unfortunately one of the parties was not ready to exchange so we are hoping to exchange at the beginning of this week.
fingers crossed 

Update 19

Rachel Meade

June 7, 2023

4 weeks to go till tribunal starts!

I can’t believe it’s only 4 weeks to go until the tribunal starts on the 5th July - The last of the statements etc will be exchanged on the 14th of June.

I’m really nervous but hopeful we will get a good outcome. 

It’s been 2 and a half years since this process started with Social Work England (SWE) Investigation into the complaint made against me for posting articles on my private Facebook pages. I’m more grateful than I can possibly say for the support I’ve had throughout the process.

We’re going to try our best at the tribunal as  we don’t want anyone else to have to go through  this nightmare  

I hope when this is over that other social workers can  feel confident in supporting and safeguarding clients, following good evidence based practice, without fear of reprisal .

Once again any further shares or donations would be amazing as we still need to fundraise more. Thanks again 

Rachel x

Update 18

Rachel Meade

April 11, 2023

Success today at the Employment case hearing

Today was the case management hearing at the Employment tribunal against Westminster City Council and Social Work England.
They were arguing that my  2nd claim (to bring everything that has happened to me up to date) should be struck out. This was denied by the judge who agreed with my legal team that it was reasonable to consolidate the claims and hear them both together.

The judge has extended the length of my hearing in July to 8 days so there will be time to hear all  the evidence.

You can read about the hearing today by the brilliant tribunal tweets. Via link below.

https://t.co/toMR0POiem

Realistically I am going to have to raise my target amount as extra court days means more work for the legal team and of course costs.

If you can donate or spread the word by shares, tweets, etc to help fundraise that would be fantastic.

Thanks again for all your support it means so much

Rachel 

Update 17

Rachel Meade

March 22, 2023

Update! Tribunal case management hearing on 11th April 2023

Since my tribunal hearing was postponed by the courts from December to July this year, there is a new case hearing due to take place on April 11th this year.

 At this hearing the judge will hear fresh discrimination claims from me which I have asked to be heard at the same time as my original claims, in July.

The respondents, Westminster Council and Social Work England are obviously going to challenge this and are trying to get the claims thrown out.

Unfortunately this means increased costs - I know times are tough for everyone, but I urgently need to raise more funds to pay my legal team. Any contributions or shares of my crowdfunder would be amazing.

Thank-you so much for all your support - it means the world as I couldn’t do this without you.

Lastly a huge shout out to the brilliant Maya Forstater who is taking on the last leg of her Tribunal claim today!

Thanks so much
Rachel xx

Update 16

Rachel Meade

Dec. 23, 2022

I have three pieces of news about my case:

NEW HEARING DATES

My case has been re-listed for 5-12 July.

ADDITIONAL CLAIMS

I have now presented to the tribunal a fresh claim for the discrimination I have suffered since my original claim on 7 January, including the disciplinary warning I was given by WCC in July and the SWE fitness to practice proceedings that weren’t discontinued until 17 October. I will be asking the tribunal to hear my new claims together with my existing claims in July. That means there will probably have to be a case management hearing early in 2023.


PUBLIC ADVICE ON MERITS

I am enormously grateful to everyone who has supported me with donations, and I want you to know that your money is being spent on a worthwhile cause. So I have asked my barrister, Naomi Cunningham, to provide me with advice on the merits of the case, and on its wider public importance that I can share publicly.

Naomi concludes that I have an excellent chance of winning my case against both respondents. On wider public importance she says this:

"The article 9 and 10 freedoms of thought, conscience, belief and expression are not just personal freedoms whose destruction hurts individuals; upholding them is essential to the proper functioning of institutions and professions, and of a healthy society and democracy in which received wisdom, new ideas and established practice can all be subjected to dissent, questioning and scrutiny. In pursuing this case, Ms Meade is not merely seeking personal vindication: she is (at some considerable personal cost) performing a service of the utmost importance to her profession, and to the vulnerable groups it serves."

Naomi’s full advice can be read here.

Finally - the postponement of the hearing, the new claim and the likely case management hearing all mean extra costs. So please do support my case if you can afford to.

I want to thank my legal team, Naomi Cunningham, Shazia Khan and Tom Moore from Outer Temple Chambers and Cole Khan Solicitors.

Wishing Everyone a lovely Christmas x
Update 15

Rachel Meade

Dec. 23, 2022

I have three pieces of news about my case:

NEW HEARING DATES

My case has been re-listed for 5-12 July.

ADDITIONAL CLAIMS

I have now presented to the tribunal a fresh claim for the discrimination I have suffered since my original claim on 7 January, including the disciplinary warning I was given by WCC in July and the SWE fitness to practice proceedings that weren’t discontinued until 17 October. I will be asking the tribunal to hear my new claims together with my existing claims in July. That means there will probably have to be a case management hearing early in 2023.


PUBLIC ADVICE ON MERITS

I am enormously grateful to everyone who has supported me with donations, and I want you to know that your money is being spent on a worthwhile cause. So I have asked my barrister, Naomi Cunningham, to provide me with advice on the merits of the case, and on its wider public importance that I can share publicly.


Naomi concludes that I have an excellent chance of winning my case against both respondents. On wider public importance she says this:

"The article 9 and 10 freedoms of thought, conscience, belief and expression are not just personal freedoms whose destruction hurts individuals; upholding them is essential to the proper functioning of institutions and professions, and of a healthy society and democracy in which received wisdom, new ideas and established practice can all be subjected to dissent, questioning and scrutiny. In pursuing this case, Ms Meade is not merely seeking personal vindication: she is (at some considerable personal cost) performing a service of the utmost importance to her profession, and to the vulnerable groups it serves."

Naomi’s full advice can be read here.

Finally - the postponement of the hearing, the new claim and the likely case management hearing all mean extra costs. So please do support my case if you can afford to.

I want to thank my legal team, Naomi Cunningham, Shazia Khan and Tom Moore from Outer Temple Chambers and Cole Khan Solicitors.


Wishing Everyone a lovely Christmas x
Update 14

Rachel Meade

Dec. 21, 2022

I have three pieces of news about my case: (with working link)

NEW HEARING DATES

My case has been re-listed for 5-12 July.


ADDITIONAL CLAIMS

I have today presented to the tribunal a fresh claim for the discrimination I have suffered since my original claim on 7 January, including the disciplinary warning I was given by WCC in July and the SWE fitness to practice proceedings that weren’t discontinued until 17 October. I will be asking the tribunal to hear my new claims together with my existing claims in July. That means there will probably have to be a case management hearing early in 2023.


PUBLIC ADVICE ON MERITS

I am enormously grateful to everyone who has supported me thus far with donations, and I want you to know that your money is being spent on a worthwhile cause. So I have asked my barrister, Naomi Cunningham, to provide me with advice on the merits of the case, and on its wider public importance that I can share publicly.


Naomi concludes that I have an excellent chance of winning my case against both respondents. On wider public importance she says this:

"The article 9 and 10 freedoms of thought, conscience, belief and expression are not just personal freedoms whose destruction hurts individuals; upholding them is essential to the proper functioning of institutions and professions, and of a healthy society and democracy in which received wisdom, new ideas and established practice can all be subjected to dissent, questioning and scrutiny. In pursuing this case, Ms Meade is not merely seeking personal vindication: she is (at some considerable personal cost) performing a service of the utmost importance to her profession, and to the vulnerable groups it serves."

Naomi’s full advice can be read here.


Finally - the postponement of the hearing, the new claim and the likely case management hearing all mean extra costs. So please do support my case if you can afford to.

I want to thank my legal team, Naomi Cunningham, Shazia Khan and Tom Moore from Outer Temple Chambers and Cole Khan Solicitors.

Naomi CunninghamTom Moore

Update 13

Rachel Meade

Nov. 30, 2022

Hearing postponed

Just in - Hearing postponed,

So sorry to announce that the hearing has been postponed tomorrow as unfortunately they did not have judicial resources available to hear it.  All parties were very keen for it to go ahead.

The hearing is to be re-booked and will likely be heard on a date between February 2022 - July 2022.

Will update you as soon as we have a new date.

Huge thanks to my amazing legal team Cole and Khan and Naomi Cunningham for all their hard work this week.

Thanks again for everyone's continued support.

Rachel xx

Update 12

Rachel Meade

Nov. 29, 2022

2 Days until my Employment tribunal!

Its finally here after 2 long years -  My employment tribunal against Social Work England and Westminster Council for discrimination begins this Thursday 1st December 2022 at London Central Court. 

This is my chance to try and ensure that Social Workers and anyone else who works under regulatory bodies hopefully won't have to work in fear of having the 'wrong' views or of being investigated for questioning prevailing ideologies.

I understand tribunal tweets should be live tweeting so you can follow it online.

I'm still short on funding so am making one final push to ask for anything anyone can afford to contribute. I know times are really hard so understand if you can't donate but if you could share this update I would be really grateful.


Thank you so much everyone for all your support - fingers crossed for Thursday.

Rachel xx


Update 11

Rachel Meade

Nov. 19, 2022

-UPDATE - COURT HEARING- 1-9 December 2022 - I NEED YOUR HELP

I will be in the London Central Employment tribunal in less than 2 weeks - Please help me get there by donating.

My gender critical discrimination case against Social Work England and my employer will be held at the employment tribunal between 1- 8th December 2022!

This is a hugely significant case as it will be the first that a professional regulator is being sued for discriminating against a registrant on the basis of her expressing her gender critical beliefs.

A win will provide confidence to all regulated individuals that they are entitled to hold and express their protected beliefs without fear and reprisal of potentially career ending fitness to practice prosecutions.  It is of paramount importance that social workers and other regulated professionals such as nurses, therapists, teachers are enabled to question and discuss practices and concerns within or workplaces to help mitigate risks for our clients. This is a central tenent to safeguarding and at the heart of our work.

I still need to raise money too fund legal fees so if you can afford to contribute that would be great and I would be really grateful if you share the crowd funder son your social media so I can get the message out.

Thanks so much for your support.-

Rachel

Update 10

Rachel Meade

Oct. 31, 2022

Countdown to tribunal

Countdown to tribunal

My Employment tribunal hearing is getting closer and starts on 1st December 2022.

The hearing is about whether Social Work England and my employer discriminated against me unlawfully on grounds of my protected (gender-critical) belief when they put me through regulatory and disciplinary investigations over posts on a private Facebook page.

Social workers, therapists, counsellors, clinicians, and teachers up and down the country are frightened to voice their concerns about an “only affirm” approach to gender distress in children, or to act in good conscience in the best interests of the young people in their care, for fear of the kind of process that I have been put through. My case will have significance for all of these professionals, and others besides.

My legal team for the hearing is Shazia Khan of Cole Khan Solicitors, and I am delighted to announce that Naomi Cunningham from Outer Temple Chambers has accepted instructions to represent me at the hearing.   After having a previously unblemished career, I really don’t want other people to have to go through the stress and distress of 2 long years to clear your name.

I am optimistic that we can win this case and today we have finalised all case documents for the hearing ready to disclose to both parties: -   Social Work England and my employer.

My hearing is listed for 7 days, and there is a great deal of preparatory work still to be done. I still need to raise an estimated additional £50,000 to cover my legal costs to the end of the hearing.

If you can contribute any money to the Crowdfunder, share, tweet, like or email so more people are aware of what is happening this would be fantastic.

Thank you for all your continued support.

Rachel

Update 9

Rachel Meade

Oct. 20, 2022

Update on next steps

The next steps 

To date £60,000 of the target shown on the Crowd funder has been spent as I have been fighting on three fronts:- My Social Work England (SWE) fitness to practice hearing, my employer's disciplinary case and now the Employment tribunal. 

 Social work England chose not to pursue its case against me at the fitness to practice hearing as they realized they had no prospect of finding an impairment against me. The only way to gain proper public accountability for their actions is to take them to the tribunal and ensure that no other social workers are ever sanctioned for asking questions or placing safeguarding at the center of their practice.

This will be an important case to establish what members of regulated professions can and cannot say and how regulators and employers should deal with complaints about their speech. 

I need to further fundraise £35,000 to get to the Employment tribunal.  I would be really grateful if you could donate even £5 to help me get there and any shares or posts.

Thanks so much for your support

Rachel

Update 8

Rachel Meade

Oct. 18, 2022

Good news- no case to answer

My fitness to practice hearing with Social Work England (SWE) has concluded today.

I'm so pleased to report that SWE have discontinued its hearing against me.  They have concluded that there is no case to answer.  Sarah Phillimore , acting as my legal representative was fantastic. The hearing decision will be available on Social Work England's website.

Our response to the decision - https://t.co/xYfCZLBUBo

Its been a stressful couple of years and it has definitely taken its toll but I am so lucky to have had the support of so many amazing people. I received a message from a social worker in Lebanon this week about her concerns.  All the continued interest and support in my case has given me the confidence to keep going.

We have all been working towards the Employment Tribunal which is being held on 1st-8th December 2022 despite attempts to postpone it until next year. Hopefully this will give us the opportunity to address lots of the issues and concerns which may help others who find themselves  in similar situations.

I need a final push to raise more funds for my legal representation at the tribunal heading.

I would be really grateful if you could help me raise funds by sharing, posting or tweeting about my case and / or donating if you can.

Thanks again

Rachel


Update 7

Rachel Meade

Sept. 23, 2022

Social Work England and their Fitness to practice hearing etc

Hi,

Just a quick update to let you know what has been happening recently.

I have an appeal hearing with my employer in October.  

I then have my Fitness to Practice hearing (FTP) with Social Work England from 17th October to 21st October - we are hoping it will be open to the public and can then be re-tweeted.  Due to financial constraints, I am now being represented for the Fitness to Practice hearing by Sarah Phillimore and The Bad Law project who have amazingly stepped in to support me and I am so very grateful.

The Employment Tribunal against SWE and my employer was to start in December, however, both parties have now asked for it to be deferred to a later date citing that they need more time to prepare their case depending on the outcome of the Fitness to practice hearing.  My solicitors, Cole and Khan, and I are awaiting an update to see if a new date will be granted. I will need to continue to raise more money for the tribunal if it goes ahead.

Thanks once again for all your help, support and good wishes. 

It's been a long stressful process but am hoping it is nearing its end and will have a positive conclusion.  If we win, we are hopeful it will make other regulators, organisations and workplaces stop silencing individuals who hold and express concerns around gender ideology and stifle any debate.  

Update 6

Rachel Meade

Aug. 19, 2022

urgent help needed

Hi to everyone who has supported me so far, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.

Update – hearing dates

I finally have confirmed dates for the Fitness to Practice hearing that Social Work England are pursuing against me for sharing what they allege are discriminatory posts on my closed Facebook page. It will take place from October 17th to 21st 2022. This is my chance to clear my name and keep my registration, without which I cannot practice.

Social Work England  (SWE) is the regulatory body governing social work. 

I am hoping that my fitness to practice case will make them realize that my views are common place, worthy of respect and that regulatory bodies have obligations under the Equality Act.

It could have a huge impact on the way that similar vexatious cases are dealt with, against anyone else who works for a regulated profession.

Costs so far

This case has been costly because I have been fighting not only to keep my registration but also a separate case running alongside (which is now nearly resolved) that has allowed me to keep my job and am finally back at work. 

Unfortunately, I am now out of funds and have had to spend a substantial amount of my family savings, but still need to fight to keep my registration.

Costs going forward

I need to raise an additional £60,000 which will cover my legal costs. This includes the legal team’s fees for the 5 days that the case has been allocated (Barrister, Solicitor & Paralegal) as well as all legal casework leading up to the hearing.

I know it’s a huge amount of money to ask for, especially with a cost of living crisis and so many other legal cases in the pipeline, but if I lose this case not only will I potentially lose my registration, but then my livelihood; and ability to support my family as the high earner in our household.

If I can manage to raise this amount or more any excess funds would obviously be donated to support other legal cases.

Please could you help me spread the word on social media, tweet, or share on Facebook or via emails etc. as I am unable to do any publicity due to restrictions placed on me.

I can't thank you enough for your support.

Rachel



Update 5

Rachel Meade

June 24, 2022

Work disciplinary hearing on 28th June

Just a quick update to let you now what has been happening and due to all the delays detailed below to once again ask for any further shares / donations so I can continue to fight and fund my legal costs which have now been drained.

Social Work England (SWE) hearing - 

They were meant to provide me with their case evidence against me for the fitness to practice hearing at the beginning of June, which they didn't. They then stated they would supply it by 24th June (which they have not) and have now have said that it will be by provided by the16th July.  The date for the fitness to practice hearing is not yet arranged, (they had previously stated would take place probably in August / September). It is incredibly exasperating as SWE could have avoided this costly and distressing process by after admitting they had made mistakes. Simply  reviewed their decision and agreed there was no further need for an investigation or any sanctions. As a professional body I'm really not sure what they hope to gain other than to silence any other social workers by making an example  of me.

Westminster City Council (WCC) Work disciplinary hearing- 

I was to have my hearing on 23rd May but it was postponed at the last minute due to WCC having to look over all my submissions prior to the hearing.  It was rearranged for 28th June and to date is still going ahead

Employment Tribunal-

No update - still set for December


Update 4

Rachel Meade

May 4, 2022

Case update

Hi,

Just a quick update to let you know that my Employment tribunal date has been set for the 1st December 2022.

My fitness to Practice hearing with Social Work England will likely go ahead in August - we are awaiting confirmation for the date.

I have been told by my employer Westminster Council that they will be going ahead with disciplinary and are yet to confirm a date.

To continue with support from my legal team I am reliant on donations and need to raise further funds to continue so would be so grateful if you could share my appeal far and wide so I can continue with my actions.

Thanks again for all your kindness and support it really means a lot and makes the days much brighter.

Rachel 

Update 3

Rachel Meade

March 25, 2022

Initial hearing on March 29th!

My discrimination case against Social Work England and Westminster Council is now going to an administrative hearing on Tuesday, 29th March, when my legal team will be presenting my claims. The bulk of the work has been behind the scenes so far and the funds I have are already accounted for in the work already carried out.

My legal team are working incredibly hard to pull together evidence and to make the strongest possible case for me and by extension all Social Workers and employees in regulated professions. It is vitally important that we are able to express views on legitimate political processes, particularly when those processes involve changes to the law that will impact on our service users.

As such, it is vital that I am able to win both the Employment Tribunal against Westminster Council and Social Work England as well as the forthcoming Fitness to Practice hearing with Social Work England.

As Social Workers, we must be able to balance the needs and legal rights of every service user we support. There will be occasions when some of those needs and rights are in conflict and we have a statutory duty to ensure that any conflict of rights and needs are resolved equitably, while promoting and fostering good relations between different groups protected by the 2010 Equality Act.

Two years ago, a single complaint was made about my sharing posts on my private Facebook page relating to reform of the Gender Recognition Act. This was at a time when the public were actively encouraged to engage in the political process of law reform via a public consultation process.

In the time since then, the landscape of understanding about this issue has changed rapidly and is now firmly in the wider public domain. The interim report from Dr Hilary Cass into the operation of the Tavistock GIDS has confirmed that the guidelines for treating children with gender dysphoria need urgent review. NICE have confirmed that the evidence base for the medical treatment pathway of children is very low and as a result, Sweden, France and Finland have recently revised their practice.

The ruling in the Maya Forstater case has confirmed that holding beliefs about the immutability of sex is protected under the Equality Act. Social Worker and child safeguarding expert Sonia Appleby won her employment tribunal case against the Portman & Tavistock Trust, after raising concerns about the treatment of the rising number of children referred to them.

I know that there have been numerous fundraising campaigns recently for other cases, but I desperately need your support in order to take my case forward. Anything you are able to donate would be incredibly gratefully received - if you are not able to donate could I ask you to share the page ss widely as possible, to raise as much awareness as possible of my case?


Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart

Rachel


Update 2

Rachel Meade

Feb. 10, 2022

Case update

Hi,

Following on from the interventions of my legal team, Social Work England  (SWE) directed the Case examiners to re visit their decision. The case examiners tried to be recused from doing this but Social work England insisted.

The case examiners have referred the case to a Fitness to Practice hearing and their original decision and report has been removed.  This means I no longer have a sanction against me on my registration and on their public website pending the Fitness to Practice hearing. This is my chance to clear my name and professional reputation.

I will be notified of a date for the Fitness to Practice hearing but am unclear if it will be before my initial employment tribunal hearing on 29th March or not.

I need to ensure that I have enough funds to pay my legal costs and continue my fight. I would be hugely grateful for any further donations or shares or forwards of my crowd funding page.

Thank you so much for anything you are able to do

Rachel

Update 1

Rachel Meade

Jan. 26, 2022

Tribunal claims are in

I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone.  I've been really touched by all your kind  and inspiring messages of support and your generosity in helping me fight my case. 


Here is an update on some of the things that have been happening.

My case was featured in The Times highlighting concerns over silencing rights to freedom of speech and impact and real life consequences. 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk//article/social-worker-rachel-meade-suspended-over-gender-critical-facebook-posts-d8hdx7fmx

Following on from the Times article Lord Macdonald raised the issue in the House of Lords debate on 17th January when discussing the Police, Crime and Sentencing and Courts Bill.

https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2022-01-17/debates/D4DCBA9B-3C6A-4F1C-B932-5E04908DF13C/PoliceCrimeSentencingAndCourtsBill 


My legal team have now registered the claims with the Employment tribunal


If you are able to please can you continue to help spread the word for me by :-

  • Posting a link to Facebook for my crowd funding page
  • Tweeting in support.
  • Pledge again
  • Share my campaign with colleagues, friends and family

     Thank you again for all your help

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