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London Borough of Islington

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

I think it's time to talk about Islington. Here it goes: I worked for them for 8 years, up to 2015. When I got offered the job some of the children centres were not yet ready. I wanted a specific one in Old Street but the worker at Bemerton Children Centre resigned soon after starting there. They needed someone to transfer there as soon as possible to assess families' needs and to support them. This was the closest centre to where I lived at the time and I had gone round to see the building from the outside, in an evening. When I was there I witnessed an accident in which a child had been hit by a vehicle and was lying on the road lifeless while everyone was waiting for an ambulance. I took that as a bad omen and had made the decision not to go there. That's why I had gone to the centre which was not fully operational yet. But if I didn't move to Bemerton I would wait many months in limbo for the other centres to settle down in to offering regular services. Bemerton also offered to give me flexible hours to enable me to do my second job which was only a few hours per week. So I accepted going there.

My first line manager there was simply great. Those nurseries can be environments in which family dynamics are re-enacted. There were many other managers some of whom were not very professional. There was competition between them and some lacked the professionalism they needed for the job. I saw a lot of things that wouldn't be expected to take place in such a workplace. There was a nursery in the children centre with glass panels looking in to the corridor. On one occasion, I saw a child being dragged by the arm in the toddler room and reported it to my manager. He dealt with it by talking to the Head of Centre. Other employees also complained to Ofsted about how children were treated in the nursery later on during my employment in this place.

My manager resigned from his job a couple of years after I started and we were left to just get on with our jobs. This, surprisingly worked out well. We did office work mostly and some of the visiting supervisors guided us when needed. The head of centre Gilles Shewell wanted to employ a particular person to become our manager but that person refused to apply for the job when it was advertised. He gave the birth of his first child as an excuse but in fact he knew he was not the right person or ready for the job. No one was offered the job despite the large number of applications and the hard work of the Human Resources. Quite a long time after this incident the job was re-advertised. The person Gilles Shewell wanted was simply made to apply for it as he was already in the organisation and he was coached for the job interview and of course he got it.

This person simply wasn't interested in behaving like a manager in the beginning. He refused to even read the handbook the previous manager had prepared for him, came and left when he wanted. When he attempted to behave like a manager he just did whatever he wanted. As ridiculous as it was, he would spend all day 'supervising' one employee who tended to flatter him and missed the 20 minute supervision sessions for the other two of us. People made jokes that after all his post was not really needed. Gilles Shewell started getting involved with more and more with our management and used this awful manager for his purposes which were not professional or fair at all. I will give more details in another post. His actions involved serious discriminatory practices and are evidenced.

I will skip most of what happened around that time. I need more time to write them in a precise manner.

I did a few things to deal with the awful environment at Bemerton Children Centre. When it didn't improve I moved to another centre. A few months later, Gilles Shewell also moved to the same cluster and started managing my new line manager. My manager who had been ok until that point started behaving in a way I can use many words to describe but will use 'primitive' on this occasion. It was clear that her behaviour was generated by Gilles Shewell. I had had enough at that point and applied for voluntary redundancy to give me some time to apply for new jobs. At the time they were open to voluntary redundancy applications but refused mine on the basis that they needed me.

It was an environment I couldn't stand any more, so I simply couldn't go to work. They sent me to Occupational Health for an assessment and Occupational Health advised me to file a formal complaint, which I did. I met Penny Kenway and Gwen Fitzpatrick and one of their very crafty administrators for a long meeting in which I explained the details of my complaint. Guess what they did, they pretended Penny Kenway who is the Head of Islington Children Services did not attend this meeting. They claimed I had not given them enough details in this nearly two hours meeting. They refused to investigate my complaints. I asked them to investigate my complaints again. They refused again and continued to pretend Penny Kenway who is a close friend of Gilles Shewell had not attended the meeting or heard my complaints.

In this meeting, while discussing Gilles Shewell, I mentioned an incident in which a child had been poisoned twice by the same food he was allergic to, in the same week. That also happened to be the week Ofsted had come to inspect the centre. I was off work at that time but some shocked employees later told me that Gilles Shewell had asked the staff to not tell parents they had got an 'outstanding' as it would lead to a complaint by this parent who obviously knew Bemerton didn't deserve an 'outstanding'. At the same time they were trying to sack their teacher with the excuse of poor performance. Gwen Fitzpatrick and Penny Kenway defended Gilles Shewell's attitude as they believed they had a right to defend their "outstanding' by preventing a parent complain despite having their child hospitalised twice in one week because of this nursery.

Penny Kenway continued to pretend she was not at this meeting and dismissed me from work at a meeting at which I was not present. Their excuse was that I refused to go back to the same office. They had already refused my suggestion of moving to a different centre or a different department altogether. They were simply angry that I had complained about their favourite friend but desperately tried to force me to return to work. London Borough of Islington sent me a dismissal letter very late but apparently backdated my notice pay. So they still owe me wages and have accepted that is the case.

Gilles Shewell did a lot of other questionable things and either forced people to resign by long term methods of wearing them out or by unfairly dismissing them at a time Employment Tribunals were charging fees. I have seen disabled people being dismissed with the excuse of them not being able to do the job. Making adjustments was not offered to those people. People talked about racial discrimination and how it was used by this particular person against many of the employees. He manipulated basic rights of employees such as different types of leave for his purposes, ie denied it if he didn't like someone.

The Employment Tribunal fees were my reason for not being able to take them to court at the time. I had to deal with the financial side of matters and made decisions accordingly. I held a few jobs two of which were live in nannying. This turned out to be a murky industry and I ended up taking one of them to Tribunal two years ago. One of these so called employers whose real name is Melanie Mareuge-Lejeune contacted all of the employers that were listed on my CV and misrepresented herself as a prospective employer after I had resigned from the job and when I had started proceedings against them. When she contacted London Borough of Islington, they didn't check her identity, didn't check her lies, didn't ask for consent from me and provided this person with a "reference" that stated I was 'dismissed'. I am sure those managers I had complained about made this decision fully knowing this person was going to use this piece of paper in a hostile way. After all she was only asking for negative information. This piece of paper has since been used by Melanie Mareuge-Lejeune and her partner Stephen Derwent Griffiths many times and illegally. They created a whirlwind of legal consequences in which people who had nothing to do with any of these events were hurt. London Borough of Islington knows about these matters but did not do anything about it that I know of.

If you are one of those 6000 people who work for Islington I warn you to be very careful. They may share your information with malicious people but refuse responsibility. Document everything and challenge everything. I know that some very professional and great people work there as well. I hope you can get some help from them. If the managers try to block your access to Human Resources, fly over them. They may have friends who are higher up but ignore it. Use your phone fully and record everything. I accidentally recorded this meeting in which Penny Kenway denies to have attended as part of a long recording. At the time we had extreme antisocial behaviour on our street and it was custom to record when going out. I often forgot to switch off the recording. I guess universe works in mysterious ways! I am planning to publish this recording. You may find out some very cagey ways of how London Borough of Islington works. I only hope you don't copy their behaviour. The world needs more integrity.

Post: Blog2_Post
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