Laura Sharman 14 June 2016

Council breaks tie with legal firm following inappropriate tweets

Cambridgeshire County Council has said it will no longer use the services of legal firm Baker Small, following inappropriate tweets it made about SEND tribunals.

The law firm was forced to apologise this week after it posted a series of tweets that gloated about winning a tribunal case against the parents of a child with special educational needs.

Solicitor Mark Small wrote: 'Crikey, had a great 'win' last week which sent some parents into a storm! It is always a great win when the other side thinks they won!'

The tweet – and subsequent messages – caused outrage on the social media site, particularly amongst the families of disabled children. The firm represents local authorities in tribunal hearings when the parents of SEND children are fighting decisions regarding the provision of services.

The county council said it would no longer use the firm for any new cases as it had ‘damaged’ parental confidence and their relationship with the council.

Adrian Loades, the council’s executive director for children, families and adults said: ‘We can confirm that we will no longer be using Baker Small for new cases. We recognise the damage that these tweets have done to parental confidence and by extension to the potential relationship between the county council and parents.

‘There can be different views between parents and the local authority in respect of SEN support to children, and we always work hard to avoid this relationship becoming adversarial if at all possible.’

Mr Small has issued a statement stating: ‘I apologise unreservedly for the tweets which were sent out from the Baker Small Twitter account. The actions were taken by me in response to some very distasteful emails I received prior to the offensive posting beings made.’

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