Secrecy is the last refuge of a scoundrel - the ongoing saga of Lisa Blakemore Brown

I have already posted about the victimization of Lisa Blakemore Brown by the British Psychological Society. Since then the case has been discussed by many concerned bloggers, and commentators on those blogs (See for example here here here here here here here).

My correspondence with the British Psychological Society asking to attend her hearing (the first day of this repeated hearing is today) is below. It stands for itself. I understand that several other concerned doctors and colleagues had similar responses. With apologies to Samuel Johnson.

From: Aubrey Blumsohn
To: Christine O'Rourke (British Psychological Society)
Subject: Re:Ms Blakemore-Brown
Sent: Fri 26/01/2007 01:36


Dear Ms O'Roarke,

I would like to attend the hearings involving Ms Blakemore Brown. Assuming that Ms Blakemore Brown herself would not have any objections, please let me know whether that would be possible.

Pending your answer I will ask her permission.

Yours Sincerely
Dr Aubrey Blumsohn

From: "Christine O'Rourke"
To: "Aubrey Blumsohn"
Subject: RE: Ms Blakemore-Brown
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 11:01:31 -0000


Dear Dr Blumsohn

If Ms Blakemore-Brown wishes to make an application for you to attend the hearing, she can apply to the Chair of the Hearing. The Chair would then decide whether to allow that application.

Yours sincerely

Christine O'Rourke
Professional Conduct Officer


From: Dr Aubrey Blumsohn
To: Christine O'Rourke
Subject: RE: Ms Blakemore-Brown
Sent: Fri 26/01/2007 12:00


Thank you Ms O'Rourke.

It must however surely be the case that the hearings are either secret or they are not. I understand that FTP procedures may sometimes be subject to some element of secrecy, but the only legitimate reason for this is to protect the interests of the respondent.

I wish to discover the status of these proceedings.

1) Upon what basis will the Chair make such a decision (presuming that Ms Blakemore Brown does not object?).

2) Since I am not acting on behalf of Ms Blakemore Brown it is not clear to me why she should "make an application for you [me] to attend the hearing" any more than you yourself should make such application.

Yours Sincerely

Dr Aubrey Blumsohn

From: "Christine O'Rourke"
To: Dr Aubrey Blumsohn
Subject: RE: Ms
Blakemore-Brown
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 12:20:03 -0000


Dear Dr Blumsohn

The hearings are private to protect Ms Blakemore-Brown's privacy. If she wishes you to attend she can ask the Chair to admit you - ie make an application. That application can of course be made by her legal representative if she instructs her to do so.

The Chair will, I assume, make such a decision based on the interests of Ms Blakemore-Brown primarily, but also the interests of the public and the overriding principle of ensuring a fair hearing of the matter. He will take legal advice from the Committee's legal assessor before making a decision. That legal advice will be shared by Ms Blakemore-Brown.

Yours sincerely

Christine O'Rourke
Professional Conduct Officer


From: Dr Aubrey Blumsohn
To: Christine O'Rourke
Subject: RE: Ms Blakemore-Brown
Sent: Fri 26/01/2007 15:55


Thank you. I do now have such permission. Can you notify me as a matter of urgency (today) as to whether I can attend - I will need to make travel plans.

If the answer is no I would appreciate knowing the reasons for this and a copy of the relevant procedures.

Kind wishes

Dr Aubrey Blumsohn


From: "Christine O'Rourke"
To: Dr Aubrey Blumsohn
Subject: RE: Ms Blakemore-Brown
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 16:07:46 -0000


Dear Dr Blumsohn

As I explained in my previous e mails, your application would need to be considered by the Chair, with confirmation from Ms Blakemore-Brown in writing that she wishes you to attend.

The Chair is currently out of the country and I do not believe he is due to return until Monday.

Yours sincerely

Christine O'Rourke
Professional Conduct Officer

From: Dr Aubrey Blumsohn
To: Christine O'Rourke
Subject: RE: Ms Blakemore-Brown
Sent: Fri 26/01/2007 16:42


Dear Ms O'Rourke

You state:

"As I explained in my previous e mails, your application would need to be considered by the Chair, with confirmation from Ms Blakemore-Brown in writing that she wishes you to attend.".

The words "in writing" do not in fact appear previously. I note your statement that the Chair is out of the country.

I would nevertheless appreciate a copy of your documentation with relevance to secrecy of proceedings (under circumstances where a respondent does not wish such secrecy) and the need to ask the Chair and legal assessor. I would imagine this would be a public document. If helpful, please regard this as a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Kind wishes

Dr Aubrey Blumsohn

From: "Christine O'Rourke"
To: Dr Aubrey Blumsohn
Subject: RE: Ms Blakemore-Brown
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 16:57:56 -0000


Dear Dr Blumsohn

I apologise that my previous e mails did not make it clear that any consent from Ms Blakemore-Brown would need to be evidenced in some way. I believed it to be self-evident.

The Society's procedures are set out in the Society's Statutes 14 and 15. These can be found on the Society's website.

The Society is not a body covered by the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours sincerely

Christine O'Rourke
Professional Conduct Officer

From: Lisa Blakemore Brown
To: Christine.ORourke@bps.org.uk,
Subject: Re: Ms Blakemore-Brown
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 10:31:27 -0500


Dear Ms O'Rourke

I have no objections to Dr Blumsohn attending the Hearing. I have nothing to hide.

Sincerely

Lisa Blakemore-Brown

From: Aubrey Blumsohn
To: Christine O'Rourke
Subject: Re:Ms Blakemore-Brown
Sent: 29 January 2007 02:42


Dear Ms O'Rourke

please send specific reference to your procedure pertaining to the requirement to avoid transparency.

I understand that Ms Blakemore Brown has sent an E-mail to you denoting her non-objection.

Kind wishes

Aubrey Blumsohn


From: "Christine O'Rourke"
To: "Aubrey Blumsohn"
Subject: RE: Lisa Blakemore Brown
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 13:50:30 -0000


Dear Dr Blumsohn

I have now heard from the Chair of the Fitness to Practise Committee that he has refused your application to attend the hearing. Ms Blakemore-Brown and her legal representative have been informed of this decision.

Yours sincerely

Christine O'Rourke
Professional Conduct Officer

From: Aubrey Blumsohn
To: Christine O'Rourke
Subject: Re:Lisa Blakemore Brown
Sent: 29 January 2007 14:06


Dear Christine,

With similar respect, I ask that at the very least you provide a reason for such refusal given that Ms Blakemore Brown wishes transparency (and has specifically expressed non-opposition to attendance).

Regards

Aubrey Blumsohn

From: "Christine O'Rourke"
To: "Aubrey Blumsohn"
Subject: RE: Lisa Blakemore Brown
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 14:12:40 -0000


Dear Dr Blumsohn

I am sorry but the Chair has not authorised me to give you a reason.

I am sorry that I am not able to be of more help.

Yours sincerely

Christine O'Rourke
Professional Conduct Officer

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Comments on: Secrecy is the last refuge of a scoundrel - the ongoing saga of Lisa Blakemore Brown

 

Blogger Dr Rita Pal said ... (January 30, 2007) : 

All decisions made by a body such as the British Psychological Society are subject to judicial review.

The refusal without reason is simply inconsistent with good practise. This shows the manner in which the BPS attempts to practise their own brand and interpretation of the law.

I would suggest a request under the Data Protection Act 1998 for the transcript detailing the judgment at the BPS to refuse you attendance.

The BPS have something to hide. I wonder what the police will make of them.

Dr Rita Pal
NHS Exposed
www.nhs-exposed.com

 

Anonymous A disaffected member of the BPS said ... (January 30, 2007) : 

A disgrace. Welcome to 20th century Soviet Psychiatry in 21st Century Britain.

 

Blogger Roy M. Poses MD said ... (January 30, 2007) : 

More George Orwell than Samuel Johnson, 1984 in particular

 

Anonymous Stuart Jones said ... (January 31, 2007) : 

As LBB has declared she has "nothing to hide" and presumably you would have attended the hearing only as a supporter of LBB's human and civil rights, with nothing personal to gain -- It must be presumed the BPS feels it has "something to lose" by your attendance.

Further, as LBB had declared she has no objection to your attendance and "nothing to hide" it must be surmised that "something to lose" could be transparency, and should that be the case, then it would seem to be in the public interest and simple justice that the BPS's FTP committee should itself be investigated for it's impartiality, and indeed competence to hold such hearings.

Stuart Jones.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (February 01, 2007) : 

This blog has only been drawn to my attention today so please excuse my ignorance as I'm only a bit through reading it. I felt I had to comment though as I'm appalled by the way LLB as been treated but not only that - why on earth did the chair of the fitness to practice committee turn down your request to attend?? I know you yourself have no reason but why on earth did they have to question your fitness to practice??

As someone who has been questioning what the BPS represents and whether it is value for money or a complete rip-off I'm really beginning to wonder what role the BPS should have
(especially in the light of statutory regulation). What will things be really like if they were the people responsible for ensuring standards for patient care and professional ability! Although I disagree with the current proposals for statutory regulation half of my mind is at present shouting bring on the HPC!

 

Anonymous kelly said ... (February 03, 2007) : 

Wow. Just...wow.

Are these people accountable to one one besides themselves?

 

Blogger Silver Lining said ... (February 06, 2007) : 

Why are the BPS dodging transparency?

What are they hiding?

Why has Lisa Blakemore Brown been stripped of the rights to an 'independent' witness?

Why are the BPS afraid of an independent witness at the proceedings?

Most worrying - what is that they intend to do that they do not wish to be witnessed?

История повторяется !

 

Blogger One Small Voice said ... (February 06, 2007) : 

From the BPS Mission Statement, its "Strategic Plan"

http://www.bps.org.uk/downloadfile.cfm?file_uuid=1B29BCC5-7E96-C67F-DA9DBE0A1D59367F&ext=pdf

PAGE 4 (of 14)

"B. To improve the transparency of the way the Society operates."

Perhaps they've shelved that particular aim until they've finished advising transparency in politics, in which case it may never happen?

http://www.bps.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/releases$/division-of-occupational-psychology/politics.cfm

"...Acknowledging the pressure for greater transparency and understanding of political roles, psychologists have pin pointed the skills of effective political leaders..."

Would BPS better convince politicians to be more transparent if they started leading by example?

 

Anonymous peagee said ... (February 06, 2007) : 

Are the BPS aware of the concept of "ACADEMIC FREEDOM"?

Apparently so.

"[PDF] What price free speech?
... we know about the lifecycle of organisations. The notion of academic freedom arose when universities were small. As higher education has expanded, universities ...


www.bps.org.uk/publications/thepsychologist/search-the-psychologist-online.cfm?fuseaction=inc_getFile&ID=425&Publication_ID=1 "


"[PDF] Thorny issues
... In a survey published in March, 24 per cent of respondents rated their academic freedom to test received wisdom and to put forward controversial ideas as ...


www.bps.org.uk/publications/thepsychologist/search-the-psychologist-online.cfm?fuseaction=inc_getFile&ID=395&Publication_ID=1 "



Judging from the way BPS are treating Lisa Blakemore Brown, they clearly believe that "academic silencing" by their own organisation should be exempt.

How arrogant of them.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (February 06, 2007) : 

http://www.bps.org.uk/the-society/about-psychology-and-the-society/about-psychology.cfm

"About Psychology"

"But psychologists do not simply collect evidence to explain people’s behaviour; they use their understanding to help people with difficulties and bring about change for the better. For example, psychologists are concerned with practical problems such as:"

"How can bosses stop strong leadership spilling over into bullying?"

"So psychologists have a valuable contribution to make all areas of life today."



NB: Except in cases such as the bullying of Lisa Blakemore-Brown by the BPS.

 

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