Putting a date in the diary with professionals
Once the social workers had been identified, and once permission to contact them had been granted, the next challenge was trying to get through to the social workers.
Usually, I’d ring the council’s switchboard. This could take anything up to 20 minutes to get through to. On some occasions it was simply not available.
When I did get through, I’d be referred to the reception for Children’s Services. Here I could be waiting for another 5 or 10 minutes to talk to someone on reception, only to be told that the social worker was out of the office.
I should add that at any point during this process that the phone-line could go dead!
When the social worker wasn’t in the office it was usually possible to leave a message on their answering machine.
However I sometimes decided not to: once you’ve left a voicemail it’s hard to know if they will hear the message and respond to it. Plus you’ve effectively barred yourself from contacting the professional for another week.
On some occasions I was given the email address of the social worker, but was also warned that social workers don’t often have time to read all their emails, or at least not the ones about arranging interviews!
The fact of the matter is that whether I tried one route or another, whilst I had initially thought it would take just a few minutes to arrange an interview with a professional, once I had their number, in practice it could take hours of work, and sometimes up to a month before I was able to get in touch with them!