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Protest calls for accountability and improvements to Lincolnshire’s public services

A small protest held outside Lincolnshire County Council’s offices saw residents call for accountability and improvements to public services across the board, from domestic abuse support to SEND provisions and highways.

The demonstration was organised by Nix Wilson, a local author and campaigner, who seeks to be a voice for the voiceless after her own negative experiences with local social services.

A handful of people gathered outside Lincolnshire County Council’s offices in Lincoln on Wednesday morning, holding signs that read “Truth, Honesty, Integrity” and “how big does the threat have to be for you to do your job?”

Protestors in Lincoln. Photo: Ellis Karran
Protestors in Lincoln. Photo: Ellis Karran

A demonstration like this has been particularly poignant in Lincolnshire following the harrowing discoveries around the Bronson Battersby tragedy in Skegness, where a two-year-old child was found dead alongside his father, also deceased.

It is believed that Bronson died of starvation after his father Kenneth, 60, died of a heart attack. The council confirmed a “rapid review” into the case while Lincolnshire Police referred itself to a watchdog over the incident.

Nix told reporters that she’d been contacted by the council prior to the protest, confirming that it has “approached the Ombudsman” for advice on implementing new systems and practices around complaints procedures.

Calling for better services. Photo: Ellis Karran
Calling for better services. Photo: Ellis Karran

She says the council also stated it will conduct a full review into her own case, which saw social workers accidentally reveal her location and the school her children went to, while her ex-husband launched what she called a campaign of harassment against her family.

Nix’s ex-partner pleaded guilty to stalking involving fear of violence and received a four month prison sentence, suspended for a year, back in 2022.

Nix said these recent lines of communication with the county council have been a “really positive step in the right direction”, so she felt obliged to help others and be their voice after her own experiences with social services.

The protest took place outside Lincolnshire County Council's Newland HQ
The protest took place outside Lincolnshire County Council's Newland HQ

“In 18 months of my case we saw two data breaches, admissions of negligence and complaints that weren’t addressed,” she said. “We are all human and everyone would love to know what will happen in the future, but that’s not the case.

“There’s always going to be learning curves and hindsight, but this reflects a wider system failure.

“It wasn’t until I started talking about my story that I realised how big a problem there is, as so many people were reaching out with their experiences, whether it was issues around SEND help, highways, domestic abuse support, anything really.”

A major element of the protest was a suggestion box, which invited people to share their thoughts on potential ways Lincolnshire County Council can improve its services.

Suggestions included funding for more youth centres rather than things like skate parks, as this would give teenagers and young people more to do in safer environments, as well as the idea of a domestic abuse hub for Lincolnshire, and general improvements to the county’s highways.

Nix felt that in areas such as SEND provision, there was a lack of human interaction to help people in genuine need, referring to multiple experiences she’s heard of people being greeted by automated systems when trying to contact the council over issues and concerns.

“This group of people I speak to all have different experiences with the council,” she said.

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“Whether that be help with special needs support, provisions, education and health care plans, you name it.”

Residents who could not make the protest were invited to send organisers a message and have their voices heard, with the suggestions box delivered to the council upon the conclusion of the demonstration.

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