Police say they expect a demonstration in Leominster this morning (June 30) against the conduct of Herefordshire Council’s children’s services department to pass off peacefully.

Some potential attendees had contacted the organiser, local support organisation A Common Bond, saying they were fearful to attend due to a rumoured large police presence.

But a West Mercia Police spokesperson said: “Our local policing team in Hereford have been working closely with the organisers of the event on Thursday and we expect it to pass peacefully.

“As such, we don’t anticipate the need for a large policing presence.”

The protest is scheduled to begin at 9.30am at the Grange park, Leominster.

A Common Bond’s founder Angeline (we are using her first name only to protect her privacy), who will speak at tomorrow's event, said she had previously worried the demo might not go ahead due to concerns raised by fellow parents over the likely level of policing.

She added that while the council has apologised for its department’s failings highlighted in the BBC Panorama programme last month, which she appeared in, “no one I have spoken to has received an apology directly”.

The programme exposed a number of long-term failings at the department in its care of children, which led to a series of damning High Court judgments against the council.


Having since spoken with North Herefordshire MP Sir Bill Wiggin, “I have come out feeling positive and confident that we will be heard”, Angelina said.

A Common Bond is planning a meeting shortly between Sir Bill and families who have been affected by Herefordshire Council’s children’s services, and also hopes to share their concerns with the council’s children’s services scrutiny committee, made up of county councillors.

With other campaigners, the group is also seeking a change in the law to bring greater transparency to social work, and new professional guidelines.

It intends to hold a second protest, at Herefordshire Council’s Plough Lane, Hereford headquarters, at a date yet to be set.

A Common Bond also plans to launch a helpline, will hold online courses for affected parents – the first to give guidance on interacting with professionals – and is developing a mobile phone app hosting resources and discussion.

Information on any of the initiatives can be found at the group’s website, acb.org.in, via its Facebook group, or by emailing acbhereford@gmail.com .

We'll bring you a report on the protest later today.