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#1 Normanorm11

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 09:52 PM

Hi All, I have recently taken on the role of Committee Chair at a Committee run provision.

 

The staff in the setting have been there for a number of years, and the supervisor has been in that role for what will be 20 years next year.

 

I have worked in a number of roles through the years mainly working alongside the education sector.

 

When I received the 'Committee Information Folder' it contained pretty much zero information that was useful and I have had to start from scratch getting a lot of it.

 

Asking the Supervisor has been difficult and every time I ask I get a look of this isn't my job - but I don't know who else to ask.

 

We have major issues with finances, document retention and safeguarding. We have students, an apprentice and a regular volunteer who has development delay and they had never been asked to produce DBS checks. I raised this in our last committee meeting, and asked that we have the number of the certificate and date on file. Bearing in mind that the meeting was two weeks ago, I still haven't been given any further information and I know that the regular volunteer and apprentice still haven't produced any information at all. To make matters worse, a parent was employed for the Summer Term last year and no DBS check was made at all, she continued to volunteer and that check has only been completed in the last 3 weeks because I provided the resources for it to be done as soon as I found out.

 

To make matters worse, the information that was on the file for the staff was not the DBS certificate number or date, but the original application number with 'E0'. They were applied for 3 years ago, and now the supervisor cannot find the certificate information.

 

The Safeguarding policy that has been signed off previously by the Pre-School Supervisor (not the committee and a whole other issue) states that appropriate checks will be made prior to any role starting placement, employment and volunteering. - This is to me a clear breach of that policy.

 

Having spoken to the PSLA about all of the issues surrounding the pre-school, they have advised that if a lack of information continues I should threaten disciplinary action. When reading the Disciplinary Policy 'serious failure to comply with policies, procedures and legal requirements that safeguard children' is a category of Gross Misconduct - would this fall under that?

 

I've ruffled a number of feathers coming in and trying to do 'the right thing' and all I get back is 'well the last chair didn't tell me we needed that', or 'I've been on safeguarding courses and I've never been told that' 

 

I know that the supervisor has never had an appraisal, and the committee has never existed as it should because it has pretty much been lead by the supervisor.

 

Any advice that you can give would be gratefully received!

 

 


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#2 thumperrabbit

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 07:18 AM

Oh dear sounds like you've got a real job on your hands! :( 

Do you have any other committee members? Have they been doing the role a little longer and can shed some light on the situation?

You are going to have to tread very carefully with the Supervisor unless you aren't bothered if she leaves?

Do all the staff get on? Or does the Supervisor 'rule the roost' so to speak

Perhaps you'll need individual informal chats with each staff member if they won't speak with supervisor around, tell the supervisor you want to introduce yourself as the new Chair

If you can afford it, perhaps just get the whole team to apply for up to date DBS's? even if you can't afford it without the info you are possibly going to get an Inadequate so ..... When was your last inspection? are you overdue?

Good luck!!


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#3 Normanorm11

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:02 AM

I have other committee members but we are all pretty new to the role, actually no one knew what the roles were as they were told by the supervisor it's just a nice thing to do to help raise money, organise events - not you effectively 'run' the preschool business side. They were OFSTED inspected last year and got a Good in all areas - how, I have no idea because leadership and management is non existent, and majority of the information was incorrect.

I'm lucky because I have full support from the other committee members, as they are fully aware of the issues that I have raised, and they had other issues of their own on top of what I had looked at. Also the other members come with a background in childcare where as I am finance and personnel.

Supervisor definitely rules the roost, staff morale is really low, and I have already had a couple of conversations with staff members, one is wanting to leave the setting as she has just given up. Over the years any ideas they have had about enriching the provision and doing different things have been disregarded and it's just the same old toys that come out every day. This week was a themed week, but if anyone other than parents had walked into the preschool you would never have known as it was just the same old stuff.

I've got a quote for DBS' to be carried out by the local authority as an umbrella body so I'm going to get all of that into place this week - alongside asking the staff members to look for their own certificates as what is now an interim measure.

#4 Wendy123

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:41 AM

I must say that DBS is first and references. I must also say that in a lot of settings that are committee run the manager/supervisor isin a lot of cases left to do everything as noone else does it. I know how your supervisor feels but not to have dbs in place is her fault. Whether she should be finished I dont know. I dont think you cqn just blame her as if other staff had any real concerns theu should have done something about it.

 

Capita do online dbs


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#5 Mouseketeer

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:51 AM

Wow quite a task to sort , were none of the non-dbs volunteers/students in in the day for it to go un-noticed when checking the single central record, I'm presuming the inspector asked to see it :-/ volunteers will only cost £8.10 we use capita

As a (very) long in post manager it is very easy to fall into the 'it's easier to just do it myself' mind set and to be honest I'm sure many managers of committee run settings including myself do most of what the committee roles are supposed to be, I do write the policies, most committee wouldn't have a clue what needs to go in them but they are all run by the committee and signed off by them, I send my committee everything I send to staff (something's only to the Chair) that they need to be aware of, last week it was the new EYFS framework and changes, I asked the chair and treasure to speak to staff regarding the introduction of the work place pension (and yes it did mean getting them up to speed and giving them all the info they needed to do that, It would have been much quicker to miss out the middleman so to speak and just speak to staff but I am not the employer the committee are and it's really important that the Chair especially understands the recruitment process - which should be robust and promote safeguarding)

Do you have any information about the roles and responsibilities of committee members that you could sit down with the supervisor and go through together and draw up an action plan e.g. Policies will be discussed with and signed off by the committee, as the chair you will carry out her supervisions.....

I do wonder how low staff morale really is, you say the are long standing but they don't seem to have been pro-active in making anyone aware of the situation, if it was that bad would they still be there ? Where is the Deputy in all this ?

Good Luck, it sounds like you have the drive to turn this around and make it a safer, better setting for staff and children, searching the forum for 'committee' might turn up some helpful info..look out for Rea a member with loads of Chair experience :-)

http://eyfs.info/for...p/?hl=committee

Edited by Mouseketeer, 19 March 2017 - 08:54 AM.

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#6 Normanorm11

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:19 AM

I got my DBS through Capita, as have the other committee members. It's going to be difficult for the volunteer with developmental delay to do all of that themselves so I am going in to help complete it dependent on them having the relevant ID - which has been requested by the supervisor.

OFSTED - came on a day none of the volunteers were in, but what's concerning about that to is that the list of affiliated members on OFSTED was a number of years out of date when compared to the committee membership at that time and it was just passed off as an error on the OFSTED system.

The policies are put together by the supervisor, but they have never been passed by the committee, she has signed them off herself.

Previous committee meetings have been it seems to mainly make plans for the next fundraising activity and how to advertise. There hadn't been a finance update until I asked we considered appointing a new treasurer (due to a conflict of interest) and that upset the supervisor and current person

Communication between staff and committee has been non-existent in the past. The committee meetings are held mid afternoon whilst the setting is running - giving no opportunity for staff members to attend - even if it's just to get an update about fundraising activities or open days. The supervisor attends all meetings but tends not to pass much, if any information on to the staff. I want to change this and give them the opportunity to attend meetings - to give feedback on different issues, but I am fully aware there are matters that can't be discussed with the staff.

Staff have not had any sort of relationship with the committee for a number of years, and I think that they have got to the point where they turn up, do their job and leave. The deputy tends to avoid any sort of conflict and confrontation and again does her job. The likelihood is they aren't aware of any of these problems to even raise them.

#7 Fredbear

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:32 AM

Hi crumbs, it sounds like you have a few issues to resolve. So I would prioritise them as you cannot do it all in one go.
There is a good document called roles and responsibilities of a committee, not sure if it's PSLA. That clearly defines responsibility and by whom.
Firstly definetly get the DBS checks in place.
Ensure the policies of the preschool are shared by all staff and committee and updated and signed annually.It is the responsibility of the committee not the supervisor. Although her and the staff may help with this.
Have you spoken to your Early years adviser with the LA at all.
Supervisors/ Managers do tend to do many roles that are really committees responsibility however it has sometimes been the only way to get people on board, and keep the place running.
That said committees have a legal obligation so decisions should be agreed together, and with the staff team.
I would suggest a meeting with all staff and committee to move things forward.
Then if the Manager is unhappy a discussion could be had with them separetly.
Good luck and feel free to ask more if you need to.
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#8 Mouseketeer

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 09:42 AM

Are you also the nominated person ? The supervisor would need to be a committee member if she is ....this looks like a big 'fail' on Ofsted's part just to accept an admin error in who the members are, especially when you hear of other settings who have gone straight to inadequate because one cm hasn't done their EY2 check...have you all done these ?

But on the plus side you have time to turn it around, cross the t's and dot the i's.

#9 Inge

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 10:34 AM

Having been a manager / supervisor of a committee setting, it is often easier to just get on with the job and let the committee do the minority of it because they change so often and are not aware of the amount of work involved - when you tell them they often run a mile .

They regularly changed annually, so by the time they knew the job they left..

 

We found treasurer particularly difficult as they often left the whole thing in a box and did not touch it.. we even had one who did not pay her own fees owing us a huge bill and an empty bank account because she did not bank anything for 3 months - took me and an accountant friend 2 months to sort out the mess.. I am sure there are many other stories out there..  but on that I did persuade the committee to hire a book keeper from then. 

 

I was always relieved to have a chair who wanted to actually do the role, but some may think that to let them take over and then leave in a year a lot of hassle. 

 

But as you are willing and it looks like it needs sorting , my advice would be to take it slowly, dealing with one thing at a time. 

See if there is an advisor locally who could help our LA seem to not have them anymore.. PSLA maybe?

Find out the roles of the committee and chat with your supervisor on how you would like to get them more involved and doing the roles as they should be - emphasise that it is to relieve her for the more important role of running the setting and concentrating on the children, planning and resources rather than the admin of the setting. 

 Then  start with staff , DBS,  there should be some information about employment somewhere, references, / application forms etc for any recent staff.. must admit it was often lacking for long established staff as they had been employed before a lot of this was needed. Perhaps a meeting with all staff individually , saying you want to know the staff a bit better as you are new to the role.. 

Once these are in place work through what you feel needs prioritising.. finances/bookkeeping?

Policies- we always did these with staff and committee together but were signed off by the committee- reviewed regularly . 

COmmittee meetings were often hard evenings when babysitters were needed which is why ours were daytime when open - but we sent minutes of the meeting to all staff , leaving our anything that was confidential to the committee. Use email addresses to sent them with no cost.

 

Ofsted never had our records correct.. no matter how often we sent forms, told them, even when they rang us once to ask about our committee they were all wrong.. and once had the committee of another setting under ours as we had a similar name! We always did the correct paperwork, but it never seemed to help. Who is the nominated person with them?  Need to find out and check - could be the supervisor if she is a committee member.. if not it needs sorting. 

 

Good luck.. 


Inge





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#10 Normanorm11

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 11:16 AM

Are you also the nominated person ? The supervisor would need to be a committee member if she is ....this looks like a big 'fail' on Ofsted's part just to accept an admin error in who the members are, especially when you hear of other settings who have gone straight to inadequate because one cm hasn't done their EY2 check...have you all done these ?
But on the plus side you have time to turn it around, cross the t's and dot the i's.


Yeah I'm the nominated person, so I'm aware the book stops with me which is why I'm all in a bit of a flap.

I've seen about the EY2, it's what initially raised my queries about the OFSTED info and our listings, let's say questioning the previous chair hasn't gone well. Currently getting the EY2's processed as waiting on a couple of DBS numbers before they can be fully submitted, but hopefully in the next couple of weeks they will all be submitted - I'm sending off the EY3 this week to get rid of all of the old affiliates too.
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#11 narnia

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 11:36 AM

Haven't read through the other responses, but it seems to me that Safeguarding is the priority. ALL staff, volunteers etc MUST have these done as a matter of urgency. It beggars belief that this has not been done and it doesn't matter that the supervisor rules the roost...shewon't HAVE a roost if you all get caught in this state.


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#12 lsp

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 11:48 AM

Have you seen a copy of the groups constitution? Are you a member of a body e.g. Preschool Learning Alliance etc?

#13 thumperrabbit

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 01:07 PM

I will be the first to admit that policies and procedures were never read by any of our committee in all the time I was at pre-school; except when I first joined as a committee member!  I had a rolling programme of review/renewal which were done in staff meeting time therefore all the staff had an input, and I emailed them to all staff & committee once reviewed & updated.

Admissions policy & Fees policies were ones that I insisted that committee reviewed & revised each year and obviously because it affected them they were interested in these!! ::1a 

 

It's hard being committee run, both for committee and for staff particularly the supervisor/manager - I've been both and I'm not sure which was the better role :blink: 


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#14 blondie

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 02:00 PM

first priority is DBS - get everyone sorted - then make sure all details (including committee) are listed on a form so easily available for anyone to see. Our form has columns -

name/ dbs number/ date obtained/who obtained from/position in setting -volunteer,committee, staff etc/ suitability to work.yes/no/who obtained dbs - it's something like that - we have this stuck inside a locked cupboard so can show to anyone who needs to - hopefully that will make them take notice (do you need these for ratio numbers which makes it a bit harder)

Copies of all policies should be available for parents etc to look through -we have ours on the information table - our chair read the policies page by page (initialled each page as did so to confirm agreed to everything on that page) and then signed the final page where required to approve each policy - this is done annually.

Re the people not bringing in stuff re dbs - I would maybe put something in writing to them saying to provide dbs or details to apply for dbs by certain date or not able to continue? 

I am surprised your Ofsted didn't bring this up as this was one of the things our inspector was very hot on.

Well done to you - as the buck will stop with you if anything happens so you need to feel confident in what is happening at the setting.

I would get PSLA worker in and ask for her support to get things sorted and order of importance -maybe with Supervisor there too -either at first meeting or second so you have the backing of the PSLA worker- you have a big job ahead of you - keep in touch and let us help where we can

Re policies and procedures - do staff know these, have they had input? We review a policy at staff meetings -starting with safeguarding - this way staff can put forward thir understanding of the policy


Edited by blondie, 19 March 2017 - 02:06 PM.


#15 Normanorm11

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 03:53 PM

DBS - should have that al sorted this week

Single Central Record - I've put that together - that's where I noticed the differences in DBS application and certificate numbers pulling all of that information together.

There is a policies folder, stuck in a box next to the entrance so I'm not sure how many parents know that is there - as mentioned above I don't think they have ever been put to the committee as they are all signed off by the supervisor.

I don't know what OFSTED looked at, I've asked the previous chair and I think that they may have told them of an improvement plan they have in place that is being worked through, but the previous chair stood down immediately after the inspection. And I haven't seen any improvement plan.

Good idea about the PSLA advisor, I have spoken to LAWCALL about my issues and sought their advice, but will try to speak to a regional advisor this week too.

I'll check with the staff to see what input they have had, I doubt it will be any, and as far as I'm aware they have only in the last 12 months started having staff meetings etc.

Thanks all for your advice :)

#16 Normanorm11

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 04:00 PM

Have you seen a copy of the groups constitution? Are you a member of a body e.g. Preschool Learning Alliance etc?


We are a PSLA member, and there is a constitution on file - signed only by the supervisor. I think that they have tried to go through it back in 2011 as there is a copy of one with some notes on it.

Also I doubt we are in the 15% that have submitted the constitution to the PSLA!

#17 Mouseketeer

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 05:33 PM

If it makes you feel better nor are we :-/

Edited by Mouseketeer, 19 March 2017 - 05:33 PM.

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#18 lsp

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 06:48 PM

We are a PSLA member, and there is a constitution on file - signed only by the supervisor. I think that they have tried to go through it back in 2011 as there is a copy of one with some notes on it.

Also I doubt we are in the 15% that have submitted the constitution to the PSLA!

I know we sent ours to Charity Commission along with a copy of the minutes from the meeting the constitution was adopted but I am not sure it went to PSLA :huh:



#19 thumperrabbit

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 06:55 AM

I know we sent ours to Charity Commission along with a copy of the minutes from the meeting the constitution was adopted but I am not sure it went to PSLA :huh:

No nor us, do you know where it actually says we have to do this? It seems like a lot of us are in the dark about this one!



#20 Cait

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:37 AM

Apparently there was a form that came out with the constitution that had to be completed and returned to the PSLA when it was adopted. They then told the CC and as soon as that was ratified, we would be notified that we were running to that constitution. I don't recall having ever seen such a form, and as far as I was aware, writing it on the annual return to the CC was all that was required.
However, the preschool is now all official. Sigh.
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#21 Mouseketeer

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:37 PM

Where do you write it on the annual return? I've never seen it as a question on it? Just completed the new return last week and didn't see anything on there either :-/

#22 Cait

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:00 AM

Have they changed the form? There used to be a box that asked what constitution you were using.
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#23 Mouseketeer

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 06:19 PM

I didn't notice a box, or if there was I didn't tick it, it took me to a gov.uk site to do it this time

#24 Cait

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:40 AM

I think on the first page it used to ask what governing document you were using.
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