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What Would You Do?


narnia
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I am in the very awkward position of having information about a person applying for a senior post in a preschool that makes me question her suitabilty for the post ( she witheld information about the way another member of staff treated a child when she worked there previously). I think I know what to do, but would welcome your input on this please.

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What a horrible position for you to find yourself in :o

 

Witholding such important information would certainly make me question the suitability of this applicant not just because she is applying for a senior post but because she is applying for any post.

 

Children's safety and wellbeing has to be our top priority at all times and to ensure this is maintained there may be times when we have to speak up - there may be some 'fallout' as a result but for me the children must always come first.

 

I don't know how you have this information (and appreciate you may not want/be able to divulge that) I am not sure what your position is, are you on the interview panel or required to provide a reference maybe.

 

Sorry to be blunt but from the information given I would not want the applicant to be successful in a job application to my pre-school.

 

I also think you know the answer to your question and perhaps by writing your post it has become clearer in your mind - quite how you go about doing what you feel is the right thing I am not sure,

 

Very tricky position and not easy for you but the children have the right to be protected from any form of inappropriate treatment and in my book those who know of inappropriate treatment of children and do nothing are not much better than the perpetrators

Sorry not sure I have been much help!

Edited by Geraldine
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Is this for a position in another group narnia?

 

How have you come by this information? If you were involved in this incident and have first-hand knowledge of what she did (or rather didn't do) and consider that she poses a threat to her prospective team being able to effectively safeguard children, then I think you have a duty to ensure the information reaches the decision maker in some way.

 

However, if the information is second hand, then I think you should prevail upon the person who told you the details to share what s/he knows - I don't know how much credence the information would be given coming from a third party.

 

I'm not an expert on the new ISA regulations, but I thought I read somewhere that it will be/is an offence to withhold information about the unsuitability of a person to work with children. Might be worth checking where you stand legally before deciding what to do!

 

Maz

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Oh Narnia - why you? You do seem to be a problem magnet at times xD (meant in a nice way!!)

 

HappyMaz is right -

 

"From October 12th 2009 employers of staff and volunteers have a mandatory duty to refer names of people presenting relevant concerns to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). Hence where disciplinary action is taken against an individual due to safeguarding concerns, it is not acceptable to simply ask that individual to leave your organisation. "

 

"Employers, social services and professional regulators have a duty to refer to the ISA any information about individuals who may pose a risk ensuring potential threats to vulnerable groups can be identified and dealt with."

 

Although neither site specifies whether it has to be firsthand knowledge it appears that you have "a mandatory duty" to speak up :o I'll be interested to hear what happens next....

 

Good Luck!

 

Nona

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NO< NO NO, I wasn't involved........................I would have jumped on it immediately if i'd been there! But the source is unimpeachable....what is ISA??

Independent Safeguarding Authority - they'll be the body who are in charge of making sure no-one unsuitable gets to work with children.

 

I didn't mean to suggest you were involved and did nothing - I just wondered if you had been involved in the original scenario, but that the person in question had left and was now moving onto another position!

 

This needs some thinking about!

 

Maz

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Independent Safeguarding Authority

 

The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) was created as part of the Government’s Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults. It is a Non Departmental Public Body, sponsored by the Home Office.

 

Nona

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Guest jenpercy

Hearsay evidence is always tricky - even with the ISA regulations. If you are on the interview panel, you can check personally with the referee from this job for further details. If she was disciplined for this, then not appointing her is a obvious. If you are not on the pan e, then a quiet word to ask them to check references would be in order. I hope you have enough applicants, so that appointing someone else would be straightforward.

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Does this person not have a right to know that there is a black mark against her? I think the interviewing panel should come clean in a calm non-confrontational manner and say that they have a concern about an incident they have heard about at one of her previous settings. Does she recall the incident and does she think it was handled correctly? Her reaction should tell you a lot. If you then decide not to appoint her you are at least on firm ground rather than relying on hearsay.

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For what it's worth I think you need to tread very carefully - the information you have is not first hand and you could open yourself up to charges of spreading malicious rumours or even worse slander. Maz gives very sound advice to check out whether the source is willing to "stand up and be counted". This is especially true if you have no connection to the setting doing the recruiting.

 

 

There is also the issue of how much time has passed - e.g., why did you/the source do nothing before given the serious nature of the allegations?

 

You could always phone the NSPCC for anonymous advice.

 

It is a horrible position to be in a sort of dammed if you do and dammed if you don't

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This is a great result. You have done the right thing in making sure the decision maker has all the information they need to make a judgement as to this person's suitability.

 

Deb W makes a very good point which is one I made in my original post before I realised you weren't talking about someone you were hiring, and I had to delete the whole thing! I believe the candidate has every right to know what the allegation was and give her account of what she did and why (if indeed she remembers after the period of time has passed).

 

We all have to be accountable for the decisions we take, and I do believe that if there are question marks against an aspect of our practice we should be given the opportunity to account for them. I wonder if the interview panel will address the issue directly, or whether they will just be more rigorous in their questioning about safeguarding?

 

Either way you played a blinder narnia - hopefully now you can stop fretting and put it to bed!

 

Maz

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