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Can I Be Disciplined By A Manager Who Was Involved In The Incident?


garrison
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I apologise for the length of this post but I need advice urgently

My manager informed me that I am to have a disciplinary hearing on Thursday about the length of time it took me totake action regarding a POSSIBLE safeguarding issue.

My manager is the CPO and I am the deputy CPO and we had been discussing the fact that a little boy had several existing injuries over the last 2 terms, several of which couldnt be adequately explained by his parents.

On discussion she asked me to ring safeguarding to ask 'at what point should we be flagging this up as concerning?' AT NO POINT WERE WE RINGING TO MAKE A REFERRAL - we were just wanting advice

Due to business and other demands I didnt do this immediately and she then said to me 'I was meant to remind you but I forgot - can you make sure you ring them.

I then did so and the issue was resolved - Social services met the family and were satisfied there was nothing untowards happening.

Apparently now, upon investigation by the trustees of the company (of which I am one) they have decided a disciplinary is necessary.

My question is can the manager - who is also at fault for not following procedure be allowed to conduct this disciplinary. The other trustee who is also going to conduct this is her best friend- is this allowed?

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Sorry I don't know the direct answer to your question but is it just you that is facing a disciplinary? If there was any fault to apportion for any delay surely the buck stops with the CPO. OK you didn't immediately do what she asked but she also forgot!!

 

Thankfully it all turned out Ok but things could have been different and maybe there are lessons to be learnt but from what you have said I think it relates to communication between you and the manager - she openly said she meant to remind you but forgot

 

Maybe I am wrong in my opinion but all this manager/deputy whether it's child protection or any other issue I believe that ultimately the manager is the one responsible and at times has to 'carry the can' for errors made by staff that she/he has delegated to????

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My guess is that you're not in a union? If not, remember ACAS are there to support you (and your employer, to ensure that they don't find themselves the subject of an industrial tribunal claim at a later date because they've handled issues such as these incorrectly).

 

My initial reaction is that if there is a need to use the disciplinary procedure over this issue, then you should both face it together. Ultimately as CPO it is her responsibility to ensure the correct procedures are followed, so I can't really understand why you have been singled out. Certainly I don't think it is appropriate for her to conduct the disciplinary since she was so involved in the incident under investigation.

 

What does your disciplinary procedure say? Have a good look at it and make sure procedures are followed to the letter.

 

My guess is that you are feeling a bit ganged up on, and this can only be exacerbated if your manager's best friend is conducting the disciplinary with you. If your procedure allows it (and it should) then you should ask to have someone with you for support - although it is a safeguarding issue, there shouldn't be any need for the child to be named, so there shouldn't be confidentiality issues.

 

Good luck - what a terrible position to find yourself in. Sending you positive vibes that you can remain strong, are able to tell the truth and stand up for yourself. I know it isn't easy with your manager in charge of the whole procedure. Take care.

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Thanks for the replies - I do have the procedure and so far it hasnt been followed in that I havent received a copy of the investigation (although I have just e mailed a request for it)

Gezabel - it is just me facing the disciplinary

I do have someone coming with me to the disciplinary but she is my aunt who also works with us - is this ok? (the manager has asked me not to discuss it with anyone - how can I get a work colleague to accompany me if this is the case?!)

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Difficult one this!

 

I agree with the above answers, you should not be facing disciplinary action alone. As the CPO the buck does stop with your manager, unless there is some reason why she cannot undertake this role (holiday, sickness etc)

 

My understanding is that as Deputy CPO you are responsible for initiating any procedures ONLY when your manager is absent, therefore as she was fully aware of the situation, it was her job to make the call - she shouldnt have asked you to do this!

 

Without a doubt i would be taking Maz's advice and phoning ACAS, who will give you sound advice on this issue. There does appear to be a conflict of interest regarding the disciplinary panel and it may be possible to request someone more impartial.

 

Good luck!

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I'd be very interested to see what the investigation found - and whether you can challenge any inaccuracies, especially if there are any in connection with your manager's part of this. I honestly can't understand how she can lead this disciplinary impartially when she was involved at every stage.

 

Just another thought - is this being treated as an allegation made against you under your safeguarding/child protection policy? If so, then the procedures within that policy should be followed.

 

If your policy allows for someone to accompany you, then the disciplinary will need to be handled in such a way so as to protect the child's identity. Really there is no need to identify the child or family, but perhaps you could ask the question so that they can consider how this will be done.

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I have rung ACAS and while they have to remain impartial they have expressed doubts over the fact that the manager should be the one doing the disciplining. We have a board with 6 other trustees so I have e mailed one of them and voiced my concerns.

I have also requested a copy of the investigation - the manager has wrote an e mail saying what was discussed rather than send me the minutes from it (if indeed there are any!) and I dont feel this is enough.

I have raised several questions to which I wait replies from

The more I stew over this the more I feel this in unfair and biased!

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After numerous e mails to the manager and another trustee voicing my concerns and making it VERY clear that I wont be taking this lying down I have now been told that I am not being disciplined and this is just an investigation into what happened and ways forward (quote)

All of the paperwork I have received says otherwise and I have told them this too!

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My understanding is that as Deputy CPO you are responsible for initiating any procedures ONLY when your manager is absent, therefore as she was fully aware of the situation, it was her job to make the call - she shouldnt have asked you to do this!

 

 

I dont have any knowledge to share but I too thought this. It would certainly be the position in a school.

 

Hope this works out well for you.

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I really do think that you should talk to ACAS for advice as so far this seems to be a bit of a shambles in terms of what is happening. Whatever your setting's disciplinary and grievance procedures are there are statutory guidelines and they have to follow these, otherwise you could have a case against them. How your Manager can be involved is the first problem as she is obviously culpable herself and therefore should not be part of the meeting. If it was me I would put an immediate objection in writing as you are giving evidence which implicates her. As Millies has said please record everything that is said. Make sure that someone takes a transcript of what is said and don't sign it if you don't agree. An investigatory meeting is the first stage but if your manager is doing it that can't be correct, as she should also be under investigation. Check your role description as, in schools, this can only be delegated to a deputy if the Co-ordinator is absent. She was there and she should have done this herself.

Best of luck and good wishes.

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Hi I do think it is unreasonable for her to be part of the investigation if she was involved in the incident. My understanding is that the other trustees should do both hers and yours separately and once completed decide the way forward for the future. As for your Aunt attending with you, I would also suggest you take someone not directly involved in your provision to take notes etc. Wishing you well with this.

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Upon querying lots of things with all parties involved I have had the manager removed from doing my disciplinary. AS it has gone straight to disciplinary rather than an investigation I feel that this is a breach of policy and I will be saying this ( and lots of other things) in the meeting.

Thank you for all the advice you have given me

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Well if nothing else, you've let them know that you're well informed and are not prepared to let them walk all over you. Make sure you keep notes, and ask them to clarify anything so that you can write it down accurately. Take your time, don't be rushed and make sure that when you leave, you have a clear idea of what has been said, agreed and what the outcome is. The better your note taking is, the more evidence you will have if it doesn't go to plan and you need to take further action of your own.

 

I hope it won't come to that, but good luck!

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I have now found out 'off the record' by one of the trustees that my manager never wanted any discpilinary process put in place but was overruled by the chair of trustees. I am extremely angry as I work very closely on a daily basis with the chair as she also works in nursery - she has only been in the job 6 months and I was the one who looked after her and made her feel part of the team.

I know this shouldnt make any difference to the profesionalism required in the setting but I feel personally hurt by this and see no way back for our relationship now

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It is difficult to know, given that we don't understand the basis on which the decision to use the disciplinary procedure was made, but it may be one of those situations where the Board of Trustees felt they had no alternative but to take this action. In that scenario the need to ensure children are safeguarded would over ride any concerns about personal relationships within the team.

 

It may be that the Chair feels her responsibilities with regard to safeguarding children weigh heavily on her shoulders, and she is taking extra precautionary measures to ensure that the setting has met its obligations to this child. She may feel this is an important step to take, especially if there is any likelihood that there might be repercussions for the setting. Although in this case, I would expect to see your manager to be dealt with in exactly the same way as you.

 

It can be incredibly tricky in situations like this because often we are friends with our working colleagues, and sometimes the line between our professional and personal relationships can become blurred. I know it is difficult, but in order to get your situation resolved you will need to work hard to concentrate on the processes, procedures and lines of communication that contributed to the incident under discussion. There will inevitably be fall out of a more personal nature once matters have been concluded but for now you need to try to put that to one side.

 

There seems little doubt from a bystander's perspective that this whole episode hasn't been handled very effectively (especially when Trustees are briefing you 'off the record' - that is a serious breach of confidentiality in my opinion, and has actually done you a disservice rather than making you feel more positive). If this is being dealt with as an investigation now and not as a disciplinary hearing then hopefully you be able to ask all your questions, and will find out more about why you've found yourself in this situation, direct from the horse's mouth so to speak.

 

Good luck - try to keep your chin up, and I hope this has a positive outcome for you all.

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All went well today - got a temporary verbal for not actioning the request to ring safeguarding which is a fair cop.

Really took them to task over the procedure and the 2 trustees doing the disciplinary fell to pieces - they knew that they couldnt argue with the facts I had presented and are now going to review the policy.

Onwards and upwards!

 

Thank you for all the support and advice you gave me

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I am glad it is all over and had a fair outcome. You must be feeling very relieved and also proud for standing up for yourself. Perhaps the Safeguarding procedures need reviewing with the staff as an action point, and of course the Trustees need to make sure that they fully understand how to follow disciplinary procedures, including confidentiality.

Well done :-)

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Well done you! So glad to hear you have an outcome you can live with. Also I'm glad to see they're reviewing their policy. Often it is only when policies are tested out in real-life scenarios that the loopholes and problems come to light.

 

I hope you can put this all behind you now and begin to rebuild relationships which might easily become fractured in situations such as these.

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Just wondering what type of nursery you work in. Not 100% as don't have the documents infront of me ... but I'm fairly sure that if you are a Charitable setting, your trustee's are not allowed to be paid employee's. You can have staff representation (usually the manager). Maybe also check your constitution whilst looking and tweaking those policies.

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Just found out today that one of the trustees who was asked to vote on whether I should face diciplinary action thought it was referring to an earlier issue involving another member of staff!!! She wasnt given the correct story before being asked her opinion - the mind boggles!!

Edited by Rachael1820
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  • 2 months later...

No she can't have any involvement in this disciplinary as she would be part of the investigation which should be completed BEFORE the disciplinary. I would advise you to get advice from your Union (if you are a member) or ACAS

She can't just give you a disciplinary!! An investigation should take place first as I previously mentioned - check the disciplinary procedures. Sounds like someone is trying to save their skin! I am qualified in this area by the way :)

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Just wondering what type of nursery you work in. Not 100% as don't have the documents infront of me ... but I'm fairly sure that if you are a Charitable setting, your trustee's are not allowed to be paid employee's. You can have staff representation (usually the manager). Maybe also check your constitution whilst looking and tweaking those policies.

 

I think depending on the constitution you have, staff can be on the committee and hold trustee roles but they can not be paid for the trustee role, only their setting job.

 

No she can't have any involvement in this disciplinary as she would be part of the investigation which should be completed BEFORE the disciplinary. I would advise you to get advice from your Union (if you are a member) or ACAS

She can't just give you a disciplinary!! An investigation should take place first as I previously mentioned - check the disciplinary procedures. Sounds like someone is trying to save their skin! I am qualified in this area by the way :)

 

Hi headstartbourne, welcome to the forum :D ::1a

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As my settings CPO and Manager I would say the buck lies with me unless I was absent for some reason. If I am on the premises then it is my duty to ring for advice or make any referrals, which then would be logged and dated to say when it was done and who I spoke to. Why did your manager not ask for this information, if she had of done then maybe she would have realised sooner that you had not done it. I don't think your Manager should be on your disciplinary hearing and certainly not with her friend. Seek advice.

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