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Unfounded Allegations To Ofsted...


lovemyjob
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I am not sure where to post this , so apologies if it is incorrect.

 

Has anyone else ever been the victim of anonymous complaints to Ofsted, accusing members of staff of allegations that even Ofsted don't believe ?

 

We are currently in this position after being accused of numerous things (which i don't really want to go into detail at this stage) and also being accused of these things on several occasions over the last few months.

 

It is absolute hell at work and staff at breaking point, with very little support from anywhere. :( :(

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Gosh this is nasty. I think Inge's group might have been on the receiving end of unfounded allegations which Ofsted investigated and found to be malicious and unfounded (hope my memory serves me correctly!).

 

If so she'll be able to offer words of comfort, and if not maybe she'll remember who it really was.

 

Without knowing any detail is it hard to offer advice, but I just wanted to send my sympathies really. :(

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You're right Maz, I think it was Inge and from what I remember Ofsted were very helpful and understanding.

 

Lovemyjob, if you're not already doing so I'd keep a record of everything, dates, times, who, what ect. I would also try to keep a positive attitude too so that other people wont worry if they hear the accusations. If you appear worried someone will presume you have something to worry about, because some people are fair like that. Keep smiling :1b

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Can you contact your LA early years team? Surely they are there to support you?

I'm sorry to hear that staff are at breaking point; how incredibly stressful for all of you. Great advice above.

 

I had a visit from Ofsted many years ago, saying that a parent had complained about something and she was here to investigate. We presented our case, showed relevant documents, she spoke to other members of staff to confirm what I'd said and went away. Within a few days we had a letter saying that the complaint had been unfounded and that the parent would be informed.

 

Have you had a visit from Ofsted yet?

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yes , we were victims of anonymous complaints.. it was really hard to get anything done as we had no idea about the complaint until we had Ofsted turn up on the doorstep. So in a way was different as they had the complaint and turned up, no notice or any way of knowing about it . But we were able to answer all questions to the satisfaction of Ofsted and got a letter saying unfounded.. it was the one time it was by someone we did not know.. and we fully believe could nto have even been in he setting as it was about us not changing nappies or taking children in them... anyone coming in would have known otherwise..

 

I seem to have been a magnet for this more than once, as second time we knew all about it, she shouted out across the room she was reporting me.. and flounced out.. so we had all the paperwork and everything in place for that visit..not a nice thing to be waiting for though..

 

third time was against a member of staff.. a child protection issue... even worse.. but again we had paperwork in place.. by now I documented EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING! and in fact I reported it to Ofsted before the parent did... along with everyone else I could think of.

 

I did find each and every time Ofsted were very fair, listened and in fact more than helpful, one helping me reword and add to a policy to make it clearer.

 

We were lucky and I got support form an early years advisor.. not the one allocated to us but her senior.. ho helped us by phone and called in several times.. but do think our location was 5 min walk from the Town hall helped, and I was doing some mentoring for her and other work with her ... so was well known to all the early years team.

 

My staff team were very strong, and all trained by me over the years so supportive of each other, it helped.

 

There really should be someone you can turn to locally for help and advice.. not sure of the set up these days, but an LA advisor to call or I even called the safeguarding board who helped support us with the last one..

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I did find each and every time Ofsted were very fair, listened and in fact more than helpful, one helping me reword and add to a policy to make it clearer.

I found the same when a parent complained to Ofsted about me. They were very calm and reassuring, and above all, fair.

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thank you for your replies. There has now been 3 separate complaints and it would seem all anonymous. Ofsted have been 3 times in the last six months and spoken to both committee and staff. It would seem Ofsted are happy with things and believe the complaint to be malicious.

 

Some of the things that have been said in the complaints are awful and very upsetting and it would seem that myself and another member of staff are the target for these complaints. We have basically been accused of neglect, physical and emotional abuse as well as not following statutory requirements ......it makes me cry just typing it down :( .

 

Our committee have been very supportive, but feel we have been let down terribly as we have had no support from anyone within the Early Years Sector.

 

I have tried to rise above it all but think everything has caught up with me today and i just feel utterly terrible to the point of not knowing if i can continue working as a childcare practitioner :(

 

After the first complaint we thought that would be the end of it, the same after the second and now we have had the third i feel like we are walking on eggshells waiting for the next complaint.

 

There has also been a complain/?concern about my suitability as a practitioner due to alleged health reasons....which i don't really want to elaborate on at the moment, and Ofsted may now request that i complete a health declaration, but i am still waiting to hear about that.

 

I want to know what exactly has been said about me, but Ofsted only give us limited information .

 

I have never, ever felt so stressed and ill because of a work issue. I also feel humiliated and devastated that i should ever be thought of as a perpetrator of any sort of harm to children.

 

I apologise for the long winded post, but i am at a loss as to who i can talk to about it all :(

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You vent as much as you want on here - you have our support.

My setting was involved in something similar earlier this year but the LA knew it was vindictive as we had already been working with them regarding this parent- they basically told her to get lost (obviously more professionally than that though)

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It is a horrible situation to be in :( but as others have said. Ofsted are very fair and supportive when investigating and quick to say if the complaint is unfounded and/or malicious.

 

Would it be worth asking your LA and Ofsted whether they can investigate where the complaints are originating from? Surely there must be some form of legal redress if the same person has instigated all 3 complaints and there is no basis for them?

 

Stay strong and feel free to rant and/or vent on here!

 

Nona

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Would it be worth asking your LA and Ofsted whether they can investigate where the complaints are originating from? Surely there must be some form of legal redress if the same person has instigated all 3 complaints and there is no basis for them?

 

 

Nona

 

That's a really good point - must be slander surely..........and how long are you supposed to put up with this? :(

 

Just had a look at the definition of slander and looks very much like it or defammation (sp) of character - do you know who it is that is making these accusations? I honestly feel that if I were in this position I might be looking for some legal help.........

 

Are you a PLA member - they have 'Lawcall'

Edited by sunnyday
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That's a really good point - must be slander surely..........and how long are you supposed to put up with this? :(

 

Just had a look at the definition of slander and looks very much like it or defammation (sp) of character - do you know who it is that is making these accusations? I honestly feel that if I were in this position I might be looking for some legal help.........

 

Are you a PLA member - they have 'Lawcall'

Yes we are a member of the PLA and we approached Lawcall and they are not there for practitioners,just for the committee .Early Years came to setting for the benefit of he children, not us as staff and i am not in a union :huh:

We have been told that the complaints are all anonymous.

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Yes we are a member of the PLA and we approached Lawcall and they are not there for practitioners,just for the committee .Early Years came to setting for the benefit of he children, not us as staff and i am not in a union :huh:

We have been told that the complaints are all anonymous.

 

Oh dear I'm so sorry, think that I'm out of ideas then.........really think LA should be fighting your corner though xxx

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Yes we are a member of the PLA and we approached Lawcall and they are not there for practitioners,just for the committee .Early Years came to setting for the benefit of he children, not us as staff and i am not in a union :huh:

We have been told that the complaints are all anonymous.

 

Nothing as serious as you are going through but I have had the same response from Lawcall, only there to help committee

As for Early Years Advisor's, a couple of years ago I would've said that they would help, but not now, as a committee group they don't want to know

Committee groups are very much on their own :(

 

Good luck with everything and try to stay positive

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Have had this in the past - on more than one occasion - all malicious but still a horrid feeling so now as others do , any time there is a sniff of an issue ( which there luckily hasn't been for some time now) I automatically report it to Ofsted, record everything and sit and wait - on the last occasion we just a phone-call from the inspector to check things out, not even a visit as they know our set up and the issues. Sit it out and eventually they will get fed up - or get caught out.

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Hi lovemyjob, i really do sympathise. I too have been in this situation (on more than one occaision) and it is most upsetting and frustrating!

 

As others have said it is so important to record any situations / issues that you feel may result in a complaint to enable you to provide evidence should you need to.

 

On each occaision the parent concerned did not remove their child from the nursery (even though i requested, in writing, that they did as they had obviously lost confidence in the service i provided) which had a big impact on the result of the Ofsted investigations. The inspectors were amazed that they were willing to keep their child with us after the nature of complaint made. At no point did Ofsted identify who the parent was (obviously i knew!) and just checked our register to establish if the child was still in attendance.

 

At the moment it will be all you think about, you will question your ability and wonder whether you can carry on, however i can assure you that you will get through this and it will make you more confident. I looked at my situation and put a positive spin on it - within a year i gained more experience dealing with Ofsted than i had in the past 5 years!! I now do not dread the knock at the door / phone call / letter informing me that a complaint has been made, i use it as an opportunity to show Ofsted that our practice is good and they were right to give us an Outstanding grade in our last inspection!

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Havw you seen how changes to the inspection framework may impact on this type of issue -

"To ensure that parents get more information about the quality of provision for their children, Ofsted is changing the way it investigates concerns. In most cases where Ofsted receives information that raises concerns, rather than simply investigating the issue, inspectors will carry out a full inspection and publish the report on Ofsted’s website. This will allow parents to have a fuller picture of provision and also gives providers more opportunity to set the concern in context of the overall quality of provision."

 

Cx

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I think its sounds like a good thing. At times like this, settings are unable to get their side known and gossip can be very unhelpful, so having all the concerns and the subsequent investigation results made public can only help.

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I think its sounds like a good thing. At times like this, settings are unable to get their side known and gossip can be very unhelpful, so having all the concerns and the subsequent investigation results made public can only help.

 

Good point :1b

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I feel for you 'lovemyjob'

Several years ago we received 3 complaints in 6 months - all from the same person I might add. By the 3rd one, Ofsted were really understanding and, frankly, on our side! We had absolutely no idea that it was coming until Ofsted knocked on the door. No-one complained to us, followed our complaints procedure or withdrew their children from our care....It was so demoralising - I felt like giving it all up tbh but slowly we regained our confidence and put it behind us. As one of the complaints mentioned having too many children (not true) our registers were checked and, unfortunately, one of them was not complete SO we had a complaint listed against our name on our inspection page. This was hard because a simple mistake cost us dear! Luckily it is gone now although it never stopped us being fully booked - I guess people trust their own instincts.

Thinking of you - hope it works out ok x

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I think if it was me, I would take a deep breath and organise a meeting for members of the committee. Invite parents in to offer their views on the provision and raise any concerns. You would either get lots of positive comments from parents and perhaps a few suggestions for improvements (which would boost your confidence and self-esteem and be excellent evidence for your good practice), or you would flush out this individual (s) to air their grievances, and you could address them immediately. I know this is a scary prospect, and if you thought it too traumatic you could be absent from the meeting but it could still go ahead with the committee and other senior members of staff. This may well allow the complainant to voice their opinion more openly.

By doing this, you will be calling the shots and taking charge of the situation. I think for me, it would be feeling like things were being done "to" me rather than "by" me that would be the most upsetting aspect.

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I had a particularly troublesome parent some years ago, always saying things to other parents that werent true so, I put out a parent questionnaire. I made sure it refered to things that I'd heard this parent was airing in the playground and things she'd brought up at a summer fete meeting. When I got the responses I made them public, along with our response to any criticisms.

I decided to keep it confidential so people would be open and honest and it worked pretty well. Shortly afterwards this parent decided to leave and I sent her a letter telling her I was sorry to lose her child but hoped the next setting as more able to satisfy her.

Like Helen say's, sometimes you've got take back control.

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Hi all.

lovemyjob...... your experience sounds extremely similar to my own and I really can sympathise with you.....there are some really malicious people out there.

On 7th September at 08.30, Ofsted came a knocking at my door at work. They couldnt get in because we have excellent security measures in place ( coded doors, cctv, access fobs etc.....all visitors are signed in and out)

I duly signed her in and took her to my office and was advised that this was a 'priority' inspection based on 6 serious complaints. I was floored to be honest. We weren't expecting andinspection for another 10-12 months, having had a Good inspection last time, with Outstanding in parts.

The accusations were absolutely scandalous - and obviously the inspector looked at everything ( and I mean everything) with a fine tooth comb. Confidentiality, security of the building, staff deployment ,ratios, safeguarding......you name it ..... all accusations.

We have been working towards nothing less than outstanding since our last inspection, so this was just incomprehensible. We are a big setting with a large number of employees...and all of the staff who are here feel absolutely cheated that we have not been able to see our work reach its full potential.

I'm going to ask a very pertinent question and would really appreciate your resonses. Who would know about 'staff deployment' ...ie ...where members of staff go throughout the day ...to which rooms ? No parents present during the day and we had only recently undertaken an extensive parent survey asking them how they rated our provision ....78% stated 'outstanding' and the remainder 'good'... I think that might take parents out of the equation, would you agree? So who ?

 

Eleven hours later, the inspector left and told us that she had absolutely no concerns, gave us some lovely feedback. Quote, " I have had a lovely day (glad she had !!), what a fantastic group of children you have...and what an excellent staff". Everything completely unfounded.

We were graded as Good, with 3 very minor recommendations....one recommendation was concerning methods that support monitoring of educational programmes (this hadnt yet been covered by our EY J20 training...but thats another story).

Like I say, we are all feeling very cheated. Funnily enough too, we were reported to Ofsted on 31 August...the day before the inception of the new EYFS. Most parents were aware of the change - we have a huge display in our foyer.....but if you'd asked them the change date, I doubt one of them would know.So who ? Someone who knew about it and thought we weren't ready perhaps?

I also had a personal complaint against me some 16 months ago..... apparently, I was displaying 'changes in mood that gave cause for concern'. I'm not ashamed to disclose that I have mental health issues related to PTSD and for which I receive professional and regular treatment, working closely with my GP and Psych. All of this information had been disclosed to Ofsted originally but I was interviewed, had to complete medical disclosure documents and was dragged through the whole thing again.

I had already requested that I only work with the children in an emergency - not because I am a psychotic nutter who shouts at everyone ( couldnt be further from the truth) but because I now concentrate on running a very busy business and I employ staff to take on other aspects of my role.So again, all was completely unfounded.

Funnily enough though, my staff suggest that the same person may well be responsible.

 

So, I have decided to approach Ofsted and to seek legal advice, because in my eyes - same complainant or not, the latter complaint amounts - as sunnyday quite rightly states - to defammation of our character.

I am awaiting a response from Ofsted - but would anyone know in the mean time - if you make a complaint, con you do so without leaving details ....I cannot imagine for one minute that you can, where a priority inspection is raised...with 6 majorcomplaints/concerns.

 

If you can, then I intend to lobby whoever I have to, to get this situation changed.

If you can't, then I fully intend to set a legal precedent in attempting to have the name of the complainant released to me .

Why ?

Because we too, as a setting now hold our own concerns that this person has acted maliciously and is involved in working in the Early Years sector....worrying huh ?

 

I would welcome and comments and any offers of support in my attempt to achieve this.

It is just not right that anonymity should not be challenged where completely unfounded accusations are made and investigated.

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Gosh what an awful experience :o

I wonder, if Ofsted wont or cant give you the information could you apply under the Freedom of Information act?

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/contents

Its not very helpful unless you understand what the heck it all means, but it might be a start. Maybe a solicitor could be of use.

Remember it doesnt have to be someone who knows the exact ins and outs of how you work. In our case the parent was talking to our secretary who in her own eyes was way above the staff and was giving misinformation which then got scribbled up in the parents mind.

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I'd also put out a letter to all parents detailing the accusations, your response to such awful lies and the subsequent outcome, with the Ofsted quotes. Rumour will most likely have got around that you've been investigated and I think its better to be ahead of the crowd.

Have you spoken to your advisor?

Edited by Rea
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