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hmmmm, advise needed...quite serious.


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okay, bit of a difficult one here, i have had a parent that used to bring her son to nursery before he went to school - had no issues and was really happy with everything. her son is now at school and she has since had a new baby. she came into today to arrange to bring her baby to nursery which is great.

 

Recently we have had a staff shuffle round, some staff wanted new experiences in different rooms so we have had a change around starting from Feb.

 

The parent today told me that she new about the staff change round, and if it had remained the same then she wouldnt have brought her son. She told me she was aware that a certain staff member was taking drugs during the weekend and that is why she wouldnt have brought her son. She had heard this at school.

 

i had an inkling, through rumours and general knowledge that this was the case, the staff members work had never been affected, and i wholly believe it is only during weekends. the thing is, i dont want other people hearing this and therefore losing us business...

 

what, if anything can i say or do??

 

Thanks.

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didn't want to read and run but I have no advice to offer as we've never run in to this issue so will be marking my place and watching with interest

 

 

Edit: Just remembered a whisper of this happening elsewhere and as the police became involved the member of staff was dismissed for (and i'm relying on an aged memory now) bringing the nursery in to disrepute

 

it was a large nursery - the one with it's own HR dpt and does everything by the book, took weeks going down the right channels, suspension etc but the outcome was final. Was a lot of quandary around it was in her own time etc if my mind serves me correctly

 

I'm guessing it also depends what is in your policies - suspect we may all be adding in sections following this.

 

Have you contacted ACAS?

 

 

Edit again! Isn't it amazing how these things are ignored and ignored and kept hidden from us until so far down the line it takes even longer to dismiss (thinking of other scenarios that aren't illegal!) when at the very least pieces of information could have been collected and built up and discussed - remembering the innocent until proven otherwise - are the sources you heard whispers from reliable?

Edited by gingerbreadman
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Do you have a confidentiality policy that you can remind her of so she doesnt gossip about it?

Also as part of the supervisions process brought about in the revised EYFS I would expect that you have a duty at address the drug taking - how that may be though I dont know - sorry

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If her work is not being affected, then it is hear say and i dont see that you should have an issue.

If someone is breaching confidentiality then it should be dealt with through your policies.

 

I am not advocating drug taking but people have a right to a private life, it is ony your concern when it affects the setting and the children

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Yes, I'd agree with most comments so far, however, I draw your attention to the following in the EYFS

 

Staff taking medication/other substances

 

3.17 Practitioners must not be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance which may affect their ability to care for children. If practitioners are taking medication which may affect their ability to care for children, those practitioners should seek medical advice. Providers must ensure that those practitioners only work directly with children if medical advice confirms that the medication is unlikely to impair that staff member’s ability to look after children properly. Staff medication on the premises must be securely stored, and out of reach of children, at all times.

I guess the issue is whether the member of staff could be under the influence whilst at work. If there is any doubt about this, I would suggest you speak confidentially to your Early Years Advisor and ask for advice.

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Although I think there is little action you can take unless the staff member is obviously affected, there is nothing stopping you from advertising your policy far and wide so that parents, prospective parents and staff are all aware that you are vigilant, aware of your responsibility and ready to take action at the first sigh of poor behaviour. It could take the form of an 'update' that you're wanting to 'share'.

 

Very best of luck,

 

Honey

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I didn't want to read and run either. I think you'd need to know what kind of drugs are involved (if, indeed it is true) and whether they are likely to affect her work. Have you had concerns yourself prior to being told this information?

 

I'm not very clued up on drugs at all - but from what little I know there have been cases of high flying lawers, bankers etc who use drugs recreationally at the weekend and still operate effectively during working hours, and their 'secret' has never been discovered. Clearly you have an issue about whether practitioners are fit to work and not under the influence of either drugs or alcohol during working hours, but I'm not sure what the implications are if a practitioner admits to taking drugs at the weekend, and there is no evidence to suggest that it affects their professional effectiveness.

 

I think I'd check with ACAS and speak to my LA for advice - very difficult situation and one I assume is fraught with difficulties for the employer who needs to address it!

 

Good luck - let us know how you get on!

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Agreeing with advice re ACAS (very helpful!) and LA.

 

We had an issue some years ago, when the staffroom reeked of a commonly used 'recreational' drug... not sure which name is currently in use! We put a sign up reminding staff that it was gross misconduct to be under the effect of anything that might affect their ability to care for children or perform any of their duties, and pointing out the obvious - that if illegal substances were ever found in the building the consequences would be dire for everyone. This was followed up with a regular questionnaire for staff to declare any meds they took on a regular basis, with possible side effects. Not quite the same as your scenario, but a response to another aspect to this problem.

 

However, at the end of the day, what folk do in their own time is their affair - again, as has been said, it's when it affects their performance it becomes our problem.

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Very delicate one.... but the 'information' (could of course be nasty gossip) is in the public domain...... and you had your own suspicions. Think we are all saying you need to act on this in some way - to protect the children in your care, the staff member and unfortunately yourself. Imagine this did become a problem and it became apparent you hadn't acted upon the knowledge..

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Hi

 

I think most points have already been raised. I think I would address the issue within supervisory time, check you contract, staff conduct policies and health declarations to see what is covered where. I would talk to the member of staff, not easy but he/she also has a right to know what is being said. They put your mind at rest straight away.

 

If they are taking drugs it may depend on how they are doing it, again not advocating drugs by any means but if it is blatant in your face, very public then you may wish to discuss bringing the reputation of your setting into disrepute. If it is on their own time more quietly then you may have a different issue. What drugs is it for example smoking pot may feel different to doing cocaine say!

 

As long as they are not working under the influence it may have been something you would never know and people say all sorts but it isn't always true maybe there has been a misunderstanding

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What a difficult one and lots of sensible advice from everyone.

I think that there are a number of issues here and the first thing that I would do is take advice.

Obviously you will need to know if the information you have been given is actually true.

Whatever one's own opinions are about recreational drug taking, if she is taking Class A, B or C drugs that are not prescribed then they are illegal in the UK, whereas alchohol and cigarettes are legal. Many of these drugs are addictive, and that could have implications for your setting. I also think that there is a danger that the setting could be brought into disrepute. In fact it already has if parents are talking about it, and you yourself already had an inkling from gossip, so this could blow up if it isn't tackled. If ever she should be arrested for using, or even supplying, if she had a large amount of the drug, what would happen then?

Lots to think about and I hope that you manage to resolve this.

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I have a friend who has recently had this in her setting and it caused a lot of problems as she also was unsure how to deal with the matter. I would advise that you speak to your area safeguarding officer, you will need to speak to the member of staff, and you must inform ofsted that this situation has come up through hearsay, but you are dealing with the situation and do they have any advice. My friend didn't inform ofsted and a parent made a complaint to them which then arose in a spot visit. Just make sure that even though this is hearsay, you cover all bases. Hope that helps a little.

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