Helen Glass, Deputy Monitoring Officer, introduced the report and explained
there had been two referrals since the last report considered by the Standards
In relation to Case A, the Monitoring Officer had referred the matter to the
Executive Director Children and Young People Directorate (CYP) for the
matter to be dealt with in accordance with the Directorate’s procedures.
Alan Docksey, Head of Resources, CYP, explained to the Committee that on
receipt of the complaint, which related to staffing and management issues at a
school, it was felt appropriate for the issues to be investigated and responded
to by the school and consequently the matter was passed to the Chair of
It was further explained that there had recently been a significant amount of
change at the school. The Governing Body had been dissolved and replaced
with an Interim Executive Board (IEB). This matter was being progressed by
the IEB although there was an acknowledgement due to the passage of time
and staff changes that matters may be more challenging to deal with at this
stage. Schools Human Resources Team would assist and offer a view as they
are contracted to provide human resources advice to the school and would
have knowledge of some of the issues raised.
It was commented that it was for the Council in dealing with complaints
brought under the whistleblowing policy to demonstrate independence and
that it would be appropriate to seek to obtain some corroboration of the
matters complained about before forwarding the matter to the school .
It was suggested that the better course of action would have been for the
matter to be investigated by the Council and not simply referred to the school.
An effective whistleblowing policy must instil confidence that people can raise
issues and that those issues will be properly investigated.
There were some comparable comments in relation to Case B. It was also
asked that as that complaint related to safeguarding was there not a different
procedure to be adopted. Officers explained that where complaints are made
about safeguarding these are always matters of serious concern and CYP
Directorate will always look for corroboration. However where the complainant
is anonymous and no school identified, in the absence of any further
information, it is very difficult to know how to progress.
It was noted that it seemed to be a generic response that enquiries about
schools are referred to the school/governing body. A request was made for
the Children & Young Person’s Directorate procedures to be submitted to the
In response to an enquiry about timescales in relation to Case A it was
confirmed that this had not been agreed with the IEB. It was agreed that
information in relation to timescales will be referred back to the Committee.
In relation to Case B members enquired whether the response from the
Monitoring Officer had been sufficiently proactive. The Deputy Monitoring
Officer informed the Committee that she did not have knowledge of the actual
complaint but explained that if the complaint was anonymous and did not
identify a particular school, save attempting to obtain further information, it
would be virtually impossible to take matters further. The Deputy Monitoring
Officer agreed to report to the Committee after making further enquiries into
(i) there be a review of the Whistle blowing Policy and Procedures. An
update of the review to be brought to the next meeting of the Standards
(ii) timescales in relation to the investigations into Case A be provided to the
(iii) the Monitoring Officer review Case B and provide an update as to whether
there was sufficient information for a safeguarding investigation.
(iv) the report be otherwise noted