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mjr001

Wife being accused after handing notice in

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Not expecting carers to complete maintenance work.

 

Just pointing out that if staff knew there was a risk with the door, as they were waiting for it to be fixed, then it might be expected to put measures into place to safeguard those being cared for, until the maintenance was done.

 

I make this point, as there was a point being made that staff were in the garden. If this was true, the question is who was making sure vulnerable people could not walk out of a unsecured door ?

 

Not suggesting your wife has any blame here. But it might help if she thought about the questions that she might be asked. Hence suggesting she writes a diary of the days events to think through the issues as it might help her think of questions she might be asked.


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I think what was being suggested was not maintenance but being  more careful about shutting the door and watching residents. 

 

And yes - you provide all evidence and witnesses at a disciplinary - and make it clear she won't be blamed for something she didn't do. 

 

I'm slightly confused by the neighbors statements though. If there were two staff (your wife and one other person) on the shift, and they were out on the garden, then who entered the premises and left the door open? And if they were in the garden already, didn't they see the resident exit the premises? 

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The neighbours said that the client walked out of the house to the neighbours house. Was stopped by the neighbours wife and her husband came over to the open door called and walked in seeing my wife and the other member of staff at the rear patio doors. 

 

My wife was working in the garden clearing up rubbish bins etc blown over by the wind. The other member of staff was working in the bedroom sorting wardrobes and went out to ask my wife a question that's when the client walked out. The other member of staff was the last one through the faulty door and it obviously did not lock properly when she came through it. 

They seem to forget that sometimes there is only 1 member of staff on duty looking after 2 clients, sometimes 2 members of staff looking after the 2 clients. There has been no mention previous that if only 1 member of staff they are not allowed to go outside to do chores or washing on the line etc. 

 

Both my wife and the other girl said in the meeting the faulty door has been highlighted in meetings before and my wife took a photo of the same mention in the comms book highlighting this but has not told the management yet. But they still say it's neglect on my wife's part. The other girl on shift had a investigation meeting but had no discaplinary letter today in the post. Surely both members should face the same actions

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Perhaps the other girl will be subject to further actions, but has not had a letter yet. 

 

It should be pointed out, that sometimes human nature, can be to protect ones own interests. The other girl might be lovely, honest and not usually the type to accuse others, but it might be best to be cautious. 

 

Best to get all of the facts totally clear and written down. Then answer question accurately and clearly when they are asked.

 

Is it really a fact that the other girl did not lock the door properly or an assumption made after the event ? The only fact is that the door was faulty as reported.  

 

 

 


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I think what this demonstrates now is the need to keep to a simple version of events and not over complicate things. I'm now confused as to how many staff were on the premises! Why would it need to be mentioned that staff should not go outside if there's only one person on duty - there were two on duty! 

 

I also think it's important to clarify what their role is - if there are two people on the premises, and one is clearing up outside and one is clearing out wardrobes, doesn't that leave the question of who is supervising clients who appear to be so vulnerable as to be unsafe anywhere if left unsupervised? Surely being unsupervised inside the premises is as unsafe as outside? Why was nobody supervising at all? Was one member of staff more senior than the other? How did nobody notice a missing resident if the door was open when it should have been locked - the door must have been open of the neighbour was able to enter it and have a clear line of sight to the two (?) staff. 

 

I do agree with unclebulgaria that it is important that she have a clear version of events and understands what she is saying. 

 

At this point in time, it is unclear whether any action will be taken against the other member of staff, but in principle, no, there can be many reasons why it is fair in law to treat people differently - if that is indeed the case. Your focus needs to be on your wife's defence. Based on what you are saying here there are potentially holes in her story. That doesn't mean she's done anything wrong, and nobody ever has a perfect story unless they are lying! But she needs to be consistent in what she says and ensure that she does not get muddled. 

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Unfortunately I believe this will end badly and affect her new job. All she wanted to do was hand her notice in and move on to her new company but I think this will no be at risk

 

The problem is she has 30 years experience doing what she does and knows nothing else. The company she works at presently are rapidly going downhill and not doing basic things which any reputable employer should be doing. Paperwork required is not being done by other staff and after discussions between my wife and management highlighting many issues they have done nothing to improve this. 

 

This is the reason she looked for something else. My wife was run round doing everything as the other staff were not capable or qualified to do this. Basic things like doctors and drugs were all put on My wife as no-one else had the knowledge to Do It. I believe they got funny when she handed her notice in and that is why this flared up. Other things like keeping doors tied shut on night shifts and cutting clients hair completely off by another member of staff without the parents permission have all gone under the radar after my wife said about it in her meetings. 

 

 

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We do appreciate what you are saying, but simply because someone has 30 years experience does not mean that they don't go on to do something wrong. Equally, making a mistake does not mean that it is a matter that someone should be disciplined over- a hearing is not the same thing as being found responsible for wrongdoing. 

 

People here are trying to help her to manage this situation, but instead of answering our questions you are reiterating that she has 30 years of experience and making unsubstantiated allegations against the employer. These are no doubt true, but they do not form a defence, and it could be questioned as to why, if serious matters of safety and  safeguarding are in question, your wife with 30 years experience didn't whistleblow to the authorities - completely cutting off a persons hair without reason or agreement is an assault on a vulnerable adult, with or without the parents permission (which, if these adults are living independently, is not relevant) ! Equally, if these vulnerable adults are not deemed independent, then if employees are not capable or qualified appropriately as care givers, that is also a reportable matter. You cannot argue it both ways - if the care is this bad, why did she not report her concerns? You do realise that she cannot now easily raise any of these very serious matters because her evidence is now tainted  - it will come across as, and be dismissed as, sour grapes. When in fact just the two items you have disclosed here are so serious as to warrant an immediate safeguarding investigation, and possibly even police intervention. 

 

It is in her interests that she is clear about what her defence is, because the questions we are asking will almost certainly form questions that the employer will ask. Her complaints about the employers conduct will fall on deaf ears in a tribunal - they have no relevance to their deliberations, but if the employer is canny, they will mirror it back on your wife as another question about her professionalism. 

 

Look, I'm going to have to ask. Are you deflecting because she / both staff did miss something? It happens. It doesn't make her a bad person if it did, and it doesn't mean that she ought to be dismissed for it. But if we are to give you the best advice possible, it has to be based on the whole story. 

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No I don't believe she missed anything. The time when the haircutting was done was reported to head office verbally and an incident report was filled out. 

 

Like I said my wife was working outside and the other girl was working indoors. She came outside to ask a question that's when the client walked out. My wife says she should have checked the door when the second member of staff came into work an hour previous to the incident but this has never been done by anyone. If everyone had to check something as simple as closing a door or tieing shoelaces nothing would ever get done. There were no procedures to double check doors or double check anything apart from medication in place

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Sorry. When you want to answer the questions asked, let me know. I'm trying to help, but you keep making excuses. It might be better if she posted if you don't know the answers. These are either very vulnerable adults for whom you do double check everything, and you do report instances of abuse, or they are not. But I did not ask whether she double checked things, or whether she should double check things. 

 

Let me try to explain this the simplest way I can. Here are the same "facts" you've told me here.

 

Your wife and a colleague were having a fag break/gossip in the garden when a vulnerable female adult in their care not only walked out of the premises unseen, but a man also walked into the premises, presumably also unseen, by the staff who are employed to ensure the safety and well-being of these vulnerable women. Had it not been for the vigilance of the neighbours this could have been a disaster. You  are relying on a single report of the lock not working in an incident book. The lock was checked and was working perfectly, and every other member of staff reports that the lock was fine. So this is an attempt to deflect attention from the shortcomings of the staff. Your wife, realising that this was a serious incident applied for another job and got it, but couldn't leave fast enough to avoid the investigation. 

 

That version is just as believable as yours!

 

So I am looking for chinks in the employers case that you can exploit to get your wife to a position where she could leave without this being on her record. If they simply wanted to brush it under the carpet they could have waited until she left and then blamed her. They'd have been free and clear to do that, but it wouldn't appear in her record. So they aren't going for a quiet exit. I'm trying to figure out why, and how to change that mindset.

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I am trying to answer the questions asked but not entirely sure what is being asked. I will answer the questions as simply as honestly as I can but sometimes I am trying to distinguish what the questions are

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Perhaps your wife could post? Then we are not having a third party discussion. 

 

From post 31- 

Quote

 if there are two people on the premises, and one is clearing up outside and one is clearing out wardrobes, doesn't that leave the question of who is supervising clients who appear to be so vulnerable as to be unsafe anywhere if left unsupervised? Surely being unsupervised inside the premises is as unsafe as outside? Why was nobody supervising at all? Was one member of staff more senior than the other? How did nobody notice a missing resident if the door was open when it should have been locked - the door must have been open if the neighbour was able to enter it and have a clear line of sight to the two (?) staff. 

 

Then there is the question of why clear and ongoing abuse had not been reported to the relevant authorities. Mentioning a serious incident "verbally" isn't in compliance with any safeguarding procedures that I come across. And really, tying doors shut to keep vulnerable people in their room? In anybody's book, that is abuse. That failure places her in a difficult position in respect of now making allegations about safeguarding concerns. What she is saying is not remotely unheard of in the "care" sector, so it isn't that I don't believe her. But that doesn't get her out of the woods.

 

 

Have you considered going to the new employer and telling them? Because if they don't intend to withdraw the offer, there's other options which may be open to her. If they do intend to withdraw the offer, that closes down the alternatives.

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My wife is classed as house manager. Safeguarding issues has been reported both verbally and written by her for issues she has seen previous. 

She said she will go and see the new employer tomorrow and explain what's going on to see what they say

 

My wife would respond but is not exactly the best with computers. She said she can do if required but she finds it quicker for me to tell her all your responses and let me know the replies to post

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If the neighbours reported this incident to the appropriate authorities, then the employers will be trying to complete an accurate report, so they can answer to the authority. So it may not just be an internal matter.

 

If you read back, there are lots of questions raised in this thread. You have also raised questions in your comments.

 

One very important question was.  Is there an understanding between staff on duty, that if one person goes outside, that the other person still in the house, must stay in the house to supervise those being cared for ?

 

if you have two vulnerable people inside a house, with a front door that apparently has a faulty lock, then commonsense must be that staff are alert to the risk of the door being opened and the vulnerable people walking away from the house.  Question - what measures did your wife as House Manager put into place to deal with the risk that the faulty door lock posed ?

 

I think the best way forward is just to keep this as simple as possible. Stick to facts only, that are relevant to the incident being asked about. Don't give answers that assume anything, such as the other member of staff not closing the door properly, unless there is proof of this.

 

 

 


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I suspect you are correct, and that a safeguarding issue has been raised formally by the neighbours and is being monitored by the Safeguarding Board. That might though, also, suggest that this is not the first time the neighbours have expressed concerns - perhaps I am wrong, but in my experience external authorities are not the first port of call on a single occasion of concern.

 

I think it's possibly best to see what the new employer says at this juncture. If they are not considering withdrawing the offer of employment, it may be better all around to try another strategy.

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She is going to phone the new employer in the morning and see if she can pop in to see them and explain all that's going on. Hopefully it will be ok but she's convinced that it will be withdrawn now especially after the new employer has already asked for a reference from her currant employer and it will probably be bad

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Employment references do not normally contain any negative information.  They often just state that Miss XXXX worked for Y company between X date and y date.

 

It will be the employment application with the new employers that will ask about any previous or current disciplinary processes. Particularly for jobs involving any care for other people, I would think that a question would be asked about this.

 

The new employers will most likely see her telling them, as a sign of honesty, but they may put the job on hold, until the disciplinary process has concluded and then review the matter.


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I'm sorry but this contains urban myth and inaccuracies. There are many, many people who advise that employment references do not contain negative information. This is simply not true. A reference may contain any truthful information, negative or not. And frequently does. Some employers may give basic references only. There is no evidence at all that they are in a majority. In many sectors, a reference of that type would not be accepted.

 

And this is one of those sectors. The employer is legally obliged to disclose any adverse information which impacts on a persons suitability to be employed with vulnerable people. Not only that, but, and I am fairly sure the OP knows this because they have expressed concern that this could end their career, if someone is found guilty of a pertinent offence in relation to vulnerable people, that must also be communicated to the Safeguarding Board and the DBS, who will determine whether that information affects someone's suitability to work with vulnerable people. 

 

Honesty is certainly always the best policy, and this does not mean that the new employer will consider it a barrier to employment. Stuff happens. Sensible employers in this sector know that. But they have to be sensible in their approach and protect themselves and their clients. Because when something goes wrong, it doesn't matter how many years of experience someone has, how well qualified they are, or how it is just the case that "stuff happens" - good or bad or indifferent employer / employee, you can guarantee that the tabloids and many people will be baying for blood. Sometimes that's justified. Often it really isn't, and that is one of the reasons why staff are leaving caring professions in droves. 

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When my wife had the interview on the Friday she knew nothing of what was happening with her currant employer.  She put her notice in and was told of the investigation later that day on the following Monday. I think that she should be honest and tell the new employer the situation. 

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"I'm sorry but this contains urban myth and inaccuracies. There are many, many people who advise that employment references do not contain negative information. This is simply not true. A reference may contain any truthful information, negative or not. And frequently does. Some employers may give basic references only. "

 

My experience having dealt with this for a Bank and for a very short period an Energy company, is that references were very basic.

 

But I did receive reference requests for a few Bank employees looking to go into the Education sector and they did ask specific questions. And these could be answered with basic responses based on known information. For example questions related to working relationships with colleagues and also with children. I could answer the first part, but as the Bank job did not involve children, it was not relevant.


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Procedures

safeguarding

thes 2 go hand in hand and everything shuld be written down and reported using the channels chosen by the employer or laid down in law where applicable. There are also procedures laid down for "whistleblowing" if the employer fails to record and report and you wife would have a right to demand from above what was being done or report to the next authority up the line or even the police in certain circumstances.

now this lead me to believe that although in this instance what you report is true and correct ther has been a systemic failure to record and respond to all sorts of thisng in the past and the 9Ex) employer is now jolted into action and more than happy to  look for an example to show that they are now taking notice and being good fellows after all.

 

if her continuous training has failed her then she should be honest about this to her new employer and get up to date with the current best practice as part of her induction. what i did at work 30 years ago is nothing like how things work now and no-one would expect it to be buit they would expect people to keep up with the current legislation and be able to show all of the necessary paperwork for every thing that has gone awry. That paper trail could have saved her from any accusative questioning about this incident.

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She is going to phone the new employer in the morning and see if she can pop in to see them and explain all that's going on. Hopefully it will be ok but she's convinced that it will be withdrawn now especially after the new employer has already asked for a reference from her currant employer and it will probably be bad

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She spoke to the new employer today to say what has happened and he said that he already knew what had happened as they mentioned it on the reference. 

 

Have did say that he was thankful that she rang up to disclose the information and to let them know what happens at the discaplinary.

Not looking good but see what happens. 

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2 hours ago, ericsbrother said:

Procedures

safeguarding

thes 2 go hand in hand and everything shuld be written down and reported using the channels chosen by the employer or laid down in law where applicable. There are also procedures laid down for "whistleblowing" if the employer fails to record and report and you wife would have a right to demand from above what was being done or report to the next authority up the line or even the police in certain circumstances.

now this lead me to believe that although in this instance what you report is true and correct ther has been a systemic failure to record and respond to all sorts of thisng in the past and the 9Ex) employer is now jolted into action and more than happy to  look for an example to show that they are now taking notice and being good fellows after all.

 

if her continuous training has failed her then she should be honest about this to her new employer and get up to date with the current best practice as part of her induction. what i did at work 30 years ago is nothing like how things work now and no-one would expect it to be buit they would expect people to keep up with the current legislation and be able to show all of the necessary paperwork for every thing that has gone awry. That paper trail could have saved her from any accusative questioning about this incident.

Ok. Are you saying they should report all instances ? 

When the letter came through they have said that all members of staff say there was no issue with the door and nothing written down in reports. Let's just say my wife has proof it was. Would it be worth hinting this at her discaplinary ?

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Well that's plans B and C blown out of the water. There's no alternative. She must go back to the original plan.

 

She should say that there was a reported fault on the door, but I'm afraid that isn't going to be as useful as you hope. The rest of the staff say there wasn't. And, as I said before, something that maybe didn't work on one occasion might still be fine. The one report doesn't prove the fault claimed. 

 

So she needs to be telling a clear and simple story, and she needs to say that she will defend her record to the full extent of the law if the employer finds otherwise. I'm afraid there's no other way. Then if she's found responsible, we'll have to take it from there. I was going to try to avoid going to a disciplinary at all, but the reaction of the new employer means she must clear her name.

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But surely as she wasn't the last one to come through the door as another member of staff started work just before if the clients were as vulnerable as they are making out there should have been procedures in place to double check doors by more than one member of staff that only just walked through it

 

Apparently this has occurred previous in the past where a client got out but it was swept under the carpet. Along with other things it just seems like this time they are trying to make a point as my wife has decided to leave. 

 

Is there any way in the meeting to say that any action taken will be vigorously defended. If they have doubts about what information my wife has maybe enough to make them reconsider their actions. Like I said they are saying nothing was ever mentioned about the faulty door when my wife has proof there was. Not that they know that

 

 

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