Children, Ethics, and the Law: Professional Issues and Cases
Raising concerns against a colleague’s malpractice is always a sensitive issue since telling on our peers may lead to victimization from the part of the staff community. However, when working with children, their well-being is the paramount issue which outweighs the importance of the good relationship with colleagues. Blowing the whistle in a suspicious situation still requires courage but the nursery’s whistleblowing policy will provide protection for those who feel the need to voice their concerns against their co-workers.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act (2013) policy outlined the rights of those involved and the exact procedure to be followed in order to investigate if the allegations are correct. If within the nursery environment we have seen something from our colleagues that we regard as misconduct, the first step is to talk to our line manager and ask their advice. If it is our line manager in question, we need to go to the next level, the owner or the area manager. Each Monkey Puzzle Nursery should also have a safeguarding officer, who is able to advise the colleagues on current policies and the procedures to be followed.
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Following an official complaint, the nursery management team is legally required to give a response within five working days and call a meeting where concerns can be shared with an investigation committee. The person bringing up the charges will be asked to prepare a written document about detailing the allegations and any supporting information. They have to provide details, names, places and exact dates as evidence to confirm the charges. If there are any witnesses their names have to be included in this report. Following the meeting, within ten days the nursery management has to inform the whistleblower in a formal letter about the actions to be taken. If there is an investigation to be carried out, it is not done by the line managers but the Local Authorities who can act independently and make sure that the procedures safeguarding children are followed. (Jacibennett 2012)
The investigation has to be carried out in a discreet way, as required by the Data Protection Act 1998. Both the whistleblower and the person charged has to be informed about the investigation and its outcomes, even though some pieces of information might be retained in order to respect confidentiality. Acting upon our suspicions and blow the whistle when we experience malpractice and misconduct from our colleagues can be a frightening experience but we always have to keep in mind that the children’s well-being and safety might be affected by our co-workers’ dishonest actions. That is why law also protects the whistleblower and nurseries encourage staff to be sincere about any concerns