In this article we set out some of the support that's available to schools in a bid to reduce the overhead that complaints management generates.
The beginning of the academic year has seen an almost immediate launch into parental and non-parental complaints.
Whilst we can speculate as to why the tendency to complain seems to have increased and become less of a last resort and more of a first response, it is clear the nature and intensity of the complaints has affected both the complainants and the resilience of those being complained about.
It is important to take all but the silliest of complaints seriously, and all complainants need to be treated with deference and politeness. It is difficult for a member of staff to be accused of un-professional behaviour and to suffer allegations that could be harmful to their career whilst the process appears to favour the complainant.
It is not possible or appropriate to provide assurances or predict supportive outcomes when the decision-making is in third party panels’ hands. The required independence of the process can lead to the accused feeling out of control and isolated. The same need for independence leads to a degree of formality that can appear intimidating and uncomfortable for the accused whilst appearing to give the weight of credibility to their claims.
Whilst the process is designed to resolve complaints as quickly as possible, it is still a long time for the person who is accused to carry on as normal without knowing what the outcome will be.
It is important, then, for the Trust or governing body to have a support strategy to assist those going through the experience: complaint mentors or coordinators to update on process, and peer-to-peer support to enable discussion without judgement. This is part of the duty of care an employer owes to their staff. It can be good for morale for staff to know they have the support when they need it most, and it can prove to be vital to their mental health and help sustain their loyalty as they go through the process and following its resolution.
The increase and intensity of school complaints poses a challenge for all involved and can sap valuable resource, time and energy; but help is available. We offer guidance, advice and resources to effectively handle complaints and resolve disputes as well as being able to support you and your team to reduce the overhead that complaints management generates.
Regardless of the outcome of ballots on industrial action, unless there is drastic change to funding for schools in relation to pay increases, it will be unusual to find any organisational budget that is not impacted by the current economic situation.
There’s been little evidence of interventions or financial management reviews this year and it appears the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has re-focussed on financial delivery. It’s also telling that there were no discernible changes to the reporting of financial irregularities in the Academies Trust Handbook 2022.
The Children’s Commissioner, Rachel De Souza, has recently published a report “Beyond the labels: a SEND system which works for every child, every time”, which she intends to sit alongside the DfE’s SEND Review (2019) and SEND Green Paper (2022) and which she hopes will put children’s voices at the heart of the government’s review of SEND system.
Official statistics show that 15,336 claims which included a complaint of age discrimination were received at the Employment Tribunals between March 2020 and March 2021.
As well as providing day-to-day support to help you focus on managing your settings, we also provide training and professional development on a range of topics to keep you and your staff up-to-date.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHCR) recently issued new, non-statutory guidance regarding the wearing of natural or protective hairstyles, specifically in reference to their representation in uniform, behaviour or standalone appearance policies.
Emma Hughes, head of HR services at Browne Jacobson, explains how CST’s updated executive pay report and the linked benchmarking service from XpertHR can help trust boards make robust decisions on pay.
There’s greater opportunity than ever for parents, carers and guardians to voice any concerns they have relating to their child’s education and for their concerns to be heard and to be taken seriously. While most staff in schools and academies are conscious of their legal duties relating to complaints management, many are struggling to cope with such a significant increase in the volume of complaints they must manage.
This guidance has been prepared to support academy trusts (Trusts) who want to hold a fully virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) or a hybrid AGM, as we know that Trusts may want to be prepared for future disruption as well as having a general interest in holding more meetings virtually. The guidance also applies to other meetings of the Members (known as General Meetings).
We’re pleased to collaborate with Lloyds Bank, who recently asked us and audit and risk specialists Crowe UK to offer guidance that academy trusts would find helpful when considering setting up a trading subsidiary.
The World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Sunday 20 November 2022, with the final taking place on Sunday 18 December 2022. Undoubtedly, this is a huge sporting event, and many employees will be keen to show their support for their favourite teams. However, due to the time difference, start times for the matches are between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. UK time, which could have an impact on employers if employees who wish to watch the matches are scheduled to work.
The DfE has published new guidance and opened the application process for window two of the Trust Capacity Fund (TCaF) for 2022/2023, with a fund of £86m in trust capacity funding focused particularly on education investment areas.
The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was established in March 2015. We now have its report. As you would expect with such a broad scope, the report is long and makes a number of far-reaching recommendations. In this article, Dai Durbridge highlights seven of the 20 recommendations, sets out how they could impact on schools and suggests what steps to take now.
Browne Jacobson’s education team has been named as winner of the ‘Legal Advisors to Education Institutions’ category at the Education Investor Awards 2022 for a record sixth time.
Since the new Suspensions and Exclusions Statutory Guidance was published, we have received a lot of questions about the use of managed moves. For the first time, the Statutory Guidance does explain what a managed move is, but in relatively broad terms and does not cover the mechanics of how a managed move should operate.
Over 3000 young people from across the UK and Ireland took part in a virtual legal careers insight event, aimed at making the legal profession more diverse.