Malicious complaint re alleged abuse of a vulnerable adult

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I hope somebody can help me with the following query which I am raising on behalf of a good friend who works in a South West based organisation (a mental health charity) who provide a secure day centre environment for vulnerable adults (not children).

My friend's manager is allegedly somewhat of a control freak and has been harassing my friend for several months now and threatening them with dismissal. My friend has stood up to such inapproriate behaviour and had raised complaints. The grievance has, however, sadly fallen on deaf ears because the charity's director is the manager's partner.

Anyhow, out of thin air my friend was a few weeks back accused of causing harm (psycholgical abuse) to a vulnerable adult - a male guest who suffers from a mental impairment and is routinely highly emotional, and often without good reason.

More disturbingly my friend's employer have made a formal referral to the local council's adult safeguarding team, who then appear to have told the charity to conduct an "independent" internal investigation and "report back".

My friend has not been formally advised that such an investigation is ongoing. In fact we only found out by accident when I had a round of golf at an open day and I ended up being teamed up with a lady from the local Council who guess what was a) a Safeguarding Officer, and b) when I mentioned in passing my friend's issue, the Council worker mentioned that she had heard that the charity were "looking into" such a incident on the Council's behalf.

To add insult to injury the Council Officer said that the charity could, and without any meaningful input from the council, just elect to refer the matter to the Government's Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), thus potentially barring my friend from being allowed to ever work again with vulnreable adults.

I do not want to go into specifics re the alleged abuse, but I am very confident, in fact certain, that there was no abuse per se. I have good reason to believe that my friend's employer is using the safeguarding "incident" as a cunning means of getting rid of my friend. I also believe that the "victim" is (regrettably) being used as a pawn by the charity.

If true, or even if reasonably suspected, this cannot be just. The evidence (or lack thereof) demonstrates that even the adult safeguarding referral made by the employer was a disproportionate, and potentially vindictive, act. There have been similar, if not worse, "incidents" at the charity in the past, including concerns expressed by the same emotionaly charged quest, and they have all been dealt with internally and without the need of a safeguarding concern referral. The whole referal appears to be a set up intended to demean my friend with a view to force them to leave the charity. A DBS referral would again be wholly disproportionate, but the charity would argue it is in their opinion, "justified".

This matter has a significant overlap with employment law procedures and the fair application thereof, but that is not the purpose of this query; my friend is in receipt of good advice re their employment rights.

My queries relate to safeguarding and it's application under the Care Act, and are as follows:

1) The whole safeguarding and DBS referral process appears to be victim (or vulnerable adult) driven. At first sight this is understandable, but during the entire process there does not ever appear to be a reality check whereby the alleged perpetrator is given a right of reply via a truly "independent" body. The charity is not independent; they have a hidden agenda. There appears to be no right of appeal whatsoever against a safeguarding referral to a local authority. Yes, one can appeal against an ultimate DBS referral, but why should it get to that stage before an alleged perpetrator is allowed to give their side of the story, along with being given the reasonable right to put witnesses forward (and in this case there are many) who could counter the accusations that have been made. Even an investigation conducted by the police has to take account of the accused's version of events, and such testimony etc is taken into consideration before any charges are made.

2) If a malicious referral has been made by the charity and that can be proven, then what would, or should, be the repurcussions for the charity ?

Any comments welcomed.
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Comments

  • tensandunits_2
    tensandunits_2 Posts: 919 Forumite
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    I'm wondering if the employment board may be better able to help you? Could one of the board guides move the thread over there, perhaps?
    It is not because things are difficult that we dare not venture
    It is because we dare not venture that they are difficult


    SENECA
  • PHILANTHROPIST
    PHILANTHROPIST Posts: 410 Forumite
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    I'm wondering if the employment board may be better able to help you? Could one of the board guides move the thread over there, perhaps?

    Possibly, but the employment aspects are straightforward. It's the implications re the Care Act etc which forms the basis of the query. Anyhow, will take your lead and open a parallel post/ thread in Emp't sub-forum.
  • tensandunits_2
    tensandunits_2 Posts: 919 Forumite
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    Yes, you can blame me if they send you back over here :D
    It is not because things are difficult that we dare not venture
    It is because we dare not venture that they are difficult


    SENECA
  • PHILANTHROPIST
    PHILANTHROPIST Posts: 410 Forumite
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    Yes, you can blame me if they send you back over here :D

    Worry not ; they will blame me. I am routinely subjected to negative comments on that sub-forum.
  • Primrose
    Primrose Posts: 10,625 Forumite
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    edited 1 May 2017 at 5:37PM
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    I would be very concerned that there appears to have been been no "conflict of interest" declared from the employee's manager about their relationship with the employer's partner. I think your friend needs some legal advice on this from a competent legal adviser who has safeguarding experience.
  • PHILANTHROPIST
    PHILANTHROPIST Posts: 410 Forumite
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    Primrose wrote: »
    I would be very concerned that there appears to have been been no "conflict of interest" declared from the employee's manager about their relationship shop with the employer's partner. I think your friend needs some legal advice on this from a competent legal adviser who has safeguarding experience.

    Agree Primrose. Was just trying to establish whether any members have had a similar unfortunate experience and/or could offer any insight. Moreover, the alleged perpetrator is penniless, Legal advice generally does not come cheap. Legal Aid is available for low income persons who are charged with a crime, but in this instance there has been no crime committed, in fact the whole thing is a largely a set up. As such Legal Aid will not be available.

    The link below does, however, appear to strike a chord:

    http://www.factuk.org/
  • penguingirl
    penguingirl Posts: 1,397 Forumite
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    Is this person a member of a union? A lot of care workers are and they would be best to advice/support in this instance. Time for your friend to join one if not, (although they likely can't support for 4 weeks or so, so get them to do it ASAP)
  • PHILANTHROPIST
    PHILANTHROPIST Posts: 410 Forumite
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    Is this person a member of a union? A lot of care workers are and they would be best to advice/support in this instance. Time for your friend to join one if not, (although they likely can't support for 4 weeks or so, so get them to do it ASAP)

    Bit too late me thinks, and on balance not much of a fan of Union Reps.
  • chesky
    chesky Posts: 1,341 Forumite
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    Your friend needs an employment solicitor.
  • pphillips
    pphillips Posts: 1,631 Forumite
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    edited 1 May 2017 at 7:43PM
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    The charity is be subject to the law of the land like everyone else. If the charity slander your friend and damage your friend's reputation causing injury to your friend's career on the basis of a lie then your friend can make a claim against them in defamation for the resulting loss of opportunity, earnings and other damage they have caused.
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