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Further evidence emerges of Care Inspectorate illegality

On 5th November 2018, Immediately after the police investigation had concluded that no wrongdoing had taken place, that the matter raised by a member of staff was about working practice and NOT child protection, that there had been “no allegations” and that pupils felt happy and safe in the school, Phil Jones of the Witherslack Group wrote to the Board of Governors announcing withdrawal from the takeover agreement.

The letter makes it very clear that this decision was taken because of the actions of the Care Inspectorate in taking enforcement action and the Registrar of Independent Schools in imposing conditions.

He states, “The Care Inspectorate is threatening to withdraw authorisation for the school to operate, and requires the removal and replacement of the Head”.

Just as the Care Inspectorate had no powers to insist on 2 staff remaing suspended, they had no power to insist on the Head being removed, especially after he had done nothing wrong and could not have “failed to report a child protection matter” because he had no reporting responsibilities. That demand was illegal.

We understand that Bill Colley is currently pursuing a substantial defamation claim against the Care Inspectorate for reputational damage.

It is now clear that the Board suspended the Head on the insistence of the Care Inspectorate rather than after any due diligence on their part to determine if any wrongdoing had taken place. We understand that Bill was never even interviewed before the suspension was imposed. That could be costly for the Board, especially if the suspension was unjustifiable when he had no reporting responsibilities.

The letter also supports Andrew Cubie’s claim that the Board “came under intolerable pressure from the regulators”. It counters the lie told by one inspector after closure that “they had done all that they could to persuade the Board to keep the school open”.

As bizarre is the assertion that the school had received a “final warning” from Education Scotland. No such warning existed.

As hard as Mr Swinney might try to distance himself from the closure of the school and try to blame it on the Governors, the evidence is stacking-up that it was he, the Care Inspectorate, and Education Scotland that forced TNS to come to an end, rather than financial reasons.

It is important to remember that everything that happened to the school followed the police investigation and an outcome that had demonstrated that nothing had happened.

If it can be shown that the Care Inspectorate lied to the Registrar of Independent Schools regarding that investigation, the demands for the abolition of the Care Inspectorate will grow.

As stated in a recent blog, there is no defence in terms of defamation for making false statements and causing reputational damage because of misleading information from a 3rd party. So PKC, John Swinney, the Registrar of Independent Schools and the Board of Governors are all liable to any claims that Bill or others choose to make.

With the Care Inspectorate refusing to provide any evidence of failings to support their improvement notice, and failing thus far to justify enforcement action, the finger of blame will point squarely at them - which will provide no comfort for those who have to fork-out for large compensation claims in the meantime.

Bill Colley