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Care Inspectorate lied to the press

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The investigations team has covered yet more evidence of Care Inspectorate malpractice in a press release provided to the Courier and copied to PKC personnel. The message was sent by Ewan Fergus to The Courier and then to PKC. Our comments are in bold.

Sent on 23rd November 2018 to PKC Communications Dept then sent by Mary Notman to Jacquie Pepper, Sheena Devlin and Karen Reid.

Ewan Fergus  Senior Press Officer  Care Inspectorate   

A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate  said: 

“The Care Inspectorate has a duty to look into all concerns brought to us in relation to any care service in Scotland. 

“Where we uphold a complaint we publish the outcome on our website outlining what needs to improve. 

No complaint was ever upheld.

School managers were never permitted to see the anonymous complaint sent to the Care Inspectorate nor offered the opportunity to respond.

For the complaint to be upheld, the police-led investigation would have to have been incorrect.

No complaint can be upheld without evidence – there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

The Care Inspectorate never consulted with the school to determine if the complaint was valid, nor what actions were taken by school staff. The Care Inspectorate made a judgement without providing natural justice and the right to respond to the false accusations made.

“The safety and wellbeing of children is always our first priority and, after visiting the school, our inspectors were sufficiently concerned about elements of the care experienced by children that we issued an Improvement Notice.

The Care Inspectorate gave notice that enforcement action would be taken on 2nd November 2018, immediately after the police had concluded that nothing had happened, that the pupils felt happy and safe, and that school managers had been correct in their reading of the concern raised with them.

The Improvement Notice was thus written before any Care Inspectors visited the school. No evidence was found during the visit of any wrongdoing or harm to pupils, nor did the improvement notice relate to that visit in any way. No information was provided to the school of any concerns.

The Improvement Notice was illegal in that the inspectorate failed to adhere to Section 62 of the Public Services Reform Act (2010) and their own practice guidelines.

No “elements of the care experienced by children” have been identified as giving cause for concern.  No child or young person has raised a concern. No parent/carer has raised a concern. Parents and young people were not consulted.

The Improvement Notice made demands for improvement in areas where there was no evidence of any failing; e.g. inappropriate behaviour between staff and pupils, conflicts of interest, delegation of responsibilities, following child protection guidelines. It was thus unlawful and incompetent.

“We always work with care providers to support improvement in services wherever possible, and issuing an Improvement Notice is one of the ways we do this. 

This is incorrect. Enforcement action should only be taken (this is Section 62 of the relevant act giving powers for enforcement action);

Where informal enforcement has not succeeded in bringing about improvement or where the circumstances suggest that the formal enforcement is a necessary first step, consideration can be given to using our powers of enforcement under the Act.

Where there is a serious breach of regulations or conditions of registration, which is leading to poor outcomes the service users, such as to justify cancellation of registration, the service provider may be served with an improvement notice, under section 62 of the Act.

There was no informal enforcement action

There was no serious breach of regulations

There were no poor outcomes for service users

“We remained committed to working with the school to ensure the care provided to children improved as we  required, however, despite this, the school informed us of their decision to close.  

This is incorrect. The Board cited “intolerable pressure from the regulators” and that if they had not closed the school, the Care Inspectorate would have.

“The urgent priority must be to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people who attended the  school. 

“The local authorities, together with Education Scotland and the Care Inspectorate, continue to work closely to  ensure that there are appropriate and carefully considered plans for each young person.”

The Care Inspectorate among others failed to do this.  Pupils assessed as requiring expert mental health support following the trauma of school closure were not provided with this, suitable alternative school places were not found for the majority of children, and as a result of the lack of support serious harm has come to several. Support for PKC pupils was conspicuously poor in comparison with other authorities.

This demonstrates that the illegal actions of the inspectorate were not due to individual error but to systemic failings throughout the whole organisation.

The actions of the Care Inspectorate caused significant harm to young people.

Bill Colley