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FACTion Vol 3-20: September 2009

FACTion Vol 3-20: September 2009

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Published by factuk
The in-house magazine of FACT - Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers
The in-house magazine of FACT - Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers

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Published by: factuk on Aug 20, 2009
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Volume3- 20Sept2009
The Chairman of the Children, Schools and FamiliesParliamentary Select Committee warned, in a reportpublished 16th July, that the principle of 'innocent untilproven guilty' is at risk unless urgent changes are made tothe way schools, local authorities and the Governmentdeal with allegations against school staff.In a well argued and balanced report Barrie Sheerman MPsaid that, “Headteachers are still too quick to suspendstaff when an allegation is made and there is too muchpressure on headteachers to refer cases unnecessarily tolocal authorities. Allegations should be dealt with speedily,effectively and justly, at minimum cost personally andfinancially to those involved”.“Headteachers must have more discretion in handlingallegations of misconduct and the Department forChildren, Schools and Families (DCSF) should provideclearer guidance to help identify when headteachers can justifiably handle complaints internally.Barring suspended staff from social contact withcolleagues is inhumane and unjust. The Committee isshocked that DCSF condones such action by employers".The report says:
Investigations must be truly independent andobjective.
Powers of arrest should be used sensitively and judiciously.
Better data and more systematic reviews of complaints must be compiled by the DCSF todetermine the cost of allegations and justification of any sanctions.
Arguments for and against a statutory right of anonymity for those accused should be re-examined.
Evidence-based decisions to delete unfoundedallegations from personnel records should be takenby the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).
Terminology used in records of allegations must notunfairly indicate a suspicion of guilt.
The ISA should assess all proposed disclosures of 'soft', non-conviction information.The Chairman of the Committee, Barry Sheerman MP,said: "There is a fine balance to be struck betweensafeguarding the rights of children, and the rights of thosewho work with children. Allegations proven to be truemust be punished. But the vast majority of complaintsmade against school staff have little or no foundation."My Committee heard shocking evidence about thetreatment of accused staff and the devastating impactunfounded allegations of misconduct can have on thoseinvolved, which can ruin careers and can come at asignificant physical, mental and financial cost. I urge theGovernment to take immediate action to ensure people'slives are not ruined by a failure to deal appropriately,sensitively, and quickly with complaints when they aremade."A F.A.C.T. spokesman said they welcomed publication of the report and in particular the Committee's emphasisthat those acccused are entitled to be treated fairly, andthat in the prevailing climate there is a reversal of natural justice in that they are considered to be guilty until theyprove themselves innocent.We also welcome the Committee's views on the need formore independence in investigative practice and indeciding cases, however we do not agree with theirsuggestion that outsourcing investigations to 'independentbodies' is the answer.Whilst there is much in the report to be commendedF.A.C.T. would have wished the Committee to have given astronger lead on the need for anonymity and the need toto ensure all investigations are evidence driven ratherthan belief driven.We very much hope the Government will respondpositively to the committee's report.
House of Commons: Children Schools and Families Committee. Allegations Against School Staff: Fifth report of Session 2008-09 HC 695
Select Committee Shocked bythe Treatment of Accused Staff 
Page 2September 2009
I very much thought I had written my last Editorial forFACTion but with the AGM and Conference looming wethought it might be appreciated if we got out theSeptember edition earlier rather than later. It's not oftenwe are ahead of ourselves!Things are always very busy in September so we wantedto avoid any slippage at that time. Our next edition willcome out in early October and then another inDecember.As you will see from this edition The AGM will soon beupon us. I do ask all of you who can, to come to themeeting and to have your say.We would also like to see you at the Conference and aredelighted Claire Curtis Thomas MP will be joining us. Iknow the national committee are very keen to use theconference not just to look back on the past decade butalso forward to the next.Some of you I know are a little worried that inevitablechanges of personnel might set back FACT a bit but I canassure you that the Committee are totally committed toFACT growing in the years ahead. I would not have endedmy tenure as Chairman if I did not think this was the case.Inevitably there will be some changes, just as there hasbeen in years gone by but I am sure FACT’s core valueswill remain the same.On a personal note I would ask you to show your supportto the Committee. They work incredibly hard on yourbehalf. If you have not been to a FACT conference beforeand have been grateful for its existence of FACT youwould be very welcome to attend the AGM and theconference. There’s no charge and you can bring afriend!I look forward to meeting you on the day. With my verybest wishes and thanks for all your supportGail
Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers
F.A.C.T. is a voluntary organisation which supports carersand teachers who have been falsely accused and/orwrongly convicted of child abuse, and campaigns on theirbehalf for changes in investigative practice, and forreform of the criminal justice system.
Committee and Editorial Team
F.A.C.T. is managed by a national committee who can becontacted as follows:Chairman Gail (gailsaunders@hotmail.co.uk)02920513016Secretary Michael (sec@factuk.org)02920 777499Treasurer Ian01905 778170Lobbying Jim01873 830493Membership Joy & Ian01594 529 237Press Gail (press@factuk.org)02920 513016Prison/Family Support Joy01594 529 237Parole Issues George (jensenijensen@aol.com) 01633815550
Contact and Correspondence
All correspondence should be sent to:The Correspondence Sec.PO Box 838Newport, Gwent,Wales, NP20 9HXF.A.C.T.’s two main regional groups can be contacted at:F.A.C.T. North West, secretary.factnorthwest@googlemail.com(or by post via the correspondance secretary)F.A.C.T. North WalesP.O. Box 2161, Wrexham, LL13 9WQ factnorthwales@wrexham.net
FACTion is produced at approximately bi-monthly intervals at thenational committee’s discretion, and is provided free of charge toF.A.C.T. Members.The editorial team welcome articles for publication, of between 150and 1,500 words, and letters of not more than 200 words. Theseshould be sent, preferably by email to: faction@factuk.org or bypost to FACTion, P.O. Box 3074, Cardiff, CF3 3WZ.The editorial team reserve the right to edit any article or letter sentfor publication.All submissions must be accompanied by your name and addresswhich, on request, will be withheld from publication.The views contained in FACTion do not necessarily represent thoseof F.A.C.T., or its national committee.Contributors are reminder that FACTion is also published on theinternet and therefore is, potentially, available for everyone toread.
Stop press
We have just heard that one our members who wasaccused of serious sexual abuse had his case thrown outafter the prosecution finished their case when the judgeruled there had been an abuse of process and there wasno case to answer.
Page 3September 2009
Chris Saltrese Solicitors is a law firm providing apremium service in representing clients accused of sexualoffences and domestic violence, in criminal proceedings.
We have unrivalled expertise in these areas,both regionally and nationally.Many of our clients face allegations as a result of domestic or relationshipdisputes, contact disputes, mental health problems, financial incentivesand have no prior experience of the criminal justice system.Often these allegations involve uncorroborated, historic allegations.In this complex arena specialist legal advice andrepresentation is vital especially as recent changes in the law,designed to convict genuine offenders,
also put the innocent at greater risk of injustice.We particularly welcome carers, teachers, and health careprofessionals who have been accused of abuse and are likelyto be subject to a criminal investigation.Where allegations have been made we would be happy toadvise, whether or not criminal investigations are underway.For further information please contact
Chris Saltrese Solicitors13 Scarisbrick New Road,Southport, PR8 6PUPhone: 01704 535 512
Chris Saltrese Solicitors
www.chrissaltrese.co.uk/A teacher's watchdog has come under fire after it was revealed that it costsan average of £17,400 to hold a disciplinary hearing in Wales.This makes it more expensive for the General Teaching Council for Wales(GTCW) to discipline a teacher than for bodies in other parts of the UK.The National Union of Teachers (NUT) said the figure was "extortionate",but the GTCW said hearings were important and could determine a teacher'sfuture.The National Union of Teachers (NUT) criticised the GTCW for holding manyhearings in some of Wales' most expensive hotels and refusing to employ itsown in-house solicitors.But the GTCW said they needed to be held in suitable venues with theappropriate legal and professional staff.Cardiff's Park Hotel, and the city's Holland House are just two of the venueswhich have been used by the Council.The General Teaching Council for England said the average cost of a case is£9,118, in Scotland the figure is between £5,000 and £13,000. NorthernIreland is in the process of establishing its own watchdog.The NUT's leader in Wales, David Evans, said: "Any hearing that's costingbetween £17,400 and 18,000 for what is invariably a one day hearing isunacceptable."
One of Scotland’s biggest charitieswhich cares for vulnerable childrenhas threatened its 2,000 staff withredundancy, according to a tradeunion.Unison claimed that Quarriers hadtold workers they would bedismissed and re-hired on newcontracts if they did not agree to paychanges.The charity had been negotiatingwith unions about changes to staff conditions since May.Quarriers said contracts would onlybe terminated as a “last resort”.Unison said the redundancy threatwas issued in a letter on Friday.The union said the charity’smanagement wanted to cut staff night shift payments and paymentsfor public holidays."Our members work very hard forthe charity and provide an excellentservice to some of the mostvulnerable in society."It also claimed Quarriers hadproposed cutting sick pay by aquarter for any worker with lessthan five years service.The charity has more than onehundred projects across Scotlandand provides residential
accommodation for vulnerablechildren and young people andadults with disabilities.
Note: Quarriers has recently beensubject to a number of compensation claims arising fromhistorical allegations - see letters page.
John Pinnington - CRB’s
For those who missed it, JohnPinniningtom recently appeared onthe George Galloway programme(Talk Sport Radio) discussing CRB's.It's been a busy few weeks for John.He also spent an hour on the FourthPlinth in Trafalgar Square.Now there's an idea - there are stillvacancies !
Disciplinary Watchdog Comes Under Fire:Cost of Disciplinary Hearings Excessive
Continued on page 7, col 1

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