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Right to access to evidence

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by delmamerchant, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. afterdark

    afterdark Senior commenter

    Where is the common sense in education?

    Extract from the acas link http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4008
    "They need to know what the alleged problem is and the possible consequences"

    If you go to any meetings take plenty of paper and several pens, make a lot of notes.
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    At this stage I can see some logic in not presenting the "other side" of the story. Like when you interview kids about a feud they're having. You don't go into the detail of what the other one said.

    But I think it needs to be made abundantly clear that this is simply an investigation. Your colleague is a witness - not an alleged perpetrator. So the colleague must be treated with respect and no inference should be drawn at this stage as to culpability.

    IF it comes to a rap over the knuckles then you have to know every detail in order to defend yourself. But that's not what is happening at this point. I agree that it would probably be a lot better (and might help morale) if your colleague were acquainted with the previous testimonies and you should continue to press for that. Just in case. But I'm not sure you can argue an entitlement. Yet.
    powerpack67, JohnJCazorla and install like this.
  3. install

    install Star commenter

    The op said 'allegations had been made against them of misconduct' - so that they are the accused?
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter


    1. Allegation made.
    2. Investigation held/ongoing.
    3. Decision as to further action or to leave it there.
    4. Then the disciplinary meeting or it's dropped.

    This has gone from allegation to investigation. Investigations can take a very long time. I don't think there's any ruling that disclosure should or should not be made at this point. One would like to see school policy. But that's not possible here as we strive to maintain anonymity.
    powerpack67 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Meets aside, that is.
    bevdex and install like this.
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    So - are you saying the 'accused' is a 'witness' or is 'accused'? The op states it 'against them'?
  7. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    The bit in red makes me think this is an ongoing investigation and now it's the turn of the "accused" to have her/his say.

    The bit in blue says only that other people have been asked for their two pennyworth.

    So I am Inferring that school is still at the investigation stage and this meeting ((the bit in red again) is the point at which the teacher in question gives an account. If the OP is assisting a colleague and it has been specifically stated in so many words that this is part of the initial investigation then I don't see it as the start of a disciplinary process or that a decision has yet been reached.

    But I think the OP should clarify things with the HT etc.
    Flanks likes this.
  8. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    You should be able to be given some sort of background of the allegation, even if you are not able to be told what the allegation is. My advice to your colleague would be that they answer ‘no comment’ until the details of the allegation have been communicated. You are probably best to seek Union advice on this too, definitely.
    Has your colleague been suspended? If they have, chances are, they are facing dismissal, if not, there is still a chance they could be, but it doesn’t appear as ‘strong’ to dismiss- a warning could be the punishment.
    powerpack67 likes this.
  9. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    There are pitfalls to supporting a colleague in this way.
    The first problem is that you cannot know about any elements of confidentiality to the allegation. And neither can your colleague. At some point they may be required to blank you without explaining why.
    The second problem is that you will be seen as supporting the case of your colleague, and yet you may not have all the relevant facts. How do you square supporting them with an allegation which stands up? In your mind, I mean...
    The third problem is that you have a job to do, and whilst you are noble in the spirit of supporting a peer, you will also be viewed by management as distracted from your task.
    In other words, you can inadvertently put yourself under a radar if you act in this way.
    And because you are (presumably) not the union rep, you therefore make yourself vulnerable.
    If the school want to press through with an allegation, they will only see the support of a colleague (informally) as disruptive to the process. Your friend needs to thank you for your concern, and substitute your shoulder with a more robust union one.
    My hope is that you have been asked to meet in order for them to explain some of the above to you-none of it is legal or procedural certitude, and yet on the level of accompanying them to meetings or speaking up on their behalf, you will not be seen as conducive to the process.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  10. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I supported a colleague as his union rep when allegations were made. The investigation failed to find sufficient evidence for further action. 6 months later there were new allegations. This time it stuck. Turns out he was a wrong un. Did I feel guilty? No. As a member he was entitled to advice and support. He was just foolish in believing that having got away with it once he could carry on behaving innapropiatly
  11. Daredevil111

    Daredevil111 New commenter

    You are allowed to see the evidence, as you will be questioned for each event that has been put against you.

    Under gdpr you can. Legally.
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Not necessarily. It's much more complicated than that. Each piece of data held would need to individually considered. Witness statements by another employee, for example, will almost inevitably include data about the witness and often other employees. You cannot force the employer, under GDPR, to disclose data about other people. The employer may be entitled to redact it, and probably would do so.

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