Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Carlile Report analysis - 7

The next section, paragraphs 44 to 46, is titled "Post Nolan and Cumberlege procedures" contains some of Carlile's most trenchant common sense combined with the most amazing failure to follow that common sense to its logical conclusion.

He starts extremely well.
Of course, the governance of a school or any other institution is no guarantor of good practice. To state the obvious, effective practice depends upon a strong set of written procedures, the management to enforce them, and the commitment to effective enforcement.
Hallelujah! I thought that in all this business about governance he would never actually manage to state this extremely obvious but vitally important point.

In the next paragraph, albeit in the specific context of the reporting arrangements for the school nurse, he goes on to make another very acute comment.
it is possible that, from time to time, allegations will be made against teaching colleagues regarded as of the highest quality and probity, and the danger of the allegations being brushed aside by understandably incredulous colleagues is significant.
Yes! This is the point! Not only is there simply the matter of straightforward incredulity, but this is going to be reinforced by a will to disbelieve caused by the fact that believing and acting on the allegations may damage the reputation of the school. Carlile goes on to say:
At the very least, it should be a given that any person who is or is analogous to a school nurse should be required to report all concerns and allegations about abuse to the Head, Deputy Head and/or designated safeguarding officers. It is also self-evident from these comments that the skills, training and approach of any such employee should be equal to the challenge of abuse allegations, whether such allegations be true or false.
All true and extremely sensible. But the problem is that he stops there, and fails to take the vital next step, which is that particular measures must be taken not to permit this incredulity to determine the subsequent action of the designated safeguarding officer. He must promptly pass on all allegations to the authorities, specifically to the LADO. There must be absolutely no exceptions to this. Only by having a policy of no exceptions can the children be protected from the entirely natural inclination of staff and monks to believe their colleagues incapable of such a thing.

Given that the shortcomings of the school's past practice have been particularly about the school's failure to report allegations to the authorities, this point really needed to be made absolutely explicit in the report. It isn't. Such an opportunity missed.

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