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Malicious complaint re Abuse of Vulnerable Adult - Carers UK Forum

Malicious complaint re Abuse of Vulnerable Adult

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I am a new member. Hello !

I hope somebody can help me with the following query which I am raising on behalf of a good friend who works in a South West based organisation (a mental health charity) who provide a secure day centre environment for vulnerable adults (no children).

My friend's manager is allegedly somewhat of a control freak and has been harassing my friend for several months now and threatening them with dismissal. My friend has stood up to such inapproriate behaviour and had raised complaints. The grievance has, however, sadly fallen on deaf ears because the charity's director is the manager's partner.

Anyhow, out of thin air my friend was a few weeks back accused of causing harm (psycholgical abuse) to a vulnerable adult - a male guest who suffers from a mental impairment and is routinely highly emotional, and often without good reason.

More disturbingly my friend's employer have made a formal referral to the local council's adult safeguarding team, who then appear to have told the charity to conduct an "independent" internal investigation and "report back".

My friend has not been formally advised that such an investigation is ongoing. In fact we only found out by accident when I had a round of golf at an open day and I ended up being teamed up with a lady from the local Council who guess what was a) a Safeguarding Officer, and b) when I mentioned in passing my friend's issue, the Council worker mentioned that she had heard that the charity were "looking into" such a incident on the Council's behalf.

To add insult to injury the Council Officer said that the charity could, and without any meaningful input from the council, just elect to refer the matter to the Government's Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), thus potentially barring my friend from being allowed to ever work again with vulnreable adults.

I do not want to go into specifics re the alleged abuse, but I am very confident, in fact certain, that there was no abuse per se. i have good reason to believe that my friend's employer is using the safeguarding "incident" as a cunning means of getting rid of my friend.

If true, or even if reasonably suspected, this cannot be just. The evidence (or lack thereof) demonstrates that even the adult safeguarding referral made by the employer was a disproportionate, and potentially vindictive, act. There have been similar, if not worse, "incidents" at the charity in the past, including concerns expressed by the same emotionaly charged quest, and they have all been dealt with internally and without the need of a safeguarding concern referral. The whole referal appears to be a set up intended to demean my friend with a view to force them to leave the charity. A DBS referral would again be wholly disproportionate, but the charity would argue it is in their opinion, "justified".

So my queries :

1) The whole safeguarding and DBS referral process appears to be victim (or vulnerable adult) driven. At first sight this is understandable, but during the entire process there does not ever appear to be a reality check whereby the alleged perpetrator is given a right of reply via a truly "independent" body. The charity is not independent; they have a hidden agenda. There appears to be no right of appeal whatsoever against a safeguarding referral to a local authority. Yes, one can appeal against an ultimate DBS referral, but why should it get to that stage before an alleged perpetrator is allowed to give their side of the story, along with being given the reasonable right to put witnesses forward (and in this case there are many) who could counter the accusations that have been made. Even an investigation conducted by the police has to take account of the accused's version of events, and such testimony etc is taken into consideration before any charges are made.

2) If a malicious referral has been made by the charity and that can be proven, then what would, or should, be the repurcussions for the charity ?

Any comments welcomed.
Hello Mal,

I am very sorry but I don't think we can help you in any constructive way.

Carers UK is a charity set up to advise and provide peer support to those caring for a relative or friend in a unpaid and non-professional capacity.

As a professional and employed Care Worker I would suggest that your friend would be better off contacting ACAS or their union (I believe that is Unison for those working in the care industry.)

Forum Moderator
Hi Mal,
This forum is primarily;
a supportive online community of current and former unpaid family carers who understand the ups and downs of caring. Our community is here for you to connect with other carers, support each other and signpost each other to relevant information, advice and support.
although a few of our members do some paid care work as well.

Your friend would be better placed contacting their union, ACAS or similiar.

Forum moderator
I would recommend that your friend immediately join a union (eg, Unison perhaps?) that deals with his line of work.

Secondly, it could be that if the MAIN reason this is happening is nothing really to do with safeguarding, but simply because your friend's manager wants shot of them, then a 'compromise' could be reached whereby your friend is allowed to resign, with a good reference, free to take up another posting somewhere else, and all charges/investigations dropped permanently.....

That is something a good union rep should be able to sort out - OR to contest unfair allegations etc.

Poisonous manager do, sadly, exist, and sometimes the only 'solution' is to walk away. After all, would your friend actually want to go on working in that place ever again??? I don't think so!

But, most important of all, join a union, or, if he can afford it, go and see an employment lawyer.
Ring ACAS, their helpline is brilliant. My son has learning difficulties, we need all the good care workers we can get our hands on.
Thanks for replies to date.

My friend has an employment lawyer (me !), so that side is covered. The query relates to the safeguarding issues.

FYI the comment re "walking out" is an interesting one. If an employee "walks out" after being alleged of abusing a vulnerable adult then there is deemed to be an even greater presumption of guilt and a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service becomes far more likely. Brilliant !

If this forum has little knowledge of safeguarding issues and the Care Act (an area of law outwith employment law) then is there a another forum that anybody can recommend.

P.S. As a lawyer I generally find Union Reps to be fairly useless, sadly.
It's a while since I studied Employment Law, but surely the rules about how to conduct a disciplinary enquiry, which this amounts to, are still the same? The person concerned should be notified, interviewed etc. It shouldn't be done behind the person's back, as this is. The way they are behaving must surely amount to constructive dismissal?
To protect the person who might have suffered, surely the employee should not be working while a proper, thorough enquiry is being made?
You are right bowlingbun.

From an employment law perspective this is a disgrace, and yes my friend was suspended on full pay soon after the alleged incident. However, I would never recommend that an employee walks away from their job (aka "constructive dismissal") as such claims are notoriously difficult to win in an employment tribunal (on average 30% likelihood of success). Best to sit tight, and if dismissed, then claim "unfair dismissal" (on average plus 60% success rate).

A disciplinary investigation (often highly biased and akin to a "kangeroo court") and a safeguarding investigation should (I think) ideally be separate and conducted by a truly independent party, but may be run in paralell. I know a lot about the former, but sod all about the latter.

Employer representatives who oversee disciplinary processes are in reality (and regrettably) never truly independent.
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Excellent. Thank you.