Scotland’s public services ombudsman has upheld a complaint made to Argyll and Bute Council over its handling of a child protection issue at Rothesay Academy which arose after inappropriate sexual comments were made to a 14-year-old girl.
The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman found that Rothesay Academy had unreasonably failed to follow relevant procedures when dealing with the issue, and that the council’s handling of the complaint was inadequate.
The ombudsman’s report says: “The executive director acknowledged that the school did not fully comply with the guidelines in dealing with the incident, primarily by failing to contact social work.
“It is clear that if a member of staff is alleged to be involved in child abuse then contact should be made with the director of education or the appropriate head of service. I have not seen evidence that this was done.
“In addition, in my view it was a significant failing that the director of education or the appropriate head of service was not contacted, given the involvement of the male staff member. Therefore, I uphold this complaint.”
A council spokesperson said the authority had carried out its own investigation and upheld the complaint, and that action was already being taken to ensure all the ombudsman’s recommendations were being fulfilled as quickly as possible.
In April this year The Buteman reported the concerns of a parent of an Academy pupil that the council was failing to deal with her complaint about a child protection issue.
The parent told us then that she felt she was “still not being taken seriously, or listened to”, more than six months after her complaint was made to Carol Evans, the council’s head of service, in September 2012.
Separately, in March, we reported that the council had apologised to the parents of another Academy pupil after they complained that the council was failing in one of its legal duties as an education authority.
That apology was issued after a group of Rothesay parents made formal complaints under Section 70 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, and led to an acknowledgment from Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell that the legislation relating to parents’ complaints needed to be reformed.