Case Study

How some of our clients manage grievances, disciplinary, harassment and whistleblowing cases – best practice interventions


Faced with sensitive problems, schools and organisations can look to investigate issues in house. That is fine, but this approach has the potential to drain management time, to mismanage the process and cause unnecessary delays. Our investigators are carefully appointed due to their levels of experience, skills and proven track record.

So why do some of our clients use BIRCH-HR experienced investigators? This enables any grievance, whistleblowing, disciplinary or harassment issues to be dealt with efficiently, to reduce risk and to help manage employee unrest. This includes highly complex and multi-faceted issues, that just need sorting.

Here are some case studies and their outcomes from a range of investigations.

  1. Disciplinary investigation into allegations that supply teacher had breached the ICT acceptable use policy and had also logged-on to Porn Hub in front of and witnessed by, female pupils. Allegations found by panel of Governors. Employee dismissed and case pursued further by Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and Teacher Agency.
  2. Allegations of SAT’s misadministration and falsification of pupils’ scripts, involving head teacher and spouse. Investigation found pupils had been over-aided, allowed more than the prescribed time and had been allowed to ‘chat’ during the test by the spouse. Investigation also found that head teacher had alerted staff to the impending SAT’s investigation (contrary to guidance and specific instructions to the contrary) and furthermore, had altered pupils’ scripts given that a forensic examination showed answers had been altered whilst scripts were in ‘whole-school’ alphabetical order. Head teacher dismissed, Spouse resigned with hearing pending. Case now being considered by Teacher Agency at a formal hearing.
  3. Allegations of race discrimination relating to re-gradings introduced within a Local Authority, as a result of single-status. No case to answer. Employee had been sick on circa 200 occasions during the previous 3 years, had failed to attend training arranged for them (to upskill) and there was evidence that their role was appropriately graded post- single status.
  4. Allegations of bullying and victimisation (withholding UPS increments/ making the employee undergo a process for the award) on the grounds of having challenged management decisions around structure and staffing allocation. No case to answer as employee was given additional increments (top of UPS scale) after they applied through the proper channels. Indeed, there were grounds for disciplinary action against the employee given their behaviour/conduct – that had been previously tolerated by management.
  5. Multi-faceted, complex complaints raised by lecturer at College of FE, involving whistleblowing complaints and allegations against Principal of misfeasance in public office. Case also involved dealing with Injunction Orders.
  6. Multi-faceted complex complaints raised by the Local Authority (LA) and safeguarding concerns held by the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) regarding the conduct of a Headteacher. The Chair of Governors commissioned an investigation, multiple witnesses interviewed and evidence gathering before presenting the report for consideration. Headteacher resigned and left the country. Outcomes considered by the Chair of Governors, Local Authority (LA) and Local Authority Designated Officer (LAD0) and new interim Headteacher to enable rapid school improvement and to address/respond to safeguarding concerns.
  7. An anonymous complaint was received by the Chair of Interim Executive Board (IEB) about the alleged conduct of the headteacher, under the auspices of the Trust’s whistleblowing policy. It was agreed that this matter would be considered as a grievance and a preliminary investigation and fact finding was commissioned by the Director or Education. The investigator gathered the evidence, wrote a report and made recommendations for the Director to consider and implement, which would support school improvement and improved working relationships in the future.
  8. The Chair of the IEB, Local Authority and LADO needed an independent investigator due to concerns regarding a headteacher. BIRCH-HR as the independent investigator gathered the evidence into a number of serious allegations against the head teacher and had to navigate their way through multi-faceted allegations and lines of evidence.  This required in excess of 20 interviews and perusing significant quantities of written information. The  report was issued to the commissioning officer with some recommendations, providing clarity about the issues and recommendations. The recommendations were shared with the new interim executive headteacher to embed in line with the school ethos.

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