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Julie Catherine Matthews v. Ofsted - (01 Sep 2016)

Continued provision of child care by registered person to any child may expose such child to a risk of harm


Appellant appeals against suspension dated 5 August 2016. The key event leading to the imposition of a statutory suspension was that on 29 June 2016, Ofsted received a call from a neighbour to say that she had a number of concerns including ratios not being met as the Appellant was caring for too many children, and that she and her husband had seen young children playing outside without supervision. Her husband had taken photographs of this and made videos on his mobile phone. This was not a one off and they had been concerned for some months.

Test for suspension is that, Chief Inspector has grounds to conclude that continued provision of child care by registered person to any child may expose such child to a risk of harm. Burden of proof is on the Respondent to show that ‘there is reasonable cause to believe’ is established. The standard lies somewhere between the balance of probabilities and ‘reasonable cause to suspect’. Belief is to be judged by whether a reasonable person, assumed to know the law and possessed of the information believes that a child might be at risk.

Appellant is under active investigation. Child minding is her livelihood. Parents depend on her services. A range of people have written strong letters of support for the Appellant but a number of them saw the allegations as malicious and unfounded. There is an ongoing investigation which is active. Ofsted need to talk to as many parents as they can and be clear what they have agreed to, and that children are kept safe. They need to make sure that all records are up to date and accessible.

Tribunal identified risk to her minded children is that they are at risk of harm due to a lack of adequate supervision in a built up residential area with cars and other dangers and lack of up to date accessible records. Tribunal considered necessary and proportionate that, suspension should run but that by 15 September 2016. Ofsted should have completed their investigations and be in a position to decide what action to take. Appeal against interim suspension dismissed. The suspension continues.


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