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Placement employers behaving badly (allegedly). Legal dimensions to placement problems Alison Shillito Governance Services Manager. Why "employers behaving badly"?. "Problem students not problem placements" but what if student isn't being treated fairly? how do you know?

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Placement employers behaving badly allegedly

Placement employers behaving badly (allegedly)

Legal dimensions to placement problems

Alison Shillito

Governance Services Manager


Why employers behaving badly
Why "employers behaving badly"?

  • "Problem students not problem placements"

    • but what if student isn't being treated fairly?

    • how do you know?

  • Process for less clear for problem placements?


Higher education landscape
Higher education landscape

GOING UP

  • student satisfaction overall (NSS) 86% on average

  • student fees and living costs

  • student expectations

  • student complaints

  • expectation of transparency



University duty of care
University duty of care?

  • University duties:

    • contract with students - to provide education and services to a reasonable standard

    • in statute - Equality Act 2010; s.3 Health and Safety at Work Act, student data and confidentiality

    • in negligence - where our actions or inaction could reasonably be expected to harm the students or the employer.



Employer duties

Student duties

behave in accordance with Equality Act, Data Protection Act

to take care of their own safety and that of others in the workplace

in contract (whether written or otherwise) to abide by the employer's policies including respecting others, health and safety, confidentiality

University Student Code of Behaviour

  • Equality Act 2010 - fair recruitment and opportunities protection from harassment, make adjustments for disabled students

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 safe working environment for workers or interns

  • employment contract – pay and conditions and/or

  • placement agreement – to provide the work and learning experience agreed with student and University


The extent of the duty
The extent of the duty?

  • responsible for the things:

    • that are within your control

    • you have said you will do




Investigating concerns
Investigating concerns

  • Is placement providing safe and reasonable learning experience?

  • can we address deficiencies?

  • can we reduce/ mitigate detriment?


Remember
Remember ...

  • follow relevant procedures

  • get full account of student's perceptions

  • maintain confidentiality - within limits

  • pastoral support for student

  • follow-up concerns with employer

  • use/advise student on using employer procedures

  • mitigate disadvantage to student

  • document employer response

  • mediate/address breaches for this student

  • consider implications for placement of future students.


Public interest disclosure
Public Interest Disclosure

  • Whistle blowing

    • Clear procedure for relevant courses

    • Prepare students before placement

    • Review poor feedback or performance in placement audits/reviews

    • Support students how to do whistle blow appropriately


In conclusion
In conclusion ...

  • Employers are not obliged to take placement students but when they do they accept legal duties

  • The University continues to have duties to students (even if they are misbehaving or failing placement)

  • Silver lining - there is support and help for staff dealing with problems



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