Bullying must be reported urgently

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Parents who believe their children are being bullied should report incidents to their school as soon as they occur.

For if information received by schools is out of date, staff “struggled” to investigate allegations.

That advice was given by Scottish Borders Council during an investigation by a national watchdog into a claim by a couple that their son had been bullied at his school over a number of years.

The parents, referred to as Mr and Mrs C, first reported their concerns to the school, which has not been named, in 2012, and, after several meetings with staff, they complained to the council, claiming the school was not providing a safe environment for their son.

The couple then asked the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to investigate, alleging that not enough had been done to respond to their concerns and that the issues affecting their son’s welfare continued.

The report on that probe, published this week, concludes that Mr and Mrs C’s son had, indeed, suffered from bullying behaviour.

But the SPSO declined to uphold the complaint that the council failed to investigate and respond to their concerns.

“Based on the available evidence, we are satisfied the council had agreed the points of concern and had carried out an investigation in line with their complaints process,” states the report

However, the watchdog records its “concerns” that there was a lack of records of the various meetings attended by the couple since 2012.

“The council provided evidence that records of meetings are now being held and that all reported incidents are investigated where there is sufficient evidence to do so,” says the SPSO.

The council explained it was important all alleged incidents were reported at the time they took place so that school staff could follow these up at the time.

“The council explained that when information was inaccurate or out of date, then schools staff struggled to investigate allegations.”