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AIBU to ask for an explanation?

(9 Posts)
Gaggleofgirls Thu 23-Mar-17 09:49:26

I've just taken on being the chair of a committee run playgroup. This was something I was asked to do as without one it closes and nobody else had stepped up.

The playgroup leader has been paying herself for working from home. Whilst going through everything this is just something I have found, and questioned what it is that needs to be done outside of session (other than planning which is in job description).
She has now got very upset with me and has said she can give herself admin time as and when she feels she needs to.
I don't want my name on something dodgy so I want it all by the book, and although I hadn't thought it at all when I originally asked I'm now feeling like 'she protests too loudly!' As if perhaps I'm about to uncover a whole can of worms?
Suggestions on how to proceed anyone?

HSMMaCM Thu 23-Mar-17 13:19:35

She may be protesting too loudly, but there is an awful lot of admin involved in collating learning journeys etc. This is easier to do away from the children. Maybe approach it from the assumption she's telling the truth and ask her what needs doing, how much of her valuable time it takes up, whether someone else can help, etc.

Planning also involves analysis of what worked and what didn't, what was learned, areas of eyfs involved, next steps for specific children, etc.

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 23-Mar-17 13:30:27

I used to be the chair of a preschool committee. As well as the pre-school opening hours the preschool leader was paid an extra 1.5 hours a day for planning, all paperwork rsting to keeping records of thr children's progress and all other paperwork required by Statute and for Ofsted. No wonder she was upset and defensive - basically you accused her of fraud/theft/being dodgy!

LaContessaDiPlump Thu 23-Mar-17 13:34:58

I'd ask her if you can meet up for a coffee and gently explain that of course it is fine for her to allocate admin time; you just need to keep a record of how much time that actually is per month so that you can see if she needs help.

Generally, precise accounts are always preferred - try to spin it that way.

Gaggleofgirls Thu 23-Mar-17 15:10:11

I'm aware of how much planning etc goes into it as I used to be a teacher and still run the play session one morning. (Something I don't get paid to plan, set up or clean away 🤔)

The subject came up in committee meeting about possible PPA time (or as suggested an allocated amount of time given) to cover this. All I've asked is what she needs to cover in this admin time, she keeps complaining she has too much to do, but doesn't actually want to delegate?
Anyone know what the job responsibilities are of responsible person, chair and playgroup leader?
We're not ofsted/estyn inspected anymore.

WindyBottoms Thu 23-Mar-17 15:26:12

"She has now got very upset with me and has said she can give herself admin time as and when she feels she needs to."

No, she can't. If it's a committee-run playgroup then the committee is in charge. The manager can't just decide to pay herself for extra hours, especially if she won't even tell you what she is doing.

You need to be able to plan ahead and budget for each coming term or half-term. You can't do that if you don't know what the staffing costs are going to be.

Another potential issue is that if she is refusing to delegate, this could end up costing you/the playgroup more. If she's paying herself at a manager's hourly rate to do a job that could be done by someone on a non-managerial rate, it's obviously going to be a more expensive wage bill.

It's highly likely that there is a lot of work to be done outside of playgroup hours, but you/the committee need to know what it is. It might be that it's something that could be done by committee members - or you might prefer to pay her so that it's not left to volunteers.

A committee chairperson (or another member if required) would usually be expected to hold an appraisal meeting with the manager. (The manager should be doing the same for the other staff members and reporting back where necessary).

The idea is to use the time to discuss how she/the committee feels things are going and what could be done to improve things. Issues raised could include things like the manager wanting staff to attend particular training courses, or things to be done in a different way. This would be your opportunity to raise the admin issue. As an employer you also would be looking at the possible effects on the staff if they are having to work outside of their usual hours.

It may be that things are being done purely because it's the way they've always been done rather than because they are actually needed.

Gaggleofgirls Thu 23-Mar-17 16:23:39

Thanks that's really helpful.

Do you know anything about responsible person role?

BackforGood Sun 26-Mar-17 19:02:23

I'd agree with above. there is a lot to be done outside of the hours the children are in, however there needs to be an agreed system of remuneration, and process of her applying for "overtime" as it were if she needs it on an occasional basis. She can't just retrospectively claim hours that haven't been agreed. (Although you could of course say you can work "up to X paid hours a week / month without asking first" to make the practicalities easier).

randomposterme Sun 16-Apr-17 17:29:39

I'm also involved in a committee run playgroup. Ours is a registered charity. I was recently given advice that the committee should see bank statements at every committee meeting because financial responsibility is shared by everyone on the committee (legal responsibility), not just the job of the treasurer. I was also told that financial dodginess does happen, often due to inexperience or mistakes and thus transparency is very important. Our charity could not afford to allow the manager to effectively 'pay herself at her discretion' because we're in a financial crisis. So if ours did, it would be very serious. But even if she could, it would be something that would have to be agreed by the whole committee.

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