Nursery threatens legal action after Care Inspectorate upholds Yousaf discrimination complaint
A Dundee nursery at the centre of a discrimination complaint by health secretary Humza Yousaf has instructed lawyers to pursue an “urgent clarification” from the Care Inspectorate.
Lawyers for Little Scholars, in Broughty Ferry, said the watchdog had issued an “extremely suspicious and highly misleading statement” to the press.
Yousaf and his wife, Nadia El-Nakla, accused the nursery of discriminating against their daughter after being told there was no space for the child. They said applications for children with “white Scottish-sounding names” were being accepted.
The nursery has rejected the claim.
Earlier today, the Care Inspectorate, a government watchdog, said it had upheld Yousaf’s formal complaint.
A spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: "We have upheld a complaint in relation to this matter. We found that the service did not promote fairness, equality and respect when offering placements.
"Every child in Scotland has the right to good quality care that meets their needs and respects their rights.
"We have identified areas for improvement and we will follow up on these to check on progress.
"We continue to monitor this service. If we are not satisfied that the improvements required have been met, we will not hesitate to take further action."
Little Scholars has now been ordered to demonstrate, by 12 December, that “the service is being well led and managed”.
Nursery bosses must also ensure that “consistent and robust systems are introduced to manage admission requests so that these are processed in a transparent and equitable manner”.
Yousaf and El-Nakla’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said the couple “feel vindicated” by the decision to uphold the complaint.
He said: “They are first and foremost loving parents who would do anything to protect their children.
“Humza and Nadia were left deeply upset when they believed their young daughter Amal was being discriminated against and that is why they took action.
“They are no different to any other parent in Scotland and simply wanted their daughter to be given equal and fair access to opportunity regardless of her race or religion.”
However, the nursery says there were “no findings of discrimination or any issues with a lack of equality”.
Glasgow law firm Levy & McRae has written to the Care Inspectorate seeking an “urgent clarification”.
A spokesperson for Little Scholars Day Nursery said: “This is an extremely suspicious and highly misleading statement, issued to the media without any notice being given to us and with a particularly inaccurate and partisan spin.
“Contrary to the media statement issued by the Care Inspectorate, there were no findings of discrimination or any issues with a lack of equality upheld by the investigation or contained within its official report.
“We have therefore instructed our lawyers to demand answers from the Care Inspectorate as to how this inaccurate statement was issued.
“As a small family business, we’re always looking at ways we can improve things. Whilst the Care Inspectorate found our admission procedure could be improved, this had nothing to do with discrimination or equality and within a few days of becoming aware of Mr Yousaf and Ms El-Nakla’s complaint, we reviewed and updated our system for dealing with admissions."