Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and his wife are said to feel “justified” after an independent investigation found that some families were “treated unfairly” when seeking a nursery place for their child.
Little Scholars Day Nursery in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, has been ordered to put in place “consistent and robust” systems to handle hospitalization requests, following a complaint filed by Mr. Yousaf and his wife were approved by the Care Inspectorate.
The couple accused Little Scholars Day Nursery in Broughty Ferry, Dundee, of racially discriminating against their daughter and others with Asian or Muslim-sounding names, who were told there were no vacancies while offering seats to those with Scottish or white-sounding names. .
The National Board of Health and Welfare found in its report on the complaint that the crèche “did not promote justice, equality and respect when offering placements”.
However, the nursery has retaliated, accusing the watchdog of “partial spin” in its media statement on the matter.
A spokeswoman for Little Scholars insisted that “no conclusions about discrimination or problems of inequality” were affirmed in the official report – which is not publicly available – and engaged her own lawyers to “demand answers” from the watchdog.
Aamer Anwar, the lawyer for Mr Yousaf and his wife, said they felt “justified” by the Care Inspectorate’s findings, describing the nursery’s response as “very disappointing”.
He said: “My clients Nadia El-Nakla and Humza Yousaf welcome the fact that the independent regulators have approved the complaint and they feel justified in the decision.
“They are first and foremost loving parents who would do anything to protect their children.
“Humza and Nadia were left deeply saddened when they believed their young daughter Amal was being discriminated against and that is why they took action.
“They are no different from any other parent in Scotland and simply wanted their daughter to have equal and fair access to opportunities regardless of her race or religion.
“After taking action, both Humza and Nadia were subjected to a tirade of abuse and accused of being liars, but today the Inspectorate has concluded in their favor that ‘every child in Scotland has the right to good quality care that meets their needs and respects their needs.
“It is now up to the nursery to prove through its practice that improvements will be made or, as the regulator has said, that they ‘will not hesitate to take further steps’.”
Sir. Anwar pointed to specific findings of the Care Inspectorate report – shared with Yousafs and the nursery – which said that “in occasion, the leader did not further the purposes of the service in treating children and families with justice, equality and respect when offering placements to expectant parents ”.
He said the report had also found that “some families were treated unfairly when inquiries were made to the service”, and “the manager agreed that communication was not always respectful”.
The Danish Health and Medicines Authority has given the provider a deadline of 12 December to ensure that “coherent and robust systems are put in place to handle hospitalization requests so that these are processed in a transparent and fair manner”.
In a summary of the case on its website, the watchdog added that communication with prospective families needs to be “improved to demonstrate that applicants are treated in a polite and respectful manner”, adding: “People need to receive the right information”.
Earlier today, a spokesman for the Danish Health and Medicines Authority said: “We have upheld a complaint in relation to this case.
“We found that the service did not promote justice, 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 monitor progress.
“We will continue to monitor this service. If we are not satisfied that the necessary improvements have been made, we will not hesitate to take further steps.”
But within hours, a spokeswoman for the Little Scholars Day Nursery Care Inspectorate accused her of issuing an “extremely suspicious and very misleading statement” with a “particularly inaccurate and biased spin”.
She said: “Contrary to the media statement issued by the Care Inspectorate, there were no conclusions about discrimination or any issues of inequality maintained by the study or contained in its official report.
“We have therefore instructed our lawyers to demand an answer from the Danish Health and Medicines Authority on how this inaccurate statement was given.
“As a small family business, we are always looking at how we can improve things.
“Although the FSA found that our hospitalization procedure could be improved, it had nothing to do with discrimination or equality, and within a few days of becoming aware of Mr Yousaf and Mrs El-Nakla’s complaint, we reviewed and updated our system to: handling admissions. ”
A spokesman for the Danish Health and Medicines Authority said it had no further comments.
Sir. Yousaf and his wife Nadia El-Nakla filed a formal complaint in August after being told there were no vacancies for their two-year-old daughter, Amal, but said applicants with “white Scottish-sounding names” was accepted.
At the time, Mr Yousaf said he was sorry his daughter had “suffered discrimination”, adding that the couple had been given “no reasonable explanation” for the anomaly.
Little Scholars Day Nursery has always denied discrimination and insisted at the time the case was published by Mr Yousaf via the Daily Record newspaper that it welcomed children and staff from a variety of backgrounds “including two Muslim families at the moment”.
It stressed that its owners were also “of Asian heritage”.
Today’s statement from the nursery added that it had received “overwhelming support” from parents and the local community, adding: “We have never had the slightest doubt that the complaint about our leader’s character and integrity would be rejected. She is a longtime and loud appreciated member of our team and it has been hugely outrageous to see her face such unfair and untrue allegations.
“I’m sure we could have quickly solved this problem if we had been contacted directly instead of using the national media, which has caused enormous and unnecessary stress to our team and our families.”
Separate lawsuits against the kindergarten were also initiated by Mr Yousaf’s wife in August, after the kindergarten owners rejected her request to settle the dispute with a public apology and compensation paid to an anti-racism charity.
Her lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said she had not been given a “reasonable explanation” as to why children with Asian or Muslim-sounding names were repeatedly denied space, while those with white / Scottish-sounding names were accommodated.
It is alleged that the legislation under the Gender Equality Act (2010) was violated when on three separate occasions – starting with Nadia El-Nakla’s daughter Amal Yousaf – attempts were made to secure a nursery place for a child with an Asian or Muslim-sounding name. .
It is alleged that on all three occasions the applicant was asked to fill out a registration form but was then told that there were no vacancies.
When three attempts were subsequently made to secure a nursery place for a child with a “white-sounding”, non-Muslim name, places were allegedly offered without the registration form being filled out.
In a response on August 23, representatives acting on behalf of the nursery rejected allegations of racial or religious discrimination.
The case is pending before the Dundee Sheriff’s Court.