Allegations against staff, carers and volunteers
The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) works within Children’s Services to provide advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations around any concerns relating to adults who work with children and young people. This includes paid employees, volunteers, casual/agency staff, foster carers, religious leaders, school governors and any other persons who have contact with children and young people as part of their role.
What should be referred to the LADO?
All agencies that provide services for children have a duty to make arrangements to safeguard and promote their welfare and must have clear policies in place for dealing with allegations made against staff who work with children (Working Together 2018). Any such allegations should be reported immediately to a senior manager within the organisation and to the LADO within one working day. This also applies to historical allegations that have come to light. The procedure should be consistent with the guidance in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 and the Berkshire LSCB Child Protection Procedures.
The process for managing allegations should be used in all cases when it is alleged that a member of staff or volunteer has:
- behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
- behaved towards a child, or behaved in other ways that suggests they may be unsuitable to work with children
The LADO will respond to all contacts within one working day. Making contact with the LADO should not delay the need to refer cases onto the police or to Children’s Services if more immediate safeguarding concerns are prevalent.
What does the LADO do?
The first step will be to offer an initial discussion about the concern. This may consist of advice and guidance about the most appropriate way of managing the allegation. Following that the LADO may:
- establish what the next steps should be in terms of investigating the matter further
- liaise with the police and other agencies
- arrange a LADO allegations meeting if threshold for this is met
- monitor and maintain an overview of cases to ensure they are dealt with as quickly as possible in a thorough and fair way
In cases where the adult is unaware of the concern or allegation it may not be appropriate to tell them immediately and may prejudice a potential police investigation.
The outcome of a LADO investigation is determined following a police investigation and/or Children’s Services investigation. These investigations may run parallel to each other, and can also run alongside any internal or disciplinary investigations by an employer.
On conclusion of the case, the LADO will advise on whether there is a need for the employer to refer to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), or the appropriate professional body.