Allegations against staff, carers and volunteers
Local Authority Designated Officers (LADO) provide advice and guidance to employers and other individuals or organisations who have concerns relating to an adult who works with children and young people. This includes volunteers, agency staff, foster carers, religious leaders, school governors etc.
What should be referred to the LADO?
There is a duty on all agencies to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. All organisations that provide services for children or provide staff or volunteers to care for or work with children should operate a procedure for handling allegations. 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
- for education staff, behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she would pose a risk of harm if they work regularly or closely with children
Any concern that meets the criteria above should be referred. Initially it may be unclear how serious the allegation is. If there is any doubt, the LADO or the lead person for safeguarding in the agency should be contacted for advice.
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 meetings if required
- 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 referral is determined following a police investigation and/or children’s services investigation. This investigation may be carried out separately or jointly with the police, or internal investigation by an employer, including consideration of disciplinary procedures.
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.