Managing allegations against child care professionals

In order to manage allegations against child care professionals, every Local Authority   appoints a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). The LADO works within Children’s Services and should be alerted to all cases in which it is alleged that a person who works with children has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, a child
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against children, or related to a child, or
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he may pose a risk to children. (Working Together 2015)
  • behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children.

In this context, the term “professional” includes paid employees, volunteers, casual/agency staff and self-employed workers who will have contact with children as a part of their role. The LADO ensures that all allegations or concerns about professionals or adults working or volunteering with children are recorded appropriately, monitored and progressed in a timely and confidential way. The LADO is involved from the initial phase of the allegation through to the conclusion of the case. The LADO provides advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations, liaising with the police and other agencies and monitoring the progress of cases to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible, consistent with a thorough and fair process

 

Reporting Allegations/Concerns

  1. Any allegation should be reported immediately to a senior manager within your organisation. The LADO should also be informed within one working day of all allegations that come to an employer’s attention or that are made directly to the police. The LADO must also be informed of any assessments/allegations about a professional's personal /family life which could suggest that they may be a risk to children with whom they are working.
  2.  All cases will be subject to an initial joint evaluation between the LADO and referring agency, involving relevant sectors as and when appropriate including, the Police, Children’s social work services, employers and regulatory bodies .The assessment will focus on the nature of the concern, safeguarding for the particular child/children and appropriate consideration for the professional/volunteer involved. An allegations management meeting will be convened where necessary to agree an appropriate way forward.
  3. The protection of a child/young person will be the prime consideration in the process of managing an allegation .The child/young person’s involvement in the process including support and feedback will be given careful consideration with the LADO ensuring that the child’s voice is heard.
  4. For the professional involved, the assessment and subsequent action will be stressful whatever the outcome and support for each individual must be considered and acted upon.
  5. If an organisation removes an individual (paid worker or unpaid volunteer) from work such as looking after children (or would have, had the person not left first) because the person poses a risk of harm to children, the organisation must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service.

The LADO team are keen to ensure that, as much time as possible is focused on allegations that are within their remit.

It is important that organisations and particularly managers who have lead responsibility for Safeguarding ensure that they spend time considering the issues and risks when they are concerned about the behaviour of an adult who works with children and young people before a referral is made. Whilst the LADO can offer advice and guidance it is also expected that individual organisations will make some initial evaluation and decide if the presenting concern might meet one of the three LADO criteria. We suggest that:

  • Some basic fact finding is undertaken to understand what has happened and who was involved
  • What is the child or young person saying?
  • Consult with your HR business partner to have a discussion and establish what their view about evidence of risk or harm is.
  • Consult with your safeguarding lead to have a discussion and establish what their view about evidence of risk or harm is.
  • Consult with your line manager have a discussion and establish what their view about evidence of risk or harm is.

You will then have the information to be able to complete the notification document should you think there is evidence of harm.

We understand that with more professionals working from home it is more challenging to have conversations with Safeguarding leads and managers to evaluate the issues but it is vital that some early thinking and consideration is undertaken rather than making an immediate referral to the LADO team. The ‘notification’ form that is available gives professionals a good structure with which to approach this thinking.

Do ring the LADO number to discuss your concern at any point 0113 3789687 you will then be directed  through to the LADO on duty but do some ground work first involving your manager, HR and safeguarding lead  to help you to make the right decision.

If you are wanting to discuss a case but don’t think there is necessarily evidence of harm you do not have to share the professionals name and we may decide there is no need for LADO involvement at all.
You may find it helpful to ask these questions in relation to the concern:

1. What is happening right now and what is causing concern?
2. What are the challenges and vulnerabilities for the child and member of staff?
3. What has triggered this concern ?(Is there a pattern )
4. What will happen if things don’t change?
5. What is keeping this concern going?
6. What are the positives and strengths for the child and member of staff?
 

Contact

 

The Local Authority Designated Officers in Leeds can be contacted Monday to Friday on: 0113 3789687
Between them they operate a duty system for LADO Notifications.

If you think that a professional has harmed a child:

1. Request a notification form from LADO@leeds.gov.uk

2. Email the completed form to LADO@leeds.gov.uk

If you would like to discuss your concerns or are unclear about the criteria call the Local Authority Designated Officers, Monday to Friday on: 0113 3789687.

 

Please make sure that you follow the West Yorkshire procedures in conjunction with the above.