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Allegations about adults who work with children

Allegations about adults who work with children

What type of referral are you making?

Referrals to the Single Point of Advice (SPOA)

Refer to SPOA any level 4 concerns about:

  • contact or online sexual abuse
  • suspected grooming
  • physical abuse, or
  • inappropriate restraint leading to injury

Identify the need for LADO involvement in the report.

Referrals to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer)

Refer concerns or allegations linked to conduct directly to the LADO, or via police or social care. These include:

  • contact with children and young people through social media and personal email or phone
  • emotional abuse, bullying, threats, intimidation or derogatory comments
  • non-sexual contact, which breaches a code of conduct or positive handling policy
  • providing rewards and incentives which are not sanctioned within a code of conduct and could single out particular children or young people to the detriment of others
  • being under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the workplace
  • inappropriate use of work IT equipment in work or at home e.g. viewing adult pornography
  • failure to protect or report a safeguarding concern
  • involvement with Children’s Services, such as care proceedings or Child Protection Plans, for own children
  • domestic abuse
  • arrest or prosecution for a criminal offence outside of work

Allegation against a professional working with adults

Report to:

Kellie Clarke, the Adult LADO

Peer on Peer Abuse

You must report concerns about abuse and sexually harmful behaviour between children to:

If staff in a setting have failed to report a concern to their safeguarding lead or this was done late, you should also:

Advice and guidance on managing this in schools is found at:

Mental health and self-harm

You must report cases where there is a risk of significant harm to a young person to:

You can also:

If there are concerns about staff conduct and suitability you should:

More advice on:

Criminal exploitation

You must refer specific concerns about young people to

More guidance in:

Accidents and injuries involving children in settings

Report serious injuries with concerns about:

  • the explanation of the injury or potential injury
  • medication errors where there was a potential risk of significant harm

to the relevant agency, e.g., SPOA, Ofsted, and also the Care Quality Commission.

You should refer concerns about staff neglect or conduct to:

  • the LADO (Allegations about adults who work with children)

Nurseries should refer to guidance from Ofsted in:

Contact arrangements

If you get requests from parents about disputes linked to contact or residence of children, you should:

  • advise them that you are not able to make decisions about unresolved issues and
  • refer to our guidance  (Czone)

Decisions made by social work teams

Send concerns about:

  • a referral not being actioned
  • delays in decision-making
  • case closures

to the practice manager of the social work team involved.

Allegations about adults who work with children - the LADO

The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) oversees allegations about adults who work or volunteer with children. We offer advice to employers and agencies when an allegation has been made about a person, whether at work or in their private life.

Refer directly to the Single Point of Advice (SPoA)

when a child is at risk of, or has suffered, significant harm and an adult who is working or volunteering with children has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children, or
  • behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children

For other concerns about conduct, you can make a referral to the LADO.

Managing Allegations Process

When an allegation or concern has been raised about an individual who works or volunteers with children, please refer to the Managing Allegations Guidance [378.7 KB] [pdf] and follow the pathways below:

Pathway 1: A clear disclosure of harm such as physical or sexual abuse:

  1. Contact the Single Point of Advice (SPOA). If it is out of hours, contact the Emergency Duty Service on 01273 335906 or 01273 335905

  2. SPOA triages concern and assigns level. If SPOA triages as level 3 or 4, they will pass it to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

    [For level 1 and 2 see Organisations that help families]

  3. MASH Practice Manager triages referral with Police
    - they decide whether thresholds are met to hold a Strategy Meeting (with review meetings agreed if needed)
    - or close to Children’s Social Care and refer to LADO to take forward

  4. Strategy Meeting (with a review meetings agreed if needed)
    - refer for a Children’s Social Care assessment, or
    - Police investigation, or
    - no further action (NFA) for Children’s Social Care,
    - LADO to take forward for oversight of employer’s internal investigation

  5. A Children’s Social Care assessment could result in:
    - transfer to long-term Children’s Social Care team
    - or NFA to Children’s Social Care

  6. A Police investigation could result in:
    - prosecution, or
    - NFA
    - LADO to be kept updated on Police investigation outcome

  7. If Police investigation closes with NFA, LADO will advise the Employer on next steps, which may lead to an internal investigation to be conducted with HR advice on risk management plan pending outcome of investigation:
    - NFA
    - disciplinary Process
    - LADO to be kept updated on employer’s investigation outcome

  8. A disciplinary meeting could result in:
    - dismissal or resignation (consider threshold for DBS referral)
    - training, guidance, or
    - NFA
    - LADO should be updated on the outcome of the disciplinary process

Pathway 2: A general concern, e.g. conduct or behaviour:

  1. Make a LADO referral

  2. LADO to advise on next steps, including whether to initiate an internal investigation:

    - if new concerns are identified, consider a referral to SPOA
    - conduct an internal investigation with HR advice on risk management plan pending outcome of investigation
    - NFA
    - disciplinary process
    - LADO to be kept updated on employer’s investigation outcome

  3. An internal investigation could result in a disciplinary process (consult pathway 1, point 8 for process).