Managing Allegations Against Staff, Carers and Volunteers Fiona Goussard Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) RBWM
Underlying principles • The welfare of the child is paramount (Children Act 1989) • Adults about whom there are concerns should be treated fairly and honestly and should be provided with support • It is the responsibility of all adults to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. This responsibility extends to a duty of care for those adults employed, commissioned or contracted to work with children and young people • Safeguarding children is everybody’s responsibility. All employers have a responsibility to set personal and professional boundaries for their staff and to be explicit about what behaviour is unacceptable and will impact on their employment
Allegations against Staff, Carers and Volunteers This procedure and requirements have been developed to: • Ensure that allegations are dealt with expeditiously and in a fair manner • Ensure that where staff are not suitable to work with children that they are prevented from doing so by notification to relevant bodies Every Local Authority must have a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
Roles and Responsibilities The LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) • Provides advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations • Liaises with the Police and other agencies • Monitors the progress of cases, ensuring that they are dealt with as quickly as possible, consistent with a fair and thorough process • Provides the LSCB Business Manager with the data regarding allegations to inform ongoing planning.
The Senior Manager for Organisations: • Organisations must identify a senior manager who has overall responsibility for ensuring safeguarding procedures are followed at an operational level, and to whom all allegations within their organisation are reported • This person represents the organisation. In a school this is the head teacher (or the chair of governors in the event of an allegation against the head teacher) • A deputy must also be identified to cover in the absence of the senior manager
Criteria and Thresholds for Allegations Management • 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 children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children A person who works with children is alleged to have: -
Examples of actions Interpreted as Abusive Physical Abuse Any form of physical assault (including attempts):- Kicking Biting Punching Pushing Slapping Shaking Throwing a missile Sexual Abuse Abuse of position of trust. Any form of sexual assault Possession of indecent or abusive photographs or images of children Showing indecent or pornographic material to children Inappropriate touching, language or behaviour towards a child Emotional Abuse & Neglect Racial / homophobic comments or Behaviour, or failing to address this in others Persistent sarcasm or belittling children Bullying children, or failing to address it in others Inappropriate punishments. Creating a climate of fear Failing to protect a child from physical danger Overprotection or the prevention of socialisation Lack of supervision Lack of provision of basic care or stimulation
Professional Behaviour • Employers and managers have a responsibility to ensure that professional behaviour applies to relationships between staff and children • All staff need to be clear about what constitutes appropriate behaviour and professional boundaries • Employers and managers who address these issues will enable staff to approach their role with confidence
Concerns of the Workforce Lots of allegations are false and malicious Cases take a long time to resolve – people are suspended for long periods without support People are named and attract damaging publicity in the local or national press so careers are destroyed even if the person is innocent But in reality.... Very few allegations are deliberately invented or malicious 55% of cases are resolved in under a month, but 22% take up to 3 months and the remainder can take up to a year or more A person is suspended in only 20% of cases Most reports in the national press are about people charged with an offence or a criminal trial Research undertaken by Investigation, Referral, Support Co-ordinators (IRSC)
Your responsibilities Know who your Senior Officer is in your organisation. Be familiar with your local Safeguarding Children policies and procedures. If you see anything that worries you, speak to your line manager, or the Senior Officer, straight away. If you are concerned about the management response, consult the LADO. If in doubt – ask!