When a report is made to the designated senior manager it will be clear in some cases that an immediate referral must be made to social care or the police for investigation, as a child appears to have been harmed or is at risk of significant harm or a criminal act appears to have been committed.
Your Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) should be informed of all allegations and will provide advice and guidance and be involved in the management and oversight of all allegations cases as well as liaising with you, all other parties and monitoring the progress of all cases.
This means that the Designated Senior Manager (or designated deputy in case of the unavailability of, or an allegation being made against, the Designated Senior Manager) should:
- collate and record information you have and personal details about (i) the child/ren, parents/carers, siblings; (ii) the person against whom the allegation has been made; and (iii) details of any known or possible witnesses, including checking on and recording, with times. dates etc, any other incidents or concerns about the child/ren or the member of staff/volunteer concerned together with actions taken and outcomes. At the same time it’s important to keep alert for patterns which might suggest the abuse goes further afield and involves other children and adults;
- contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) WITHIN 1 WORKING DAY of receiving the report of an allegation.
- inform the person reporting the allegation or concern what action you will take, in accordance with local procedures and with regard to local information sharing protocols and the need to maintain confidentiality;
- ensure that the alleged perpetrator or person about whom there is a concern is informed of the allegation or concern as soon as possible after consulting with the LADO and in accordance with any restrictions on information sharing that may be imposed by the police or social care. How enquiries will be conducted and possible outcome e.g disciplinary action, dismissal, referral to regulatory body should be explained together with sources of support and advice, e.g from professional organization/trade union;
- help all parties understand the process throughout.
You should not
- take any action that might undermine any future investigation or disciplinary procedure, such as interviewing the alleged victim or potential witnesses, or informing or interviewing the alleged perpetrator, prior to contacting the LADO, (or without the go-ahead from police or social care if a direct referral has been made) The LADO will liaise with the police and/or social care as necessary, as they may want to place restrictions on the information that can be shared.
- automatically suspend or dismiss the member of staff without seeking further advice.
- inform parents/carers of the child/ren until advised to do so by the LADO or a strategy meeting, other than in emergency situation, such as when a child has been injured and needs medical attention. The LADO will advise on how and by whom parents/carers should be informed and will liaise with police or social care where they are or may need to be involved.
If your agency or organisation is a member of the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board it will have a Named Senior Officer (NSO), who has responsibility for ensuring allegations are dealt with in accordance with these procedures, resolving inter-agency issues and liaising with the LSCB. You should communicate with your NSO and any other colleagues, such as Human Resources personnel, as necessary and in accordance with your service/agency’s protocols, procedures and structures for managing allegations.
In the case of Police forces, a senior officer will be designated to fulfil a similar role to the NSO in having a strategic oversight of arrangements made for dealing with allegations against police officers or staff, liaising with the LSCB and ensuring compliance.
Police forces should also identify a designated officer within their Child Protection Unit/ Child Abuse Investigation Team for overseeing the investigation of allegations against people working with children.