The strategy discussion should take the form of a meeting, wherever possible, however, on occasions, a telephone discussion may be justified.
Possible participants are:
- Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)
- Social Care Manager (to chair)
- Relevant social worker and his/her manager
- Detective Sergeant CAIT/CPU
- Designated Senior Manager for the employer
- Human Resources representative
- Consultant pediatrician
And where applicable:
- Senior representative of an employment agency or voluntary organisation
- Manager from fostering service provider and supervising social worker for foster carer
- Regulatory or inspection body e.g. Ofsted
- Representatives from relevant agencies from another local authority, where child is placed or resident
- Complaints officer, if concern has arisen from a complaint
The strategy discussion should:
- Consider the risk to the child and ensure that arrangements are made to protect and support them and any other children affected,
- Decide whether there should be a s.47 enquiry and/or a police investigation and consider the implications,
- Consider whether any parallel disciplinary process can take place and agree protocols for sharing information,
- Consider the current allegation in the context of any previous allegations or concerns,
- Where appropriate, take account of any entitlement by staff to use reasonable force to control or restrain children e.g. Section 550a Education Act 1996, in respect of teachers and authorised staff,
- Consider the current implications and risks, if the case is one of historical abuse,
- Consider whether a complex abuse investigation is applicable,
- Make recommendations, where appropriate, regarding suspension or alternatives to suspension,
- Consider whether the evidence presented indicates that the member of staff may be considered unsuitable to work with children and possible reports for consideration of barring where appropriate,
- Consider what support and advice should be provided to the member of staff concerned,
- Consider risk assessments to inform the employer’s safeguarding arrangements.
- Plan any enquiries needed, allocate tasks and set timescales,
- Ensure that investigations are sufficiently independent,
- Identify a lead contact manager within each agency,
- Decide what information can be shared, with whom, and when,
- Agree protocols for reviewing investigations and monitoring progress by the LADO, having regard to target timescales,
- Agree dates for review strategy discussions,
- Consider issues for the attention of senior management or Named Senior Officer e.g media interest, resource implications.
- Social Care Enquiry: The decision to carry out a core assessment or a s47 enquiry will be made at the strategy discussion, or a decision made to continue one, if already started.
Following the conclusion of a social care enquiry, the designated senior manager or employer, in consultation with the LADO, may need to consider what further action, if any, should be taken in relation to the member of staff concerned.
A final review meeting should be held to ensure that all tasks have been completed and, where appropriate, agree any actions needed based on lessons learned.