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Managing Allegations/Concerns in Relation to Adults who Work with, Care for or Volunteer with Children

Introduction

For more information see Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Board (NCSCB) and Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB)’ Safeguarding Children Procedures.

This procedure is based on these procedures. Reference can also be made to Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015. It applies to cases where the allegation or concern might indicate the person is unsuitable to continue to work with children in their present position, or in any capacity.

All employees need to be aware that concerns or allegations should be responded to on the basis of this guidance rather than in the first instance as a complaint or any other form of representation.  

People who Work with Children/Adults in a Position of Trust - Definition

In this context, ‘people who work with children’ and ‘adults in a position of trust’ are deemed to be paid or unpaid staff, elected members, foster carers or prospective adoptive parents. This includes students on work placements in settings which mean that they have contact with children.

If there is any doubt about whether a concern or allegation falls within the scope of this guidance please discuss this with the Named Senior Manager, who will consult the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) / Team of Designated Officers, as necessary.

Concerns about Individuals

Experience has shown that children can be subject to abuse by those who work with them in any and every setting.  All allegations of abuse of children by an adult in a position of trust should be taken seriously and treated in accordance with these procedures. 

Where allegations of abuse are made against an adult in a position of trust whether contemporary, non recent (historical) or both, the risk of harm to children posed by the person under investigation should be effectively evaluated and managed in respect of the child/children involved in the allegations, and any other children in the individual’s home, work or community life. The concern about risk of harm to a child may have occurred in the context of the person’s employment within an agency or in a personal capacity.

Relevant concerns are those that indicate an individual may have:

  • 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 in a way that indicates s/he may pose a risk of harm to children.

The concern/allegation will usually relate to the person’s work or their role as a volunteer. However, in some circumstances it may relate to their behaviour outside this setting, for example:

  • An allegation that an individual has harmed, or failed to protect, their own child from Significant Harm;
  • An individual whose children are made subject to a Child Protection Plan;
  • An allegation that an individual has been involved in some form of criminal activity, such as downloading abusive images of children etc.

Where there is cause to suspect a child is suffering or is likely to suffer Significant Harm, the Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Board (NCSCB) and Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB) Safeguarding Children Procedure Manual, Allegations Against Staff or Volunteers Procedure should be followed.

Roles and Responsibilities of Lead Individuals

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 requires Nottinghamshire County Council to designate an officer / Team of Officers to be involved in the oversight of individual cases and provide advice and guidance to other employers and voluntary organisations. In Nottinghamshire, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) / Team of Designated Officers for all cases will be the Service Manager: Safeguarding Children.

The District Council's have identified a Named Senior Manager, to whom specific concerns or allegations about persons who work with children should be reported. An Alternative Person has also been identified to whom reports should be made in the absence of the Named Senior Manager or in cases where that person is the subject of the allegation or concern.   

To ensure that the key functions required by this procedure are undertaken effectively:

  • The Named Senior Manager must ensure that employees and volunteers within the Council understand their responsibility to report concerns/allegations to them, as required by this procedure;
  • The Named Senior Manager must notify the LADO / Team of Designated Officers when a concern/allegation has been made;
  • The LADO / Team of Designated Officers will monitor the progress of individual cases to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible consistent with a thorough, transparent and fair process.

Process for Dealing with the Allegations

On receipt of a concern/allegation about a person who works with children/adult in a position of trust within the Council, the Named Senior Manager should contact the LADO / Team of Designated Officers. The following issues will be considered:

  • Whether it is a matter that can be properly dealt with under the Council’s disciplinary procedures or whether the Police and/or Children’s Social Care might need to be involved. If the Police and/ or Children’s Social Care need to be involved then a Strategy Discussion will take place, in accordance with Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Board (NCSCB) and Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board (NSCB)’ Safeguarding Children Procedures;
  • How and by whom the parents or carers of a child should be informed. In specific circumstances parents may need to be informed immediately, e.g. if the child is injured and requires medical treatment. In all other circumstances this should happen as soon as possible;
  • How and by whom the person about whom the allegation has been made should be told of the allegation. This should happen as soon as possible. However, if it is concluded that Police and/or Children’s Social Care need to be involved in further enquiries, this should not happen until the decision is made at a Strategy Meeting. If the person subject to the allegation is a member of a union or professional body they should be advised to seek the support of that body from the outset;
  • What support the child and their parents/carers may require.

The employer should also keep the person who is the subject of the allegations informed of the progress of the case and arrange to provide appropriate support to the individual while the case is ongoing (this may be provided via occupational health or employee welfare arrangements where those exist). If the person is suspended the employer should also make arrangements to keep the individual informed about developments in the workplace.

If the allegation is substantiated and the findings of subsequent investigations indicate that the individual may not be suitable to work with children then the LADO / Team of Designated Officers and the Named Senior Manager should confirm that the employer will make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service practitioner or regulatory body that is required e.g. Health and Care Professions Council.

A clear and comprehensive summary of the allegation, the enquiries undertaken, the outcome of those enquiries, a clear account of decisions taken and the reason for them should be securely held on the individual’s confidential personnel file. The record should be held at least until the person has reached normal retirement age or for a period of ten years after the allegation was made if this is longer. The responsibility for ensuring that this happens rests with the Named Senior Manager.

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