Guidance relating to the management of allegations against professionals and volunteers was first introduced following the Bichard Inquiry into the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham (2002). A range of recommendations were made that were designed to make it harder for unsuitable people to have access to children and young people through their employment or volunteering activities, and to deal efficiently and effectively with any allegations made against them.
Definition of an allegation
Behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed a child, or
Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child, or
Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates unsuitability to work with children.
There may be up to three strands in the consideration of an allegation:
- A police investigation of a possible criminal offence;
- Enquiries and assessment by children’s social care about whether a child is in need of protection or in need of services; and
- Consideration by an employer of disciplinary action in respect of the individual.
Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)
The role of the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) is to coordinate all allegations and concerns made against a person who works with children within Peterborough. As such, all allegations and concerns must be reported to the LADO.
The LADO will:
- Provide advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations
- Liaise with the police and other agencies
- Monitor the progress of cases to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible consistent with a thorough and fair process.
The LADO will also provide reports to the PSCB at least annually or on request.
The LADO should be informed within one working day of all allegations that come to an employer’s attention, a Named Senior Officer or made directly to the Police.
Every allegation or serious concern should be referred to the relevant Named Senior Officer, and thence to the LADO.
Making Safeguarding Referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
If you dismiss or remove a person from regulated activity (or may have done so had they not left)’ because they have harmed or posed a risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult, then you have a LEGAL duty to refer the person to the DBS.
The DBS’ role is to make barring decisions about people who are referred to it (usually following an employer’s disciplinary process), with the possible consequence of the person being barred from working or volunteering with children and/or vulnerable adults. The DBS uses a fair, thorough and consistent process that ensures that the decision it reaches is both proportionate and appropriate to the risk the person poses to children or vulnerable adults.
On 1 December 2012 the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) merged to form a new organisation, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The legal duty to make referrals remains, however referrals should now be addressed to the DBS. The DBS’ website is http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/DBS and provides a range of materials to help you to consider or make a referral. This includes a Referral Form, Referral Guidance, FAQs and a series of Fact Sheets.
You may also contact the DBS Helpline on 01325 953795 for information or advice about making a referral.