Managing allegations against adults working with children (for professionals)
What is the LADO?
Every local authority has a statutory responsibility to have a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) who is responsible for co-ordinating the response to concerns that an adult who works with children may have caused them or could cause them harm. The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) works within Children’s Services and gives advice and guidance to employers, organisations and other individuals who have concerns about the behaviour of an adult who works with children and young people. Included in this group are volunteers, agency staff and foster carers as well as people who are in a position of authority and have regular contact with children, such as religious leaders, political figures or school governors.
What is the LADO’s role?
- To coordinate the safeguarding and investigative process in response to allegations made against people working with children.
- To provide advice/guidance to employers or voluntary organisations.
- To liaise with police and other agencies including Ofsted and professional bodies such as the General Medical Council and the Teaching Regulatory Agency.
- To monitor the progress of referrals to ensure they are dealt with as quickly as possible, consistent with a thorough and fair process.
- To resolve any inter-agency issues.
- To collect strategic data and maintain a confidential database in relation to allegations.
- To disseminate learning from LADO enquiries through the children’s workforce.
- To ensure that measures are in place to prevent further harm or abuse and that where required, referrals are made to the appropriate social care team.
What should be referred to the LADO?
The LADO should be alerted to all cases in which it is alleged that a person who works with children has:
- behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, a child
- possibly committed a criminal offence against children, or related to a child
- behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children.
Allegations of historical abuse should be responded in the same way as contemporary concerns. In such cases, it is important to find out whether the person against whom the allegation is made is still working with children and if so, to inform the person’s current employer or voluntary organisation or refer their family for assessment.
Any concern that meets the criteria above should be referred within one working day of the concern coming to your attention. You can do this by completing the notification form here.
Initially, it may be unclear how serious the allegation is. If there is any doubt, you should contact the LADO or lead person for safeguarding in your agency for advice. For information about what to do when concerns come to your attention please see LADO Guidance Note 1: Advice for Organisations.
Where a child from the Devon Local Authority area makes an allegation in a setting or placement which is outside the Devon County Council jurisdiction, the lead responsibility for action lies with the local authority for the area where the alleged abuse occurred where there is most organisational risk.
In these circumstances, the Local Authority Designated Officer and, where appropriate, the child’s social worker, will liaise with the relevant local authority and agree a joint strategy.
Checks should be made as to whether there are any other children in the setting or placement. If so, the child’s social worker and manager must be informed, and the Local Authority Designated Officer should consult them about the action required.
Interviews of children from Devon Local Authority areas will usually be undertaken by their own local children’s social care services in conjunction with the police as appropriate.
Where the referral relates to a child from another local authority temporarily placed in an establishment located within the Devon Local Authority area, the Local Authority Designated Officer should liaise with the child’s home authority about the roles and responsibilities in carrying out this procedure.
What will the LADO do?
Following notification, and within one working day, the first step will be to offer an initial evaluation discussion of the concern. This will consist of advice and guidance regarding the most appropriate way of managing the allegation and whether the referral meets the criteria for LADO involvement.
If the referral meets the criteria for LADO involvement, the LADO will:
- Arrange a Managing Allegations strategy meeting if one is required, liaising with the police and other agencies as necessary. If the case is complex there may be a series of meetings.
- Ensure that child protection procedures are initiated where the child is considered to be at risk of significant harm.
- Provide advice about sharing information the individual against whom the allegation has been made, with children and their families and others (see LADO Guidance Note 1: ‘Advice for Organisations‘).
- Advice on whether the person should be suspended while investigations are undertaken.
- Ensure employers are aware of their duty to notify the appropriate regulatory bodies and/or to refer the individual to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
How to contact the LADO
If you need to contact Devon’s LADO, please consider all the guidance for organisations first. If you believe the concern meets the remit of the LADO service, please complete the notification form or telephone 01392 384964 or email email@example.com for a notification form.
The LADO is best placed to give advice once they have access to the full range of information about your concern. Only in an emergency should you contact the LADO prior to completing a notification form as the advice they can give may be limited.
Guidance notes and further information
- LADO guidance note 1: Advice for Organisations
- LADO guidance note 2: Attending a LADO Managing Allegations strategy meeting
- LADO guidance note 3: What happens if an allegation is made against you?
- LADO guidance note 4: When there are concerns about your personal life
- Working together to safeguard children (2015)
- Disclosure and barring service (DBS)
- Keeping children safe in education (2016)