Complaints and allegations
What is an allegation?
An allegation is when it appears that the professional, staff member, childminder, volunteer, foster carer has:
- 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 an inappropriate way towards a child which may indicate that he or she is unsuitable to work with children
- if there are concerns about the person’s behaviour towards their own children
- children unrelated to their employment or voluntary work, and there has been a recommendation from a strategy discussion that consideration should be given to the risk posed to children they work with
- an allegation has been made about abuse that took place some time ago and the accused person may still be working with or having contact with children.
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. However in many cases it may be difficult to judge on the basis of the information provided; it may be more about unprofessional behaviour or blurred boundaries between a staff member and a child or there may be no foundation in the allegation at all. However all allegations must be taken seriously and objectively and dealt with in a timely manner.
(information taken from the South West Safeguarding and Child Protection Group website)
Information for professionals
Managing allegations against adults working with children
Local Authority Designated Officers (LADO) provide advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations that have concerns about a person working or volunteering with children and young people who may have behaved inappropriately or you have received information that may constitute an allegation.
- Contact a LADO
- A guide to an Internal Investigation Safeguarding Allegation in an Early Years and Childcare Setting
Informing Ofsted of allegations
Registered providers must inform Ofsted of any allegations of serious harm or abuse by any person living, working, or looking after children at the premises (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on the premises or elsewhere). Registered providers must notify Ofsted of action taken in respect of allegations. These notifications must be made within 14 days of the allegations being made.
A registered provider who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with this requirement, commits an offence.
What is a complaint?
If someone is concerned about anything they see or hear at an early years or childcare provider, they should raise this directly with the service.
If they cannot resolve the matter in this way, or if they have safeguarding concerns, please contact Ofsted on 0300 123 4666. Ofsted will also look into concerns about people providing childcare who are not registered with Ofsted as childcare providers. Ofsted cannot deal with other issues you may have, such as disputes about contracts or fees.
For further advice and support in dealing with allegations and complaints, or if you would like to discuss a situation before referring to LADO and / or Ofsted, please contact a Locality Manager:
South & West Devon
Email Sue Bolt or phone 01392 384046
Exeter, East, Mid Devon & North Devon
Email Nikki Phillips or phone 01392 385394
Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) Providers:
Email Melissa Filby or phone: 01392 388461