Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults who Work with Children and Young People
An allegation may be legitimately made against a member of staff if it is suspected that they 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 not be suitable to work with 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, e.g. an allegation that an individual has harmed, or failed to protect, their own child; 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.
Staff working with children have a duty of care and a statutory responsibility to report any concerns that they may have in respect of a child’s welfare, including allegations made against staff.
If any allegation is made against a member of staff it should be taken seriously and passed on to Mr Sean McClafferty, Headteacher. The member of staff who is made aware of the allegation should inform Mr McClafferty as soon as possible. They should not speak to the person about whom the allegation has been made and not inform anyone else.
Every member of staff is required to immediately pass on an allegation, which they are made aware of. In doing so they will be providing everyone involved with the best opportunity to have the situation dealt with swiftly and comprehensively. Whoever the allegation is made against, even if it is a close colleague, law requires the member of staff, to pass the allegation on to the named person, Mr McClafferty.
If the allegation is made against the Headteacher then it should not be passed on to them. Instead it should be passed on to the alternative named person, Mrs Rachel Greatrix, Chair of Governors.
It is also important that the person who receives the allegation makes an accurate written record of what has been alleged, who made the allegation, when the allegation was made and any other relevant information. This should then be signed and dated and passed to the Headteacher / Chair of Governors.
Depending on the allegation, the Headteacher will contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). The LADO will offer guidance and support throughout the process. There are three possible courses of action:
- Internal disciplinary proceedings.
- A Police investigation – if a crime has been committed.
- A Social Care investigation – if a child has been harmed.
All three investigations could be necessary or just one or two. In some circumstances the LADO will advise that the Police and Social Care do not need to be involved and the matter should be resolved internally.