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Section 10: Managing allegations against staff and volunteers

Nature of Allegations to which these Procedures Apply

These procedures should be used in respect of all cases where it is alleged that a person who works with children1 has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed2 a child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children

in connection with the person’s employment or voluntary activity.

If the concern is not connected to the person’s employment or work activity, these procedures may also apply:

• Where concerns arise about the person’s behaviour towards his/her own children or any other child. The police and/or Children’s Social Care (CSC) should consider if they need to inform the person’s employer and/or the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) in order to assess whether there may be implications for children with whom the person has contact at work;

• If an allegation relating to a child is made about a person who also undertakes paid or unpaid care of vulnerable adults, NYCC Safeguarding Adults’ procedures should be followed.

Historical /complex abuse

When allegations of historical and/or complex abuse are made and where the case involves an allegation against person(s) who work with children this procedure should also be followed.

Organisations to which these Procedures Apply

These procedures apply to all employers. The term employer refers to organisations that have a working relationship with the individual against whom an allegation is made. This includes:

  • Organisations that use the services of volunteers or people who are self-employed, as well as service providers, voluntary organisations, employment agencies or businesses, contractors and fostering services;
  • Regulatory bodies such as Ofsted in the case of child minders, and others that may not have a direct employment relationship with the individual, but will need to consider whether to continue to use the person's services, or to approve the person for work with children in future, or to deregister the individual.

In some circumstances, the term 'employer' may encompass more than one organisation e.g. where staff providing services for children in an organisation are employed by a contractor, or where temporary staff are provided by an agency. In those circumstances, both the contractor or agency and the organisation in which the individual works need to be involved in managing the allegation.

Summary of the process

It is in everyone’s interest to resolve cases as quickly as possible, consistent with a fair and thorough investigation. All allegations must be investigated as a priority to avoid any delay. The time taken to investigate and resolve individual cases depends on a variety of factors including the nature, seriousness and complexity of the allegation.

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 CSC about whether a child is in need of protection or in need of services; and
  • consideration by an employer / regulatory body of action in respect of the individual.

A) Initial Considerations:

The LADO should be consulted on all allegations that appear to meet the criteria, within 1 working day, to determine if a police investigation and / or CSC enquiries are appropriate and whether immediate intervention is required. In less serious cases, police and CSC may not need to be involved but the LADO can provide an objective view by someone who is independent of the organisation. In some, more complex cases, or where it is unclear how the case should be taken forward, the LADO may call a consultation meeting with the employer, and occasionally, other professionals, to review the information and decide how best to proceed.

B) Initial Action:

If there is an immediate risk, appropriate actions may need to be taken e.g. urgent involvement of police; removal of member of staff; securing evidence; urgent medical attention.

The consultation with the LADO should take place before any investigations commence to establish whether:

i) the allegation falls within the scope of the procedures, including physical contact;

ii) the Senior Manager needs to gather further information.

Any allegation or concern which arises should be reported immediately to the Senior Manager identified in the employer's internal procedures; unless that person is the subject of the allegation, or where their relationship with the subject could compromise their independence, in which cases it should be reported to the designated alternative, who should then inform the LADO. Where there is no Senior Manager e.g. a self-employed person, the matter must be reported directly to the LADO. Where staff receive an allegation against someone from another organisation, this should be reported directly to the LADO.

If an allegation is made to the police, the officer who receives it should report it to the Police Designated Officer without delay and s/he should in turn inform the LADO straight away. Similarly, if the allegation is made to CSC, the person who receives it should report it to the LADO without delay.

The LADO will consult, as appropriate, with a Children’s Social Care Manager and/or the Police Designated Officer to consider:

  • if a CSC or a police response may be appropriate and if a strategy meeting and/or an evaluation meeting needs to be held;
  • if the allegation should be managed solely by the employer, with the proviso that, if further information comes to light suggesting a child protection response or criminal response may be necessary, then a further consultation will take place.

In exceptional circumstances, with complex cases, the LADO may determine that further consultation is appropriate with the employer where there is no involvement needed by police or CSC, this could be by phone or face to face.

The Senior Manager must consider carefully whether the circumstances of the case warrant the person being suspended from contact with children in the workplace until the allegation is resolved. Suspension should not be the default position; an individual should only be suspended if there is no reasonable alternative.

The Senior Manager should inform the person subject to the allegation about the allegation as soon as possible after consulting the LADO. Where a strategy discussion is required, or police and / or CSC may need to be involved, the Senior Manager must wait until the LADO has agreed with the agencies what information can be disclosed to the person subject to the allegation and by whom. The Senior Manager will need to consider advising parents of an incident involving their child this might be straight away, for example, if the child has been injured whilst in the organisation’s care and requires medical treatment, or this may need to wait until initial consultation has taken place with the agencies involved, to determine what can be disclosed and by whom.

C) No further action:

Where the LADO agrees that no further action is to be taken regarding the individual facing the allegation, the decision and justification should be recorded by both the Senior Manager and the LADO and agreement reached as to what information should be put in writing to the individual concerned and by whom. The Senior Manager should then consider with the LADO any action in respect of those who made the initial allegation and consider what information should be shared with the child and their parents / carers and by whom.

Where the allegation does not require a formal process, appropriate action should be initiated within three working days.

D) Disciplinary / internal investigation:

Where an investigation by the police or CSC is unnecessary, or has been completed, the Senior Manager will need to determine if any further disciplinary / internal investigation is needed. The LADO should discuss with the Senior Manager who will undertake this and in straightforward cases this would normally be a Senior Manager in the organisation. However, in some circumstances appropriate resources may not be available, or the nature and complexity of the allegation might require the employer to commission an independent investigation to ensure objectivity.

The investigating officer should aim to provide a report to the employer within 10 working days. On receipt of the report, the employer should decide whether a disciplinary hearing is needed within two working days, and if a hearing is needed it should be held within 15 working days.

The outcome of any process must be reported to the LADO, who should consider with the Senior Manager what information should be shared with the child and their parents / carers and by whom.

E) Strategy Meeting:

If there is cause to suspect that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm, the LADO will immediately ask CSC for a strategy meeting to be convened.

F) Evaluation Meeting:

Following the strategy meeting or in cases where a formal strategy discussion is not considered appropriate because the threshold of ‘significant harm’ is not reached, but a police investigation might be needed, the local authority designated officer should nevertheless conduct a similar discussion with the police, the employer, and any other agencies involved with the child to evaluate the allegation and decide how it should be dealt with

G) Action following Strategy/Evaluation Discussion:

Where the strategy or evaluation meeting decides that an investigation by the police or CSC is unnecessary, the LADO should discuss the next steps with the Senior Manager.

If a criminal investigation is required, the police will aim to complete their enquiries as quickly as possible, consistent with a fair and thorough investigation, and will keep the progress of the case under review. They should at the outset set a target date for reviewing progress of the investigation and consulting the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) about whether to proceed with the investigation, charge the individual with an offence, or close the case. Wherever possible that review should take place no later than four weeks after the strategy or evaluation meeting. Dates for subsequent reviews, ideally at fortnightly intervals, should be set at the meeting if the investigation continues.

All agencies should continue to review the case and inform the LADO of any significant developments. The LADO will also regularly review the progress of the case.

H) Action following a criminal investigation or a prosecution or where Children’s Social Care have undertaken an assessment:

The police or the CPS should inform the LADO immediately of any case disposal decisions and court appearances and when the criminal investigation is completed. The police should inform the alleged victim and their parents / carers of the outcomes once the investigation and / or prosecution is concluded.

If the police and/or CPS decide not to charge the individual with an offence, or decide to administer a caution, or the person is acquitted by a Court, the police should pass all information they have which may be relevant to a disciplinary case to the Senior Manager without delay.

If CSC undertaken an assessment they should seek permission to share the information they have which may be relevant to a disciplinary case.

The Senior Manager and the LADO should proceed as in C or D above. The information provided by the police and/or CSC should inform that decision. Action by the Senior Manager, including dismissal, is not ruled out. The options will depend on the circumstances of the case and consideration will need to take account of the result of the police investigation or the trial, as well as the different standard of proof required in disciplinary and criminal proceedings.

I) Action on Conclusion of a Case:

Where investigations are concluded, the LADO should consider convening a review discussion/meeting to share relevant information, categorise the allegation if there is sufficient information and agree any further action to be taken.

Where an internal/disciplinary process is concluded, the LADO should be informed of the outcome and should reach agreement with relevant professionals as to the category of the allegation.

Allegation Categories

Substantiated: there is sufficient identifiable evidence to prove the allegation;

False: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation;

Malicious: there is clear evidence to prove there has been a deliberate act to deceive and the allegation is entirely false;

Unfounded: there is no evidence or proper basis which supports the allegation being made. It might also indicate that the person making the allegation misinterpreted the allegation or was mistaken about what they saw. Alternatively they may not have been aware of the circumstances;

Unsubstantiated: this is not the same as a false allegation. It means that there is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation. The term, therefore, does not imply guilt or innocence.

For all allegations a clear and comprehensive summary of the allegation, details of how the allegation was followed up and resolved, a note of any action taken and the decisions reached should be kept on the confidential personnel file of the individual concerned and a copy of this should be provided to the individual.

If the allegation is substantiated and the person is dismissed or the employer ceases to use the person’s services, or the person resigns or otherwise ceases to provide his or her services, the LADO should discuss with the Senior Manager and the employer’s personnel adviser whether a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for consideration of inclusion on the barred lists, and / or to a Professional Regulatory Body is required.

Action In Respect of Unfounded or Malicious Allegations

For those cases where it is immediately clear that the allegation is unfounded or malicious then it is expected that they should be resolved within one week.

If an allegation is determined to be unfounded or malicious, the LADO should discuss the matter with CSC to determine whether the child concerned is in need of services, or may have been abused by someone else.

Learning Lessons

At the conclusion of a case the LADO should consider whether there are any improvements to be made or lessons to be learned. This should include, where appropriate, consideration of the employer’s procedures or practice to help prevent similar events in the future, including issues arising from the decision to suspend the member of staff, the duration of the suspension and whether or not suspension was justified.

 

NYSCB Guidance: Allegations against people who work with children

1. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Named Senior Officer

Each of the NYSCB member organisations should identify a Named Senior Officer with overall responsibility for:

  • Ensuring that their organisation deals with allegations in accordance with these procedures;
  • Resolving any inter-agency issues;
  • Liaising with the NYSCB on the subject.

Local Authority Designated Officer

The Local Authority has designated officers (LADOs) to:

  • Be involved in the management and oversight of individual cases;
  • 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.

Contacts

Hambleton / Richmond / Coast

Karen Lewis 01609 534200 07715 540712

Dave Peat 01609 535646 07814 533363

Craven / Harrogate / Selby

Rosemary Cannell 01609 534974 077150540723

Susan Crawford 01609 532152 07813 005161

Police

The police have a senior officer to have strategic oversight of the arrangements to liaise with the NYSCB & ensure compliance. Police have designated officers in the Protecting Vulnerable Persons’ Units to:

  • Liaise with the LADOs;
  • Take part in strategy and evaluation discussions/meetings;
  • Review the progress of cases in which there is a police investigation;
  • Arrange for the sharing of information on completion of an investigation or prosecution.

Senior Manager

All employers should have a designated Senior Manager in their organisations to whom allegations or concerns should be reported, who should follow these procedures.

Employers should also designate another person to fulfil this role in the absence of the designated senior manager or where that person is the subject of the allegation.

All staff and volunteers should be made aware of who these persons are and of the organisation’s internal procedures.

2. REGULATORY BODIES

The Senior Manager will be aware of the relevant Regulatory Bodies that need to be consulted and will take appropriate actions.

OfSTED

OfSTED should be informed of:

i) Providers of Early Years’ & Childcare

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 also notify Ofsted of the action taken in respect of the allegations. These notifications must be made as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within 14 days of the allegations being made.

Registered providers must inform Ofsted of the details of any other significant event that is likely to affect the suitability of the provider or any person who cares for, or is in regular contact with, children on the premises. For example, this could be a change in circumstances affecting a provider’s physical or mental ability to care for children

The Childcare (General Childcare Register) Regulations 2008, the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage and the Early Years Foundation Stage (Welfare Requirements) Regulations 2012.

ii) Children’s Homes including Secure Children’s Homes

Providers of children’s homes must notify OfSTED of any events or incidents including:

  • Any serious complaint about the home or persons working there;
  • The instigation and outcome of any child protection enquiry involving a child accommodated at the home.

The Children’s Homes (Amended) Regulations 2011

iii) Residential Family Centres

Providers of Residential Family Centres must notify OfSTED of any events or incidents including:

  • Any serious complaint about the centre or persons working there;
  • The instigation and outcome of any child protection enquiry involving a child or a parent who is under the age of 18, accommodated in the centre.

Residential Family Centres Regulations 2002

The Residential Family Centres (Amendment) Regulations 2013

iv) Independent Fostering Agencies

Providers of fostering agencies must notify OfSTED of any events or incidents including:

  • Any serious complaint about any foster parent approved by the fostering agency;
  • The instigation and outcome of any child protection enquiry involving a child placed with foster parents.

Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011

v) Adoption Support Agencies & Voluntary Adoption Agencies

Providers of adoption support agencies are required to notify OfSTED of specific events:

  • Any serious complaint about a prospective adopter approved by the agency where a child is placed for adoption with that prospective adopter by the agency;
  • Any serious complaint about a prospective adopter approved by the agency where a child is placed for adoption with that prospective adopter by another agency;
  • Instigation and outcome of any child protection enquiry involving a child placed for adoption by the agency

Adoption Support Agencies (England) & Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005 & Adoption Regulations 2003

3. TARGETS FOR CONCLUSION OF CASES

The following targets should be achieved in all but truly exceptional cases:

  • 80 per cent of cases should be resolved within one month;
  • 90 per cent within three months;
  • and all but the most exceptional cases should be completed within 12 months.

4. CONFLICT OF INTEREST/IMPARTIALITY

Any person involved in the consideration and/or investigation of an allegation must declare any possible conflict of interest e.g. if the allegation relates to someone known to them such as a relative, friend, colleague, (including colleagues worked with regularly in another agency,) or someone from an organisation to which they are affiliated e.g. religious, social.

In all investigations and considerations of an allegation due regard should be given to ensuring objectivity and impartiality. Depending on the circumstances this may require, for example: use of staff who are sufficiently separate from the line management of the person subject to the allegation; an arrangement with a PVPU team, CSC team and/or LADO from a different part of the County or an arrangement with another police authority or local authority; use of an independent investigator.

5. PROCESS

a. Strategy Meeting

Where it is suspected that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm the local authority is required by section 47 of the Children Act 1989 to make enquiries to enable it to decide whether it should take any action to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child. This meeting is convened by Children’s Social Care.

b. Evaluation Meeting

Following the strategy meeting or in cases where a formal strategy discussion is not considered appropriate because the threshold of ‘significant harm’ is not reached, but a police investigation might be needed, the local authority designated officer should nevertheless conduct a similar discussion with the police, the employer, and any other agencies involved with the child to evaluate the allegation and decide how it should be dealt with

Before any investigation commences the senior manager needs to establish if there is evidence / information to establish that the allegation is false or unfounded. The evaluation meeting, chaired by the LADO, should share available information and consider whether a police investigation is needed and, if so, agree the timing and conduct of that. If the allegation is about physical contact, the strategy or evaluation discussion should take into account the circumstances where staff are entitled to use reasonable force to control or restrain children and young people.

Where a police investigation is necessary the meeting should consider whether there are matters that can be taken forward in a disciplinary process in parallel with any criminal process, or whether any disciplinary action will need to await completion of any police enquiries or prosecution.

In strategy and evaluation meetings the agencies involved should share all relevant information they have about the person who is the subject of the allegation and about the alleged victim.

Wherever possible the police should obtain consent from all witnesses to share their statements with the employer and should ensure that all suspect interview records, case summaries and other relevant information is shared without delay at the conclusion of the investigation or court case.

CSC should seek to obtain similar consent when making enquiries to determine whether a child or children named in the allegation are in need of protection or services, and should pass on relevant information without delay, including consent for release of medical reports relevant to any disciplinary procedures.

6. SUSPENSION

The possible risk of harm to children posed by the accused person needs to be effectively evaluated and managed in respect of the child(ren) involved in the allegations. In some cases that will require the Senior Manager to consider suspending the person until the case is resolved. Suspension must not be an automatic response when an allegation is reported. If the Senior Manager is concerned about the welfare of other children in the community or the employee’s family, those concerns should be reported to the LADO, CSC or police but suspension is highly unlikely to be justified on the basis of such concerns alone.

Suspension should only be considered in cases where:

  • There is cause to suspect a child or other children at the workplace is or are at risk of significant harm; or
  • The case is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal.

However, a person should not be suspended automatically. The Senior Manager must consider carefully whether the circumstances of the case warrant a person being suspended from contact with children at the workplace until the allegation is resolved, and may wish to seek advice from their personnel adviser and the LADO.

The Senior Manager should also consider whether the result that would be achieved by immediate suspension could be obtained by alternative arrangements. Based on an assessment of risk, the following alternatives should be considered by the case manager before suspending an individual.

  • Redeployment with the establishment so that the individual does not have direct contact with the child or children concerned;
  • Providing an assistant to be present when the individual has contact with children;
  • Redeploying to alternative work so the individual does not have unsupervised access to children;
  • Moving the child or children where they will not come into contact with the member of staff, making it clear that this is not a punishment and parents have been consulted; or
  • Temporarily redeploying the member of staff to another role or in a different location.

Where it has been deemed appropriate to suspend the person, written confirmation should be sent within one working day, giving as much detail as possible for the reasons for the suspension and the suspension should be reviewed on a regular basis.

Only the organisation itself has the authority to suspend a member of staff; however the Senior Manager should give appropriate weight to any recommendations of the Evaluation Meeting. If the organisation decides not to suspend against the recommendation of the Evaluation Meeting, Police and Children’s Social Care will need to consider any other actions that

7. SUPPORTING THOSE INVOLVED

The child and their parents/carers: Where appropriate, consideration should be given to informing the child / parent / carer about the allegation and who should do this. The manager should also keep them up to date with the progress of the case and the outcome where there is not a criminal prosecution, including the outcome of any disciplinary process in confidence.

In cases where a child may have suffered significant harm, or there may be a criminal prosecution, Children’s Social Care or the police as appropriate, should consider what support the child or children involved may need. Similarly, where a child has been harmed the employer should consider what support they should offer the child.

The person subject to the allegation: Employers have a duty of care to their employees. They should act to manage and minimise the stress inherent in the allegations and disciplinary process. Individuals should be informed of allegations as soon as possible. Where CSC or the police are involved they must be consulted before any information is shared.

The employer should also consider what other support is appropriate for the individual. They should be advised to contact their trade union representative, if they have one, and given a named point of contact in the organisation. They should also be given access to welfare counselling or medical support where this is provided by the employer.

Consideration needs to be given when employees are suspended to ensure that they are kept informed of both the progress of their case and current work related issues. Social contact with colleagues and friends must not be prevented unless there is evidence to suggest that such contact is likely to be prejudicial to the gathering and presentation of evidence. The individual should be advised not to discuss the case with colleagues.

Where it is decided, on the conclusion of the case, that the person who has been suspended can return to work, the Senior Manager should consider how best to facilitate that. Most people will benefit from some help and support to return to work after a very stressful experience. Depending on the individual’s circumstances, a phased return and/or the provision of a mentor to provide assistance and support in the short term may be appropriate. The Senior Manager should also consider how the person’s contact with the child or person who made the allegation can best be managed if s/he is to continue working with them.

8. CONFIDENTIALITY

It is extremely important that, when an allegation is made, every effort is made to maintain confidentiality and guard against unwanted publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered. In accordance with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) guidance the police should not normally provide any information to the press or media that might identify an individual who is under investigation, unless and until the person is charged with a criminal offence. In exceptional cases where the police depart from that rule, e.g. an appeal to trace a suspect, the reasons should be documented and partner agencies consulted before hand.

At the strategy/evaluation discussion the Senior Manager should take advice from the LADO, police and CSC to agree the following:

  • Who needs to know and, importantly, exactly what information can be shared;
  • How to manage speculation, leaks and gossip;
  • What, if any, information can be reasonably given to the wider community to reduce any speculation; and
  • How to manage press interest if and when it should arise.

Teachers: The Education Act 2011 introduced reporting restrictions preventing the publication of any material that may lead to the identification of a teacher who has been accused by, or on behalf of, a pupil from the same school. The legislation makes it an offence for any matter relating to the person to be included in any publication if it is likely to lead members of the public to identify the person as the teacher who is the subject of the allegation. Publication is defined as: any speech, writing, relevant programme or other communication in whatever form, which is addressed to the public at large or any section of the public. It does not include an indictment or other document prepared for use in particular legal proceedings, nor a document published by the regulator of a profession of which the person who is the subject of the allegation is a member in connection with disciplinary proceedings in relation to the person.

Any person may make an application to a magistrates’ court for an order dispensing with the restrictions and the court may make an order dispensing with these to the extent specified in the order, if it is satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to do so, having regard to the welfare of the person who is the subject of the allegation, and the victim of the offence to which the allegation relates.

The restrictions cease to apply:

  • Once the teacher has been charged with an offence;
  • If the Secretary of State publishes information about the person who is the subject of the allegation in connection with the investigation of disciplinary cases;
  • If the person who is the subject of the allegation waives their right to anonymity, or
  • Gives their written consent for another person to do so.

NB. The Education Act 2011 guidance on reporting restrictions only apply to teachers but this is good practice for all employers to consider.

9. RESIGNATIONS AND ‘COMPROMISE AGREEMENTS’

The fact that a person tenders his or her resignation, or ceases to provide their services, must not prevent an allegation being followed up in accordance with these procedures. It is important that every effort is made to reach a conclusion in all cases of allegations bearing on the safety or welfare of children, including any in which the person concerned refuses to cooperate with the process. Wherever possible the person should be given a full opportunity to answer the allegation and make representations about it. The process of recording the allegation and any supporting evidence, and reaching a judgement about whether it can be regarded as substantiated on the basis of all the information available should continue even if that cannot be done or the person does not cooperate. It may be difficult to reach a conclusion in these circumstances, and it may not be possible to apply any disciplinary sanctions if a person’s period of notice expires before the process is complete, but it is important to reach and record a conclusion wherever possible.

By the same token so called ‘compromise agreements’, by which a person agrees to resign if the employer agrees not to pursue disciplinary action, and both parties agree a form of words to be used in any future reference, must not be used in these cases. A compromise agreement will not prevent a police investigation where that is appropriate nor does it override the statutory duty to make a referral to the DBS.

10. REFERRALS TO THE DISCLOSURE AND BARRING SERVICE (DBS) AND / OR REGULATORY BODIES

a. DBS

Under the Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 there is a legal duty for regulated activity providers and personnel suppliers employers to make a referral to the DBS where they have permanently removed a person from regulated activity through dismissal or permanent transfer from regulated activity (or would have done if the person had not left, resigned, retired or been redundant); and the person has carried out one of the following:

  • Been cautioned or convicted of a relevant (automatic barring) offence; or
  • Engaged in relevant conduct in relation to children that has harmed a child or put them at risk of harm; or
  • Satisfied the Harm Test in relation to children (i.e. No action or inaction occurred but the present risk that it could was significant). To satisfy the harm test there needs to be credible evidence of risk of harm to children such as statements made by an individual regarding conduct / behaviour etc.

A new test for regulated activity has been introduced which means the DBS can only bar a person from working within regulated activity with children or adults if it is believed the person is or has been, or might in the future be, engaged in regulated activity. The only exception to this is where a person is cautioned or convicted for a relevant (automatic barring) offence and is not eligible to submit representations against their inclusion in a barred list.

Additionally, where a person is cautioned or convicted of a relevant (automatic barring) offence with the right to make representations, the DBS will ask the person to submit their representations and consider them before making a final barring decision.

Local authorities, schools, FE colleges and other bodies all have a statutory duty to make reports, and to provide relevant information to the DBS. Referrals should be made as soon as possible after the resignation or removal of the member of staff involved and within one month of ceasing to use the person’s services.

Under the Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 the following groups have a legal power to refer:

  • Local authorities;
  • Keepers of Registers; and
  • Supervisory Authorities.

This should be considered where additional, relevant information is held in addition to any to that available from the court process and / or court outcome.

b. Regulatory Bodies

Employers should refer to the guidance published by their relevant regulatory body to determine if and when any allegation of professional misconduct should be reported to them.

11. RECORD KEEPING

All those involved in dealing with allegations against persons working with children, including the person to whom the allegation is made in the first instance, should make clear, accurate and comprehensive records which should be signed, dated and timed. The record should provide details of the allegation, how it was followed up and resolved and notes of any action taken and decisions made. A comprehensive summary of this should be made and a copy kept on the personnel file and copy of given to the individual. Comprehensive notes should be made of any strategy and evaluation discussions which are agreed by and distributed to all present. These should be held on the confidential personnel file but not shared with the individual concerned.

The purpose of the record is to enable accurate information to be given in response to any future request for a reference, where appropriate. It will provide clarification in cases where future DBS Disclosures reveal information from the police about an allegation that did not result in a criminal conviction and it will help to prevent unnecessary re-investigation if, as sometimes happens, an allegation resurfaces after a period of time.

The record should be retained at least until the person has reached normal retirement age or for a period of 10 years from the date of the allegation if that is longer. The Information Commissioner (p.35, paragraph 2.13.1) has published guidance on employment records in its Employment Practices Code and supplementary guidance, which provides some practical advice on employment retention.

For teachers, details of allegations that are found to have been malicious should be removed from personnel records and this is good practice for all employers to consider.

12. REFERENCES

References should include accurate information taken from the personnel file and individual organisations need to have appropriate consideration and procedures to cover providing information in references in relation to allegations including where sanctions are “spent”.

In addition for teachers where the allegation was proven to be unsubstantiated, unfounded or malicious, information should not be included in employer references. A history of repeated concerns or allegations which have all been found to be unsubstantiated, unfounded or malicious should also not be included in any reference.


Footnote:
1 Currently works/recently worked or actively seeking to work in the future.
2 This is a lower threshold than significant harm that is needed to initiate CSC enquiries and includes failure to protect from harm.



Page Last Updated:  3 February 2014
Next Scheduled Review:  30 January 2015

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