Emergency
999

Non-emergency
01482 448 879 (office hours)
01482 300 304 (out of hours)

The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) has responsibility for the management and oversight of individual cases, providing advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations, liaising with the police and other agencies and monitoring the progress of cases to ensure they are dealt with in as timely a manner as possible, consistent with a thorough and fair process. Each agency which employs people to work with children is required to have a Designated Officer who should liaise with the LADO when a concern arises about a member of their workforce.

Referral of a professional to the LADO

Please consider calling the LADO for advice on 01482 790 933 prior to completing this referral form.

LADO Threshold

This threshold is considered where it is alleged that anyone working, or volunteering (including foster carers) with children under 18 years of age, 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 towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children
  • behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children

All organisations providing services for children, including those who provide paid staff or volunteers to work with or care for children should inform the LADO if allegations are made within 24 hours.

Initial Fact Finding and Considerations

Many cases may well either not meet the criteria set out above, or may do so without warranting consideration of either a police investigation or enquiries by local authority children’s social care services.  It is important to contact the LADO in Hull when you have been alerted to an allegation or serious concern about an employee, volunteer, agency worker, foster carer or volunteer.

Some rare allegations will be so serious they require immediate intervention by children’s social care services and/or police. The LADO should be informed of all allegations that meet the threshold so they can consult police and children’s social care services as appropriate.

This consultation with LADO will inform the next steps and consider whether the circumstances would firstly reach threshold, on the information to hand at that time.  There may be need to seek further clarification of facts or evidence, identify potential witnesses or in some circumstances to speak to the employee/volunteer.  It is advised that no approached are made to the employee or volunteer prior to discussing the allegation with the LADO.  This will also include what actions may need to be taken to safeguard children, immediately and whether to precautionary suspend the member of staff.  Those services and setting who have recourse to Human Resource advisers may wish to take advice prior to any decision to suspend. 

It is important for the person wishing to consult with the LADO to have basic details (as above) of the allegation, the name, home address and date of birth of the employee and if the employee works volunteers in any other setting with children or vulnerable adults.

The LADO will decide whether to information warrants a discussion or referral to Children’s Service and/or the Police.

Where the circumstance or fact finding does not determine that an allegation meets LADO threshold, then a decision will be made with the employer how to manage the allegation within their organisation or in partnership with the subject’s other employers. 

Allegation Management Meetings

For those allegations that appear to meet threshold but further discussions are needed after Fact Finding actions have been completed; or where there are more complex issues to consider before a decision can be reached about threshold, then a Professionals Meeting will be convened by the LADO to allow for information sharing between the employer(s), Children’s Services, the Police and other relevant parties including, in some circumstances regulatory or registering professional bodies.

Where it is clear that threshold is met, on the information available, that threshold is met, the LADO will convene an Allegation Management Meeting to plan and coordinate the investigation into the alleged harm to or related to the child, a possible criminal investigation or internal (employer) disciplinary investigation.  Review Allegation Management Meetings are held throughout the course of the allegation, to share information between the relevant parties including, the employer, Children’s Services (where involved) and with the Police (where and investigation has been initiated).

For some allegations, Children’s Services will consider whether an assessment of the risk to the child is required and whether this would require a separate discussion with Police and Health (under S47 Children Act).  This Strategy Meeting will be held primarily between Children’s Services, Police and Health (but can include the LADO, partner agencies and the employer) and is to determine whether further enquiries are needed to determine whether a child is at risk of significant harm and whether immediate safeguarding actions are needed to protect that child.

Records

Minutes of these meetings are available to the attendees and a consideration is given, at each meeting, as to what information can be shared with the subject of the allegation, the child involved and their parents.  Minutes can be provided to the subject of the allegation on receipt of a Subject Access Request, it should be noted that third party information will be removed from these minutes, should they be released to the subject.

Minutes should not be shared with anyone who has not attended the meeting or has been formally acknowledged during the meeting to receive a copy of the minutes without the express consent of the LADO.

A record of the consultation, all communication in relation the case and meeting minutes will be held on the secure Allegations workspace within Hull Children’s Services Liquid Logic system.  These records will be held under the name of the subject of the allegation.  This secure workspace is only accessible by the current LADO, their immediate line manager, a specified person covering in the absence of LADO and by those people who support the IT and data management functions of the council.  These records are not accessible without express permissions being granted, therefore to protect the individual who is subject to the allegation and ensure appropriate and proportionate access on a need-to-know basis.

All records are kept until the usual pension age of the individual or 10 years from the allegation being considered under these procedures, whichever is the longest.  The records are then purged.  There is only one exception to this, currently, on the advice of Justice Lowell Goddard, previous Chair of the Independent Inquiry in Child Sexual Abuse, in that all allegation of a sexual nature are kept indefinitely with no purge date added.

Outcome

All allegations are concluded by recording an agreed outcome with the employer, following the completion of enquiries and investigations including Police investigations and internal or disciplinary investigations. 

The following definitions are used when determining the outcome of allegation investigations –

  • Substantiated – there is sufficient evidence to prove the allegation
  • Malicious – there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation and there has been a deliberate act to deceive
  • False – there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation
  • Unsubstantiated – there is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation. The term, therefore, does not imply guilt or innocence
  • Unfounded – to reflect cases where there is no evidence or proper basis which supports the allegation being made

It is important to note that the level of evidence required to progress a police investigation to charge and conviction would be that of “beyond reasonable doubt”.  Whereas, an employer, fostering agency or community group would need to consider the information available to them using the threshold of “on balance of probabilities” where a definitive beyond reasonable doubt threshold has not been possible to achieve.

Duty of Care

Employers have a duty of care to their employees. They should ensure they provide effective support for anyone facing an allegation and provide them with a named contact if they are suspended. Where there are more than one employer of an individual, each employer (or community project) still have responsibility to ensure allegations are dealt with appropriately and that they liaise with relevant parties (this includes supply teachers, agency staff, volunteers, sports coaches, foster carers who may have a second role with children).  It is essential that any allegation of abuse made against a staff member, foster carer or volunteer is dealt with very quickly, in a fair and consistent way that provides effective protection for the child and, at the same time supports the person who is the subject of the allegation.

Contact

Hull Safeguarding Children’s Partnership Procedure for Allegations Against Staff, Carers and Volunteers can be found here

Urgent child protection concerns

If you are worried about a child that might be at immediate risk of harm or if the situation is an emergency do not wait to contact the LADO and contact either Children’s Services and/or the Police straight away.

The LADO can then be contacted after the child is safe

Children’s Services

Early Help and Safeguarding Hub – 01482 448 879 option 4

Out of hours Emergency Duty Team – 01482 300 304

Humberside Police –  999 or 101

Further guidance on managing allegations against people work or volunteer with children can be found in the following Government Guidance –