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 independent management and oversight of allegations against people who work or volunteer with children Working or volunteering with children is described as someone who comes into contact with children as part of their role and would be seen in position of authority or trust by children when in their work or volunteering role.  The LADO provides advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations, liaising with the police and other agencies and monitoring the progress of allegations against people who work or volunteer with children in the city of Hull.  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.  For volunteer organisations or smaller community organisations, an individual who will act as the single point of contact for the LADO during this process should be identified.

Referral of a professional to the LADO

Please consider calling the LADO for advice on 01482 790 933 prior to completing this referral form.  However, if the LADO is not immediately available for consultation this should not prevent you from submitting a referral for consideration

LADO Threshold

The threshold for LADO oversight and involvement 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 (inc . conduct in a person’s private life, association with someone who presents a risk to children or harm to an adult).

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 an allegation or serious concern is raised within 1 working day of the concern coming to their attention.

Initial Fact Finding and Considerations

Some cases may 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 to ensure that your fact finding is appropriate and does not jeopardise any future enquiries or investigations.  The primary concern will always be the safeguarding of children and young people which may require immediate action to be taken.

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 meet threshold test (above), on the information to hand at that time.  There may be need to seek further clarification of facts or evidence, identify potential witnesses, view CCTV or in some circumstances to speak to the employee/volunteer.  It is advised that no approaches are made to the employee or volunteer prior to discussing the allegation with the LADO.  Following the discussion with LADO, advice will be given about actions that need to be taken to safeguard children, immediately, and whether consideration of precautionary suspension the member of staff is requested of the employer or voluntary setting.  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 has all the basic details (as in the referral form above) of the allegation, the name, home address and date of birth of the employee and if the employee works or 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 or voluntary setting how to manage the allegation within their organisation or in partnership with any other employers or voluntary setting leaders whom the person of concern works or volunteers.

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, 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 or voluntary setting leader, Children’s Services (where involved) and with the Police (where a potential crime has been identified).

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 Education, LADO, partner agencies and the employer) and is to determine whether further enquiries are needed to determine whether a child is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm and whether immediate safeguarding actions are needed to protect that child.

The LADO allegations management process does not prevent or cause delay in the existing child protection processes.

The LADO does not undertake any investigations; these are conducted by the employer or voluntary setting, the police and/or children’s services.

Records

Minutes of these meetings are available to the attendees and a consideration is Minutes of the Allegation Management or Professionals 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/their parents or adult alleged victim.  Minutes can be provided to the subject of the allegation on receipt of a Subject Access Request to Hull City Council.  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.  This includes sharing of unredacted minutes with the Disclosures and Barring Service or any registering or governing body.

A record of the consultation, all communication 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, 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 conclusion or closing or the allegation process, 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/or investigations.  The outcome of the allegation process should usually precede any employer disciplinary outcome and may also be prior to the formal conclusion of a Police investigation to charge or court hearing.  The outcome is determined on balance of probabilities after careful consideration of the evidence provided by the investigatory parties.

It should be remembered that the evidential test for criminal investigations is set at a higher threshold, being beyond reasonable doubt.  Therefore, an allegation outcome were the higher threshold test has been successfully applied would indicate a substantiated outcome for the LADO process, in most cases.

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.

Duty of Care

Employers and voluntary settings have a duty of care to their employees or volunteers. 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 is 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, consistent and transparent manner that provides effective protection for the child and, at the same time supports the person who is the subject of the allegation who should always be offered the right of reply to the allegations under consideration.

Contact

Hull Safeguarding Children 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 –