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6.1 Allegations of Abuse made Against a Person who Works with Children

AMENDMENT

This chapter was slightly updated in May 2014 in regard to the Children’s Services IRO should be point of contact.


1.1

The following guidance should be followed where a person working on a paid or unpaid basis 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 he/she is unsuitable to work with children.
1.2 Despite recruitment and selection processes that are designed to deter and prevent those that pose a risk to children and young people being employed, abuse from staff, carers and volunteers still occurs. Abuse can occur in any setting and by anyone and all organisations working with children should have a procedure for handling such allegations which is consistent with this guidance. The procedures in Education settings should be consistent with UK guidance Dealing with Allegations of Abuse Against Teachers and Other Staff (DfE Aug 2011). Further information about best practice is given in the SCB document Additional Guidance which is currently under review.
1.3 Where anyone has suspicion or evidence that abuse is occurring or has occurred in the past a referral should be made to the Senior Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) in Children’s Services, in accordance with the relevant agency protocol. Each agency protocol should clearly identify a senior manager within that agency who should be informed of all concerns and who will inform the Social Services Designated Officer of all such concerns.
1.4 Staff, carers or volunteers making an allegation against another member of staff should be given support and protected where possible from any reprisals, in accordance with the Government Whistleblowing Policy.
1.5 The head of the agency employing the member of staff should be informed as soon as any allegation has been made by the Designated Officer or someone of similar seniority.
1.6

There may be three related but independent strands to the process in response:

1.7 It is essential that the common facts of the alleged abuse are applied independently to the three strands. The fact that a prosecution is not possible does not mean that action in relation to safeguarding children, or employee discipline is not necessary or feasible.
1.8 Once a decision has been made to proceed with any or all three investigations, then the member of staff should be informed unless this would jeopardise the outcome. Arrangements should be made to offer support to them throughout the process (see Working Together 2010, Appendix 5 - Procedures for Managing Allegations Against People who Work with Children (now archived)).
1.9 In situations where allegations or suspicions have arisen in regard to a member of staff in Social Services, an independent person should be involved in the investigation.
1.10 If the referrals amount to complex or organised abuse, then reference should be made to those procedures see Organised and Complex Abuse Procedure.
1.11 Any communication regarding the investigation should be on a strictly ‘need to know’ basis. Parents of the children or young people involved should be notified about the process in a manner that does not impede the proper exercise of Section 46 Enquiries, disciplinary and investigative processes. They should be given information about the conclusion reached once the work has been completed. The Designated Officer in  Children’s Services, (Senior IRO) should consult with colleagues on how best to inform parents.
1.12 If the allegations are substantiated, then the names of the members of staff must be notified to the organisation responsible for maintaining the list of individuals barred from working with children. The Designated Officer will discuss this with the employer.
1.13

A report should be provided to the SCB Chair on a six monthly basis by the Designated Officer regarding allegations made against staff who work with children. This should state:

  • Numbers;
  • A breakdown by occupational group;
  • Type of allegation;
  • Timescales for response;
  • Outcome.
1.14 Where an allegation has been subject of a Section 46 Enquiry, the Chair of the SCB should be informed by the Designated Officer and consideration should be given as to whether a full Serious Case Review may be appropriate. The Serious Case Review Panel would need to be mindful of any ongoing criminal investigation – see Serious Case Reviews Procedure.

End