Coronavirus: council service information and advice
Information about changes to council services as a result of coronavirus
Managing allegations against staff
The LADO role applies to paid, unpaid, volunteers, casual, agency or anyone self-employed and can relate to concerns regarding allegations or offences emanating from outside of work as well as their practice whilst working with children. More information is available on the PCSB website.
The LADO should be alerted to all cases in which it is alleged that a person who works with children has:
- Behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed a child
- Possibly committed a criminal offence against children, or related to a child
- Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children.
If an allegation is made against a member of staff in your setting, you must manage the situation in line with clear and robust safeguarding procedures. It is essential that the LADO is informed and that you do not carry out any investigations or discuss the situation with the member of staff concerned as this could affect the outcome. A decision needs to be made by the setting manager whether to suspend the staff member (this is to protect both them and all involved - not a suggestion of guilt) or to allow them to continue working - this depends on the level of risk involved.
Safe Recruitment procedures are a vital part of your safeguarding practice. Here is a list of 8 things to remember to ensure you are applying safe practice in your setting.
- State in the job advert that you are a Safe Employer and that thorough checks will be carried out as part of your Safe Recruitment Policy. This is known to be a deterrent for potentially unsuitable people, who are more likely to apply for jobs where they think policies are not applied robustly.
- Always insist on an application form rather than a CV. This is an opportunity to find out what the person brings to your setting and to the specific role they are applying for. Ask questions about their experience in working with a particular age range, or particular needs, or their understanding of the EYFS and how to observe and assess children.
- Challenge gaps in employment - you should ask as many questions to assure yourself that any gaps are fully justified. If in doubt, ask more questions.
- Never accept hand-delivered references. Always seek references directly from the named referees - one of which must be the previous employer, or a person in a position of authority from their college etc.
- Always verify references and record that you have done so. When you receive a reference, it should be followed up by a telephone call to check the named person provided it. This avoids you potentially receiving fake references. Record when you verified it, who you spoke to and your name as evidence.
- Check qualifications are relevant and genuine. The Early Years Qualifications List provides details on recognised qualifications to help providers identify whether an applicant is suitably qualified. You can also contact the awarding body to verify the authenticity of certificates.
- If a referee does not provide a reference within the required time frame (e.g. 1 week after requesting it) follow up with a telephone call to the organisation and speak to the referee. There may be a reason why they have not provided a reference which could give you justifiable concerns over proceeding with the recruitment.
- Trust your instinct. If you have any doubt about the suitability of an applicant, trust your instinct. Do not feel obliged to offer somebody a job just because they interviewed well.
If you need any support, contact the team via 023 9268 1974 or email email@example.com. If you become aware of somebody unsuitable to work with children who has applied for a job with you, you should contact the LADO phone on 023 9288 2500 or email LADO@secure.portsmouthcc.gov.uk
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