Policy

Handling Safeguarding Allegations

Handling Safeguarding Allegations against a Member/Members of Staff

Version January 2017.

The following procedure is designed to guide the Safeguarding team and HR in the event that an allegation of a safeguarding concern is made against a member or members of staff.

This relates to young people, vulnerable adults, staff members or visitors to the university. Therefore, all allegations of abuse by a member of staff should be taken seriously.

Criteria for Intervention

All cases of alleged or suspected abuse must be investigated when the allegations involve:

Stage 1: Procedure for Intervention

Where a member of staff becomes aware of an allegation of abuse against another member staff, or indeed against themselves, or they suspect abuse is taking place, they should follow the Procedure for Raising Safeguarding Concerns for Staff, Students and Third Parties.  
Where the Safeguarding Co-ordinator (SC) is the subject of the allegation or suspicion, the SC’s line manager should be informed instead. 

The Safeguarding Co-ordinator or their line manager should:

The member of staff must not be informed of the allegation and no action must be taken against them until the Safeguarding Co-ordinator has consulted with the relevant agencies (e.g. Police, Social Services and Human Resources), depending on circumstances.

If the Safeguarding Co-ordinator is unavailable, a relevant Deputy Safeguarding Co-ordinator will be informed. 

Stage 2: Information gathering

An account of the allegations is to include:

The LADO will discuss with the employer and agree on what investigations are needed, by whom and how any actions are to be undertaken. They will also consult with the Police and Children’s Social Care as appropriate. 

Note: Refer to Appendix 1 and 2

Stage 3: What are the possible next steps?

No further action

It is agreed that the threshold is not met and there is clear evidence that the allegation is not a safeguarding matter, or has not occurred at all.

Internal investigation by employer

It is agreed this does not reach the threshold for a strategy meeting. This view may change once an investigation is completed. In some cases, the employer may wish to consider commissioning an independent investigator.

Multi-agency strategy meeting

It is agreed the threshold for safeguarding is met and agencies need to formally bring together information and make a plan to agree a course.

Stage 4: Outcome of LADO referral or Strategy meeting

The outcomes of any LADO referral or strategy meeting will be one of the following:

Substantiated

Sufficient identifiable evidence to prove the allegation.

False

Sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation.

Malicious

Clear evidence to prove there has been a deliberate act to deceive and the allegation is entirely false. Refer to Staff and Student Disciplinary Procedures.

Unsubstantiated

This is not the same as a false allegation. It means that there is insufficient evidence to prove or disapprove the allegation. The term therefore does not imply guilt or innocence.  

Note: Refer to Appendix 1

Stage 5: Next step

Most staff return to the workplace and should be offered support and guidance to enable this effectively.  

Affected staff may be offered advice, training, increased supervision or alternative duties. However, if it is concluded that someone working with children has harmed a child, or is unsuitable to work with children, it is possible they may be dismissed.

If the allegation is substantiated and the person is dismissed or the University ceases to use the person’s services, or the person resigns or otherwise ceases to provide his or her services, the case must be referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for consideration of inclusion on the barred lists and refer to any professional body.  

Stage 6: Supporting those involved

The University has a duty of care to their employees and they should act to manage and minimise the stress of the allegations process. Supporting the subject is key to fulfilling this duty.

This aspect of the procedures will be led by Human Resources

Note: Refer to Appendix 3  

Appendix 1: Strategy Meeting

The relevant Social Services, Service Manager will consult with key personnel and arrange a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) Strategy Meeting.

The following should be invited to the meeting, except where it may be prejudicial to the investigation:

The investigation process will normally have precedence over disciplinary procedures and the timing of any disciplinary actions will be subject to discussion and agreement in the Strategy Meeting.

The Strategy Meeting will need to determine whether the criteria are met for a safeguarding as opposed to a disciplinary or complaints investigation. If the criteria are met, the following issues should be addressed:

In all circumstances, the university process should involve a manager external to the university, to ensure independence. If criteria are not met, the meeting will refer the matter back to the University to consider any remaining personnel issues. 

Appendix 2: Investigation

The investigation may have three related, but independent strands:

The University investigation should include, though is not limited to:

Appendix 3: Human Resources Responsibilities 

On completion of the investigation, a resolution meeting will be convened by the relevant LADO Manager, including key personnel involved in the investigation.

The resolution meeting will:

The University will:

Further Reading: