The vast majority of adults who work with children (either paid or unpaid) act professionally and aim to provide a safe and supportive environment which secures the well-being of children in their charge/care. However, it is recognised that adults can abuse their ‘position of trust’ and harm children but also that misunderstandings can occur.
It is therefore essential that all possible steps are taken to ensure that staff, carers and volunteers working with children have clear and safe boundaries and that good processes, procedures and working practices are in place to safeguard and protect children and young people from harm.
An allegation of abuse can be made against a staff member, carer or volunteer at any time and it can be very challenging to believe that a trusted member of the team could cause harm to a child. It is for this reason that the policies, procedures and working practices below have been established and must be followed when there is an allegation or concern raised about any person who works with children, in connection with his/her employment or voluntary activity.
The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) role is to manage and have oversight of individual cases involving all such allegations or concerns of abuse, from all agencies working with children in the area of the Plymouth Safeguarding Children Board.
The LADO will provide advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations; liaise with the Police and Crown Prosecution Service (where necessary) and monitor the progress of cases to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly and consistently as possible through the use of a fair and thorough process.
All agencies/organisations within the City of Plymouth that work with children have a duty to comply with and follow, the South West Child Protection Procedures. Matters must be reported to the LADO (within 1 working day) where an individual has:
- behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child; or
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
- behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates that they may pose a risk of harm to children.
Please note that the LADO procedures do not replace safeguarding/child protection procedures and the Plymouth Children’s Gateway must be contacted if you have child protection concerns about a child.
Where it is an extremely serious allegation/concern (such as it is evident that the child has suffered significant harm or is likely to suffer significant harm) and/or there is a clear injury from the abuse (for example cut, scratch, graze, swelling, broken bone etc.), risk of losing forensic evidence, danger to child/public/staff or crime on-going, you should immediately contact (prior to making contact with the LADO):
- Police (emergency – 999, non emergency – 101)
- Plymouth Children’s Gateway Service (01752 668000 – press 1 for Children’s Services) (email for enquiries and referrals – firstname.lastname@example.org))
- Outside of normal working hours call Plymouth Out of Hours Service on 01752 346984.
- Police Local Safeguarding Team (01752 487590)
Contacting the Local Authority Designated Officer
The Plymouth Lead LADO, Marie Partridge, can be contacted in Children’s Social Care on Plymouth 01752 306340 or email LADO@plymouth.gov.uk.
LADO enquiries and/or concerns can also be managed by colleagues in the Safeguarding & Quality Assurance Team within Children’s Social Care (01752 306340). For advice and guidance ‘out of normal office hours’ (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) please contact the Plymouth Out of Hours Service on 01752 346984.