What is a Safeguarding Allegation?

What is a Safeguarding Allegation?

A safeguarding allegation is a claim that a person of trust has acted in a way that may be harmful to a child.

There are two levels to allegations and concerns based on whether they meet the harm threshold:

  • Concerns/allegations that may meet the harm threshold.
  • Concerns/allegations that do not meet the harm threshold – referred to for the purposes of this guidance as 'low-level concerns'. Those that do not meet the harm threshold are often referred to as low-level concerns.

What type of allegation could meet the harm threshold? 

An allegation that meets the harm threshold and presents that the person poses a risk of further harm to children will include that they have:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed a child or may have harmed a child and/or
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child and/or
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children and/or
  • Behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicated they may not be suitable to work with children.

What is a low-level concern?

A low-level concern is any concern, no matter how small and even if no more than a ‘nagging doubt’, that an adult working in or on behalf of the school or college may have acted in a way that:

  • Is inconsistent with the staff code of conduct, including inappropriate conduct outside of work; and,
  • Does not meet the allegations threshold or is otherwise not considered serious enough to consider a referral to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).

Examples can include but are not limited to; being over friendly with children, having favourites, taking photographs of children on their mobile phones, contrary to school policy and humiliating children.

What is the LADO?

The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) is a qualified and experienced professional appointed by the local authority to manage and oversee allegations. They provide advice and guidance to the agency and schools on how to deal with allegations whilst managing a fair and consistent process. The LADO will have access to records of previous concerns and will liaise with all multi-agency partners including the police and children’s social care.

What if you have a Safeguarding Allegation made against you?

What if you have a Safeguarding Allegation brought against you?

Flourish Education follow Safer Recruitment guidance before placing candidates into any workplace. We also take seriously any concerns raised regarding candidates.

If an allegation has been made about you whilst on assignment, we will liaise with the hirer (school), the LADO and any other parties involved. A meeting is often chaired by the LADO to manage the allegation process, you will not be involved in this.

The members of the meeting will determine collectively:

  • How to proceed considering possible risk to others and any previous concerns.
  • Whether any arrangements need to be made.
  • A plan for the considering and investigating all aspects of the allegation.
  • Agreeing follow up dates.
  • The outcome of the allegation.

There are 5 possible outcomes to a safeguarding allegation:

  • Substantiated: there is sufficient identifiable evidence to prove the allegation;
  • False: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation;
  • Malicious: there is clear evidence to prove there has been a deliberate act to deceive and the allegation is entirely false;
  • Unsubstantiated: this is not the same as a false allegation. It means that there is insufficient evidence to 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 to support the allegation made.

Flourish Education have dedicated recruitment consultants who are available 24/7 to discuss any concerns and provide support to you. You will also be updated annually with free Safeguarding training.

What do we do, as your supply agency?

The Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) - Toni Pike, will be informed of the allegation. We will be fully involved and cooperative with the school or college but often cannot complete a full investigation. The investigation will take place mutually between the school/college and ourseleves. This is because we do not have direct access to the children and cannot gather facts around the allegation from the school. We may complete part of the investigation with the candidate and be part of the allegations management team. The welfare of the child/children involved is utmost, however we will also provide support and recognise the severity of the situation for the candidate.

During a Safeguarding Allegation, the DSO will:

  • Inform the candidate and explain a likely course of action guided by the LADO.
  • Provide a point of contact and support to the candidate to manage and minimise the stress caused.
  • Advise the candidate to contact their trade union representative or a colleague for support.
  • Conduct any investigation meetings required.
  • Liaise with local multi-agency partnerships.
  • We may take the lead in an investigation under advisory from the LADO if it is appropriate.
  • Review any systems and processes that may require improvement.
  • Action findings and evaluate the process for lessons learned.

Flourish Education is available 24/7.  If you have any concerns regarding safeguarding, you can call your dedicated consultant anytime of the day or night or speak to one of our Designated Safeguarding Officers on 0300 303 3227

We have two trained Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSO) – Toni Pike our Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and Courtney Dunkley who is our Deputy Safeguarding Lead.