Recent Changes to Statutory Guidance
Did you know that the Keeping Children Safe in Education Statutory Guidance has been updated and requires all schools to have a procedure setting out how they will handle safeguarding allegations made against employees, agency staff, volunteers and governors?
The guidance has also updated the definition of harm to include when any person who works with children behaves “in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children” with reference to events which may occur outside of school and not related to children e.g. domestic abuse.
All staff should know how and to whom to report any concerns.
It is important that the facts are established but an in-depth investigation should not be conducted if the “harm” is met. Don’t ask leading questions or make assumptions. This initial fact finding should happen quickly and then be reported to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) who will guide you on how to proceed.
Treat People Fairly
This can be a distressing time for the person who has been accused and it’s important that they are treated fairly by explaining the concerns (when permitted by the LADO/Police where appropriate) and the process involved.
Keep matters confidential.
Before considering suspension carry out a risk assessment to ensure it is appropriate in the circumstances, and make sure there is a named contact in school to keep the employee informed and minimise isolation.
If there appears to be substance to the concerns, and when the matter is handed back to the school, then an investigation needs to take place under the school’s procedures. Whatever the situation, the facts of the case must be established as far as possible and a conclusion reached and recorded. Where serious matters are proven (where dismissal results or would have resulted), the circumstances must be referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service, and where applicable the Teacher Regulation Agency (TRA).
Look out for our new model procedure!