Our MD's Safeguarding Notebook

An essential benefit of SAFE membership is that members can talk direct to either SAFE's M.D. or a member of the SAFE expert team when they have those "what if" safeguarding queries.

SAFE receives many enquiries from organisations and the general public for help and support when they are trying to manage safeguarding concerns and allegations correctly. This series reflects some of the more common questions we receive and the advice given. Please note we always advise that, if anyone is at risk of harm, the statutory agencies must be informed without delay.

Scenario One

The manager of an Ofsted registered out of school club calls to say she needs advice. A member of staff was arrested over the weekend following being involved in a police car pursuit and under suspicion of drug dealing to young people. The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) invited the manager to a meeting yesterday and advised that the member of staff could no longer be employed in the setting and that both the Disclosure and Barring service (DBS) and Ofsted be informed. The member of staff should also have been "disqualified by association" as her partner has just been released from prison following a 5 year sentence for serious offences including drug dealing to under 18's. The club has suspended the member of staff as a neutral act whilst they consider what needs to be actioned.

What are the issues?

1. The member of staff works with under 8's in an Ofsted registered setting in a regulated post of nursery teacher. She should have declared her disqualification by association (please note the new guidance) at the point when her partner moved in with her upon his release from prison.

2. The arrest suggests that the member of staff has demonstrated conduct that endangers a child or is likely to endanger a child plus the LADO had advised that the member of staff cannot continue in regulated activity. This means a referral needs to be made to the DBS and also to Ofsted as it is a notifiable incident

What was the advice?

  1. Senior management should consider what they will say to the press and also lock down staffs' communication regarding the matter, including social media.
  2. Senior management need to collate all the individual's HR files ready for making a referral to the DBS and also check they had completed everything they needed to in terms of recruitment, training, policies etc
  3. Referral to the DBS be made asap
  4. Decision to be made re the individual's employment in the light of LADO advice, expert HR advice to be sought if needed
  5. Review organisation's recruitment procedures and attend Safer Recruitment training.

Scenario Two

The head of HR of a major activity company has received an anonymous letter saying that a long term returner seasonal cleaner was convicted in 1992 for sexual assault of a 14 year old. The manager has contacted the police who have advised that the offence is now spent.

What are the issues?

  1. The post of cleaner is not regulated and not subject to a DBS check. If the conviction is spent, the cleaner did not need to disclose it on their job application form. Nor would they be banned anyway from working with vulnerable groups as they did not work in the equivalent of regulated work at the time of their conviction
  2. The company is a very family focussed business and they have concerns about the safety of this person in the presence of young girls who will be on site unsupervised by parents or carers

What was the advice?

  1. HR should ring the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for advice as, although this person is not working directly with vulnerable groups, they will have the opportunity to be alone with young girls
  2. Risk assess the work to assess if they can work accompanied on site and away from the more sensitive areas where young girls might be present
  3. Subject to advice from the LADO, contact NACRO or UNLOCK for guidance about both continuing employment and/or managing their future job role

Scenario Three

A young woman rings in to say she is very concerned about the welfare of her grandmother who has Alzheimer's. Apparently Gran has left her home to live with a man who she met earlier this year at a social club. She left over the weekend and has not answered her phone so far today, she does not normally do anything on impulse.

What are the issues?

  1. The granddaughter is worried about Gran's welfare and is not sure she really has mental capacity to make decisions
  2. Gran may well have capacity and can rightfully make her own choices, however misjudged they might seem

What was the advice?

  1. Contact the police on 101 without delay for advice and request that they make a welfare check
  2. If the check is made and the police are satisfied with Gran's welfare, but the granddaughter still unhappy about the situation, she should contact adult social care services for advice

Scenario Four

A care home manager rings in to say that she has had a complaint from a visitor that they witnessed a member of staff pulling a resident's hair. The visitor gave a detailed description but their CCTV has not definitively shown who the member of staff might be as there are two possible people who fit the description.

What are the issues?

  1. This a serious allegation and needs to be managed correctly from the start
  2. it may or may not be true but it is for the external agencies to advise what to do or, possibly, investigate themselves.

What was the advice?

  1. The manager should contact their local adult social care services immediately to seek advice for the next steps
  2. Depending upon the advice the investigation may be external or held internally.
  3. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will be informed, normally by the local Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
  4. Senior management to review working practices, policies and procedures asap

Scenario Five

An anonymous eMail with a non-identifying email address has been sent into help@safecic.co.uk late Friday afternoon, with an embedded photograph of a young toddler who appears to have harsh red marks on its' torso. it is from a mother who has picked up her son from her ex-partner's supervised contact visit at the local family centre . She writes that she has been to her GP who has advised the marks may or may not be cigarette burns and has sent her home

What are the issues?

  1. The mother is very worried about what happened at the supervised visit and that it will happen again next time, it may also be the supervisor who is responsible and not the ex-partner
  2. She does not know who to talk to and wants to complain
  3. The GP has not followed procedure and should have made an immediate safeguarding referral to local social care services to ensure:
  • a suitably qualified paediatrician can carry out a forensic examination of the child without delay
  • the matter can be jointly investigated by police and social services
  • the supervised contact visits are reviewed

What was the advice?

  1. The mother should ring her local social care services immediately to refer the matter
  2. She can take a relative or close friend with her when the child attends for the examination
  3. She was right to be concerned, and needed to contact the relevant agencies

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