What is a LADO?
The LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) provides advice and guidance to employers and other individuals/organisations who have concerns relating to an adult who works with children and young people (including volunteers, agency staff and foster carers) or who is in a position of authority and having regular contact with children (for example religious leaders or school governors).
There may be concerns about workers who have:
- Behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child
- Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
- Behaved towards a child, or behaved in other ways that suggests they may be unsuitable to work with children
What should be referred to the LADO?
Any concern that meets the criteria above should be referred. Initially it may be unclear how serious the allegation is. If there is any doubt, the LADO or the lead person for safeguarding in your agency should be contacted for advice.
What does the LADO do?
The first step will be to offer an initial discussion of the concern. This may consist of advice and guidance regarding the most appropriate way of managing the allegation.
The LADO will help establish what the 'next steps' should be in terms of investigating the matter further.
The LADO will liaise with the police and other agencies, and arrange for a strategy meeting to be held if required. If the case is complex there may be a series of meetings.
The LADO will monitor and maintain an overview of cases to ensure they are dealt with as quickly as possible consistent with a thorough and fair process.
The LADO will ensure that:
- Child protection procedures are initiated where the child is considered to be at risk of significant harm
- The appropriate agencies are involved in the investigation
- Advice is provided in relation to the adult's remaining in post over the course of the investigation
- Issues of sharing information with parents and other relevant individuals are considered
- Assist an employer in decisions about a person's suitability to remain in the children's workforce, and whether a referral should be made to the ISA or the appropriate regulatory or professional body
In cases where the adult is unaware of the concern or allegation it may not be appropriate to tell them immediately and may prejudice a potential Police investigation. The LADO will provide advice.
The outcomes of a LADO referral may include:
- Finding that the allegation is malicious
- Finding that the allegation is unsubstantiated
- Internal investigation by the employer including consideration of disciplinary procedures
- A police investigation
- Police prosecution
Where the adult is reinstated there may be recommendations in relation to additional support, monitoring or training.
Where an individual is dismissed from their post a referral must be made to the Independent Safeguarding Authority which makes decisions on whether individuals should be barred from working with children.
Compromise agreements are not an acceptable resolution to a concern, and even if someone resigns it should not prevent a full and thorough investigation into the matter.
How to contact the LADO
In Southwark the LADO role is based within the Quality Assurance Unit.
- QAU duty number 020 7525 3297
- QAU service manager (LADO) 020 7525 0689
- Head of social work improvement and quality assurance 020 7525 0387
Detailed procedures and guidance relating to the management of allegations against people who work with children are contained within: