Allegations against staff and Volunteers (SIBFG 3301)
- 7.1 Diversity statement
- 7.2 Purpose
- 7.3 Scope
- 7.4 Roles and Responsibilities
- 7.5 General Considerations , Allegations and Abuse
- 7.6 Confidentiality
- 7.7 Support
- 7.8 Suspension
- 7.9 Resignation and Compromise Agreements
- 7.10 Organised and Historical abuse
- 7.11 Whistle Blowing
- 7.12 Timescales
- 7.13 Initial Handling on receipt of an Allegation or Concern
- 7.14 Initial Action by the Designated Snr Manager
- 7.15 Initial Consideration by the Designated Snr Manager and AMO
- 7.16 Allegations Strategy meeting
- 7.17 Allegations against staff in their personal lives
- 7.18 Disciplinary process
- 7.19 Sharing information for Disciplinary Purposes
- 7.20 Record Keeping
- 7.21 Monitoring Progress
- 7.22 Media Strategy
- 7.23 Outcomes
- 7.24 Referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
- 7.25 Learning Lessons
- 7.26 Procedures in Specific Organisations
- 7.27 Allegations Management Flowchart APPENDIX 1
7.1 Diversity Statement
7.1.1 The British Forces Germany Safeguarding Board (BFG SB) is bound by the provision and spirit of the relevant legislation and all of its work is informed by a commitment to the promotion of diversity. All constituent agencies are required to ensure that their services are equally underpinned by such commitment.
7.1.2 The BFG SB believes that the welfare of children is of paramount concern, and that their individual needs and rights should be respected.
7.1.3 Those working with children should be sensitive to the diversity of children’s circumstances and backgrounds (e.g. in respect of their age, gender, physical and mental ability, ethnicity, culture and religion, language, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status).
7.1.4 These principles underpin all BFG SB policies, procedures and training.
7.1.5 The BFG SB will use its influence to promote these principles and will seek wherever possible, both in its own work and that of its partner agencies, to eliminate discrimination, harassment and attacks on any group or individual.
7.1.6 We will monitor the effectiveness of our work, and that of partner agencies, in these areas, and continuously seek to improve our performance.
7.1.7 These ideals are supported by the principles underpinning work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children set out in Working Together 2018.
7.2.1 This procedure lays out the locally agreed arrangements for the implementation of the mechanisms referred to in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 for responding to allegations against staff, carers and volunteers who work with children and Keeping Children Safe in Education Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges, March 2015.
7.2.2 The aim of the procedure is to safeguard children and to allow for allegations and concerns made against those who work with children to be dealt with fairly, thoroughly and for unnecessary delays to be avoided.
7.2.3 The arrangements detailed within this procedure form part of BFG SB member agencies’ spectrum of responsibilities in respect of safer recruitment, safer working practices and safer management of allegations and concerns with regards to the children’s workforce.
7.2.4 For the purposes of this procedure the following definitions apply:
- A child is anyone under the age of 18;
- An employee is anyone working with children, be it in an employed (all sectors and settings) or voluntary capacity, including carers;
- An employer is anyone working with or providing services to children (all sectors and settings).
7.3.1 These procedures should be followed by all organisations and contractors providing services for children and staff or volunteers who work with or care for children.
7.3.2 Compliance with these procedures will help to ensure that allegations of abuse are dealt with expeditiously, consistent with a thorough and fair process. The BFG SB will put in place arrangements for monitoring and evaluating their effectiveness.
7.3.3 These procedures should be applied when there is an allegation or concern that any person who works with children, in connection with his/her employment or voluntary activity, has:
- Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
- Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child;
- Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children; or
- For staff for whom the Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015 applies - behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicate she or she would pose a risk of harm if they work regularly or closely with children.
7.3.4 Whilst some behaviour may not constitute a criminal offence, and some may not reach the threshold of significant harm, consideration will need to be given as to whether they may indicate unsuitability to work with children. Any such behaviour should be considered within the context of the four categories of abuse i.e. physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect. These include concerns relating to inappropriate relationships between members of staff and children or young people e.g.:
- Having a sexual relationship with a child under 18 if in a position of trust in respect of that child, even if consensual (Section 16 to 19, Sexual Offences Act 2003);
- ‘Grooming’ (Section 15 Sexual Offences Act 2003) i.e. meeting a child under 16 with intent to commit a relevant offence;
- Other ‘grooming’ behaviour giving rise to concerns of a broader child protection nature e.g. inappropriate text/ e-mail messages or images, gifts, socialising etc;
- Possession of indecent photographs/pseudo-photographs of children.
7.3.5 Reference may be made to the DfES/AMA “Guidance for Safe Working Practice for Adults who work with Children and Young People” which is conduct guidance documents designed for staff at induction.
7.3.6 All references in this document to ‘members of staff’ should be interpreted as meaning all staff, whether they are in a paid or unpaid capacity.
7.4 Roles and Responsibilities
7.4.1 Each BFG SB member organisation should identify a Named Senior Officer with overall responsibility for:
- Ensuring that the organisation deals with allegations in Accordance with these procedures;
- Resolving any inter-agency issues;
- Liaising with the BFG SB on the subject.
7.4.2 British Forces Germany HQ-G1 has, a nominated officer known as the Allegations Management Officer taking on the role of the UK Local Authority Designated Officer(s) (AMO(s)) to:
- Be involved in the management/coordination and oversight of individual cases;
- Provide advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations;
- Liaise with the service police and other agencies;
- Monitor the progress of cases to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible consistent with a thorough and fair process.
7.4.3 BFG SB partner agencies and all employers of adults who work with children should designate:
- A senior manager to whom allegations or concerns should be reported;
- A deputy to who reports should be made in the absence of the designated senior manager or where that person is the subject of the allegation or concern.
7.4.4 The Deputy Provost Marshall Royal Military RMP will:
- Have strategic oversight of the local RMP arrangements for managing allegations against staff and volunteers;
- Liaise with BFG SB on the issue;
- Ensure compliance.
7.4.5 RMP SIB or their designated deputy to:
- Liaise with the AMO;
- Take part in Allegations Management Strategy meetings
- Review the progress of cases in which there is a RMP investigation;
- Share information as appropriate, on completion of an investigation or related prosecution.
7.5 General Considerations Relating to Allegations and Concerns of Abuse
Persons to be notified
7.5.1 As soon as possible after an allegation is made or a concern of suitability is raised, the employer should in most but not all cases inform the parent(s) or carer(s) of the child (ren) involved. The AMO can advise and could be consulted in the first instance to ensure that this does not impede the disciplinary or investigative processes. In some circumstances, however, the parent(s)/carer(s) may need to be told straight away e.g. if a child is injured and requires medical treatment.
7.5.2 The parent(s)/carer(s) and the child, if sufficiently mature, should be helped to understand the processes involved and kept informed about the progress of the case and of the outcome where there is no criminal prosecution. This will include the outcome of any disciplinary process, but not the deliberations of, or the information used in, a hearing.
7.5.3 Advice should first be sought from the AMO as the RMP and/or other partner agencies may want to impose restrictions on the information that can be provided. However, the principle is that the employer should, as soon as possible, inform the accused person about the nature of the allegation and how enquiries will be conducted. In line with each individual organisations procedure any investigation by an employer is taken with objectivity. Investigations may result in disciplinary action and the level of action is communicated to the member of staff before any disciplinary panel and they will be informed of potential consequences which can include possible dismissal for gross misconduct as well as referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service and requirement to refer to the professionals’ regulatory body.
7.5.4 The member of staff should:
- Be treated fairly and honestly and helped to understand the concerns expressed and processes involved;
- Be kept informed of the progress and outcome of any investigation and the implications for any disciplinary or related process;
- If suspended, be kept up to date about events in the workplace. Suspension is formally recognised as a neutral act and is considered upon alongside other potential interim working arrangements for a member of staff where investigation is required.
In all cases the relevant regulatory body for the setting should be informed of the allegation and the outcome.
7.6.1 Every effort should be made to maintain confidentiality and guard against publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered. Apart from keeping the child, parents and accused person up to date with progress of the case, information should be restricted to those who have a need to know in order to protect children, facilitate enquiries, manage related disciplinary or suitability processes. Relevant UK legislation should be respected, for example the Education Act relating to the anonymity of teaching staff following an allegation.
7.7.1 The employer, together with BFSWS and/or the RMP where they are involved, should consider the impact on the child concerned and provide support as appropriate. Liaison between the agencies should take place in order to ensure that the child’s needs are addressed.
7.7.2 As soon as possible after an allegation has been received, the accused member of staff should be advised to contact his/her Trade's Union or Professional Association. Human Resources should be consulted at the earliest opportunity in order that appropriate support can be provided via the organisation’s occupational health or employee welfare arrangements. The AMO will consider the garrison level welfare arrangements for members of staff/volunteers and ensure that these resources are utilised in support plans, particularly when an allegation results in a person being suspended from duties.
7.8.1 Suspension is a neutral act and it should not be automatic or considered as a default option. It should be considered in any case where:
- There is cause to suspect a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer Significant Harm; or
- The allegation warrants investigation by the RMP; or the continued presence of the employee may impede an investigation; or
- The allegation is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal.
7.8.2 The employer should consider alternatives to suspension where possible. Refraining by agreement from work for a very brief period or being redeployed to other duties so as not to come into contact with one or more children, may be acceptable. Each organisations suspension policy must be followed and as a minimum if suspension is deemed appropriate, the reasons and justification should be recorded, and the individual should receive written notification of the reasons.
7.8.3 Only the employer has the power to suspend an accused employee. If there are agency disagreements about suspension, The AMO will manage and resolve by using the BFG-SB escalation policy.
7.8.4 The suspension of and reinstating of any member of staff should be reviewed by the employer in line with their own procedural requirements.
7.8.5 If a suspended person is to return to work, the employer should consider what help and support might be appropriate e.g. a phased return to work and/or provision of a mentor, and also how best to manage the member of staff’s contact with any child concerned. The arrangements for the employee must be clear, recorded and reviewed within agreed timescales.
7.8.6 The possible risks to children should be evaluated and managed in respect of the child (ren) involved and any other children in the accused member of staff’s home, work or community life.
7.8.7 If the child also lives with the member of staff, for example in situations such as foster care or boarding school then the welfare of the child should be considered paramount and the risk managed in a way which ensures the minimum disruption, and encourages placement stability, but maximises the protection of child (ren).
7.9 Resignations and "Compromise Agreements"
7.9.1 Every effort should be made to reach a conclusion in all cases even if:
- The individual refuses to cooperate, having been given a full opportunity to answer the allegation and make representations;
- It may not be possible to apply any disciplinary sanctions if a person’s period of notice expires before the process is complete.
7.9.2 “Compromise agreements” must not be used i.e. where a member of staff agrees to resign provided that disciplinary action is not taken and that a future reference is agreed.
7.10 Organised and Historical Abuse
7.10.1 Investigators should be alert to signs of organised or widespread abuse and/or the involvement of other perpetrators or institutions. They should consider whether the matter should be dealt with in accordance with complex and organised abuse procedures.
7.10.2 Historical allegations should be responded to in the same way as contemporary concerns. It will be important to ascertain if the person is currently working with children and if that is the case, to consider whether the current employer should be informed.
7.11.1 All organisations should have a whistle blowing procedure in place.
7.11.2 All staff should be made aware of the organisation’s whistle-blowing policy and feel confident to voice concerns about the attitude or actions of colleagues.
7.11.3 If a member of staff believes that a reported allegation or concern is not being dealt with appropriately by their organisation, he/she should report the matter to the AMO.
7.12.1 It is in everyone’s interest for cases to be dealt with expeditiously, fairly and thoroughly and for unnecessary delays to be avoided. The target timescales provided in these procedures are realistic in most cases, but some cases will take longer because of their specific nature, or complexity.
7.12.2 In evaluating the effectiveness of local procedures, the BFG SB would expect resolution in most cases within three months, and that all but the most exceptional cases should be resolved within twelve months.
7.13 Initial Handling on Receipt of an Allegation or Concern
7.13.1 An allegation against a member of staff may arise from a number of sources e.g. a report from a child, a concern raised by another adult in the organisation, or a complaint by a parent or carer. It is important to note that the individual reporting the concern does not have to use the term allegation or complaint to trigger use of allegations management procedure by the employer. Employers must be mindful that the welfare of the child is paramount and because of this they must be aware of the need to interpret and sometimes clarify the information they receive.
7.13.2 The person to whom an allegation or concern is first reported should treat the matter seriously and keep an open mind.
He/she should NOT:
- Investigate or ask leading questions if seeking clarification;
- Make assumptions or offer alternative explanations;
- Promise confidentiality, but do give assurance that the information will only be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis.
- Make a written record of the information (where possible in the child/adult’s own words), including the time, date and place of incident(s), persons present and what was said;
- Sign and date the written record;
- Immediately report the matter to the designated senior manager, or deputy in his/her absence or where the senior manager is the subject of the allegation it should be reported to the AMO without delay.
7.14 Initial Action by the Designated Senior Manager
7.14.1 If the allegation meets the criteria below:
- Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
- Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child;
- Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children; or
For staff for whom the Keeping Children Safe in Education 2015 applies - behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicate she or she would pose a risk of harm if they work regularly or closely with children.
7.14.2 The designated senior manager must report it to the AMO within one working day. Referral should not be delayed in order to gather information and a failure to report an allegation or concern in accordance with each organisation local procedures could be a potential disciplinary matter for the manager who chooses not to refer the information on to the AMO.
7.14.3 When informed of a concern or allegation, the designated senior manager should not investigate the matter or interview the member of staff, child concerned or potential witnesses. He/she should:
- Obtain written details of the concern/allegation, signed and dated by the person receiving (not the child/adult making the allegation);
- Countersign and date the written details;
- Record any information about times, dates and location of incident(s) and names of any potential witnesses;
- Record discussions about the child and/or member of staff, any decisions made, and the reasons for those decisions.
7.14.4 If an allegation requires immediate attention, but is received outside normal office hours, the designated senior manager should consult the JRT or the local RMP and inform the AMO as soon as possible.
7.14.5 If a RMP officer receives an allegation, (s) he should, without delay, report it up the chain of command the receiving Officer should then inform the AMO.
7.14.6 Similarly an allegation made to British Forces BFSWS should be immediately reported to the AMO.
7.14.7 The Designated Senior Manager will need to decide whether the allegation or concern requires the person to be suspended, or otherwise deployed, while matters are investigated. Advice from the AMO should be sought if necessary.
7.15 Initial Consideration by the Designated Senior Manager and the Local Authority Designated Person
7.15.1 There are up to 3 strands in the consideration of an allegation:
- A RMP investigation of a possible criminal offence;
- BFSWS enquiries and/or assessment about whether a child is in need of protection or services;
- Consideration by an employer of disciplinary action.
7.15.2 The AMO and designated senior manager should consider first whether further details are needed and whether there is evidence or information that establishes that the allegation is false or unfounded. Care should be taken to ensure that the child is not confused as to dates, times, locations or identity of the member of staff. Employers should not presume that the information or allegation is false simply on the grounds that the information is not specific. Aspects such as the child’s development may impact on their ability to remember dates, locations etc and this is not an automatic indication that the information is unfounded.
7.15.3 At this consultation stage, the AMO’s advice will be confirmed back to the designated senior manager by the use of the information referral record.
7.15.4 If the allegation is not demonstrably false and there is cause to suspect that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer Significant Harm, the AMO should refer to BFSWS and ask them to convene an immediate Multi–Agency Strategy Discussion in the spirit of Section 47 C.A.1989. This strategy discussion refers to any child/ren who may be involved and is not is not to be confused with an Allegations Strategy Meeting that will be convened to facilitate multi agency information sharing, how the employer puts plans in place for the employee and what roles other agencies may have to play within this process.
7.15.5 The RMP must be consulted about any case in which a criminal offence may have been committed. If the threshold for Significant Harm is not reached, but a RMP investigation might be needed, the AMO should immediately inform the RMP and an Initial strategy meeting should be considered, to include the RMP, employer and other agencies involved with the child/ren.
7.16 Allegations Strategy Meeting
7.16.1 A strategy meeting should take place as soon as possible. It may be that social work intervention or police investigation under section 47 is already underway but those professions will need to attend the allegations strategy meeting to ensure that they can share appropriate information and give their professional view. The following is a list of possible participants (anyone implicated, or potentially implicated in the allegation should not be involved): Attendance:
- The AMO;
- Snr Social Work Manager
- Relevant Social workers;
- Designated senior manager for the employer concerned;
- Human Resources representative;
- Legal adviser where appropriate;
- Senior representative of voluntary organisation if applicable;
- Supervising social worker when an allegation is made against a foster carer;
- Those responsible for regulation and inspection where applicable (e.g. Ofsted, Sports Governing Body etc.);
- Designated Safeguarding Children Health representative, where appropriate;
- Complaints officer if the concern has arisen from a complaint.
7.16.2 The Strategy Meeting should:
- Decide whether there should be joint or single enquiries in the spirit of Section 47 C.A.1989, and consider the implications; (this may already be underway)
- Consider whether any parallel disciplinary process can take place and agree procedures for sharing information;
- Consider the current allegation in the context of any previous allegations or concerns;
- Where appropriate, take account of any entitlement by staff to use reasonable force to control or restrain children e.g. Section 93 Education and Inspection Act 2006 in respect of teachers and authorised staff. MOD Schools follow the DCYP Policy Directive on Restrictive Physical Interventions dated March 2017.
- Consider whether a complex abuse investigation is applicable (see complex and organised abuse procedure; bfgnet.de/safeguarding
- Plan individual agency enquiries if needed, allocate tasks and set time-scales;
- Decide what information can be shared, with whom and when.
7.16.3 The Strategy Meeting should also:
- Ensure that arrangements are made to protect the child(ren) involved and any other child(ren) affected, including taking emergency action where needed;
- Consider what support should be provided to all children who may be affected;
- Consider what support should be provided to the member of staff and others who may be affected;
- Ensure that investigations are sufficiently independent;
- Make recommendations where appropriate regarding suspension, or alternatives to suspension;
- Identify a lead contact manager within each agency;
- Agree procedures for reviewing investigations and monitoring progress by the AMO, having regard to the target timescales;
- Consider issues for the attention of senior management e.g. media interest, resource implications;
- Consider reports for consideration of barring;
- Consider risk assessments to inform the employer’s safeguarding arrangements;
- Agree dates for future allegations strategy meetings.
7.16.4 A final Strategy Discussion should be held to ensure that all tasks have been completed and, where appropriate, agree an action plan for future practice based on lessons learnt.
7.17 Allegations against Staff in their Personal Lives
7.17.1 If an allegation or concern arises about a member of staff, outside of his/her work with children, and this may present a risk to child (ren) for whom the member of staff is responsible, the general principles outlined in these procedures will still apply.
7.17.2 The AMO will ensure:
- A risk assessment is undertaken in relation to the concerns about their activity outside of work;
- If the information disclosed indicates that the individual meets the any of the threshold identified in Section 3 and the person is assessed to pose an immediate risk to children, the AMO will make a decision to disclose the information to the employer. The individual concerned will be informed what information will be disclosed and the reasons for this.
7.17.3 In all other situations the AMO will decide what information should be disclosed to the employer. A discussion should be held between the AMO and the individual with a view to reaching agreement. If it is not possible to reach agreement, the AMO will seek legal advice about whether or not to disclose without the individual’s consent.
7.17.4 Having made the disclosure, a Strategy Discussion may be convened to assist the employer who will be expected to undertake a risk assessment to consider the implications of the information for the individual/employee.
7.17.5 In some cases, an allegation of abuse against someone closely associated with a member of staff e.g. partner, member of the family, or other household member, may present a risk to child (ren) for whom the member of staff is responsible. In these circumstances, a Strategy Discussion in the spirit of Section 47 C.A.1989 should be convened to consider:
- The ability and/or willingness of the member of staff to adequately protect the child(ren);
- Whether measures need to be put in place to ensure their protection;
- Whether the role of the member of staff is compromised - A format is available in this case for the employer to complete with their personnel consultant and with advice from the AMO.
7.18 Disciplinary Process
Disciplinary or Suitability Process and Investigations
7.18.1 The designated senior manager from the employing organisation coordinates the decision whether disciplinary action is appropriate and should discuss with the AMO in all cases where:
- It is clear at the outset or decided by a Strategy Discussion that a RMP investigation or employer investigation is not necessary; or
- The employer or AMO is informed by the RMP or the Service Prosecuting Authority that a criminal investigation and any subsequent trial is complete, or that an investigation is to be closed without charge, or a prosecution discontinued.
7.18.2 The discussion should consider any potential misconduct or gross misconduct on the part of the member of staff, and take into account:
- Information provided by the RMP and/or BFSWS
- The result of any investigation or trial;
- The different standard of proof in disciplinary and criminal proceedings.
7.18.3 In the case of supply, contract and volunteer workers, normal disciplinary procedures may not apply. In these circumstances, the AMO and employer should act jointly with the providing agency, if any, in deciding whether to continue to use the person’s services, or provide future work with children, and if not, whether to refer to the Disclosure and Barring Service.
7.18.4 If formal disciplinary action is not required, the employer should institute appropriate action within 3 working days. If a disciplinary hearing is required, and further investigation is not required, it should be held within 15 working days.
7.18.5 If further investigation is needed to decide upon disciplinary action, the employer and the AMO should discuss whether the employer has appropriate resources or whether the employer should commission an independent investigation because of the nature and/or complexity of the case and in order to ensure objectivity. The investigation should not be conducted by a relative or friend of the member of staff.
7.18.6 The aim of an investigation is to obtain, as far as possible, a fair, balanced and accurate record in order to consider the appropriateness of disciplinary action and/or the individual’s suitability to work with children. Its purpose is not to prove or disprove the allegation.
7.18.7 If, at any stage, new information emerges that requires a child protection referral, the investigation should be held in abeyance and only resumed if agreed with the AMO, BFSWS and RMP. Consideration should again be given as to whether suspension is appropriate in light of the new information.
7.18.8 The investigating officer should aim to provide a report within 10 working days.
7.18.9 On receipt of the report the employer should decide, within 2 working days, whether a disciplinary hearing is needed. If a hearing is required, wherever possible, it should be held within 15 working days.
7.19 Sharing Information for Disciplinary Purposes
7.19.1 Wherever possible the RMP and BFSWS should, during the course of their investigations and enquiries, obtain consent to provide the employer and/or regulatory body with statements and evidence for disciplinary purposes.
7.19.2 If the RMP or SPA decides not to charge, or decide to administer a caution, or the person is acquitted, the RMP should pass all relevant information to the employer without delay.
19.3. If the person is convicted, the RMP should inform the employer and the AMO straight away so that appropriate action can be taken.
7.20 Record Keeping
7.20.1 Employers should keep a clear and comprehensive summary of the case record on the subject’s confidential personnel file and give a copy to the individual. The record should include details of how the allegation was followed up and resolved, the decisions reached and the action taken.
7.20.2 The purpose of the record is to enable accurate information to be given in response to any future request for a reference if the person has moved on. It will provide clarification where a future DBS request reveals non convicted information, and will help to prevent unnecessary reinvestigation if an allegation re surfaces after a period of time. In this sense it may serve as a protector to the individual themselves, as well as in cases where substantiated allegations need to be known about to safeguard future children.
7.21 Monitoring Progress
7.21.1 The AMO should monitor and record the progress of each case, either fortnightly or monthly depending on its complexity. This could be by way of review strategy/evaluation discussions or direct liaison with the Employer RMP BFSWS as appropriate. Where the target timescales cannot be met, the AMO should record the reasons.
7.21.2 The AMO should keep comprehensive records in order to ensure that each case is being dealt with expeditiously and that there are no undue delays. The records will also assist the BFG SB to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the procedures for managing allegations and provide any statistical information required for BFG SB.
7.21.3 If a RMP investigation is to be conducted, the RMP should set a date for reviewing its progress and consulting the SPA about continuing or closing the investigation or charging the individual. Wherever possible, this should be no later than 4 weeks after the Strategy Discussion. Dates for further reviews should also be agreed, either fortnightly or monthly depending on the complexity of the investigation.
7.22 Media Strategy
7.22.1 Appropriate and timely liaison must take place between RMP organisations and Media and Comms Branch BFG-HQ to avoid improper or inadvertent release of information to the media. Ref comms strategy
7.23.1 At the completion of Section 47 Enquiries and RMP investigations and internal disciplinary investigations a closing strategy meeting should be held to ensure all tasks have been completed, and to agree the wording of the outcome that will be recorded, the following categories apply:
- False- there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation;
- Malicious- there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation and there has been a deliberate act to deceive;
- Unsubstantiated- there is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation. The term, therefore, does not imply guilt or innocence.
- Substantiated- there is sufficient evidence to prove the allegation;
7.23.2 Actions in Respect of Unsubstantiated and False Allegations
7.23.3 Where it is concluded that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate an allegation, the designated senior manager or employer should consider what further action, if any, should be taken, based on the views expressed at the strategy/evaluation meeting.
7.23.4 False allegations are rare and may be a strong indicator of abuse elsewhere which requires further exploration. If an allegation is demonstrably false, the employer, in consultation with the AMO, should consider referring the matter to Children Services to determine whether the child is in need of services, or protection.
7.23.5 If it is established that an allegation was malicious, the RMP should be asked to consider what action might be appropriate.
7.24 Referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service and Regulatory or Professional Bodies
7.24.1 If the allegation is substantiated and the subject is dismissed or the employer ceases to use the subject’s services, or the person resigns or otherwise ceases to provide his/her services, the AMO should discuss with the employer whether a referral should be made to the Disclosure and Barring Service and the information it should contain.
7.24.2 If a referral is to be made to the DBS, the employer should submit within 1 month of the outcome of the final allegations strategy meeting. If a recommendation is made to refer to the DBS and the AMO becomes aware that this has not taken place the AMO will write to the DBS informing them that such a recommendation has been made. A copy of the letter will be sent to the employer.
7.24.3 If the person is subject to registration or regulation by a professional body or regulator, for example by the Health and Care Professions Council, General Medical Council, Ofsted etc. the AMO should advise on whether a referral to that body is appropriate and, if so, the referral must be made by the employer in a timely manner The date of the referral to DBS and their response should be forwarded to the AMO by the employer.
7.25 Learning Lessons
7.25.1 The employer and the AMO should review the circumstances of the case to determine whether there are any improvements to be made to the organisation’s procedures or practice. Where appropriate this should include agreement to an action plan for future practice based on lessons learned.
7.25.2 The AMO will report to the BFG SB and sub groups as required in order to ensure that lessons learnt can inform practice and training developments.
7.26 Procedures in Specific Organisations
7.26.1 It is recognised that many organisations will have their own procedures in place, some of which may need to take into account particular regulations and guidance e.g. schools and registered child care providers. Where organisations do have specific procedures, they should be compatible with these procedures. All employers should provide contact details (updated annually) to the BFG CSB for:
- The designated senior manager to whom all allegations should be reported;
- The person to whom all allegations should be reported in the absence of the designated senior manager or where that person is the subject of the allegation;
- The allegations management officer.