Local Authority Designated Officer
The role of the Local Authority Designated Officer, or LADO is set out in the Government's Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) and is governed by the Authorities' duties under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 and Sunderland's Safeguarding Children Board Procedures Manual Chapter 1: Allegations against staff or volunteers who work with children.
The Designated Officer sits with Together for Children-Sunderland and will:
- Provide advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations
- Liaise with the Police and other agencies
- Monitor the progress of cases
- Provide data to Sunderland Safeguarding Children Board (SSCB)
They ensure that all allegations or concerns about professionals or adults working or volunteering with children are recorded appropriately, monitored and progressed in a timely and confidential way. This is so that children are protected from those that might harm them.
Who can contact the Designated Officer?
Anybody who has concerns about professionals or volunteers working with children should inform the Designated Officer. The majority of referrals come from the education sector, followed by social care, including fostering and residential care. However, an increasing number are now made against individuals working in the private sector, notably self-employed professionals.
Organisations must have procedures to deal with allegations that are compliant with Working Together 2018 (statutory guidance produced by the Department for Education to set out how organisations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children) and SSCB procedures.
When should the Designated Officer be contacted?
The Designated Officer needs to be informed when a person who works with children has:
- 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 children in a way that indicates that he or she would pose a risk of harm if they work regularly or closely with children
The allegation can be:
- In connection with employment, voluntary activity or work placement
- Regarding the individual's own children
- Related to the community or private life of a partner, family member or other member of their household
Following an allegation the Designated Officer, in consultation with the Senior Manager, will determine the action required. There are three potential courses of action:
- A police investigation
- Enquiries and assessment by social care
- Consideration by an employer
Multi-agency Allegation Management Meetings are also convened by the Designated Officer to manage specific situations.
How do I contact the Designated Officer?
All new referrals must be made to the during office hours on: 0191 561 3901
Designated officer Referral Form