7.3 Information Sharing between Investigative Agencies: Procedures
This procedure must be read alongside Buckinghamshire Safeguarding Children Board’s (BSCB) procedure on Managing Allegations against Staff and Volunteers.
Child protection enquiries into intra-familial cases should identify, wherever possible, whether the parent or carer of concern also works with children (regardless of whether this is in a paid or voluntary capacity). Consideration needs to be given to whether any actual or potential safeguarding concerns raised within the family have implications for the safety of children in the parent or carer’s place of work or other activity (e.g. voluntary work, sports club).
Similarly, when employers have safeguarding concerns about a member of staff in the workplace, any possible safeguarding implications for the member of staff’s own children (or other child care responsibilities) should be discussed with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
Due consideration must always be given to the parent/employee’s rights under data protection, human rights and employment law. Any decision to share concerns with an employer must be justified in terms of the potential risks to children outweighing the rights of a parent/employee to confidentiality. All related decisions and associated reasoning must be recorded and be open to scrutiny.
Compliance with this procedure will help to ensure that allegations of abuse or neglect are dealt with expeditiously; consistent with a through and fair process for all concerned.
- Intra-familial concerns
- Concerns initiated in the work place (or other relevant activity involving children)
- Staff associated with known abusers
- Transferable risk for vulnerable adults
- Police notifications
- Related Policies, Procedures, and Guidance
Wherever possible, a child protection enquiry into intra-familial abuse or neglect should establish whether the parent or carer of concern also works with children or has other relevant responsibilities with children, e.g. through voluntary or other personal activity/hobbies etc.
Where investigative agencies know or suspect that the risks may transfer to the parent/carer’s workplace, the LADO must be consulted. Where relevant, the Managing Allegations against Staff and Volunteers procedures will need to be instigated. (LADO for Children: 01296 382070).
Where it is established that the parent or carer of concern works with, or has other relevant responsibilities with, children, they should normally be informed that any possible transferrable risks will need to be considered and, where necessary, discussed with their employer (or relevant body). The employee should be given the opportunity to inform their employer in advance of statutory agencies making contact. A reasonable but tight timescale should be offered for the communication between the employee and their employer to take place. Any decision not to inform the parent/carer should only take place if this is likely to undermine an investigation or place children at further risk. In such cases, the decision and reasoning must be clearly recorded.
Any communication with an employer must be guided by the LADO and, where there is a lack of clarity about whether the risks outweigh the parent/carer’s right to confidentiality, legal advice must be sought. In all cases, the reason for sharing information with an employer must be clearly recorded and open to scrutiny.
Where the parent/carer under investigation works in a different area to the local authority in which he/she lives, investigative agencies should involve and consult the LADO who covers the area in which the employee works.
Concerns initiated in the work place (or other relevant activity involving children)
Any investigation relating to the children’s workforce must include consideration of whether the actual or suspected risks presented in the workplace have any relevance to the employee/volunteer’s own children or other children for whom they have responsibility. Where the concern does not meet the criteria for BSCB Managing Allegations against Staff and Volunteers procedures, but the employer is not sure about any transferrable safeguarding risks to the employee’s own children, advice should still be sought from the LADO.
The strategy meeting/discussion for managing the allegation relating to the work place should also make a decision on, or make recommendation to the appropriate social care team, the need for Section 47 enquiries and/or a Joint Investigation with the police.
Investigations relating to both work and home concerns may be conducted by the same teams. Where this is not the case, e.g. where the home and place of work are in different local authorities, the strategy meetings/discussion should involve both authorities.
All relevant information from investigations into allegations against a member of staff or volunteer in the children’s workforce should be shared and considered by those carrying out, or making a decision whether to carry out, a Section 47 enquiry and/or Joint Investigation relating to intra-familial concerns. This decision about what is considered ‘relevant information’ should be guided by the LADO in the area covering the place of work. Where there is any doubt about whether to share information, legal advice must be sought.
The member of staff/volunteer who is under investigation should be informed of the need to consider any transferrable risk to his/her own children (or other relevant children), unless to do so could undermine the investigation or place children at further risk. The decision must be clearly recorded by the strategy group.
Staff associated with known abusers
Occasionally, concerns may arise because a member of staff in the children’s workforce is known to be associated with a known abuser, e.g. spouse or partner of someone who poses a risk to children.
In such cases, consultation with the LADO should take place, providing the following information wherever possible:
The LADO will make a decision about the threshold for further intervention, e.g. instigation of Managing Allegations against Staff and Volunteers procedures or internal management advice to pursue an assessment of suitability to work with children.
Transferable risk for vulnerable adults
The principles in this protocol should also be applied to any potential transferrable risks for vulnerable adults. Assumptions should not be made that risks are confined to children or vice versa.
Where risks for children may also have implications for the protection of adults from someone who works in the adult workforce, the children’s workforce LADO will liaise with the LADO for vulnerable adults.
Where risks for children may also have implications for protecting vulnerable adults from intra-familial abuse, the LADO and/or Children’s Social Care will liaise with Adult Social Care.
In accordance with Home Office guidance, the police may also share information under Common Law Police Disclosure if it is required for a policing purpose.