LADO: what do they do?


LADO might be a term you have heard of but might be unsure of who they are or when you should contact them.

Local Authority Designated Officers (LADO) will work for your local authority and will be involved in the management and oversight of allegations against people who work with children.

Working Together to Safeguard Children (page 60) explains organisations working with children should have clear policies for dealing with allegations against people who work with children. 

An allegation may relate to a person who works with children who 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 they may pose a risk of harm
  • Behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children

‘Working Together’ also explains that employers, school governors, trustees and voluntary organisations should ensure that they have clear policies in place setting out the process, including timescales for investigation and what support and advice will be available to individuals against whom allegations have been made. 

We have published another support article providing more information on the topic of investigation meetings here.

‘Working Together’ notes that any allegation against people who work with children should be reported immediately to a senior manager within the organisation or agency. The designated officer, or team of officers, should also be informed within one working day of all allegations that come to an employer’s attention or that are made directly to the police. 

We’ve have another support article on the role of the designated safeguarding lead in school.

In this article, we outline the role of the LADO and what you should do if you have been referred.

LADO: what are the main responsibilities?

Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Board has published a booklet on the topic of managing allegations against adults working with children. It explains that the LADO’s key role is to:

  • Provide advice/guidance to employers or voluntary organisations
  • Liaise with the police and other agencies
  • Monitor the progress of referrals to ensure they are dealt with as quickly and consistently as possible with a thorough and fair process
  • Seek to resolve any inter-agency issues
  • Collect strategic data and maintain a confidential database in relation to allegations which is held securely
  • Disseminate learning from LADO enquiries throughout the children’s workforce

Wirral Council has produced a poster which outlines the main responsibilities for LADOs. It explains the LADO:

  • Is responsible for ensuring that employers and agencies undertake their statutory responsibilities regarding safeguarding concerns relating to those in a position of trust
  • Must be made aware of all allegations regarding professionals in a position of trust within 24 hours, before any action is taken
  • Is responsible for liaising with police and other agencies to plan and monitor the investigation
  • Is not able to undertake investigations or provide HR guidance regarding conducting the investigation
  • Is only able to provide safeguarding support related to allegations concerning professionals in a position of trust

What should be referred to the LADO?

Devon County Council explains that the LADO should be alerted to all cases in which it is alleged that 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 children, or related to a child
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicated they may pose a risk of harm to children.

Allegations of historical abuse should be responded in the same way as contemporary concerns. In such cases, it is important to find out whether the person against whom the allegation is made is still working with children and if so, to inform the person’s current employer or voluntary organisation or refer their family for assessment.

What should I do if I have been referred to the LADO?

Worcestershire Council has published a guide to support members of staff who have been referred to its LADO.

It explains that your employer should inform you if you have been referred into the LADO service and that you may be subject to a Position of Trust meeting – the only reasons they may not do this is if it may increase the risk to a child or impede on a Police investigation. 

In addition, your employer will seek your views regarding the allegation against you. If a meeting is necessary, it will be held as soon as possible after the details of the allegation have been confirmed. The meeting will discuss: „ 

  • Details of the allegation
  • You and your role with children/young people
  • Whether there have been any previous allegations made against you
  • The child/young person making the allegation

The meeting is chaired by the LADO who oversees the allegation process. The LADO does not investigate allegations. You will not be involved in the meeting nor the children or their family.

Meeting attendees will decide:

  • What is required to safeguard the child/ren involved and any other children with whom you may have contact including any children of your own
  • Whether a Police and/or Social Care investigation is required or whether disciplinary procedures (including a referral to professional bodies and/or DBS) should be made
  • What information can be shared with you and by whom
  • What support should be provided to you and others who may be affected and by whom? 

Sometimes additional Position of Trust meetings may be necessary to monitor the progress of the investigation and finally make a determination about the allegation made.

If you are an Edapt subscriber and you have been referred to the LADO you can contact us for advice and support.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.