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Allegations against people who work with children

All organisations should have arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This includes having 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 a child, or may have harmed a child
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
  • behaved in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children
  • behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children

All local authorities should have a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). The LADO is involved in the management and oversight of individual cases.

They will:

  • provide advice and guidance on whether the LADO threshold is met. This is to manage individual allegations of harm and abuse made against staff or volunteers who work with children.
  • oversee and coordinate multi agency involvement. This is to ensure relevant information sharing. Providing a timely, fair and reasonable outcome for the child and person against whom an allegation is made
  • identify practical steps that can be taken to improve organisational safeguarding. This is to minimise the risk of further incidences of abuse
  • provide reports to Our Safeguarding Children Partnership (OSCP) for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. This is to ensure the effectiveness of local safeguarding arrangements.

The LADO should also be informed within one working day of all allegations that:

  • come to an employer’s attention
  • are made directly to the police

An organisation may remove an individual working in a childcare setting because the person poses a risk of harm to children. If so, the organisation must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service. This relates to paid or unpaid individuals.

It is an offence to fail to make a referral without good reason.

Not an employer or voluntary sector organisation?

If you are not an employer or voluntary sector organisation you can still make a referral. Before you make your referral, please ensure that you have:

  • spoken to the employer or voluntary sector organisation
  • used their complaints process

If you are under 18 you can email us direct at You can also find further information in our Guide for members of the public below.

For further guidance on safe working with children, please refer to the following documents:

LADO Guides


Please read the guidance notes on professional allegation referrals before completing the online form.

View the guidance and complete an online referral


We provide training on how to handle allegations against staff.  For further details and how to book, please visit the OSCP website.

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