Allegations against staff and volunteers who work with children

Allegations against staff or volunteers who work with children are overseen by the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).

All LADO referrals should be made through the Wandsworth MASH:

Wandsworth LADO

Statutory guidance places a clear responsibility on organisations to contact the LADO within one working day where it is alleged that a member of staff or volunteer who works with children has: 

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed a child or, may have harmed a child.  
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against a child or related to a child. 
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates that 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 

Behaviours are considered in the context of the four main categories of abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. 

Behaviours associated with inappropriate relationships or abuse of trust also come under this remit. Most allegations against staff and volunteers relate to their behaviour in the workplace. However, LADO procedures also apply when concerns relate to their personal life or the care of their own children. 

Role of the LADO 

  • The LADO’s key role is to provide verbal and written advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations within Wandsworth. 
  • Liaise with the Police and other agencies, including Ofsted and professional bodies, such as the General Medical Council, Disclosure and Barring Service, Social Work England, HCPC, Teaching Standards.  
  • Monitor the progress of referrals to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible, and consistently with a thorough and fair process. 
  • Chair Allegation against Staff and Volunteers (ASV) Meetings, previously known as LADO Strategy Meetings and establish an agreed outcome of the LADO process. 
  • LADO provides advice and support in relation to the disciplinary process and changes required to safeguarding policies and procedures or training needs for individuals or organisations. 
  • LADO provides oversight of the investigative process through to its conclusion. 
  • Facilitate resolution to any inter-agency issues. 
  • Liaison with other Local Authority LADO's where there are cross boundary issues.  
  • Collect performance data and maintain a confidential database in relation to allegations. 
  • Disseminate learning from LADO enquiries through the children’s workforce. 
  • Respond to non-recent allegations of abuse in the same way as contemporary allegations. This is important as the person who the allegation is made against may still be working with children and it needs to be explored whether safeguarding measures are needed in relation to their current employment or in relation to their contact with children within their family and social network.  

The role of the Safeguarding in Education Officer in relation to the role of the LADO, includes:

  • Work with schools to facilitate timely referrals to Children Services and the LADO Service
  • Providing schools with advice and support around the LADO process (for example – by mediating restorative meetings between the school and parents following the outcome of the LADO process)
  • Following up referrals with schools in relation to their Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 duties, where the LADO threshold is not met (for example: to support the school in reviewing their safeguarding policies and procedures)
  • Providing support and some supervision to Designated Safeguarding Leads and Headteachers
  • Taking a lead in investigating and responding to OFSTED complaints which do not meet the LADO threshold

The role of Early Years DSLs to Wandsworth Private, Voluntary and Independent Nurseries (PVIs) and Childminders 

Designated Safeguarding Lead for Private, Voluntary, and independent (PVI) Early Years provisions:

  • Provide verbal, written advice and guidance to the PVI sector
  • Attend ASV meetings for PVI settings
  • Attend any other relevant safeguarding and LADO meetings
  • Plan training that is identified from attending ASV and other meetings
  • Lead on investigating any complaints that do not meet LADO thresholds
  • Lead DSL forums (to update on any key issues for both PVI’s and Childminders)

DSL for Childminders, Early Years provisions:

  • Provide verbal, written advice and guidance to the childminding sector
  • Attend ASV meetings for Childminder settings
  • Attend any other relevant safeguarding and LADO meetings
  • Plan training that is identified from attending ASV and other meetings
  • Lead on investigating any complaints that do not meet LADO thresholds
  • Provide initial safeguarding training for childminder settings 

Definitions of the outcome of allegations

Substantiated - there is sufficient identifiable evidence to prove the allegation.  

Unsubstantiated - this is not the same as a false allegation. It means that there is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation; the term therefore does not imply guilt or innocence. 

Unfounded - there is no evidence or proper basis which supports the allegation being made. It might also indicate that the person making the allegation misinterpreted the incident or was mistaken about what they saw. Alternatively, they may not have been aware of all the circumstances.  

False - there is no evidence to prove the allegation.  

Malicious - there is clear evidence to prove there has been a deliberate act to deceive and the allegation is entirely false. 

Chapter 7 of the London Child Protection Procedures states: if the facts of the incident are found to be true (substantiated), but it is not found that a child has been harmed or there is a risk of harm, then consideration should be given to deciding that the outcome is unsubstantiated or unfounded. 

Guidance for people who are the subject of an allegation

Read an overview of what to expect if you are the subject of an allegation.


Team/role Name Telephone Email

Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub


020 8871 6622
Local Authority Designated Officer Anita Gibbons 07974 586 461
Interim Local Authority Designated Officer Alice Peatling
Interim Service Manager - Safeguarding and the LADO Rachel Greene 07780 226 639
Education Safeguarding Officer  Andrea During 07814 934 125
Designated Safeguarding Lead PVI settings Matt Hutt 020 8871 8820
Designated Safeguarding Lead Childminder settings Liz Hickson 020 8871 6223