Allegations against staff and volunteers

Use allegations against staff and volunteers procedure when there is an allegation or concern that a person working with children and young people, 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 towards a child or children in a way that indicates he or she may pose a risk of harm to children.

Consider these behaviours within the context of the four categories of abuse;

  • physical, 
  • sexual,
  • emotional abuse, 
  • neglect. 

These include concerns of inappropriate relationships between members of staff and children or young people. For example:

  • Having a sexual relationship with a child under 18 if in a position of trust in respect of that child. Even if it was consensual. S16-19 Sexual Offences Act 2003;
  • 'Grooming', for example meeting a child under 16 with intent to commit a relevant offence. S15 Sexual Offences Act 2003;
  • Other 'grooming' behaviour giving rise to concerns of a broader child protection nature. For example inappropriate text or e-mail messages, images, gifts, socialising;
  • Possession of indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children.

If there's concerns about the person's behaviour to their own children, the police and/or children's social care must consider informing their employer or organisation. They will need to assess whether there may be implications for children that the person has contact at work or in the organisation. If this is the case this procedure will apply.

Respond to allegations of historical abuse in the same way as contemporary concerns. If the person the allegation is against is still working with children inform the current employer, organisation or refer their family for assessment.

All references in the procedure to 'staff or members of staff' means all paid or unpaid staff , professionals and volunteers. This includes for example foster carers, approved adopters and childminders. This chapter also applies to any person, who manages or facilitates access to an establishment where children are present.

Disclosure and barring service check

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) provides access to criminal records and other information. The DBS helps organisations by identifying candidates or volunteers who may be unsuitable for certain kinds of work.

There are two types of checks undertaken, an Enhanced DBS check and a standard check. The Protection of Children Act obliges organisations to get a DBS check for certain staff and volunteers.

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