SEFTON LSCB Safeguarding Policies and Procedures Online Manual

    15.4 Role and Function of Multi-Agency Meetings

    Last updated 12/11/2018

    15.4 Initial Consideration Meeting
     

    If the information about an adult’s behaviour does not require a Strategy Meeting under Section 47 to be held, then a similar meeting should nonetheless be called to evaluate jointly the level of concern and to determine whether, and if so how, the behaviour has called into question the person’s ability to continue working with children in his or her current position.

    If from the information received the Designated Officer for the Local Authority (DO) decides that the threshold for harm has been met, or that the persons behaviour towards a child/ren indicates that s/he poses a risk of harm if they work with children or young people, the Designated Officer for the Local Authority (DO) will liaise with key agencies to organise an initial considerations meeting.

    If an Initial Consideration Meeting is to be held, then it should take the form of a face-to-face meeting wherever possible. It is important that the employer is represented. Other than in exceptional cases, this would normally be the Senior Manager and the meeting should include a representative from the employer’s HR service (where applicable). It is also recommended that police, social care and any other agencies or organisations involved should be present.

    The discussion should:

    • Share all relevant information about the allegation in question;
    • Discuss any previous allegations or other concerns;
    • Review the need for involvement of children’s social care or the police;
    • Consider whether the person’s ability to continue working with children in his or her current position has been called into question;
    • Plan any enquiries needed, allocate tasks and set timescales;
    • Identify a lead contact manager within each agency;
    • Decide what information can be shared with whom and when;
    • Agree timescales for actions and/or dates for further meetings;
    • Consider what advice and support should be made available to the member of staff and child/family;
    • Consider any other factors that may affect the management of the case e.g. media interest, managing confidentiality;
    • Where the allegation relates to an individual who is not an employee, the meeting should determine who will take the lead in any subsequent action;
    • Date to reconvene if necessary.

    Those invited to participate in the strategy meeting are advised to bring all relevant information including:

    • Relevant details of the employee and the child and their family;
    • Information and contact details of any possible witnesses;
    • Any other relevant concerns or employment issues regarding the employee.

    What to record

    It is important that comprehensive minutes are taken of all the discussions and agreed outcomes.

    The meeting should ensure that, where there is a decision not to pursue any police or social care enquiries, specific consideration is given as to why the alleged behaviour is of concern to those present. This discussion should be clearly recorded.

    The chair should decide to whom the minutes should be distributed. This should include participants in the Strategy Meeting and those invited but not attending. All parties should be reminded of the need to maintain confidentiality in accordance with local and national procedures and guidance.

    In consultation with the Designated Officer for the Local Authority (DO) the employer will decide whether further disciplinary investigation is necessary and whether there is a need to suspend the adult, or whether suitable alternatives to suspension should be used.

    Where the allegation relates to an individual who is not an employee, the meeting should determine who will take the lead in any subsequent action.

      Stage 4: Employer's Actions
      When is Employer's Action Necessary?
     

    Further action by the employer will always be required in circumstances where:

    • A Designated Officer for the Local Authority, (DO) meeting has concluded that disciplinary action should be considered by the employer;
    • The matter has been referred to the employer after the police or Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has determined that a charge or prosecution may not be appropriate; or
    • Following the conclusion of legal proceedings.
      The Decision to Undertake a Disciplinary Investigation
     

    The decision to instigate disciplinary procedures will be based upon the nature and seriousness of the behaviour which has been brought to the multi-agency discussion for consideration and, additionally, in those circumstances where a child has made a direct allegation, upon the child’s account of the adult’s behaviour. In such cases, it may be necessary to gather further information from the child or other child witnesses to establish the need for an investigation and this should be arranged to be undertaken by a social worker or other professional experienced in conducting interviews with child witnesses.

      The Disciplinary Investigation
     

    The disciplinary investigation is the responsibility of the employer or governing body and they have a duty to keep the Designated Officer for the Local Authority, (DO) informed of progress and agreed timescales. At the conclusion of an internal investigation, the senior manager or nominated representative of the employing agency of the adult concerned should complete and submit a feedback form directly to the Designated Officer for the Local Authority (DO) within two weeks.

      Support for Child/Family
     

    Children and families involved in the allegation should be made aware of services that exist locally and nationally which can offer support and guidance by the most appropriate person. They should be provided with any necessary information regarding independent and confidential support, advice or representation.

    Parents or carers of the child should always be kept informed of the process of an investigation by the nominated professional.

    Parents or carers, and the child where appropriate, should be told the outcome as soon as possible after the decision of the panel has been reached.

      Support for the Individual
     

    Employers/governing bodies have a duty of care to their workers and should act to manage and minimise the stress inherent in the allegations and disciplinary process. Support to the individual is key to fulfilling this duty.

    Individuals should be informed of concerns or allegations as soon as possible and given an explanation of the likely course of action, unless there is an objection by social care or police.

    They should be advised to contact their trade union representative, if they have one, and given access to welfare counselling or medical advice where this is provided by the employer. 

    Particular care needs to be taken when employees are suspended to ensure that they are kept informed of both the progress of their case and current work-related issues. Social contact with colleagues and friends should not be discouraged except where it is likely to be prejudicial to the gathering and presentation of evidence.

    Throughout the process the individual should be aware of the concerns and why his or her ability to work with children is being questioned and given the opportunity to state his or her case.

    When an employee returns to work following a suspension, or on the conclusion of a case, arrangements should be made to facilitate his or her reintegration. This may involve informal counselling, guidance, support, re-assurance and help to rebuild confidence in working with children and young people.

    Employees should be notified in writing at the end of the process of outcomes.

    What to record

    Records should be kept of the investigation, including all discussions, meetings, panel hearings and decisions relating to the case. A record should also be made of any disciplinary sanction which has been imposed. This will be crucial information for any subsequent referral.

    It is a Sefton Local Safeguarding Children Board recommendation that records will be retained until a person reaches 100 years old.

     

    Support and Aftercare

    It is important for employers to take into account the emotional effects that allegation investigations can sometimes bring to a workplace (regardless of the outcome or whether staff are involved or not) and for those organisations that do not have good HR/aftercare to consider that staff may have unresolved feelings and will need support.

    This may mean a referral to Occupational Health.