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.