The Role of the Local Authority Designated Officer

The role of the LADO (or Designated Officer) is set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) (Chapter 2 Paragraph 4) and is governed by the Local Authorities duties under section 11 of the Children Act 20004.

The  Officer LADO is responsible for managing allegations against adults who work with children. This involves working with police, children's social care. employers and other involved professionals. The LADO does not conduct investigations directly, but rather oversees and directs them to ensure thoroughness, timeliness and fairness. Ordinarily, to ensure impartiality, the LADO will not have direct contact with the adult against who the allegation has been made, or the family of the child/children involved but will, as part of their role ensure that these have information regarding outcomes.

This guidance outlines procedures for managing allegations against people who work with children who are paid, unpaid, volunteers, casual, agency or anyone self employed.

The LADO must be contacted within one working day in respect of all cases in which it is alleged that a person who works with children has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed a child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.

There may be up to three strands in the consideration of an allegation:

  • a police investigation of a possible criminal offence;
  • enquiries and assessment by children’s social care about whether a child is in need of protection or in need of services;
  • consideration by an employer of disciplinary action in respect of the individual.

The LADO is responsible for:

  • Providing advice, information and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations around allegations and concerns regarding paid and unpaid workers.
  • Managing and overseeing individual cases from all partner agencies.
  • Ensuring the child’s voice is heard and that they are safeguarded.
  • Ensuring there is a consistent, fair and thorough process for all adults working with children and young people against whom an allegation is made.
  • Monitoring the progress of cases to ensure they are dealt with as quickly as possible.
  • Recommending a referral and chairing the strategy meeting in cases where the allegation requires investigation by police and/or social care.

The LADO is involved from the initial phase of the allegation through to the conclusion of the case.  The LADO is available to discuss any concerns and to assist you in deciding whether you need to make a referral and/or take any immediate management action to protect a child.