Ensuring that all staff and volunteers who work with children are suitable to do so is one of the most important aspects of an organisation's safeguarding duties. The early identification and appropriate management of safeguarding concerns about adults is an essential part of this. Where such a concern reaches the threshold of an allegation, clear guidance exists on how organisations should report, record and handle that allegation. However, the position is much less clear where a concern falls below that threshold.
Creating a culture in which all concerns about adults (including those that do not meet the threshold of an allegation) are shared responsibly and with the right person, and recorded and dealt with appropriately, is critical. If implemented correctly, this should encourage a more open and transparent culture; enable organisations to identify concerning behaviour early; minimise the risk of abuse; and ensure that adults working in the organisation are clear about professional boundaries and act within these boundaries, and in accordance with the ethos and values of the organisation.
This article draws on academic research and serious case reviews to explain why and how organisations can introduce a formal policy, or create a culture, that enables staff to share any concerns, and how organisations should respond to concerns about adults that do not reach the threshold of an allegation.
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This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.
© Farrer & Co LLP, May 2017