Organisations often come under scrutiny when it comes to safeguarding vulnerable groups, more often than not for taking the wrong course of action or for negligence and reacting slower than expected to suspicious cases.
This has possibly now lead to ‘knee-jerk’ reactions when dealing with safeguarding, for example jumping to the wrong conclusion and acting too rapidly before the facts are gathered, which can sometimes create more distress for vulnerable groups.
The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has recently published a report as a warning to organisations who may end up making rash decisions.
The report encourages organisations to weigh up all options first and assess consequences when protecting children.
This is following the recent case, involving a council, where an allegation was made about a foster carer of two young children. The foster carer was arrested over the allegations and the children were removed immediately from care. However there was no evidence to suggest that the council had discussed and followed appropriate procedures or assessed other options.
It was later identified that the allegations were unfounded and the police indicated that they were malicious. The children were allowed to return back to their foster home two weeks after the police closed the case.
Following this case, the council agreed to review their policies in carrying out strategy and to follow up with staff training on this. It is clear that councils don’t take decisions lightly when choosing to remove individuals from care, however it is imperative that they display clear signs that all options available have been assessed before taking any drastic actions.
The LGO Chair of the Commission, Dr Jane Martin said: ‘Essential safeguarding processes are in place not to add time and bureaucracy, but to ensure that children’s welfare is paramount.’
This does not only apply to councils, but is also important that all organisations who have access to the vulnerable groups set in place clear procedures, to ensure knee-jerk decisions are avoided and the right course of action is taken, making sure the best interests of the vulnerable child/adult are taken into account at all times.
Employers may have concerns about a certain member of staff or may be aware of allegations, it is important that appropriate research is undertaken before;
If you require more information with regards to referring individuals in the workplace to the DBS see our barring section here or give us a call on