Initial evaluation discussion

Initial evaluation discussion

If the allegation is not obviously false and there is cause to suspect that a child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm the LADO must refer to Children’s Social Care and ask them to initiate a strategy discussion in accordance with local child protection procedures and liaise with the Secure Records Officer to access any other available historical information.  

The police must be informed about any case in which a criminal offence involving a child may have been committed.

If the significant harm threshold is not reached, but a possible criminal offence has been committed, the LADO must contact the police immediately and initiate an initial evaluation discussion with the police, employer and other agencies involved with the child.  

An initial evaluation can be conducted by way of a series of telephone calls but wherever practicable should take the form of a face-to-face meeting with a dedicated minute taker.

Where a meeting is held the LADO and the senior manager will agree who will chair it. Invitees must be sufficiently senior to contribute all relevant information about the allegation, child, and accused person, and make decisions on behalf of their organisations.  Invitees may include:

  • Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)
  • Relevant social worker and his/her manager
  • Supervising social worker and his/her manager when an allegation is made against a foster carer
  • Designated liaison officer from the police
  • Senior manager for the employer/establishment concerned
  • Senior representative of the employment agency or voluntary organisation if the member of staff or volunteer has been placed by them, unless it is alleged that they have colluded or failed to respond to previous complaints
  • Those responsible for regulation and inspection where applicable e.g. OFSTED
  • Human Resources representatives as appropriate
  • Secure Records Officer
  • A medical practitioner with an appropriate area of specialist knowledge
  • Where a child is placed by or resident in the area of another local authority, a representative of that authority
  • Complaints officer if the concern has arisen from a complaint or a complaint investigation is in progress
  • A representative of the legal department of the local authority

If the allegation is about physical contact, the initial evaluation must take account of any entitlement by staff in certain professions to use reasonable force to control or restrain children in certain circumstances e.g. Section 93 Education and Inspection Act 2006 in respect of teachers and authorised school staff.