Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

The role of the LADO is set out in section 11 of the Children's Act 2004 and in the HM Government guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) (external link).

Their role is to give advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisation, liaise with the Police and other agencies, and monitor the progress of cases to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible, consistent with a thorough and fair process.

Every agency that works with children and young people should have a Designated Officer whose job it is to liaise with and refer to LADO.

The LADO should be alerted to 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
  • Behaved towards a child in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children
  • Behaved or may have behaved in a way that indicates they may not be suitable to work with children. 

Making a referral

What to do if an allegation or concern is raised about  a member of your staff

If you’re faced with an allegation against an employee, volunteer, or a professional working or providing services to children you must contact the Designated Officer in your agency at the earliest opportunity.

Failure to do this could put children and young people at risk of harm. The Designated Officer should inform the LADO within 1 working day.

If you are not sure if the situation meets the threshold contact LADO for an informal discussion.

What is the process?

The LADO process can be described in 5 stages:

  1. You become aware of a risk to a child from an employee, volunteer, or professional in your employment. You report your concerns to your Designated Senior Officer at the earliest opportunity, who will then liaise with LADO. Every organisation should have a Designated Officer who deals with Safeguarding issues.
  2. LADO will work with you and the Designated Senior Officer to decide; who the case needs to be referred to; If a referral is required you complete this via the Wigan Childrens portal. The LADO will discuss with you any immediate action that needs to be taken to make a child or children safe.
  3. LADO consults wherever appropriate, with the police, children's social care team and the person’s line manager (if this is a different person from the referrer)
  4. Meetings bring together information and evidence to plan the investigation. This is a multi-agency meeting that will decide if there is a criminal offence that needs to be investigated by the police, whether a child is in need of protection or services, and if an employer needs to consider disciplinary action against the individual.
  5. The LADO co-ordinates the investigations and reviews the actions as necessary. They record all the information and actions ensuring where necessary that individuals are reported to regulatory bodies.

Greater Manchester procedures

  • Section 5.2 (external link) outlines the roles, responsibilities and procedures for managing allegations of abuse made against adults who work with children and young people.

Useful references

The guidance for safer working practice for adults who work with children and young people provides useful guidance in addition to the Greater Manchester Safeguarding Partnership guidance.

Watch a short video on Local Authority Designated Officer (external link).

Contact LADO

The Local Authority Designated Officer in Wigan: