This guidance is for all providers of residential child care services, child protection personnel in local authorities and the Police.
Part One provides important information about residential care culture and the context in which such services for children are provided in order to improve the understanding of those who are given shared responsibility for responding to allegations. It also highlights a number of key principles which support best practice and provides a definition of key terms. This section also includes guidance on the monitoring and review of the management of allegations.
Part Two identifies considerations which should inform initial decision making and aims to develop practice which ensures that responses are proportionate, i.e. that situations which merit a child protection investigation are reliably identified, but that other situations which do not involve allegations of significant harm, or risk thereof, are managed in ways appropriate to the nature of the allegation and the child and worker's circumstances. It is envisaged that the process and guidance will be incorporated into local authority and provider procedures and so be customised to suit local circumstances.
The guidance then outlines best practice steps which should be taken in investigating an allegation where there is concern that a worker has acted in a way which has caused a child actual harm or a significant risk thereof.
In this part of the guidance agencies are prompted to think about how children should be supported when an investigation is taking place. Employers are reminded that they continue to have responsibilities to workers who may be subject to an allegation and reminds providers and child protection agencies that workers must always be treated fairly.
The final part of the guidance provides information on how ending an investigation should be managed and evaluated.