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Reporting safeguarding concerns and making referrals in Kent

Assessments and Referrals Guidance

If staff have concerns about a child’s welfare, they should act on them immediately by following their school or setting’s child protection policy and speaking to the Designated Safeguarding Lead.

If a child is in immediate danger, contact the emergency services using 999.

Designated Safeguarding Leads should access the Kent Support Level Guidance from the Kent Safeguarding Children Multi-agency Partnership (KSCMP) to assess the levels of need and intervention required.

If you assess that a child/family requires intensive or specialist support, you will need to make a referral through the ‘Front Door’. For more information and to access the Online Portal see the Kent Safeguarding Children Multi-agency Partnership website.

If you assess that a family’s needs sit below level 3 and 4, but you would have previously considered completing an Early Help Notification, you may still wish to contact your local Early Help Team for advice about the most appropriate type of support available within the community at Support Levels 1 and 2.

DSLs should ensure that all concerns, discussions, decisions and justifications are recorded in writing.

Managing Allegations

“An allegation may relate to a person who works with children who has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
  • behaved towards a child or children 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."

Working Together to Safeguard Children

Part four of KCSIE highlights that governing bodies and proprietors should ensure policies and procedures are in place to deal with concerns and/or allegations against those working in or on behalf of schools and colleges in a paid or unpaid capacity, this includes, members of staff, supply teachers, volunteers and contractors. These procedures should be consistent with local safeguarding procedures and practice guidance, and should include responding to allegations that may meet the harms threshold (above) and allegation/concerns that do not meet the harms threshold – referred to as ‘low level concerns’.  A low-level concern is any concern that an adult has acted in a way that is inconsistent with the staff code of conduct, including inappropriate conduct outside of work and/or does not meet the allegations threshold.

If an allegation is made against a member of staff in an education setting, it should be reported or discuss to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) as soon as possible. Schools and colleges are also encouraged to discuss low-level concerns with the LADO Enquiries Officer.

The LADO’s role is to oversee allegation management in providing proportionate advice and guidance to help education leaders to:

  • Undertake the most appropriate course of action to ensure the safety of children and the member of staff
  • To assess risk and ways to mitigate against perceived risk, this may include consultation with HR around suspension
  • Gain updates from key agencies involved such as police and social care regarding any investigations.
  • Identify risk and allegations that need to be addressed under allegation management (safeguarding) and/or via disciplinary action
  • Make a referral to DBS for consideration on the barred list.

For more information, including the Kent LADO contact details and referral form, access the KSCMP
 Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) procedures.

Further advice and links:

Allegations against staff/volunteers within the Kent children’s workforce

The Professional LADO Referral form for the County LADO Service (CLS) is available via the Kent integrated children's services portal. This is the same portal for submitting requests for support to the Kent Front Door Service.

All professional referrals to the CLS must be submitted via the Kent integrated children's services portal. This system was introduced in January 2023 and since April 2023 referrals from professionals via the CLS mailbox will no longer be accepted or processed. NB – the Parents/Carers LADO referral form will be on the portal shortly – in the meantime, they should follow the usual process of completing the referral form for parents and carers and sending it into the LADO mailbox.

Once you have completed and submitted the referral using the portal, you will receive a notification stating that it has been received by the County LADO Service. If you do not receive this notification, it will mean that you have not sent the referral correctly.

Further information about the CLS, including videos, guidance documents, leaflets and advice on making referrals is available on the KSCMP website.

Education Safeguarding Service Contacts

If you are a Designated Safeguarding Lead in a Kent school or early years setting and would like further support or guidance on responding to a safeguarding concern, please contact your Area Education Safeguarding Advisor.