People in Positions of Trust (PiPoT) policy

1. Introduction

1.1: It is a requirement of the Care Act 2014 Statutory Guidance that Safeguarding Adults Boards should establish and agree a framework and process for any organisation to respond to allegations against anyone who works, (in either a paid or an unpaid capacity,) with adults with care and support needs. In this document this framework and process is referred to as the “Protocol”.

1.2: This Protocol applies to all partner agencies of Trafford Strategic Safeguarding Partnership  (TSSP) , and organisations commissioned to provide services by such Partner agencies, so that they can respond appropriately to allegations against people who, whether an employee, volunteer or student, (paid or unpaid), work with or care for adults with care and support needs. These individuals are known as People in a Position of Trust (PiPoT).

1.3: TSSP requires its partner agencies to be individually responsible for ensuring that they adopt the principles of this Protocol and maintain clear organisational procedures for dealing with PiPoT concerns.

1.4: TSSP also requires partner agencies and the service providers they commission to identify a designated PiPoT lead or contact to oversee the delivery of responsibilities in their organisation.

1.5: Partner agencies and the service providers they commission are individually responsible for ensuring that information relating to PiPoT concerns are shared and escalated outside of their organisation in circumstances where this is required, proportionate and appropriate. They are responsible for making the judgment that this is the case in each instance where they are the data controller.

1.6: This Protocol is designed to inform and support the decision making processes of partner agencies and their commissioned services once they become aware of a PiPoT concern arising from whatever source.

1.7: Each partner agency, in their annual assurance statement to the TSSP, will be required to provide assurance that the PiPoT arrangements within their organisation are functioning effectively. The TSSP will in turn maintain oversight of whether these arrangements are considered to be working effectively between and across partner agencies in the Borough.  

1.8: The Care Act 2014 Guidance also requires that partner agencies and their commissioned services should have clear recording and information-sharing guidance, set explicit timescales for action and are aware of the need to preserve evidence.

1.9: This Protocol applies whether the allegation relates to a current or an historical concern.

1.10: The TSSP partner agency (or organisation commissioned by them to provide a service) who first identifies or becomes aware of an allegation or concern will be the Primary Data Controller, or the “owner” of the information, and will have first responsibility for responding in accordance with this Protocol.

1.11: The Protocol is designed to ensure that if information is shared or disclosed it is done so in accordance with the law but in such a way that allows appropriate and proportionate enquiries to be made that ensures adults with care and support needs are protected and public confidence in services is maintained.

1.12: This Protocol is not a substitute for, but may be used in conjunction with, other formal legal processes; for example Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC), Multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) etc.

2. Scope

2.1: This Protocol must be followed in all cases by the organisation which first becomes aware of a concern, where information (whether current or historical) is identified in connection with:

  • The PiPoT's own work / voluntary activity with Adults and / or Children (for example where a worker or volunteer has been accused of the abuse or neglect of an adult with care and support needs or a child).
  • The PiPoT's life outside work i.e. concerning adults with care and support needs in the family or social circle (for example where an adult child is accused of abusing their older parent and they also works as a domiciliary care worker with adults with care and support needs. Or where a person is convicted of a serious assault at home and also works in a residential home for people with learning disabilities).
  • The PiPoT's life outside work i.e. concerning risks to children, whether the individual's own children or other children (for example where a person is employed in a day centre for people with learning disabilities but their own children are subject to child protection procedures as a result of emotional abuse and neglect).

And the person has:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed an adult with care and support needs.
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to an adult with care and support needs.
  • Behaved towards an adult with care and support needs in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with adults with care and support needs.
  • Behaved in a way that has harmed children or may have harmed children which means their ability to provide a service to adults with care and support needs must be reviewed.
  • May be subject to abuse themselves and as a consequence may mean their ability to provide a service to adults with care and support needs to be reviewed.
  • Behaved in a way which questions their ability to provide a service to an adult with care and support needs which must be reviewed e.g. conviction for grievous bodily harm against someone who is not an adult with care and support needs.

2.2: Children - whilst this Protocol is concerned with potential harm to adults with care and support needs, if the allegation is such that there is a concern that the person may also pose a risk to children, then Children’s Services must be informed. It is everyone’s duty to refer any current and historical allegations of abuse against children to Children’s Services, whether the alleged perpetrator is a PiPoT or not. Concerns about children should be referred to the Trafford First Response Team (0161 912 5125) and in circumstances where adults that are engaged in regulated activity with children, and have harmed or may have harmed a child, this should be referred to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) (firstresponse@trafford.gov.uk)

3. How might a concern to PiPoT be identified?

Concerns about a PiPoT’s behaviour may be identified by the following people / procedures:

  • Police intervention or investigation
  • Providers alerting commissioners of services
  • Whistleblowing disclosure
  • Commissioner’s contract monitoring activity
  • Safeguarding adults enquiry
  • Safeguarding children investigation
  • Complaints
  • Reports from members of the public
  • Any other source of disclosure

4. Whose responsibility is it to respond where a PiPoT concern is identified?

As stated in 1.1, the TSSP partner agency (or service provider they commission) who first becomes aware of an allegation or concern will be the Primary Data Controller, or owner of the information. They have first responsibility for taking the appropriate action in line with this Protocol.

5. What should the response be?

5.1: Any allegation against people who work with adults with care and support needs should be reported immediately to a senior manager within that organisation and their PiPoT Lead.

5.2: If the Local Authority, Police or CCG is given information about an allegation against a PiPoT, they should give careful consideration to what information should be shared with employers (or student body or voluntary organisation) so that a suitable response is made, in line with the principles outlined at 1.11.above, Section 6, and Section 7.1 below.

5.3: The person responsible for investigating the allegation of concern about the PiPoT must, on the information provided, determine if the situation is a position of trust concern or if other procedures should be used.

5.4: A detailed record of the concern and the steps taken in response must be kept (see Section 7 for further information on recording).  

5.5: Where the person responsible for investigating the allegation of concern about the PiPoT and / or the PiPoT Lead concludes the concern does not meet the definition of a PiPoT concern (see 2 above), the PiPoT Lead will make a record of the discussion and decision and the reasons for this conclusion. These details could be drawn upon if further concerns come about in relation to a PiPoT.

5.6: Where the person responsible for investigating the allegation and / or the PiPoT Lead concludes the concern does meet the definition of a PiPoT concern (see 2 above), appropriate action must be taken in line with Section 5.

5.7: Where PiPoT concerns are identified by partner agencies or services they commission about their employee or volunteer, it will be necessary for the employer (or student body or voluntary organisation) to assess any potential risk to adults with care and support needs who use their services and, if necessary, to take action to safeguard those adults. If the employer (or student body or voluntary organisation) is aware of abuse or neglect in their organisation, then they have a duty to correct this and protect the adult with care and support needs from harm as soon as possible and inform Trafford Adult Social Care and the CQC (if a regulated care provider).

5.8: They also have a duty to consider what support and advice they will make available to their staff or volunteers against whom allegations have been made. Any PiPoT about whom there are concerns should be treated fairly and honestly. Their employer has a duty of care towards them.

5.9: If the PiPoT is removed by either being dismissed or permanently redeployed to a non-regulated activity because they pose a risk of harm to adults with care and support needs, the employer (or student body or voluntary organisation) has a legal duty to refer the person to the Disclosure and Barring Service. In addition, where appropriate, employers should report workers to the statutory and other bodies responsible for professional regulation such as the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

5.10: If a person subject to a PiPoT investigation attempts to leave their employment by resigning in an effort to avoid the investigation or disciplinary process, the employer (or student body or voluntary organisation) is entitled not to accept that resignation, conclude whatever process has been utilised and, if the outcome warrants it, dismiss the employee or volunteer instead. This would also be the case where the person intends to take up legitimate employment or a course of study.

5.11: Employers, student bodies and voluntary organisations should have their own sources of advice (including legal advice) in place for dealing with such concerns.

5.12: The PiPoT flowchart demonstrates diagrammatically how PiPoT concerns should be managed

6. Information sharing

6.1: Particular considerations where the data controller is not the employer

The default position should be that the owner of the information about a PiPoT should not share it without the PiPoT’s knowledge and permission. This is so that they are given the opportunity to share the information with their employer first. If the PiPoT declines to share it with their employer for whatever reason, this does not mean the information cannot be shared by the data controller. In deciding whether to nevertheless share the information with an employer or voluntary organisation, the principles in this section (Section 6) should be followed.

6.2: If the PiPoT asks the data controller not to share the information, a decision must be made by the data controller, in line with the principles contained within this Protocol, whether to agree. If it is agreed that information will not be shared, this must be qualified since it may be the case that more detail comes to light to change this decision. If a decision is made at a later date to share information, the PiPoT should be consulted again and given a further opportunity to disclose the information themselves if it is appropriate to do so. Again, the data controller could, following the principles for disclosure in this section (Section 6) decide to share the information even if the PiPoT decides not to. All decisions to share or not share information, and their rationale should be clearly recorded.

6.3: In each case involving an allegation against a PiPoT, a balance has to be struck between the duty to protect people with care and support needs from harm or abuse and the effect upon individuals of information about them being shared (for example, upon the person’s Article 8 Human Rights (the right to private and family life).

6.4: For these reasons each case must be considered on its own merits and personal data shall be processed in accordance with the principles contained in Part I of Schedule 1 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (“the DPA”).  

6.5: Due regard must be had to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that: Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

and;

There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

6.6: When deciding whether to interfere with a person’s Article 8 rights, each case must be judged on its own facts. The issue is essentially one of proportionality. Information is to be disclosed only if there is a “pressing need” for that disclosure. In considering proportionality, consideration must be given to the following general principles:

  • The legitimate aim in question must be sufficiently important to justify the interference
  • The measures taken to achieve the legitimate aim must be rationally connected to it
  • The means used to impair the right must be no more than is necessary to accomplish the objective
  • A fair balance must be struck between the rights of the individual and the interests of the community; this requires a careful assessment of the severity and consequences of the interference.

6.7: “There is a general presumption [which is not absolute] that information should not be disclosed, such a presumption being based upon a recognition of (a) the potentially serious effect on the ability of [in this case convicted people] to live a normal life; (b) the risk of violence to such people and (c) the risk that disclosure might drive them underground.”

6.8: Before actually disclosing information to a third party, there is a need to consult with the person whose information is to be disclosed and to give them an opportunity of making representations before the information is disclosed. “[T]he imposition of such a duty is a necessary ingredient of the process if it is to be fair and proportionate.”

6.9: Information may be shared by an individual or an agency in the expectation that it will not be shared with others; i.e. it will be kept confidential. Often, a person will preface the disclosure with ‘I am telling you this in confidence’ or, after making the disclosure, will say ‘you won’t tell anyone will you?’ However, no blanket agreement not to share information with others must be given. Confidential information can be shared if it is justified as being in the public’s interest (e.g. for the detection and prevention of crime and for the protection of vulnerable persons, i.e. children or adults with care and support need at risk of harm or neglect). It is a matter for professional judgment, acting in accordance with information sharing protocols and the principles of the DPA to decide whether breaching a PiPoT’s confidentiality is in the public’s interest.

6.10: If after following the above principles, and weighing up the information available, a decision is made not to tell the PiPoT about the concern about them and ask their permission to share it with their employer, (because doing this would place any adults or children at increased risk of harm), then this decision and the reasons for it should be recorded. However, the PiPoT planning process must identify the earliest opportunity for them to be informed.

7. Recording of PiPoT issues

7.1: Record-keeping is an integral part of all adult safeguarding processes to ensure that adults with care and support needs are safeguarded, and that organisations and individuals are accountable for their actions when responding to concerns about a PiPoT. All cases should be recorded in accordance with this Protocol.

7.2: Individuals with responsibility for the investigation and management of PiPoT concerns must, as far as is practicable, contemporaneously document a complete account of the events, actions and any decisions taken, together with their rationale. This is to enable any objective person to understand the basis of any decision that was made, together with any subsequent action taken.

7.3: Records of actions taken to investigate PiPoT concerns which have been found to be without substance must also be retained so as to build up any history.

7.4: Records may be used to prepare reports to the Safeguarding Adult Board (for example to identify trends and patterns or give assurance that adults with care and support needs have been protected).

7.5: They might also be shared with any other relevant party to ensure the safety of adults with care and support needs (see Section 6 above).

7.6: A chronology or log of key events, decisions and actions taken should also be maintained to provide a ready overview of progress.

7.7: Individuals (including a PiPoT who is the subject of the recording) are entitled to have access to their personal records whether they are stored electronically or manually. It is therefore important that information recorded, is fair, accurate and balanced.

7.8: Where the threshold for information sharing has been reached, these data obligations are in addition to ensuring that the ‘central record of PiPoT concerns’ has been updated at the outset of the PiPoT concern enquiry, and again updated at the end of the enquiry with the case conclusion. This is a responsibility of individual PiPoT Leads.

The purpose of the PiPoT record-keeping is to:

  • Enable accurate information to be given in response to any future request for a reference.
  • Provide clarification in cases where a future DBS Disclosure reveals information from the police that an allegation was made but did not result in a prosecution or conviction.
  • Prevent unnecessary re-investigation if an allegation resurfaces after a period of time.
  • Enable patterns of behaviour which may pose a risk to adults with care and support needs to be identified.
  • To assure the TSSP that adults with care and support needs are protected from harm

8. Complicated cases

8.1: Many PiPoT concerns will be proportionately dealt with through straightforward employment management processes. Other circumstances will be more complex and require appropriate planning at each stage. These may include:

8.2: Identify key stakeholders

These could include:

  • The Employer (supervisor/line manager/ HR manager)
  • The Commissioner of a commissioned service contract
  • The appropriate service regulator (e.g. CQC, Ofsted)
  • The Police where there is a criminal concern
  • The social worker of an adult with care and support needs
  • Children’s Services if children are involved
  • Other case specific e.g. University representative if a student

8.3: PiPoT planning discussion / meetings

8.3.1: The relevant PiPoT Lead or Managing Officer will need to decide on the grounds of urgency and risk the best way to share information, risk assess and plan the lines of enquiry. The options would be a discussion, conference calls or a formal meeting. More complex cases and / or those with many stakeholders are likely to require a meeting.

8.3.2: The planning discussion / meeting should cover the following areas and be clearly recorded:

  • Confidentiality agreement
  • Sharing the PiPoT concern and purpose of the meeting
  • Information from data controller and attendees
  • Risk assessment
  • Whether a crime has been committed
  • Agree lines of enquiry (who is doing what and by when)
  • Identify actions to be taken in respect of adults with care and support needs
  • Identify who will support the PiPoT
  • Timescales for actions and feedback
  • Agree next step and actions.

9. Progress monitoring and timescales

9.1: It is important that PiPoT concerns are managed in a timely way. This is the role of the appropriate PiPoT Lead overseeing the PiPoT enquiry. Timescales should be identified at the planning stage. Regular monitoring is essential to ensure procedures are kept on track and risks are managed. Additional meetings can take place at any time as deemed necessary.

10. Evaluation and conclusion

10.1: It is important these cases have a robust evaluation and conclusion.

This should include the following areas:

  • Share the results of enquiries (e.g. results of disciplinary processes) and assess if they are adequate or if further work is required.
  • Risk assess, including transferable risk (e.g. child protection risk to adults with care and support needs).
  • Make recommendations for required actions
  • Feedback mechanisms (to whom, by whom)
  • Determine if further work is required or case closure.

11. Advice and guidance

11.1: Advice and guidance is available from the Designated PiPoT manager (TSSP@trafford.gov.uk) or via the Safeguarding Hub (AdultSafeguardinghub@trafford.gov.uk).