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Allegations Against Staff

Peterborough United Football Club is committed to providing a safe and secure environment and the upmost level of care for all its players and staff.

Any allegations of abuse made against any member of staff or volunteer will be dealt with immediately while ensuring that we maintain the highest level of care and protection for the child or adult at risk. The Football Club will also be ensuring that the correct and professional support is issued to the alleged staff member or volunteer.

Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to outline the procedure for dealing with allegations against any staff dependent on the current situation and all the circumstances surrounding the allegation. The policy is to be followed at all times when dealing with an allegation, but in each case must be adapted to suit. This policy will be used alongside the Football Club’s complaints and safeguarding policy.

This policy will come into play in any case where it is alleged or suspected that a member of the Peterborough United staffing team or volunteer has:

● behaved in a way that has harmed a child or adult at risk, or may have harmed a child or adult at risk
● possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child or adult at risk
● behave towards a child or adult at risk in a way that indicated he or she may pose a risk to children/adults at risk

Timescale
It is important that any allegation is dealt with effectively, professionally and as quickly as possible to ensure:
● any risk to the child/adult at risk is minimised
● the impact on the child’s academic progress is minimised
● stress to employee concerned is minimised
● a fair and thorough investigation for all parties.

To ensure this is effective the policy will also link in with the Football Club’s complaints policy.

Procedure
All allegations made against staff should be reported immediately to any member of the Peterborough United safeguarding team. (the team and their contact details can be found at www.theposh.com , PMA library or MyConcern)

Complaints about a member of the safeguarding team should be reported to the SSM (the contact details can be found at www.theposh.com , PMA library or MyConcern) Complaints about the SSM should be reported to a member of the Peterborough Untied board (the details of the board can be found at www.theposh.com) a board member will then contact the designated officer at the local authority and appoint a member of the Peterborough United safeguarding team)

Staff who are concerned about the conduct of a colleague towards a child/adult at risk are undoubtedly placed in a very uncomfortable and difficult situation. This staff member may worry that they have misunderstood the situation and they may wonder whether a report could jeopardise their colleague’s career. Peterborough United remind all staff that they must remember that the welfare of the child/adult at risk is paramount and they must report any of their concerns immediately, following the correct channels stated in this policy.

A member of the safeguarding team will contact The FA safeguarding team and EFL safeguarding team and the designated officer at the local authority. These discussions will decide whether:
● more information is required; or
● no further actions are needed; or
● a strategy discussion should take place; or
● there should be immediate involvement of the police or social care.

The Football Club will share all available information with the FA safeguarding team designated officer about the allegation, the child, and the person against whom the allegation has been made and consider whether a police investigation or a  strategy discussion is needed. Representatives from other agencies may be invited to the discussion and could include representatives from health, social care and police.

Investigation
An investigation into the allegation is normally carried out by the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and or the FA safeguarding team or by the Football Club. This will be agreed at the initial evaluation stage.

Any internal investigations must be second to any safeguarding investigation and may need to be delayed until the external investigation is complete.

An investigating team will be put in place by the Football Club, this will include:
● the investigating officer, this is normally the CWO or Head of Academy safeguarding/player care manager, they will;
1. investigate fully, while seeking guidance and support from the Football Club’s HR company – Peninsula
2. put together a full case report
3. issue the final case report to the investigation lead
● the investigation lead, this will normally be the CEO or Academy Manager, they will;
1. read the full case report from the investigating officer
2. provide their information and thoughts with the Peterborough United board
3. decide on the outcome of the investigation

The investigating officer will not have a role within the decision making to ensure that a nonbiased
discussion is made.

The following definitions should be used when determining the outcome of the investigation:
● Substantiated: there is sufficient evidence to prove the allegation
● Malicious: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation and there has been a deliberate act to deceive
● False: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation
● Unsubstantiated: there is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation. The term, therefore, does not imply guilt or innocence.
● Unfounded: to reflect cases where there is no evidence or proper basis which supports the allegation being made Supporting those involved
The person(s) who makes the allegation and their parents/carers.

Parents and carers will be notified if their child makes or is involved in an allegation against staff if they do not already know. However, if the police or social services are to be involved, they will be contacted first and will be advised as to what information may or may not be disclosed to the parents. [There will be a staff member designated to the role of liaising with
the parents and child about the case and ensuring that they are fully informed as far as is possible.] Parents and carers will be made aware of any progress in the investigation, and where there is no criminal prosecution, the outcome will be explained to them.

There may be a disciplinary outcome. During a disciplinary hearing the deliberations and information used for making a decision are usually confidential, however parents will be told the outcome in confidence. Social services and the police may be involved and will provide the school with advice on what type of additional support the child may need. The club’s whistleblowing code which can be located on our Club website www.theposh.com, MyConcern or within the PMA library enables staff to raise concerns or allegations against their colleagues in confidence and for a sensitive enquiry to take place.

The employee
Peterborough United has a duty of care to all its employees and therefore the Club will take steps to minimise the stress of any allegation and the investigation process as much as possible.

The person who is the subject of the investigation will be informed as soon as possible and usually after the initial discussion with the designated officer. The employee will then be advised on what the next course of action will be.  However, if the police or social services are to be involved, they will be contacted before the employee, and will advise as to what information may be disclosed to the person under investigation.

The designated member of the safeguarding team will keep the employee informed of the progress of the case and any other work-related issues. The employee may need additional support and the Football Club will consider what might
be appropriate to best accommodate this. If it is a criminal investigation and the police are involved, they may provide this additional support.

Confidentiality
Peterborough United will make every effort to guard the privacy of all the parties during and after an investigation into an allegation. It is in everyone’s best interest to maintain this confidentiality to ensure a fair investigation with minimum impact for all parties involved. Any breach of confidentiality will be taken seriously and may warrant its own investigation
from the Football Club.

Suspensions
The club will not suspend a member of staff without serious consideration and will not do it automatically once an allegation has been made. Depending on the nature of the case, it may be possible that alternative arrangements are made so that the individual can continue working.

The employer holds the power to suspend an employee but will listen to the views of the police and or FA and or LADO regarding suspension. In the case of suspension, the employee will receive written confirmation within one working
day and will be informed of the reason for the suspension.

Resignations
If an employee resigns when the allegation is made against them or during an investigation, the investigation will continue until an outcome has been reached, with or without the employee’s cooperation. They will be given full opportunity to answer the allegation.

Record keeping
Where an allegation is found to be malicious, all information of the allegation will be removed from the record of the employee concerned. For all other allegations, records of investigations and outcomes will be kept in the employee’s personal file and they will be given a copy. The record will be kept, including for people who leave the organisation, at least until the person reaches normal retirement age or for 10 years if that will be longer, from the date of the allegation.

Details of any allegation made by a young person will be kept in the confidential section of their record.

All information related to safeguarding at Peterborough United Football Club is logged on the main online portal ‘MyConcern’.

Action on conclusion of the case
If the allegation is substantiated and the employee is dismissed or resigns, or we cease to use the volunteer’s services, the Football Club will consider whether a referral must be made to the DBS as appropriate. If it is decided that the employee may return to work after a suspension, then sufficient provisions will be put in place by the Football Club to ensure that the transition for the, returning to work is as smooth as possible.

This may involve a phased return for a trial period or the use of another member of staff as a support system in the short term. If the child/adult at risk who made the allegation is still at the club, the club will consider what needs to be done to manage the contact between employee and child/adult at risk.

Action in the case of false or malicious allegations
Where an allegation is proved to be false, the SSM may refer to social services to determine whether the child/adult at risk needs support or has been abused by someone else. The club’s safeguarding policy sets out the disciplinary action that may be taken against anyone found to have made malicious allegations against club staff. The SSM may consult the Club board when considering what action to take.

If the claim has been made by a person who is not a member of the Football Club, the Club may pass the information to the police who may take further action against that person.

After the case
No matter what the outcome is of an allegation of abuse against staff, the Club will review the case to see if there are any improvements that can be made in its practice or policy that may help to deal with cases in the future.

Written by Kayleigh Stent – Academy Safeguarding/Player Care Manager
Authorised and signed off by Bob Symns – Senior Safeguarding Manager