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Teaching musicians and musicians working with children or vulnerable adults can find themselves the subject of safeguarding allegations for a variety of reasons. MU members should follow this advice.

Last updated: 04 July 2023

What to do if you are subject to a safeguarding allegation

If you are the subject of a safeguarding allegation:

  1. Try to remain calm and contact the MU immediately. You should be treated with professionalism. Harassment or intimidation are unacceptable. Refer to the MU’s guidance on mental health support if needed.
  2. There is a likely to be an initial meeting with someone with a safeguarding officer soon after the allegation is made. Politely refuse to answer open questions (“Why do you think we have asked to speak to you?”) but try to answer focused questions to the best of your ability (“What happened at the end of the lesson?”).
  3. As soon as possible, make notes of your recollection of the incident, or what was happening at the time of the alleged incident. This will help with any subsequent investigation.
  4. Schools will refer all safeguarding allegations to the LADO (local authority designated officer) who will decide whether the incident should be referred to the police and/or investigated at local authority, school or workplace level. You should be informed of any decisions made by the LADO and told what will happen next. One possible outcome is that there will be no investigation and you can return to work.
  5. Depending on the seriousness of the allegation and guidance from the LADO, you may be suspended from work while investigations are carried out. If you are employed, you should be suspended on full pay. If you are self-employed, you are unlikely to receive pay.
  6. If the matter is referred to the police, they will decide whether there should be a prosecution or further questioning. If the police decide to act, this will take priority over any other investigation. Speak to the MU about what legal support is available in this situation.
  7. If the police decide that they will take no action, the matter is referred back to the LADO. An investigation will then ensue, and an appropriate person should be appointed to lead it. You have a right to be accompanied by a colleague or a trade union official in any meetings relating to the investigation. You can challenge any aspects of an investigation that seem unfair or otherwise prejudiced, or that do not conform to any applicable disciplinary policy.
  8. The investigation will produce an outcome which can range from no further action, meaning that you can return to work, to gross misconduct, which can lead to dismissal. You can appeal the outcome if there is evidence that it is flawed.
  9. Even if you are cleared, some record of the investigation may show up on your DBS check (and equivalent checks in Scotland and Northern Ireland). The MU may be able to support you if this causes problems with other employers.
  10. If you are cleared and return to work, your employer should support you as you resume your role, acknowledging that you have been through a difficult period.