People in a Position of Trust (PiPoT) Framework

People in a Position of Trust (PiPoT)

People who work, in either a paid or unpaid capacity, with adults with care and support needs, including students.

You can access the full framework on this webpage or download a pdf version below:

This framework applies to all who are members of Newcastle Safeguarding Adults Board (NSAB) and who have responsibilities for responding to allegations or concerns raised about a person, whether an employee, volunteer or student (paid or unpaid) who works with or cares for adults with care and support needs. These individuals are known as a People/Person in a Position of Trust (PiPoT).

The member agencies of NSAB who first identify or become aware of the allegation or concern will be the information owner and will have first responsibility for responding in accordance with this guidance.

This guidance should be read in conjunction with single and multi-agency safeguarding adults policy and procedures, any information sharing agreements/protocols and whistleblowing policy and procedures.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s (DoHSC) Care and Support Statutory guidance supports implementation of the Care Act 2014. The refreshed statutory guidance removes the requirement for a Designated Adult Safeguarding Manager but this is now replaced by a new section on managing allegations against People in Positions of Trust (PiPoT)[1].

The Care Act 2014 requires the Local Authority, its relevant partners and those providing universal care and support services to have clear policies reflecting those from their local Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) for dealing with allegations against PiPoT.

This is an overarching framework and so individual organisations will be expected to develop their own process and policies detailing how the framework is implemented internally.

This framework is based on the following principles:

  • Where there is an identifiable adult at risk, usual safeguarding adults procedures apply[2].
  • It reflects a proportionate, fair and transparent approach and seeks to build on current

internal allegations management processes rather than replacing these.

  • Partner organisations are expected to develop and align current allegations management processes in line with the standards set out in this framework.
  • It applies to anyone working in a position of trust such as employees, volunteers or students, in a paid or unpaid capacity regardless of the sector.
  • The sharing of information will be justifiable and proportionate based on an assessment of the potential or actual harm to adults or children at risk.
  • When a person’s conduct may impact on their suitability to work with or continue to work with children, this must be referred to the Local Authority’s Designated Officer (LADO)[3].
  • Advice is sought from relevant sources (e.g. Safeguarding Leads, HR, Safeguarding Adults Unit, Legal) when people are unsure of what action to take.

This guidance applies to concerns and allegations about:

  • a person who works with adults with care and support needs in a position of trust, whether an employee, volunteer or student (paid or unpaid)
  • where those concerns or allegations indicate the person in a position of trust poses a risk of harm to adults with care and support needs.

The PiPoT does not necessarily need to be working in a front-line role, they may be a manager or in a senior position within an organisation. Their role might not involve providing care or treatment but by it’s nature, their position brings them into contact with adults with care and support needs.  

These concerns or allegations could include, for example, that the person in a position of trust has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed an adult or child;
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, an adult or child;
  • behaved towards an adult or child in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to adults with care and support needs.

The above situations might have happened within the PiPoT’s work/voluntary activity/studies or within the PiPoTs personal and private life.

This framework applies whether the allegation relates to a current or an historical concern. Where the allegation or concern is historical, it is important to ascertain if the person is currently working with adults with care and support needs or children and if that is the case, to consider whether information should be shared with the current employer.

The policy does not cover complaints or concerns raised about the quality of the care or professional practice provided by the PiPoT. Concerns or complaints about quality of care or practice should be dealt with by the relevant agency under individual complaint, competence or representations processes.

Responsibilities of partner organisations

Individual organisations are responsible for responding to allegations regarding any person working for them in a position of trust with adults with care and support needs and for undertaking all necessary action in line with their internal process and agreed timescales.

The specific responsibilities of individual organisations include:

  • Establishing a clear internal allegations management procedure setting out the process, including timescales, for investigation and what support and advice will be available to individuals against whom allegations have been made. This procedure should reflect this NSAB PiPoT framework and guidance.
  • Ensuring their staff and managers have access to expert advice and guidance to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities when responding to allegations.
  • Responding promptly to allegations regarding their staff and for undertaking all necessary action in line with their internal process and agreed timescales.
  • Making prompt referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)[4] and/or Professional Registration Bodies, as relevant.
  • Ensuring appropriate recording systems are in place and that these provide a clear audit trail about the decision-making process and any recommendations arising from the investigation and subsequent actions.
  • Ensuring the control of information in respect of individual cases is in accordance with accepted data protection and confidentiality requirements.

Whilst no longer a requirement in the Care Act 2014, the NSAB strongly encourages partner organisations to establish a Safeguarding Adults or PiPoT Lead who can provide advice and guidance to their organisation and to maintain oversight of complex cases involving allegations against PiPoTs. The nominated lead should have a significant level of expertise and knowledge in adult safeguarding and they should also have an operational leadership role in respect of their organisation.

Employers, student bodies, or voluntary organisations

Any employer, student body, or voluntary organisation who is responsible for a person in a position of trust where there is a concern or allegation raised are expected to:

  • respond in individual cases where concerns are raised about people working in a position of trust, ensuring that the risk is assessed, investigated where appropriate through internal employment processes, and that risk management actions are identified and implemented as appropriate to the individual case.
  • ensure a senior manager within the organisation is aware of the allegation.
  • seek their own legal advice where required.
  • ensure all adult or child safeguarding concerns that result from a concern about a position of trust are reported.
  • where appropriate, notify and refer to external agencies; to regulatory bodies (where the person in a position of trust is working or volunteering in a regulated organisation e.g. by the Care Quality Commission), statutory and other bodies responsible for professional regulation (such as the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, The Charity Commission) and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)[5].
  • provide feedback at regular intervals to the relevant Local Authority (if there is a related safeguarding enquiry) and to their commissioning agency (if they have one).
  • ensure the safety and protection of adults with care and support needs is central to their decision making.
  • share information in line with these procedures where it is known the person in a position of trust also has other employment or voluntary work with adults with care and support needs or children.
  • record the information and decisions clearly, including the rationale for any decision made.

If an organisation removes an individual (paid worker or unpaid volunteer) from work with an adult with care and support needs (or would have, had the person not left first) because the person poses a risk of harm to adults, the organisation must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service. It is an offence to fail to make a referral without good reason.

At the conclusion of any PiPoT enquiries, consider if the findings demonstrate evidence of a theme or pattern in the context of past and historic position of trust concerns; identify potential themes or system wide issues within the organisation; and ensure that appropriate action is taken by their organisation so that learning from past events is applied to reduce the risk of harm to adults with care and support needs in the future.

The information owner

The organisation who first identify or become aware of the allegation or concern will be the information owner[6]. The information owner is expected to:

  • consider if the information indicates any immediate risk management actions are needed, or referrals into adult or children safeguarding processes. If a PiPoT is alleged to have abused or harmed an adult with care and support needs, it is essential that the concerns are appropriately reported and responded to under the usual NSAB multi-agency Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedures[7].
  • consider whether the allegation or concern indicates a criminal offence has occurred or may occur – if so, the allegation or concern must be reported to the police (early liaison with police should take place to agree on next steps and to avoid contamination of evidence – if a criminal investigation is required this may take primacy over an agency or organisation’s internal investigation)
  • refer to the relevant Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)[8] where the information indicates the person also works with and could pose a risk of harm to children
  • make a decision whether the information should be disclosed to the person in a position of trust’s employer/student body/voluntary organisation. The following issues should be taken into consideration when making decisions about sharing information with the employer:
  • Nature and seriousness of the actions/behaviour
  • The context within the actions/behaviour occurred
  • Frequency or patterns of actions/behaviour
  • Nature of the person’s access/role with adults at risk
  • Potential impact on an adult with care and support needs
  • any known history of conduct, complaints, cautions or convictions that may be relevant to the potential risk

If disclosing, manage this disclosure in line with legal and best practice requirements for information sharing (see information sharing section below).

Where a disclosure is made, the information owner should also consider notification to the relevant service commissioners and regulatory agencies.

Where it is deemed that disclosure is not required, the information owner should make a clear record of their decision-making and rationale for not sharing information.

Safeguarding Adults Managers

Where an allegation against a PiPoT is being looked at under a section 42 safeguarding enquiry (because there is an identified adult or adults at risk), this will be led and co-ordinated by a Safeguarding Adults Manager from the Safeguarding Adults Unit. Usual safeguarding adults procedures will apply and the enquiry will include:

  • An assessment and management of risk posed by the ‘person in a position of trust’ to the identified adult(s) at risk and others;
  • Identification of the lead investigating agency (usually the person’s employer) and timescale for response to the concerns raised.
  • Consideration of how parallel investigations will be managed (e.g. criminal and employment);
  • Development of a safeguarding adults plan that identifies actions to manage the risks.

Whilst it is the legal duty of the PiPoT’s employer, student body or voluntary organisation to make a referral to the DBS (where the relevant criteria has been met), in exceptional circumstances Local Authorities can make a referral. Safeguarding Adults Managers can also make referrals to professional bodies.

The Safeguarding Adults Unit Advice Line (see Appendix 3) can be accessed by any agency who is unsure of what action to take in response to a PiPoT concern. It should be noted that this would not replace individual agency legal and/or employment advice and would be limited to advice on the implementation of multi-agency safeguarding adults procedures.

Safeguarding Adults Managers may deem it appropriate to convene an Information Sharing meeting to discuss the allegation. The purpose of such a meeting would be to undertake a collaborative assessment of the level of risk posed by the person about whom concerns have been raised and to clarify what information should be shared with the employer and by whom.   Such meetings may need to include the Care Quality Commission, Adult Safeguarding Leads, the LADO, commissioning, contracts, police and other relevant parties where appropriate to the case. The sharing of information will be justifiable and proportionate based on an assessment of the potential or actual harm to adults or children at risk.

Service commissioners

Service commissioners are expected to:

  • use their contract compliance processes to ensure that service providers have the right internal policy and procedural frameworks and respond appropriately to manage risk in individual cases.
  • monitor the activities of commissioned services in their compliance of this framework.

The Care Quality Commission

Under CQC (Registration) Regulations 2009, Regulation 18[9], registered providers[10] are required to notify CQC of all incidents that affect the health, safety and welfare of people who use services. This includes any incident which is reported to, or investigated by, the Police.

Where the scenario/incident has not directly impacted upon the people who use the provider’s services and there is no Police involvement, there is no requirement to inform CQC. However, in this event, CQC would expect providers to conduct their own thorough inquiries to satisfy themselves of the suitability of that person to continue working within the service. CQC would expect to see a thorough and well-documented assessment, which clearly sets out the reasons for the decision reached.

CQC can take action as deemed appropriate within their own procedures to ensure the service has appropriate standards of practice to prevent and respond to any future risks of harm. This includes the employer’s ‘fitness’ to operate and responsibility to safeguard adults at risk.

The Police

If the concerns involve suspected criminal offences to either an adult or child, this information must be shared with the Police.

When the police are undertaking criminal investigations, they have a common law power to disclose sensitive personal information to relevant parties where there is an urgent ‘pressing social need’[11].

A pressing social need might be the safeguarding or protection from harm of an individual, a group of individuals, or society at large. This could include informing a relevant employer about criminal investigations relating to their employee where this has been assessed as necessary and appropriate in a particular case.

If the concern relates to a PiPoT who works for the Police, this should be reported to Northumbria Police’s Professional Standards Department.

The LADO and Children Services

If the person may pose a risk of harm to his/her own children, or other children/young people in the course of their private life, children services should be informed without delay[12].

If the person may pose a risk to children/young people in the course of their work, paid or unpaid, the Local Authority Designated Officer should be informed without delay.

Professional Bodies

If the person is registered with a professional body and there are concerns about their fitness to practice, the employer/volunteer manager must refer to the professional body’s published guidance and consider the need to raise the concern with that professional body.

A professional body has a range of possible actions available to them where required, these usually include suspending the person from practice, de-registering them or imposing conditions of practice that the person must work under.

There are a number of scenarios where it will not always be obvious who to report concerns to e.g. PiPoTs who are self-employed, PiPoTs who are employed by an agency, PiPoTs who are employed via a Direct Payment.

In these scenarios, the information owning organisation is advised to contact the Safeguarding Adults Unit (see Appendix 3) in the first instance.

Both the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) identify statutory obligations when sharing a data subject’s information[13][14]. In particular, the DPA 2018 Schedule 8[15] provides the conditions to share information based on safeguarding and vital interests.

Decisions on sharing information must be justifiable, proportionate and based on the potential or actual harm to adults or children at risk. The rationale for decision-making should always be recorded according to an organisation’s policy and procedures.

When sharing information between agencies about adults, children and young people at risk it should only be shared:

• Where relevant and necessary, not simply sharing all the information held;

• With the relevant people who need all or some of the information; and

• When there is a specific need for the information to be shared at that time.

In deciding whether the information should be shared in circumstances where there are allegations about a PiPoT, it is necessary to consider the key question of: whether the person has behaved or may have behaved, in a way that means their suitability to undertake their current role or to provide a service to adults with care and support needs should be reviewed?

Some agencies may have well established protocols for sharing information in these types of circumstance, whereas other agencies may not deal with these issues on a frequent basis and may need to have senior management oversight, and gain legal advice as required, on a case-by-case basis.

Informing the person about whom concerns have been raised

Whilst care should be taken to ensure sharing information with the PiPoT will not prejudice a subsequent enquiry/investigation or place any person at additional risk, they are entitled to know what the concerns are and be offered the right to reply.

Wherever possible, individuals and agencies should seek consent to share information, and be open and honest with the individual from the outset as to why, what, how and with whom, their information will be shared.

The person should be given the opportunity to inform their employer themselves, however depending on the nature of the seriousness of the allegation it may be that public interest overrides this requirement. The information owner might deem it necessary to check appropriate information has been shared with the employer.

If consent is not given or cannot be gained, the GDPR and DPA 2018 do not prevent, or limit, the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping adults with care and support needs safe. The DPA 2018 allows for sharing of “special category personal data” without consent of the data subject for the purpose of safeguarding adults with care and support needs.

Information can be shared legally without consent if:

  • a practitioner or agency is unable to gain consent from the data subject.
  • a practitioner or agency cannot be reasonably expected to gain consent from the data subject.
  • gaining consent could place an adult with care and support needs (or child) at risk.

Employer risk assessment and management process

The organisation must have a mechanism for gaining assurance that the presenting risks have been appropriately assessed and responded to, seeking evidence of the action taken as required.

Employers are responsible for assessing the risk in the context of their service, their internal policies and procedures and employment law. Only the employer has the power to suspend an employee, redeploy them or make other changes to their working arrangements, and so must be responsible and accountable for the decision reached. 

Review of working arrangements and suspension

The employer is responsible for assessing and managing the risk of harm posed by the person, taking into account the nature and seriousness of the allegation harm to any patients/service users, and the risk of repeated incidents/on-going behaviour.

Sometimes the employer will need to consider suspending an employee, this should not happen automatically but only after they have considered if the circumstances of a case warrant a person being suspended until the allegation is resolved.

Suspension may not be required if risks can be managed through changes to working

arrangements such as:

  • Not working with a particular patient/service user
  • Working in a non-patient/service user contact role whilst the allegations are being investigated.

If a person is suspended, they are entitled to know in broad terms the reasons for this. Whilst

an individual must be afforded the right to respond, care should be taken to ensure information is not shared that may prejudice a subsequent enquiry/investigation or place any person at additional risk.

Suspension should always be considered in any case where there is cause to think:

  • An adult with care and support needs is at further risk of abuse or neglect, or
  • The allegation warrants investigation by the Police, or
  • Is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal, or
  • The presence of the person in the work place will interfere with the enquiry/ investigation process.

Supervision and training for the PiPoT

Supervision and training may be relevant to managing aspects of a presenting risk. Supervision is a formal process ensuring the performance of each member of staff in a team, section, or unit is evaluated and reviewed so that, where necessary, learning and change can take place. It is an important vehicle for meeting practice standards. It also provides a formal place to discuss any private/personal life matters that may impact upon a person’s work/volunteering/studies.

Training should be used to ensure employees, students and volunteers have the appropriate

skills, knowledge and attitudes; but also in response to identified needs as may emerge from

practice, supervision or personal development programmes.

Where concerns have been raised that a person in a position of trust may pose a risk to adults with care and support needs, the experience is likely to be very stressful for them.

Alongside the duty of care towards adults at risk, there must be a duty of care to the employee, volunteer or student concerned.

The employer/student body will need to provide support to minimise stress associated with the process, this may need to include where possible:

  • support for the person to understand the procedures being followed
  • updates on developments
  • the opportunity to respond to allegations/concerns
  • support to raise questions or concerns about their circumstances.

There may be limitations on the amount of information that can be shared at a particular time in order not to prejudice any enquiry/investigation or place any person at risk. Support may be available via occupational health or employee welfare arrangements where they exist. If the person is a member of a union or professional association or network he or she

should be advised that they may wish to seek support from that organisation.

NSAB will provide this framework on their website to ensure non-commissioned or funded

voluntary organisations and charities can access information about their responsibilities to act upon concerns about abuse or neglect.

The NSAB have a responsibility to ensure this framework is implemented effectively.

Doctor alleged to have raped an individual on a night out. Police investigating.

In this scenario, the Police are the information owners. The alleged victim of the rape is not an adult with care and support needs or a child. The Police decide that it is appropriate to disclose the concern to the person’s employer. This is based on the seriousness of the allegation, the Doctor’s access to adults with care and support needs and the potential impact on adults with care and support needs. Officers encourage the Doctor to advise their employer of the incident and allegation. Regardless of whether the Doctor does this, the Police will share information with the Doctor’s employer due to the seriousness of the allegation and potential risks to others. The Police feel reassured that the employer will notify the necessary regulators and professional bodies.

Individual receiving treatment for alcohol dependency discloses to treatment service that they are a Social Worker.

In this scenario, the alcohol treatment service are the information owners. As part of patient consultations, the treatment service discusses the potential impact of alcohol dependency on the person’s working life and the safety and care of their service users. The person is embarrassed about their situation and is worried about losing their job. The treatment service seek consent to share information with the person’s employer in order that they can be appropriately supported and any risks to adults with care and support needs can be considered. The person agrees to this, and the treatment service shares information with the Social Worker’s employer.

If the Social Worker did not agree to this, the treatment service would have grounds to share information with their employer.

High risk domestic abuse concerns referred to MARAC by the Police, where the alleged perpetrator is a care worker.

As referrers into, and the lead agency for MARAC, the Police are the information owners. Similar to the first case example, the Police decide that it is appropriate to share information with the person’s employer based on the seriousness of the allegation, the care worker’s access to adults with care and support needs and the potential impact on adults with care and support needs. The care worker is encouraged to disclose to their employer about the concerns but the Police advise that they will also liaise directly with the person’s employer.  Consideration is given to the impact that this disclosure might have on the domestic abuse situation (e.g. in terms of escalation of risk) and the risk management plan is reviewed in light of this.

Concerns re child neglect by parent who is a student Nurse.

Children’s Social Care are the information owners in this case. As part of the child protection procedures, it is identified that the student just needs some additional support which can be easily accessed. The initial concerns are minimised. Children’s Social Care encourage the student to speak to her tutor and to her placement about her situation as they may also be able to offer help and support. Children’s Social Care are reassured that the student nurse will do this and don’t feel they have grounds to share information directly with the student body. This is because of the low-level nature of the concerns, the context of the behaviour and the fact there had been no known history of such concerns. They make a clear record of the advice and support they have offered and their rationale for not sharing information.

Patient discloses sexual abuse by a member of staff on a ward to a paramedic.

In this scenario, there is an identifiable adult at risk with care and support needs (the patient). This concern should reported via usual safeguarding adults procedures by the paramedic. A criminal offence has also been disclosed so the Police should be contacted at the earliest opportunity.

Police officer inappropriate contact with a domestic violence victim.  

A male Police Officer attends an incident relating to a domestic argument between a male and female couple who have recently separated. The police officer engages with the female victim, offering safeguarding measures. No crime was reported; however, it was recorded as a domestic incident with the female as a victim. Contact from that officer should have ceased after the report, as the matter had been referred to the neighbourhood and safeguarding departments who would take over any safeguarding concerns. The officer continued contact with the female via text messaging in an over familiar manner, with the use of kisses at the end of messages and revealing his personal history regarding his relationship situation. The officer encourages the female to contact him over Facebook, rather than the continued contact over his work mobile phone. This contact has been maintained over a period of 3 weeks.  The female had the confidence to report the matter to the Police, which resulted in an investigation, and the officer was dismissed for gross misconduct in relation to pursuit of a sexual relationship.   

CQCCare Quality Commission The independent regulator of health and social care in England   Further information available: Care Quality Commission (
DBSDisclosure and Barring Service The Disclosure and Barring Service helps employers make safer recruitment decisions.   Further information available: Disclosure and Barring Service – GOV.UK (
DoHSCDepartment of Health and Social Care
ICBIntegrated Care Board The NHS organisation which is responsible for developing a plan for meeting the health needs of the population, managing the NHS budget and arranging for the provision of health services in a geographical area.
LALocal Authority  
LADOLocal Authority Designated Officer The LADO manages allegations or concerns about professionals or adults working or volunteering with children.   Further information available: One Minute Guide: Local Area Designated Officer
OfstedOffice for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills   Inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. We also inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people.
Further information available:
PiPoTPerson/People in a Position of Trust People who work, in either a paid or unpaid capacity, with adults with care and support needs, including students.
SABSafeguarding Adults Board  


Safeguarding Adults Unit Professionals Advice Line

0191 278 856

Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm

Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

0191 277 4636

Northumbria Police Professional Standards

0191 4375555


[1] Care and Support Statutory Guidance, paragraphs 14.120-14.132

[6] Single-agency procedures should detail any internal reporting expectations for staff or volunteers, for example reporting to a line/senior manager.

[10] NHS bodies are not required to notify CQC if the incident has been reported to the NHS Commissioning Board (for further detail, refer to Regulation 18, (Registration) CQC Regulations 2009).