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Allegations Against Staff or Volunteers


This chapter provides information about dealing with allegations against staff and volunteers who have contact with children and young people in their work or activities. They are addressed to employers and organisations responsible for providing services to children, young people and adults who are parents or carers.


  1. Introduction and Criteria
  2. Roles and Responsibilities
  3. General Considerations Relating to Allegations Against Staff
  4. Initial Response to an Allegation or Concern
  5. Disciplinary Process
  6. Record Keeping and Monitoring Progress
  7. Unsubstantiated and False Allegations
  8. Substantiated Allegations and Referral to the DBS
  9. Learning Lessons
  10. Procedures in Specific Organisations

    Further Information

1. Introduction and Criteria

The vast majority of adults who work with children and young people act professionally and aim to provide a safe and supportive environment which secures the well-being and very best outcomes for children and young people in their care. However, it is recognised that in this area of work tensions and misunderstandings can occur. It is here that the behaviour of adults can give rise to allegations of abuse being made against them. Allegations may be malicious or misplaced. They may arise from differing perceptions of the same event, but when they occur, they are inevitably distressing and difficult for all concerned. Equally, it must be recognised that some allegations will be genuine and there are adults who will deliberately seek out, create or exploit opportunities to abuse children. It is therefore essential that all possible steps are taken to safeguard children and young people and ensure that the adults working with them are safe to do so.

Some concerns have been raised about the potential vulnerability of adults in this area of work. It has been suggested that there is a need for clearer advice about what constitutes illegal behaviour and what might be considered as misconduct. The document ‘Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults who work with Children and Young People in Education Settings’ (March 2009/not updated) has been produced in response to these concerns and provides practical guidance for anyone who works with, or on behalf of children and young people regardless of their role, responsibilities or status. It seeks to ensure that the duty to promote and safeguard the wellbeing of children and young people is in part, achieved by raising awareness of illegal, unsafe and inappropriate behaviours.

All allegations of abuse of children by those who work with children must be taken seriously. Allegations against any person who works with children, whether in a paid or unpaid capacity, cover a wide range of circumstances.

Children and young people can be subjected to abuse by those who work with them in any and every setting. All allegations of abuse or maltreatment of children or young people by a professional, staff member, foster carer or volunteer must therefore be taken seriously and treated in accordance with consistent procedures. The SPB has responsibility for ensuring that there are effective interagency procedures in place for dealing with allegations against people who work with children, and for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of those procedures.

These behaviours should be considered within the context of the four categories of abuse (i.e. physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect). These include concerns relating to inappropriate relationships between members of staff and children or young people, for example:

  • Having a sexual relationship with a child under 18 if in a position of trust in respect of that child, even if consensual Sexual Offence (Jersey) Law 2007 Article 4,5,6;
  • 'Grooming', i.e. meeting a child under 16 with intent to commit a relevant offence Sexual offences (Jersey) Law 2007 Article 2;
  • Other 'grooming' behaviour giving rise to concerns of a broader child protection nature (e.g. inappropriate text / e-mail messages or images, gifts, socialising etc);
  • Possession of indecent photographs / images of children. Protection of Children (Jersey) Law 1994.

If concerns arise about the person's behaviour to her/his own children, the Police and/or Children's Social Care must consider informing the employer / organisation in order to assess whether there may be implications for children with whom the person has contact at work / in the organisation, in which case this procedure will apply.

Allegations of historical abuse should be responded to in the same way as contemporary concerns. In such cases, it is important to find out whether the person against whom the allegation is made is still working with children and if so, to inform the person's current employer or voluntary organisation or refer their family for assessment.

All references in this document to ' staff or members of staff' should be interpreted as meaning all paid or unpaid staff/ professionals and volunteers, including for example foster carers, approved adopters and child minders. This chapter also applies to any person, who manages or facilitates access to an establishment where children are present.

2. Roles and Responsibilities

Each SPB member organisation should identify a named senior officer with overall responsibility for:

  • Ensuring that the organisation deals with allegations in accordance with this Jersey SPB procedure;
  • Resolving any inter-agency issues;
  • Liaising with Jersey SPB on the subject.

Employers should appoint:

  • A designated senior manager to whom allegations or concerns should be reported;
  • A deputy to whom reports should be made in the absence of the designated senior manager or where that person is the subject of the allegation or concern.

The Police detective inspector on the child abuse investigation team will:

  • Have strategic oversight of the local Police arrangements for managing allegations against staff and volunteers;
  • Liaise with the Jersey SPB on the issue;
  • Ensure compliance with these procedures.

The Police should designate a detective sergeant/s to:

  • Take part in strategy meetings/discussions;
  • Review the progress of cases in which there is a Police investigation;
  • Share information as appropriate, on completion of an investigation or related prosecution.

All organisations that provide services for children, or provide staff or volunteers to work with or care for children, should operate a procedure for handling such allegations that is consistent with this guidance. SPB member organisations should have a named senior officer who has overall responsibility for:

  • Ensuring that the organisation operates procedures for dealing with allegations in accordance with the guidance;
  • Resolving any inter-agency issues; and
  • Liaising with the SPB on the subject.

The scope of inter-agency procedures in this area is not limited to allegations involving significant harm, or risk of significant harm, to a child or young person. The guidance should be followed in respect of any allegation that a person who works with children has:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, a child;
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, a child; or
  • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.
  • Such cases include:
    • Breaching of States of Jersey IT Internet Use Policy ITPS102 regarding access to pornographic sites on States of Jersey equipment;
    • Indecency which is related to employment with any agency in Jersey. This includes a sexual relationship with any child or young person under the age of 18;
    • Harassment of a child or young person, whether the harassment is sexual, racial or of any other kind.

3. General Considerations Relating to Allegations Against Staff


These principles underpin the management of allegations against any person who works with children:

  • If a child is involved, the welfare of the child is the paramount consideration;
  • It is the responsibility of all adults to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. This responsibility extends to a duty of care for those adults employed, commissioned or contracted to work with them;
  • Adults who work with children are responsible for their own actions and behaviour and should avoid any conduct which would lead any reasonable person to question their motivation and intentions;
  • Adults should work and be seen to work, in an open and transparent way. The same professional standards should always be applied regardless of culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity;
  • Professionals should be informed of allegations against them as soon as possible but with due regard to protecting evidence and disclosure of information. It is not up to the recipient of the allegation to determine its validity and failure to report could result in disciplinary action;
  • A decision to suspend staff members will rest with the employing department based on the decision of the Strategy Discussion that children / young people are at risk, or the investigation would be impeded, or that the alleged behaviour is so serious that the member of staff faces the possibility of dismissal. Suspension in these circumstances should be seen as neutral action;
  • A Police investigation must take priority over an internal investigation. In the interests of the young person making the allegation, Police statements should be requested to inform an internal enquiry to avoid further interviews. Permission for this should be sought at an early stage from the Chief Officer. Multiple interviews of children should be avoided.

Persons to be notified

The parent/s and the child, if sufficiently mature, should be helped to understand the processes involved and be kept informed about the progress of the case and of the outcome where there is no criminal prosecution. This will include the outcome of any disciplinary process, but not the deliberations of, or the information used in, a hearing. The provision of information and advice must take place in a manner that does not impede the proper exercise of enquiry, disciplinary and investigative processes.

The employer should seek advice from the Police and / or Children's Services and other relevant agencies about how much information should be disclosed to the accused person.

Subject to restrictions on the information that can be shared, the employer should, as soon as possible, inform the accused person about the nature of the allegation, how enquiries will be conducted and the possible outcome (e.g. disciplinary action, and dismissal or referral to the DBS or regulatory body).

The accused member of staff should:

  • Be treated fairly and honestly and helped to understand the concerns expressed and processes involved;
  • Be provided with support throughout the investigation process, as should others who are involved;
  • Be helped to understand the concerns expressed and the processes being operated;
  • Be kept informed of the progress and outcome of any investigation and the implications for any disciplinary or related process;
  • If suspended, be kept up to date about events in the workplace.


Every effort should be made to maintain confidentiality and guard against publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered. Apart from keeping the child, parents and accused person (where this would not place the child at further risk) up to date with progress of the case, information should be restricted to those who have a need to know in order to protect children, facilitate enquiries, manage related disciplinary or suitability processes.

The Police should not provide identifying information to the press or media, unless and until a person is charged, except in exceptional circumstances (e.g. an appeal to trace a suspect). In such cases, the reasons should be documented and partner agencies consulted beforehand.

Restrictions on identifying a teacher who is the subject of an allegation of misconduct should remain in place unless or until the teacher is charged with a criminal offence.


The organisation, together with the Children's Service and / or Police, where they are involved, should consider the impact on the child concerned and provide support as appropriate. Liaison between the agencies should take place in order to ensure that the child's needs are addressed.

As soon as possible after an allegation has been received, the accused member of staff should be advised to contact their union or professional association. Human resources should be consulted at the earliest opportunity in order that appropriate support can be provided via the organisation's occupational health or employee welfare arrangements.


Suspension is a neutral act and it should not be automatic. It should be considered in any case where:

  • There is cause to suspect a child is at risk of harm; or
  • The allegation warrants investigation by the Police; or
  • The allegation is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal.

If a strategy meeting / discussion is to be held or if Children's Services or the Police are to make enquiries the employer should be notified. Only the employer, however, has the power to suspend an accused employee and they cannot be required to do so.

If a suspended person is to return to work, the employer should consider what help and support might be appropriate (e.g. a phased return to work and/or provision of a mentor), and also how best to manage the member of staff's contact with the child concerned, if still in the workplace.

Resignations and 'compromise agreements'

Every effort should be made to reach a conclusion in all cases even if:

  • The individual refuses to cooperate, having been given a full opportunity to answer the allegation and make representations;
  • It may not be possible to apply any disciplinary sanctions if a person's period of notice expires before the process is complete.

Compromise agreements' must not be used (i.e. where a member of staff agrees to resign provided that disciplinary action is not taken and that a future reference is agreed). A settlement/compromise agreement which prevents the employer from making a DBS referral when the criteria are met for so doing would likely result in a criminal offence being committed for failure to comply with the duty to refer.

Organised abuse

Investigators should be alert to signs of organised or widespread abuse and/or the involvement of other perpetrators or institutions. It is important not to assume that initial signs are necessarily related directly to abuse, and to consider occasions where boundaries have been blurred, inappropriate behaviour has taken place, and matters such as fraud, deception or pornography have been involved. Investigators should consider whether the matter should be dealt with in accordance with complex abuse procedures which, if applicable, will take priority. See Organised and Complex Abuse Procedure.


All staff should be made aware of their organisation's whistle-blowing policy and feel confident to voice concerns about the attitude or actions of colleagues.

If a member of staff believes that a reported allegation or concern is not being dealt with appropriately by their organisation, they should report the matter to the Police.


It is in everyone's interest for cases to be dealt with expeditiously, fairly and thoroughly and for unnecessary delays to be avoided. The target timescales provided in the flowchart at the end of this chapter are realistic in most cases, but some cases will take longer because of their specific nature or complexity.

4. Initial Response to an Allegation or Concern

An allegation against a member of staff may arise from a number of sources (e.g. a report from a child, a concern raised by another adult in the organisation, or a complaint by a parent). It may also arise in the context of the member of staff and their life outside work or at home.

Any professional who receives a complaint of physical, sexual or emotional abuse against a professional, staff member, foster carer or volunteer must report the matter immediately to their agency’s Child Protection Co-ordinator, Senior Manager or directly to the Police or MASH. A member of the public can make a MASH Enquiry or contact the Police.

Initial action by person receiving or identifying an allegation or concern

The person to whom an allegation or concern is first reported should treat the matter seriously and keep an open mind.

They should not:

  • Investigate or ask leading questions if seeking clarification;
  • Make assumptions or offer alternative explanations;
  • Promise confidentiality, but give assurance that the information will only be shared on a 'need to know' basis.

They should:

  • Make a written record of the information (where possible in the child / adult's own words), including the time, date and place of incident/s, persons present and what was said;
  • Sign and date the written record;
  • Immediately report the matter to the designated senior manager, or the deputy in their absence or; where the designated senior manager is the subject of the allegation report to the deputy or other appropriate senior manager.

Initial action by the designated senior manager

When informed of a concern or allegation, the designated senior manager should not investigate the matter or interview the member of staff, child concerned or potential witnesses.

They should:

  • Obtain written details of the concern / allegation, signed and dated by the person receiving (not the child / adult making the allegation);
  • Approve and date the written details;
  • Record any information about times, dates and location of incident/s and names of any potential witnesses;
  • Record discussions about the child and/or member of staff, any decisions made, and the reasons for those decisions.

Initial consideration by the designated senior manager

There are up to three strands in the consideration of an allegation:

  • A Police investigation of a possible criminal offence;
  • Children’s Service enquiries and/or assessment about whether a child is in need of protection or services;
  • Consideration by an employer of disciplinary action.

The designated senior manager should consider first whether further details are needed and whether there is evidence or information that establishes that the allegation is false.

  • If a child is not believed to have suffered, or to be likely to suffer Significant Harm but a Police investigation will continue, the designated senior manager should conduct this discussion with the Police and any other agencies involved to evaluate the allegation and decide how it should be dealt with;
  • This Evaluation discussion should take place within one working day and must consider how to take matters forward in a criminal process parallel with a disciplinary process or whether any disciplinary action will need to await the completion of the Police enquiries and/or prosecution. The progress should be reviewed by the Police no later than four weeks after the initial evaluation meeting and thereafter at fortnightly or monthly intervals.

Strategy meeting / discussion

Wherever possible, a strategy meeting / discussion should take the form of a meeting. However, on occasions a telephone discussion may be justified. The following is a list of possible participants:

  • Social Care Services Manager to chair (if a strategy meeting);
  • Relevant social worker and their manager;
  • Detective sergeant;
  • The Designated and/or named Safeguarding Children Health Professional and always when an allegation concerns a health agency worker /professional;
  • Consultant paediatrician;
  • Designated senior manager for the employer concerned;
  • Human resources representative;
  • Legal adviser where appropriate;
  • Senior representative of the employment agency or voluntary organisation if applicable;
  • Manager from the fostering service provider when an allegation is made against a foster carer;
  • Supervising social worker when an allegation is made against a foster carer;
  • Those responsible for regulation and inspection where applicable);
  • Where a child is placed or resident in the area of another authority, representative/s of relevant agencies in that area;
  • Complaints officer if the concern has arisen from a complaint.

The strategy meeting / discussion should:

  • Share and consider the available information including reviewing any previous allegations made against a member of staff and decide whether there should be a Article 42 Enquiry and / or Police investigation and consider the implications;
  • Consider whether any parallel disciplinary process can take place and agree protocols for sharing information;
  • Consider the current allegation in the context of any previous allegations or concerns;
  • Where appropriate, take account of any entitlement by staff to use reasonable force to control or restrain children;
  • Consider whether a complex abuse investigation is applicable; see Organised and Complex Abuse Procedure;
    • Consider the nature and timing of any Police enquiries;
  • Plan other enquiries if needed, allocate tasks and set timescales in order to enable decisions to be made;
  • Decide what information can be shared, with whom and when.
  • Decide who will inform the member of staff and whether disciplinary action will be recommended;
  • Consider when, and by whom, the parents should be informed.

The strategy meeting / discussion should also:

  • Ensure that arrangements are made to protect the child/ren involved and any other child/ren affected and consider their ongoing safety, including taking emergency action where needed;
  • Consider what support should be provided to all children who may be affected;
  • Consider what support should be provided to the member of staff and others who may be affected and how they will be kept up to date with the progress of the investigation;
  • Ensure that investigations are sufficiently independent;
  • Make recommendations where appropriate regarding suspension, or alternatives to suspension;
  • Identify a lead contact manager within each agency;
  • Agree protocols for reviewing investigations having regard to the target timescales;
  • Consider issues for the attention of senior management (e.g. media interest, resource implications);
  • Consider reports for consideration of barring;
  • Consider risk assessments to inform the employer's safeguarding arrangements;
    • Consider whether a further strategy meeting is required and consider who else it may be useful to include;
    • Ensure that the Child Protection Co-ordinator for the relevant organisation is kept fully informed;
    • Ensure that the alleged perpetrator is kept appropriately informed and notified immediately if the allegation is unfounded.
  • Agree dates for future strategy meetings / discussions.

A final strategy meeting / discussion should be held to ensure that all tasks have been completed, including any referrals to the DBS if appropriate, and, where appropriate, agree an action plan for future practice based on lessons learnt.

The strategy meeting / discussion should take in to account the following definitions when determining the outcome of allegation investigations:

  1. Substantiated: there is sufficient identifiable evidence to prove the allegation;
  2. False: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation;
  3. Malicious: there is sufficient evidence to disprove the allegation and there has been a deliberate act to deceive;
  4. Unsubstantiated: this is not the same as a false allegation. It means that there is insufficient evidence to either prove or disprove the allegation; the term therefore does not imply guilt or innocence.

If an allegation is substantiated, managers should think widely about the lessons of the case and how these can be acted upon. In some circumstances it may be appropriate to request that the SPB consider the case for review in accordance with Part 8 of Working Together to Safeguard Children, and the Serious Case Review procedures.

Allegations against staff in their personal lives

If an allegation or concern arises about a member of staff, outside of their work with children, and this may present a risk of harm to child/ren for whom the member of staff is responsible, the general principles outlined in these procedures will still apply.

The strategy meeting / discussion should decide whether the concern justifies:

  • Approaching the member of staff's employer for further information, in order to assess the level of risk of harm; and / or
  • Inviting the employer to a further strategy meeting / discussion about dealing with the possible risk of harm.

In some cases, an allegation of abuse against someone closely associated with a member of staff (e.g. partner, member of the family or other household member) may present a risk of harm to child/ren for whom the member of staff is responsible. In these circumstances, a strategy meeting / discussion should be convened to consider:

  • The ability and/or willingness of the member of staff to adequately protect the child/ren;
  • Whether measures need to be put in place to ensure their protection;
  • Whether the role of the member of staff is compromised.

5. Disciplinary Process

Disciplinary or suitability process and investigations

The designated senior manager should discuss whether disciplinary action is appropriate in all cases where:

  • It is clear at the outset or decided by a strategy meeting / discussion that a Police investigation or Children’s Service enquiry is not necessary; or
  • The employer is informed by the Police or Law Officers department that a criminal investigation and any subsequent trial is complete, or that an investigation is to be closed without charge, or a prosecution discontinued.

The discussion should consider any potential misconduct or gross misconduct on the part of the member of staff, and take into account:

  • Information provided by the Police and / or Children's services;
  • The result of any investigation or trial;
  • The different standard of proof in disciplinary and criminal proceedings.

In the case of supply, contract and volunteer workers, normal disciplinary procedures may not apply. In these circumstances, the employer should decide whether to continue to use the person's services, or provide future work with children, and if not, whether to make a report for consideration of barring or other action. See Section 8, Substantiated Allegations and Referral to the DBS.

If formal disciplinary action is not required, the employer should institute appropriate action within three working days. If a disciplinary hearing is required, and further investigation is not required, it should be held within 15 working days.

If further investigation is needed to decide upon disciplinary action, it should be considered whether an independent investigation should be commissioned because of the nature and/or complexity of the case and in order to ensure objectivity. The investigation should not be conducted by a relative or friend of the member of staff.

The aim of an investigation is to obtain, as far as possible, a fair, balanced and accurate record in order to consider the appropriateness of disciplinary action and / or the individual's suitability to work with children. Its purpose is not to prove or disprove the allegation.

If, at any stage, new information emerges that requires a child protection referral, the investigation should be held in abeyance and only resumed if agreed with Children’s Services and the Police. Consideration should again be given as to whether suspension is appropriate in light of the new information.

The investigating officer should aim to provide a report within ten working days.

On receipt of the report the employer should decide, within two working days, whether a disciplinary hearing is needed. If a hearing is required, it should be held within 15 working days.

Sharing information for disciplinary purposes

Wherever possible, Police and Children’s Services should, during the course of their investigations and enquiries, obtain consent to provide the employer and/or regulatory body with statements and evidence for disciplinary purposes.

If the Police or Law Officers department decide not to charge, or decide to administer a caution, or the person is acquitted, the Police should pass all relevant information to the employer without delay.

If the person is convicted, the Police should inform the employer straight away so that appropriate action can be taken.

6. Record Keeping and Monitoring Progress

Record keeping

Employers should keep a clear and comprehensive summary of the case record on a person's confidential personnel file and give a copy to the individual. The record should include details of how the allegation was followed up and resolved, the decisions reached and the action taken. It should be kept at least until the person reaches normal retirement age or for ten years if longer.

The purpose of the record is to enable accurate information to be given in response to any future request for a reference if the person has moved on. It will provide clarification where a future DBS request reveals non convicted information, and will help to prevent unnecessary reinvestigation if an allegation re-surfaces after a period of time. In this sense it may serve as a protector to the individual themselves, as well as in cases where substantiated allegations need to be known about to safeguard future children.

Details of allegations that are found to be malicious should be removed from personnel records.

Monitoring progress

If a Police investigation is to be conducted, the Police should set a date for reviewing its progress and consulting the Law Officers about continuing or closing the investigation or charging the individual. Wherever possible, this should be no later than four weeks after the strategy meeting / discussion / initial evaluation. Dates for further reviews should also be agreed, either fortnightly or monthly depending on the complexity of the investigation.

7. Unsubstantiated and False Allegations

Where it is concluded that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate an allegation, the Chair of the strategy meeting / discussion or initial evaluation should prepare a separate report of the enquiry and forward this to the designated senior manager of the employer to enable them to consider what further action, if any, should be taken.

False allegations are rare and may be a strong indicator of abuse elsewhere which requires further exploration. If an allegation is demonstrably false, the employer should refer the matter to the Children’s Service to determine whether the child is in need of services, or might have been abused by someone else.

If it is established that an allegation has been deliberately invented, the Police should be asked to consider what action may be appropriate.

8. Substantiated Allegations and Referral to the DBS

Substantiated allegations

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and merges the functions previously carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA).

If an allegation is substantiated and the person is dismissed or the employer ceases to use the person's service or the person resigns or otherwise ceases to provide his/her services,  agencies should alert Human Resources, if you have not done so already. Human Resources may inform DBS after taking legal advice in order to reduce the risk of harm being caused by the person in future. Referrals can lawfully be made provided that is compatible with the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005 and that the disclosure is not an unlawful  breach of confidence or of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Employers have a duty to refer anyone employed in a registered capacity to their registering body.

Where a disclosure is necessary for the purposes of preventing crime and the amount of information disclosed to DBS is proportionate to that purpose, it is expected that we would be compatible with the European Convention on Human RightsData Protection Law and would be a lawful breach of any relevant duty of confidence.   

If a referral is to be made; it should be submitted within one month of the allegation being substantiated.

Bodies with a legal duty to refer

The following groups have a legal duty to refer information to the DBS:

  • Regulated Activity suppliers (employers and volunteer managers);
  • Personnel suppliers;
  • Groups with a power to refer.

Bodies with the power to refer

The following groups have a power to refer information to the DBS:

  • Island/authority (safeguarding role);
  • Health and Social care (HSC) trusts (NI);
  • Education and Library Boards;
  • Keepers of registers e.g. General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council;
  • Supervisory authorities e.g. Care Quality Commission, Ofsted.

If the person being referred to the DBS is a teacher in England they should also be referred to the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

9. Learning Lessons

The employer should review the circumstances of the case to determine whether there are any improvements to be made to the organisation's procedures or practice.

10. Procedures in Specific Organisations

It is recognised that many organisations will have their own procedures in place, some of which may need to take into account particular regulations and guidance (e.g. schools and registered child care providers). Where organisations do have specific procedures, they should be compatible with these procedures and additionally provide the contact details for:

  • The designated senior manager to whom all allegations should be reported;
  • The person to whom all allegations should be reported in the absence of the designated senior manager or where that person is the subject of the allegation.

Click here to view Fig 10: Dealing with Allegations or Concerns about Professionals who work with children.

Further Information

Keeping Children Safe in Education: Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges, DfE April 2014