Back to Safeguarding Allegations/ Concerns about Practitioners and Those in Positions of Trust

Concluding the process

An Outcome Professional Strategy Meeting should be held to decide, whether on the balance of probabilities the concerns are substantiated. If the concerns are not deemed to be substantiated, then the outcome should be recorded as unsubstantiated, unfounded or deliberately invented or malicious. The following definitions will guide strategy meetings in determining which outcome applies;

Allegations will have outcomes within the following four categories:

Substantiated – a substantiated allegation is one which is established by evidence or proof.

Unsubstantiated – an unsubstantiated allegation is not the same as an allegation that is later proved to be false. It simply means that there is insufficient identifiable evidence to prove or disprove the allegation. The term, therefore, does not imply guilt or innocence.

Unfounded – this indicates that the person making the allegation misinterpreted the incident or was mistaken about what they saw. Alternatively they may not have been aware of all the circumstances. For an allegation to be classified as unfounded, it will be necessary to have evidence to disprove the allegation.

Deliberately invented or malicious – this means there is clear evidence to prove there has been a deliberate act to deceive and the allegation is entirely false.

The outcomes discussion would normally precede any decision by the employer to invoke disciplinary procedures. Where the concerns are substantiated, employing or volunteer agencies should consult if not already done so with the Disclosure and Barring Service and other relevant professional bodies about the requirement for a referral. (Further information and guidance from the DBS can be obtained from their website at