1.2 Safeguarding children and child protection
(Including managing allegations of abuse against a member of staff)
Data Protection Policy is covered in Policy 1.2a – to be read in conjunction with this policy.
Mobile phones and e-safety are covered in Policy 1.6 – to be read in conjunction with this policy.
Whistleblowing for staff is covered in Policy 2b. Prevent and British values in 9.5.
Accident/Incident/Existing injury recording and reporting – see Policy 6.3.
Rebeccas will work with children, parents and the community to ensure the rights and safety of children and to give them the very best start in life. All staff understand and implement the policy and create a positive culture and ethos where safeguarding is an important part of everyday life in the setting, backed up by training at every level. The signs of successful safeguarding procedures are that children are protected and feel safe.
In relation to children and young people, safeguarding and promoting their welfare is defined in ‘Working together to safeguard children’ (2020) as:
◼ protecting children from maltreatment
◼ preventing impairment of children’s health or development
◼ ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
◼ taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
There are three main elements to our Policy and we implement the following procedures:
- Prevention through the teaching and support offered to the children in our care.
- Procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases of abuse. Our day to day contact with children provides the opportunity for staff to be well placed to observe the signs of abuse.
- Support to children who have been abused.
Our policy applies to all staff and volunteers working in the setting. Any of the adults may be the first point of disclosure for a child. Concerned parents may also contact staff.
Staff and volunteers
- Our designated Safeguarding officers (a member of staff) who co-ordinates child protection issues are:
Lesley Hillary/Sally Head Kings Rd; Mary Ayres/Emma Kean Scantabout; Emma Kean/Sally Head Hiltingbury; Jenny Knight/Amanda Whitfield Merdon.
- The Group designated officers (member of the management team) who oversee this work are:
- The designated persons are suitably trained and understand LSCB safeguarding procedures (now Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership), and refresh their knowledge of safeguarding at least annually.
- We ensure all staff are trained to understand our safeguarding policies and procedures and parents are made aware of them too. Safeguarding is a permanent item on the agenda at each staff meeting.
- All staff have an up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding issues, are alert to the signs and symptoms of abuse, and understand their professional duty to ensure safeguarding concerns are reported to the local authority children’s social work term.
- We provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources to meet the needs of children.
- Applicants for posts within the provision are clearly informed that the positions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.
- Candidates are informed of the need to carry out ‘enhanced disclosure’ checks with the DBS before posts can be confirmed.
- Where applications are rejected because of information that has been disclosed, applicants have the right to know and to challenge incorrect information.
- We abide by Ofsted requirements in respect of references and DBS checks for staff and volunteers, to ensure that no disqualified person or unsuitable person works at the provision or has access to the children.
- We record information about staff qualifications, and the identity checks and vetting processes that have been completed including:
- the DBS disclosure reference number;
- the date the disclosure was obtained; and
- who obtained it.
- We inform all staff that they are expected to disclose any convictions, cautions, court orders or reprimands and warnings which may affect their suitability to work with children (whether received before or during their employment with us).
- Volunteers do not work unsupervised.
- We notify the Disclosure and Barring Service of any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have lead to dismissal for reasons of child protection concern.
- We have procedures for recording the details of visitors to the setting.
- We take security steps to ensure that we have control over who comes into the provision so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children.
- We take steps to ensure children are not photographed for any other purpose than to record their development or their participation in events organised by us. Parents sign a consent form and have access to records holding visual images of their child.
Responding to suspicions of abuse
- We acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms – physical, emotional, sexual, neglect as well as ◼bullying, including online bullying and prejudice-based bullying ◼ racist, disability and homophobic or transphobic abuse ◼gender-based violence/violence against women and girls ◼ peer-on-peer abuse, such as sexual violence and harassment ◼ radicalisation and/or extremist behaviour ◼ child sexual exploitation and trafficking ◼ child criminal exploitation, including county lines ◼ serious violent crime ◼ risks linked to using technology and social media, including online bullying; the risks of being groomed online for exploitation or radicalisation; and risks of accessing and generating inappropriate content, for example ‘sexting’ ◼ teenage relationship abuse ◼ upskirting◼ substance misuse ◼ issues that may be specific to a local area or population, for example gang activity and youth violence ◼ domestic abuse ◼ female genital mutilation ◼ forced marriage ◼ fabricated or induced illness ◼ poor parenting ◼ homelessness ◼ so-called honour-based violence ◼ other issues not listed here but that pose a risk to children, learners and vulnerable adults.
- Safeguarding is not just about protecting children, learners and vulnerable adults from deliberate harm, neglect and failure to act. It relates to broader aspects of care and education, including:
- ◼ children’s and learners’ health and safety and well-being, including their mental health
- ◼ meeting the needs of children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities
- ◼ the use of reasonable force
- ◼ meeting the needs of children and learners with medical conditions
- ◼ providing first aid
- ◼ educational visits
- ◼ intimate care and emotional well-being
- ◼ online safety and associated issues
- ◼ appropriate arrangements to ensure children’s and learners’ security, taking into account the local context.
- When children are suffering from abuse this may be demonstrated through:
- significant changes in their behaviour;
- deterioration in their general well-being;
- their comments which may give cause for concern, or the things they say (direct or indirect disclosure);
- changes in their appearance, their behaviour, or their play;
- unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect; and
- any reason to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting. (see policy 6.3 for recording of accidents/ incidents or existing injuries)
- We take into account factors affecting parental capacity, such as social exclusion, domestic violence, parent’s drug or alcohol abuse, mental or physical illness or parent’s learning disability.
- We are aware of other factors that affect children’s vulnerability such as abuse of disabled children, fabricated or induced illness, child abuse linked to beliefs in spirit possession, sexual exploitation of children such as through internet abuse and Female Genital Mutilation that may affect or may have affected children and young people using our provision.
- Female Genital Mutilation is illegal and must be reported immediately. FGM helpline 0800 028 3550.
- Where we believe a child in our care or known to us may be affected by any of these factors we follow the procedure for reporting child protection concerns.
- Where such evidence is apparent, the child’s key person makes a dated record of the details of the concern and discusses what to do with member of staff who is acting as the ‘designated person’. The information is stored on the child’s personal file.
- We refer concerns to the local authority children’s social care department and co-operate fully in any subsequent investigation.
NB In some cases this may mean the police or another agency identified by the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership.
- We take care not to influence the outcome either through the way we speak to children or by asking questions of children.
- We take account of the need to protect young people aged 16-19 as defined by the Children Act 1989. This may include students or school children on work placement, young employees or young parents. Where abuse is suspected we follow the procedure for reporting any other child protection concerns. The views of the young person will always be taken into account, but the setting may override the young person’s refusal to consent to share information if it feels that it is necessary to prevent a crime from being committed or intervene where one may have been or to prevent harm to a child or adult. Sharing confidential information without consent is done only where not sharing it could be worse than the outcome of having shared it.
Recording suspicions of abuse and disclosures
- Where a child makes comments to a member of staff that gives cause for concern (disclosure), observes signs or signals that gives cause for concern, such as significant changes in behaviour; deterioration in general well-being; unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect, that member of staff:
- listens to the child, offers reassurance and gives assurance that she or he will take action;
- does not question the child;
- makes a written record that forms an objective record of the observation or disclosure that includes:
- the date and time of the observation or the disclosure;
- the exact words spoken by the child as far as possible;
- the name of the person to whom the concern was reported, with date and time; and
- the names of any other person present at the time.
- These records are signed and dated and kept in a sealed envelope in the private and confidential pink folder which is kept securely and confidentially in our cupboard in the cage.
- The manager acting as the Designated Person is informed of the issue at the earliest opportunity.
- Where the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (formerly Local Safeguarding Children Board) stipulates the process for recording and sharing concerns, we include those procedures alongside this procedure and follow the steps set down by the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (HSCP).
Making a referral to the local authority social care team
- Our referral process is based on ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused’ (HMG 2015) and Working together to Safeguard Children (2020) and in line with HSCP. MASH referral form
- Inter-agency referral to Children’s Services – Section 1 – Hampshire County Council (hants.gov.uk)
- Parents are normally the first point of contact. We discuss concerns with parents to gain their view of events unless we feel this may put the child in greater danger.
- We inform parents when we make a record of concerns in their child’s file and that we also make a note of any discussion we have with them regarding a concern.
- If a suspicion of abuse warrants referral to social care, parents are informed at the same time that the referral will be made, except where the guidance of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership does not allow this, for example, where it is believed that the child may be placed in greater danger.
- This will usually be the case where the parent is the likely abuser. In these cases the social workers will inform parents.
Liaison with other agencies
- We work within the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership guidelines (Tel: 01962 876355/364 or Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) 03000410888) and the statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2020’. Professional helpline number of Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership 01329 225379. https://www.hampshirescp.org.uk/
- We have the current version of ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ for parents and staff and all staff are familiar with what to do if they have concerns (part of HSCP guidance).
- We have procedures for contacting the local authority on child protection issues, including maintaining a list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of social workers, to ensure that it is easy, in any emergency, for the setting and social services to work well together.
Hants Direct (Children’s Services/MASH) numbers 0300 555 1384 and out of hours 0300 555 1373.
- We notify the registration authority (Ofsted Tel: 0300 123 1231) of any incident or accident and any changes in our arrangements which may affect the well-being of children or where an allegation of abuse is made against a member of staff (whether the allegations relate to harm or abuse committed on our premises or elsewhere). Notifications to Ofsted are made as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within14 days of the allegations being made.
- Contact details for the local National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) are also kept. Tel: 0808 800 5000
Allegations against staff
- We ensure that all parents know how to complain about the behaviour or actions of staff or volunteers within the provision, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the setting, which may include an allegation of abuse.
- We respond to any inappropriate behaviour displayed by members of staff, or any other person working or living on the premises using the following criteria:
- -where they have behaved in a way that has harmed a child, 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 indicated he or she would pose a risk of harm to children.
- inappropriate sexual comments;
- excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of their usual role and responsibilities, or
- inappropriate sharing of images.
- We follow the guidance of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership when responding to any complaint that a member of staff, or volunteer within the provision, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the setting, has abused a child. See Complaints policy.
- We respond to any disclosure by children or staff that abuse by a member of staff or volunteer within the setting, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the setting, may have taken, or is taking place, by first recording the details of any such alleged incident.
- We refer any such complaint/allegation immediately to the local authority’s Childrens Services department LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) to investigate. We also report any such alleged incident to Ofsted and what measures we have taken. We are aware that it is an offence not to do this. We also report any such alleged incident to Ofsted and what measures we have taken. We are aware that it is an offence not to do this.
- Our LADO is Barbara Piddington, Mark Blackwell. To report a concern, please phone: 03000410888/01962 876364.Alternatively we can write to them at the following address:(LADO means LOCAL AUTHORITY DESIGNATED OFFICER)
The Safeguarding Unit, Children’s Services Department, Clarendon House,
Monarch Way, Winchester SO22 5PW
- We co-operate entirely with any investigation carried out by children’s social care in conjunction with the police. Police HQ: 0845 045 4545/ 01962 871595
- Where the management team and children’s social care agree it is appropriate in the circumstances, the chair/director/owner will suspend the member of staff on full pay, or the volunteer, for the duration of the investigation. This is not an indication of admission that the alleged incident has taken place, but is to protect the staff as well as children and families throughout the process.
- Where a member of staff or volunteer has been dismissed due to engaging in activities that caused concern for the safeguarding of children or vulnerable adults, we will notify the DBS of relevant information so that individuals who pose a threat to children and vulnerable groups can be identified and barred from working with these groups. (Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults Barred List. Tel: 0300 123 1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
- We seek out training opportunities for all adults involved in the setting to ensure that they are able to recognise the signs and signals of possible physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect and that they are aware of the local authority guidelines for making referrals.
- We ensure that designated persons receive training in accordance with that recommended by the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership.
- We ensure that all staff know the procedures for reporting and recording their concerns in the setting through regular supervision and training.
- The layout of the rooms allows for constant supervision. No child is left alone with staff or volunteers in a one-to-one situation without being visible to others.
- We introduce key elements of keeping children safe into our programme to promote the personal, social and emotional development of all children, so that they may grow to be strong, resilient and listened to and that they develop an understanding of why and how to keep safe.
- We create within the setting a culture of value and respect for the individual, having positive regard for children’s heritage arising from their colour, ethnicity, languages spoken at home, cultural and social background. We actively promote British Values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, by making decisions together, helping the children to understand that rules matter, valuing individual ideas and beliefs and by treating others as we wish to be treated.
- We ensure that this is carried out in a way that is developmentally appropriate for the children.
- All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared under the guidance of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership.
Support to families
- We believe in building trusting and supportive relationships with families, staff and volunteers in the group.
- We make clear to parents our role and responsibilities in relation to child protection, such as for the reporting of concerns, providing information, monitoring of the child, and liaising at all times with the local children’s social care team.
- We will continue to welcome the child and the family whilst investigations are being made in relation to any alleged abuse.
- We follow the Child Protection Plan as set by the child’s social care worker in relation to the setting’s designated role and tasks in supporting that child and their family, subsequent to any investigation.
- Confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child’s parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child in accordance with the Confidentiality and Client Access to Records procedure and only if appropriate under the guidance of the Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership.
- Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020
- Children Act (1989 s47)
- Protection of Children Act (1999)
- Data Protection Act (1998) – GDPR 2018
- The Children Act (Every Child Matters) (2004)
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) Care Act (2014)
- Children and Families Act (2014)
- Counter-terrorism and Security Act (2015) – PREVENT and Channel programme
- Sexual Offences Act (2003)
- Criminal Justice and Court Services Act (2000)
- Equalities Act (2010)
- Data Protection Act (1998) Non Statutory Guidance – GDPR 2018
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (2020)
- What to do if you are Worried a Child is Being Abused (HMG 2015)
- The Common Assessment Framework for Children and Young People: A Guide for Practitioners (CWDC 2010)
- Information Sharing: Guidance for Practitioners and Managers (HMG 2008) (HMG 2015) (HMG 2018)
- Independent Safeguarding Authority: isa-gov.org.uk
- Inspecting Safeguarding in the early years 2019
|This policy was adopted at a meeting of||Rebeccas Out of School Club||(name of provider)|
|Held on||1 September 2020||(date)|
|Date to be reviewed||1 September 2021||(date)|
|Signed on behalf of the Owner|
|Name of signatory||Tracy Hannigan-Palmer|