Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Local Safeguarding Children s Board

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1 Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Local Safeguarding Children s Board Guidance on Developing a Safeguarding Children Policy for Voluntary agencies or Local Community groups working within the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Aug 2009 Introduction 1

2 The London Safeguarding Children Board 3 rd Edition of the London Child Protection Procedures published in 2007, require all Voluntary agencies or Community Groups to have in place procedures for managing concerns about child protection. The information about the child protection procedures should consist of is detailed in Appendix three London procedures. The Local Safeguarding Children s Board in Kensington and Chelsea (LSCB)Policy, Procedure and Practice (PPP) subcommittee have devised this guidance document and template to offer voluntary agencies and community groups assistance in drawing up their own procedures and will sign off any procedures developed within local agencies. The PPP can provide advice and feedback about safeguarding procedures, and confirm that it meets the requirements of the London Safeguarding Procedures. Why do you need to have a policy? The London Safeguarding Procedures state that; Where an agency or community group is responsible for bringing together children and adults, that agency must exercise it s responsibilities to ensure that children are safe and protected from harm. To achieve this all agencies should have in place Child Protection Policies Child Protection Procedures Code of Good Practice Recruitment selection and Vetting Process Staff/Volunteer training strategy and implementation Nominated safeguarding advisor Equal Opportunities Policy Complaints and Grievance policies Confidentiality policy Whistle blowing policy Allegations against staff Information for parent Monitoring and review strategy This guidance will provide you with the information you require to develop your own policy and procedure and a template to make sure that you have considered all the areas outlined above. Your policy needs to recognise the agency or groups responsibilities to the children it is working with and be consistent with the London Child Protection Procedures. Your policy should therefore 2

3 Express your agencies commitment to protecting and promoting the welfare of the children you are working with. Recognise the necessity of working with the agencies who are charged with statutory child protection duties. In most cases this will be Children s Social services and the police.. Confirm your agencies commitment to safe recruitment and the training of staff. It is important to note that any policy developed in a voluntary agency or community group needs to have ownership of everyone involved in the group. A Safeguarding Children policy should be made known to and accessible to the children and young people themselves, parents, carers, volunteers, and staff. The management committee of the group must be in agreement with and sign the policy to show it has been adopted by the group. Ideally all the above people should be involved with the design and implementation of this policy. The policy should be easy to read, concise, translated into community languages if needed and displayed in the same manner as Health and Safety notices. The policy should be a work in progress known by all involved with the group and reviewed on a regular basis and developed further when required. Every child has a right to be safe and happy in the activities which they undertake. Parents and carers must be secure that when they are not directly caring for their children themselves that the people in charge of their care are trustworthy, responsible and will keep their children safe from harm. This means that precautionary steps have been taken to ensure harm will not come to children when under the supervision of people who are not parents or carers. Small groups who work with children and young people have taken on this responsibility and have a duty of care for the children for whom they provide services and activities. Sometimes there are people who work, or seek to work with children and young people who may pose a risk to children and who may harm them. Having a robust Safeguarding Children policy should reduce this risk. It is better to put safeguards in place to prevent abuse in advance of any incident occurring. A robust Safeguarding Children policy will also safeguard workers and volunteers from false allegations that could be made. A child protection policy is to protect everyone involved in the group. How to develop a Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedure in your agency or voluntary group. 3

4 As stated above it is important that the key people in your organisation are fully aware of why you need to have a Safeguarding Children policy and they should help to develop the policy and procedures. Child Protection Policies Your Policy should state What the Safeguarding Children s Policy for your organisation is. i.e. all children coming to this group have the right to be in safe, secure and happy environment and How your organisation is going to implement the policy. Your policy statement should include the following Parents of children using the group or agency need to be aware that any concerns that a child may be experiencing harm may be referred to the local statutory agency. That any workers or volunteers employed within the agency will be recruited using safe recruitment practices and will be provided with training and induction to assist them to fulfil their duties. all workers or volunteers who have direct and unsupervised contact with children should be subject to Criminal Record Bureau Checks CRB checks Child Protection Procedures This is a summary of the main things to be aware of and to include in your own procedure. Definitions and signs of abuse There are four recognised types of abuse and it is important that all staff and volunteers know what they are and how to recognise them. Your policy should include this information so that it works as a point of reference for all staff. The following definitions are based on those from Working Together to Safeguard Children (Department of Health, Home Office, Department for Education and Employment, 1999) Physical Abuse 4

5 Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill health to, a child whom they are looking after. A person might do this because they enjoy or need the attention they get through having a sick child. Physical abuse, as well as being a result of an act of commission can also be caused through omission or the failure to act to protect. Emotional Abuse Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child s emotional development. It may involve making conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone. Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They may include noncontact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual on-line images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Boys and girls can be sexually abused by males and/or females, by adults and by other young people. This includes people from all different walks of life. Neglect Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child's health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born it may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, failure to ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care givers) or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child's basic emotional needs. 5

6 You should also include a list of possible signs of abuse. The following website links could help you with this: t.htm dealingwithabuse Guidance on how to respond to a person disclosing abuse DO: Do treat any allegations extremely seriously and act at all times towards the child as if you believe what they are saying. Do tell the child they are right to tell you. Do reassure them that they are not to blame. Do be honest about your own position, who you have to tell and why. Do tell the child what you are doing and when, and keep them up to date with what is happening. Do take further action you may be the only person in a position to prevent future abuse tell your nominated person immediately. Do write down everything said and what was done. DON T: Don t make promises you can t keep. Don t interrogate the child it is not your job to carry out an investigation this will be up to the police and Children s social care, who have experience in this. Don t cast doubt on what the child has told you, don t interrupt or change the subject. Don t say anything that makes the child feel responsible for the abuse. Don t do nothing make sure you tell your nominated Safeguarding Children person immediately they will know how to follow this up and where to go for further advise. 6

7 Reporting Procedures DO NOT DELAY It is vitally important that any disclosure made in confidence is recorded factually as soon as possible; this is whether or not the matter is taken to another authority. An accurate account should be made of: Date and time of what has occurred and the time the disclosure was made Names of people who were involved What was said or done by whom Any action taken by the group to gather information and refer on Any further action, e.g. suspension of a worker or volunteer Where relevant, reasons why there is no referral to a statutory agency Names of person reporting and to whom reported The designated person for Safeguarding Children should then use the appropriate reporting systems for the situation. This may be reporting the matter to Local Authorities Children s Social Care (previously known as social services) or the police. This is why recording all information impartially and accurately is vital as this could be used for evidence for later use. The Local Safeguarding Children s Board will be able to provide you with a child protection notification form if you wish to report a concern, or you may wish to devise your own form. Completed forms and any written information regarding Safeguarding Children issues concerning individual s needs to be kept in a safe and locked place to ensure confidentiality. If staff or volunteers encounter abuse or suspicious situations of concern for example, a child might tell, a friend may say something, or a volunteer might notice something then there needs to be a confidential system to report this. The first step would be to discuss the concerns with the designated person and the designated person to take the appropriate action. If it is thought returning the home would put a child in immediate danger advice should be sought from the Local Authorities Children s Social Care. In Kensington and Chelsea all concerns should be reported via Social services Line. The contact details are for this service are listed at the end of this guidance Code of Good Practice Your Agency or Voluntary Group should develop and publish guidance for all staff and volunteers based upon existing codes and practice for the specified area of activity. Your code of good practice should Identify the expected behaviours of the adults employed by your agency or group when supervising, teaching, coaching or providing support to children, in both formal and informal settings. 7

8 Specify desirable staff and gender ratios and how these may be achieved. Recognise and address issues of power,gender, sexuality and sexual orientation and place emphasis on practice that both protects children and promotes their self esteem and development. Adherence to the code of Good Practice by all staff/volunteers should be compulsory, and any failure to follow the Code of Good Practice without prior authorisation from senior personnel must result in an immediate enquiry.. Recruitment selection and Vetting Process Your agency or Voluntary Group is expected to develop and publish its selection and recruitment policies and practices which are designated to identify and exclude any persons who may present a risk to children. These polices and practices must be consistent with the relevant legislation. All adults employed to work with children or volunteers who have direct contact with children must be subject to a vetting process. This should include a Criminal Records Bureau check(crb) and a formal interview process. When employing a worker you should seek a minimum of two character /employment references. The References should not be received directly from the person you are seeking to employ, without having checked their authenticity with the person who provided the reference. In addition your agency must have in place routine systems for continually monitoring the performance of employees and volunteers and ensuring compliance of child protection procedures and the codes of good practice. Staff/Volunteer training strategy and implementation Your Agency or Voluntary Group should develop and promote a written strategy for ensuring that all staff receive appropriate training in the recognition and response to potential child protection concerns and the operation of their child protection policies and procedures. Nominated safeguarding advisor Your Agency or Voluntary Group should nominate or train someone in the organisation to be a nominated safeguarding advisor. It should be someone at a senior level. They should have specific responsibility for all matters in relation to child protection. The role of the nominated safeguarding advisor is to provide a single point of contact between your own agencies and the statutory child protection agencies- children s social care and the police. To provide staff in your agency with expert consultation to staff who have concerns about children. 8

9 Equal Opportunities Policy Your Agency or Voluntary Group should have a policy which you are able to distribute to all users of your agency or group and all staff or volunteers, The policy should state that no child or parent using your agency or group is discriminated on the grounds of race, gender, culture, sexual orientation, economic status or ability(other than when such a distinction is an inherent part of the activity. Ie gender specific activities, religious observance or competition sports). The policy should address both the corporate and personal responsibilities of agency and staff, to ensure that all children are treated with respect and encourage to treat their peers similarly. Complaints and Grievance policies Your Agency or Voluntary Group should develop and publish a procedure by which aggrieved children or parents can make representations if they believe that they have been subject to discriminatory, abusive or inappropriate treatment. The procedures must provide for an element of independent review and for adequate redress where a complaint is substantiated. Confidentiality policy Your Agency or Voluntary Group should develop and publish a confidentiality policy which details how any information regarding children and their families will be held and under what circumstances such information will be shared with other agencies. The confidentiality policy must be in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1999 and the Human Rights Act 1998 Whistle-blowing policy Your Agency or Voluntary Group should develop and publish a whistle-blowing policy which provides a method for staff, volunteers or service users to make known any concerns that they may have about the behaviour of any other person within your agency or group. This policy should detail how such matters will be handled and investigated. The whistle- blowing policy must be in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1999 and the Human Rights Act 1998 and Public Interest Disclosure Act Allegations against staff Organisations that work or come into contact with children and young people need to be aware of the possibility that allegations of abuse will be made against members of their staff or volunteers. Allegations will usually be that some kind of abuse has taken place. They can be made by children and young people and they can be made by other concerned adults. Allegations can be made for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common are: Abuse has actually taken place; 9

10 Something happens to a child that reminds them of an event that happened in the past the child is unable to recognize that the situation and the people are different; Children can misinterpret your language or your actions because they are reminded of something else; Some children know how powerful an allegation can be; if they are angry with you about something they can make an allegation as a way of hitting out; An allegation can be a way of seeking attention. All allegations should be brought to the notice of the designated child protection officer immediately. In cases where the allegation is made against this person, the complainant should approach a more senior official or take the following action him or herself: Make sure that the child in question is safe and away from the person alleged to have abused a child; Contact the Duty social worker in the team relevant to where the child lives (see section 7); Contact the parents or carers of the child if advised to do so by the social worker/officer in charge of allegations; Irrespective of any investigation by the Children s Services or the police, you should follow the appropriate disciplinary procedure; common practice is for the alleged abuser to be suspended from attending the church, faith group or workplace until the outcome of any investigation is clear; Consider whether the person has access to children anywhere else and whether those organizations or groups need to be informed; Act upon the decisions made in any strategy meeting. All incidents should be investigated internally after any external investigation has finished, to review practice and put in place any additional measures to prevent a similar thing happening again. Information for parent Your Agency or Voluntary Group should publish information for parents of children who attend your agency or group. This information should include Details of the child protection policies and procedures of your agency or group. 10

11 Advice to parents about how any concerns about children will be dealt with. Advice to parents about how they can make representations of complaints if they have any concerns about the treatment of their children while attending your agency or group. Monitoring and review strategy Your Agency or Voluntary Group should put in place a strategy for the routine monitoring of your child protection policies and practices. As a minimum this may take the form of an annual review of your child protection policy by the senior management team in your organisation or governing body. This review would be considering the relevance, compliance and outcome of your procedures. The Policy and Procedures subgroup consists of Names & contact details Name Designation Contact details 11

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