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1 OUR PLACE SCHOOLS The Orchard, Bransford, Worcester, WR6 5JE Tel: Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedure

2 Safeguarding Children policy and procedure Page Introduction 3 Aims and Objectives 3 Legislative Framework 3 Safe Recruitment 4 Agency Staff 5 Vetting and Barring 5 Training 5 Physical Intervention 5 Race, Ethnicity and culture 5 Children Living away from Home 6 Children with Disabilities 6 Child Abuse and Information Communication Technology (ICT) 7 Uneasiness and Whistle blowing 7 Suspected Child Abuse 8 Procedures 8 Handling a Disclosure and Recording Incidents 8 Disclosure of Abuse from a Child 9 Method 9 Following on from a Safeguarding Disclosure 11 The Range of Actions Following on from a Reported Disclosure 12 Between Children 12 Between Parties Outside of Our Place 12 Staff Members 13 Confidentiality 15 Child Protection and Safeguarding procedure flow Chart 16 Data Protection 17 Files and case Paper relating to Children 17 Monitoring and Review 17 Information 17 Appendix 1-Summary of Child Abuse information

3 Introduction Safeguarding children is everyone's responsibility. The health, safety and well-being of all children within Our Place is of paramount importance to all adults who both work within and visit. All children have the right to protection, regardless of age, gender, race, culture or disability. They have the right to be safe. All children within Our Place are respected as individuals. The school provides opportunities for children to make decisions for themselves and they are supported in doing so. Teaching PSHE and citizenship as part of the curriculum helps to develop appropriate attitudes within each child and raises their awareness of the impact of their decisions on others. The school and home provide an environment which is protective physically, emotionally and culturally and in which the children entrusted to our care can develop positive relationships founded on mutual respect and trust. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined in Working together to Safeguard children as: Protecting children from maltreatment Preventing impairment of children's Health and development Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care Taking action to enable children to have the best outcomes Aims and Objectives This policy ensures that all staff employed to work within Our Place, in all departments, are clear about the actions necessary with regard to the safeguarding of children. The policy aims are: To raise awareness of all staff and to identify responsibility in reporting possible cases of child abuse To ensure effective communication between all staff when dealing with safeguarding children issues To give clear procedures for those who encounter issues of children protection. Legislative Framework Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a duty on key persons and bodies to make arrangements to ensure that in discharging their function they have regard of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The duty to make arrangements to safeguard and promote welfare is part of the comprehensive programme of Working together to Safeguard Children March At the very heart of this programme is the recognition that protecting children from harm cannot be separated from policies to improve children's lives as a whole. Effective safeguarding of children can only be achieved by putting children at the centre of the system and by every individual and agency playing their full part, working together to meet the needs of our most vulnerable children

4 The statutory guidance on making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under section 11 of the Children act 2004 (HM Government,) sets out the key arrangements for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and charges key persons within organisations with the following duties: Senior management commitment to the importance of safeguarding and promoting children's welfare That the organisation has a clear statement of its responsibilities towards children - within Our Place this is the Safeguarding Children Policy & Procedures A clear line of accountability within the organisation for work on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children within Our Place Service development which takes account of the need to safeguard and promote welfare and is informed, where appropriate, by the views of children and families Staff training on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children for all staff working with and in contact with children and their families Safe recruitment procedures in place Effective inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children Effective information sharing The National Minimum Standards (standard 4) states that "Children feel safe and are safe. Children understand how to protect themselves; and feel protected and are protected from significant harm including neglect, abuse and accident. Under Regulation 16 of the Children's Homes Regulations 2001 The Registered person shall prepare and implement a written policy which is; a) intended to safeguard children accommodated in the children's home from abuse or neglect, and b) sets out the procedure to be followed in the event of any allegation of abuse or neglect. Safer Recruitment Within Our Place, recruitment procedures take into account the need to safeguard and promote welfare of children including arrangements for appropriate checks on new staff and volunteers. Recruitment and selection within Our Place is based on sound and objective assessment criteria throughout the whole process. Requirements identified within current job descriptions and person specifications form the basis of the assessment criteria. Our Place will ensure that the best candidates are selected based on their suitability and ability to fulfil the job requirements. Any staff involved in recruitment and selection decisions will have been appropriately trained and regularly updated on current legal requirements. Following high recruitment standards ensures the safety and well being of those in our care, therefore the following checklist is always adhered to: Reference checking - personal referees and previous employers Telephone reference verification Exploring and verifying gaps in employment Enhanced DBS Disclosure Applications Regular updates of the enhanced DBS Disclosure Enhanced check for regulated activity Verification of the applicant s right to work in the UK Staff from overseas will have to undergo police checks from their country of origin Competency based selection interviewing by trained staff Verification of qualifications and training where relevant Staff Declaration - 4 -

5 Personal details checking - full name and address cross checked against utility bills of not more than 3 months old for example Medical checks New staff are unable to start work without current vetted enhanced DBS check being on file as stated in Our Place s DBS clearing Procedures and Vetting and Barring policies. Agency Staff An employment agency wishing to place employees at Our Place must have carried out checks in respect of the employee s identity, right to work in the UK and qualifications and that they have had checks under section 142 of the 2002 Act in respect of that person or disqualification prohibiting or restriction having the same effect. An enhanced DBS certificate must have been obtained in respect of that person no more than 3 months before the date they are employed and Our Place must have written confirmation from the agency that these checks have been undertaken. Vetting and Barring Our Place offers a home and education to disabled children many of whom have severe communication difficulties. This means that our children are extremely vulnerable, therefore our recruitment and selection process must be vigorous in its vetting of staff. This is detailed in the homes Vetting and Barring Policy. Training All staff working with the children and young people at Our Place must ensure they have completed the Worcester Safeguarding board e-learning training as part of their induction and update at least 3 yearly in line with the Local Authority requirements. Staff must ensure they complete this training and hold a current up to date certificate on their file. Physical Interventions There may be times when staff at Our Place, in the course of their duty, use physical intervention to restrain children. The staff, in this case, must be fully trained and hold a current certificate in MAPA (Management of Actual and Potential Aggression). This must be recorded immediately after using the approved incident and restraint reporting form and recorded in the child's daily diary. A de-brief must take place following the incident between staff and the child in order to promote the welfare of the child, this must also be documented on the approved form. All reports are then passed to the Senior Management Team for verification. Race, Ethnicity and Culture Our Place believes that all children irrespective of religious or cultural background must receive equal care and be safeguarded from abuse and neglect. Our Place believes that all children have the right to grow up safe from harm. It is important that all staff working with children within Our Place are diverse and treat everyone as equal. Our Place is committed to equality in meeting the needs of all children and their families and to understanding the effects of racial harassment and discrimination and institutional racism as well as cultural misunderstandings or misinterpretation

6 Our Place does not regard cultural and religious factors as acceptable explanations for the abuse of children and believe that these reasons are not acceptable grounds for not taking action when a child is at risk of significant harm. Staff must be clear that at no time can the abuse of children be condoned for religious or cultural reasons. Children living away from home Our Place recognises that all children within the school are living away from home and that children with disabilities are more vulnerable to abuse. Our Place will provide safeguards against abuse through an approach to the care and education of the children which promotes general welfare and protects them from harm whilst treating them with dignity and respect. Our Place will ensure that: all children feel valued and respected and that their self esteem is promoted the organisation is transparent to external scrutiny staff are trained to a high standard in safeguarding children, that they are alert to the risks and knowledgeable in procedures to follow to safeguard children children are listened to and their views and concerns responded to that children have access to an advocate outside of the organisation in which they can confide staff recognise the importance of ascertaining the wishes and feelings of the children staff understand and communicate with each child in an effective way there are clear procedures for referring safeguarding concerns about a child to the local authority that there is a clear and accessible complaints procedure and that a record of complaints is kept by the school bullying is effectively recognised and countered there is effective supervision of temporary staff and volunteers contractor staff are effectively checked and supervised when on site clear procedures and support systems are in place for dealing with whistle-blowing by staff and carers about other staff or carers staff and carers are alert to the risks of harm to children in the external environment from people prepared to exploit the additional vulnerability of children living away from home Children with Disabilities Our Place recognises that children with disabilities are at increased risk of abuse and neglect and some disabled children may: have fewer outside contacts than other children receive intimate care from a number of carers have an impaired capacity to resist or avoid abuse have communication difficulties be inhibited about complaining because of fear of losing services be especially vulnerable to bullying and intimidation or abuse by peers Our Place understands that safeguards for children with disabilities are essentially the same as those for children without disabilities but that particular attention should be paid to promoting high standards of practice and a high level of awareness of the risks

7 Our Place will ensure that: children with disabilities are helped to make their wishes and feelings known in respect of their care and treatment using appropriate and effective communication systems children receive appropriate PSHE education children with disabilities know how to raise concerns there is a clear understanding of the safety and welfare of children with disabilities the school maintains close contact with families and a culture of openness on the part of the home Child Abuse and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Our Place recognises that a range of potential child abuse definitions are now being seen in an ICT environment particularly through the internet. We recognise that internet chat rooms, discussion forums and bulletin boards are used as a means of contacting children with a view to grooming them for inappropriate or abusive relationships and that cyber bullying is becoming a greater threat to vulnerable children. Contacts made may be carried on via , instant messaging services or mobile phone text messaging. Our Place will ensure that any child using ICT is supported to do so and is monitored appropriately. The online protection of potentially vulnerable children and young adults is paramount at Our Place and we have several security measures installed to ensure the safety and well-being of any of our children online. We have a hardware firewall blocking offensive sites, images, written material across all computers across site and to an even higher degree on school systems. On all computers we have anti-virus and software firewalls set-up which further protect against viruses, hackers and other malicious software. On all school computers we have several web browsers varying in age appropriateness and ability that protect and enable the children to surf the internet without fear of inappropriate material appearing or internet predators taking advantage of the vulnerability of a child online. All social-networking, pornographic, gambling, racist, prejudicist, peer-to-peer and any other offensive or inappropriate material are blocked. All children will have their own account set-up with varying levels of access. Uneasiness and Whistle blowing Staff are all provided with Our Place s Uneasiness and Whistle blowing Policy. Whistle blowing is the mechanism by which members of staff can voice their concerns about colleagues, without fear of repercussion. All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, about the attitude or actions of colleagues. In relation to inappropriate language or actions towards children witnessed at Our Place, all members of staff must take responsibility for recording any incident, and passing on that information to their line manager. All allegations will be taken seriously and properly investigated. Colleagues should not keep any uneasiness to themselves. Staff should not feel that because they have told a Senior Manager about one incident that they can not tell them about any others that they may witness. Members of staff should always discuss with their supervisor any problems or concerns they are encountering that may affect their relationship with the pupils so that appropriate support can be provided and action taken

8 There is also the possibility that a child or carer may make an allegation against a member of staff. Staff must ensure that they do not place themselves in a vulnerable position. Suspected Child Abuse The abuse of children can take a number of forms. Safeguarding guidance applies to a wider range of allegations than those in which there is reasonable cause to believe a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. It also caters for cases of allegations that might indicate that the alleged perpetrator is unsuitable to continue to work with children in his or her present position, or in any capacity. It should be used in respect of all cases in which it is alleged 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 behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children Staff within all departments of Our Place receive training in safeguarding children in line with the Children s Homes: National Minimum Standards (standard 4). Our Place currently has 2 designated officers - Lena Graham Registered Person and Jess Wilkins Responsible Person. All concerns of a safeguarding nature are followed up. Safeguarding procedures need to be applied with common sense and judgement. Some allegations are so serious that they will be immediately referred to Worcester Access Team and the police for investigation. Others can be less serious, but still dealt with professionally and reported to a member of the Senior Management team to be followed up, and will be examined objectively by someone independent of Our Place. Consequently, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) will be informed of all allegations that come to Our Place s attention and appear to meet the criteria set out above, so that s/he can consult police and social care colleagues as appropriate. The LADO should also be informed of any allegations that are made directly to the police (which should be communicated via the police force s designated officer) or to Worcester Access Team. A notification referral will also be made to Ofsted using the notification form found on the Ofsted website. If a referral is made to Worcester Access Team but no further action is required by them it does not necessarily mean that the incident is closed. The duty team will only deem that an incident needs no further input from them when Our Place is already doing everything that the duty team would require. Procedures Handling a Disclosure and Recording Incidents All disclosures will follow the same format staff will report the incident using the safeguarding form part 1, which is then passed in a sealed envelope to the DO or Team Coordinator if the DO is not immediately available or if the incident involves a member of SMT the David French must be contacted. The Team Coordinator must contact one of the DO s immediately so that they can take over the incident. If a child is able to express that that they are unhappy with something staff should enable the child to give more details about their concerns. It may be that the child would rather give more detail to the staff member they have first communicated too, they may prefer to communicate it to someone else their Key Worker or teacher for instance

9 Disclosure of abuse from a child When a child starts to make what you believe may be a disclosure of abuse you must ensure you follow the procedure below. This will help you to ensure the child is safe and feels supported. It will also help staff to obtain the correct information from the child while minimising the possibilities of the child s information being lead. Offer support and understanding, explaining that you cannot keep it secret and what may happen following the disclosure (this gives them the choice to continue telling you or stop) Keep calm and do not look shocked. Listen to the child or young person accept what you hear without passing judgement. Ask questions only for clarification, using open questions such as who? what? when? where? how? If the child has chosen you to disclose information to remember that the child may have chosen you because they trust you and feel safe. It may be difficult for the child to disclose information so your reaction must make the child feel safe enough to continue to disclose. This may be the only time the child will tell of abuse. Do not investigate Do not make promises You could also speak to the child using TED questions- Tell Me, Explain, Describe. Answers in reply to a leading question might not stand as evidence within any court proceedings. Reassure the child or young person that they were right to talk to you. Write down notes - dates, times, facts, who were involved, observations using actual words used, if possible. Report to the designated person as soon as possible or immediately if it is urgent. Method 1. use photos of staff so that the child can identify who they want to communicate with. If the child does not choose a staff member from the photos the staff member should show the child photos of their parents/carers, Social Worker or External Advocate. The staff member should let the Senior Managers know so that they can contact the parents/carers, Social Worker or Advocate - 9 -

10 2. if another staff member is chosen by the child the Support Worker working with the child should tell the member of staff what has happened previously so as to help the chosen staff member understand 3. the chosen staff member and the child should communicate somewhere in private quiet sitting room for instance 4. staff should be very careful to not lead the child by asking leading questions 5. staff should use the Complaints Pack photos, symbols and social story books to help the child express their problems Our Place has a safeguarding form in 3 separate parts; part 1 stored in the blue filing cabinet in the Team Office is for use by anyone to whom a disclosure is made or who witnesses something of concern. It is essential that the member of staff being the recipient of the disclosure makes detailed notes if they have any concerns or if a child discloses abuse verbally or through signs and symbols. Write the notes up as soon as possible. 6. The notes must record: The date Time Place Nature of concern All the facts Observed injuries and bruises The actual words of the child/children the children and adults present exactly what was seen or heard If you are the person receiving the information you must not ask leading questions or repeat back to the child what they have said including comments like...so what did Fred do next? means that the evidence is tainted and could not be used, if needed in a court if necessary, instead you need to ask minimal questions and keep them open, for instance you could say... so what happened next?. Do not appear to be shocked or angry, listen and observe the child, remember what is said and take it seriously. If the child or young person is unable to communicate verbally you need to be extra sensitive to signs of distress, non-verbal signs. The child may use symbols and care will be needed to note accurately what symbols are used and the context. Keep the symbols in position or take a photograph of the symbolic evidence. Do not criticise the perpetrator. Do not make promises, remain honest and reliable. You must not promise confidentiality, you have a duty to refer. Do not interrogate for full details. Some cases of abuse may need further and possibly extensive investigation therefore the child should not be asked to repeat what they have said, to another member of staff. You may include any noticeable non-verbal behaviour and if the child uses sexual 'pet' words, record actual words used rather than translating them into 'proper' words. Record statements and observable things rather than your opinions, interpretations or assumptions. The notes should be signed and handed to the Designated Officer or Linda Collins, if appropriate, as soon as possible and make sure that the child is told/knows/understands that someone else has been told and the problem is being dealt with and by whom

11 Following on from a Safeguarding Disclosure Once a decision has been made that a child is likely to be at risk of significant harm the DO or registered person must contact the Access Centre of Worcestershire Council for Safeguarding children immediately. At this point the decision will be made by the designated officer or Registered Person whether suspension is necessary to protect the safety and welfare of the children and young people at Our Place Schools. Any action that the DO takes when dealing with an issue of safeguarding children will be as a result of an initial evaluation and strategy meeting held in conjunction with the Worcestershire Safeguarding Children's Board and LADO, and if significant harm is in question, the Police. The DO will work closely with both Worcestershire's Children's Duty team and with the child's placing authority when investigating any allegations of abuse. All parties involved in a safeguarding investigation handle these investigations in a sensitive manner however, throughout the investigation the welfare and safety of the child is of the greatest concern. The Social Worker taking the referral will ask for the names and ages of the children involved along with information about their placing authorities and social workers. If the incident involves a member of staff or visitor they will ask for information about the member of staff or visitor. The duty social worker will also ask what action has been taken by Our Place so far to prevent further significant harm. The duty social worker will then ask for a written account of the incident to be faxed or ed over to them. It is essential that any written reports are clear and accurate. A record of all contacts made is kept by the DO reporting the incident using the 2 nd. and 3 rd. sections of Our Place safeguarding sheets, including the date, time, names of those people they have had contact with and a summary of the conversation. Each contact must be signed and dated by the DO. The DO leading the disclosure notification must then inform Ofsted of the nature of the incident and complete an Ofsted notifications form which must be forwarded to them. The duty team in Worcester will then make a decision as to whether the action taken by Our Place immediately after the incident was reported is adequate to prevent further significant harm or whether the child is still at risk. If a child has made the report of abuse then it is likely that the duty team will immediately call a safeguarding strategy meeting. If the duty team decide that there is further risk of significant harm to children within Our Place despite control measures being put in place, a further safeguarding strategy meeting will be called. The 2 nd. safeguarding strategy meeting will be held within 8 days of a referral being made and offers the opportunity to share information and formulate a plan of action. Staff from Our Place may be required to attend and participate in this meeting. From this meeting a safeguarding incident may be closed and no further action need to be taken or further action may be requested. This meeting may result in further action being taken by the Police. All information relating to safeguarding children issues is confidential and treated as such. Information regarding safeguarding children investigations will be divulged on a strict need to know basis to appropriate persons. In some cases, particularly those involving staff members, the Police may need to be involved as the allegations or evidence may indicate that a criminal investigation is necessary. In these cases any action taken by Our Place may be delayed while the Police undertake their investigation

12 Our Place, where appropriate, will inform the child at all stages of who is involved and what information we have given to them. To this end specialist staff may be requested to assist through the use of alternative communication systems. Parents or carers of a child or children involved should be told about the allegation as soon as possible if they do not already know of it. The LADO should first establish, in discussion with Our Place, that the allegation is within the scope of these procedures and may have some foundation. If the parents/carers of the child concerned are not already aware of the allegation, the LADO will also discuss how and by whom they should be informed. In circumstances in which the police or social services may need to be involved, the LADO should consult those colleagues about how best to inform parents. However, in some circumstances Our Place may need to advise parents of an incident involving their child straight away e.g. if the child has been injured while in Our Place s care and requires medical treatment. They should also be kept informed about the progress of the case, and told the outcome where there is not a criminal prosecution. That includes the outcome of any disciplinary process. Note: the deliberations of a disciplinary hearing, and the information taken into account in reaching a decision, cannot normally be disclosed, but those concerned should be told the outcome. Safeguarding children incidents can be between children or can involve abuse or negligence from a member of staff towards a child. They can, also, involve visitors to the site including family members, contract workers and the general public. The range of actions following on from a reported disclosure Between children If the incident involves two or more children living at Our Place, once the Duty Team at Worcester Access Centre have reached a decision Our Place may be required to simply alter practices for instance reviewing staffing numbers or allocation. If the incident is between a child or children, Our Place will ensure that the home/class is staffed to ensure that the children are not able to have further abusive contact and that each child is safe. In extreme cases this may involve moving one child from their classroom environment or placing a restriction on which living room a child uses. If the children are from two different classes then the DO leading the incident will ensure that the children have no further contact at that time. A multi disciplinary team will be called and decisions made as to how to modify the perpetrator s behaviour and support the child (ren) who are the victims. By parties outside of Our Place If the incident is between a child and a site visitor the visitor would be asked to leave or escorted from the site. If this is the situation the senior on site dealing with the incident MUST inform a DO - either the Home Care and Education Executive or Deputy immediately. The first duty of the DO dealing with the safeguarding incident is to ensure that the situation is made safe and that children are at no further risk of significant harm. From here the DO will instigate normal safeguarding procedures as laid out below notifying Worcester Access Team and LADO and working in unison with them and other necessary parties

13 Any child that has been abused prior or subsequent to joining Our Place will have a strict personal care regime put in place for personal hygiene and intimate care. The plan will be designed by the Psychologist, Home Nurse and Placing Authority Social Worker. The plan must be followed rigidly to help the child regain their self esteem and dignity. The child will be involved in making the decision as to what type of support and or counselling they receive. Staff Members If a safeguarding allegation involves a member of staff the disciplinary process may well be evoked and the decision to suspend the staff member(s) may be made. The possible risk of harm to children posed by an accused person needs to be evaluated and managed effectively in respect of the child(ren) involved in the allegations, and any other children in the individual s home, work or community life. Our Place will inform the accused person about the allegation as soon as possible after consulting the LADO. However, where a strategy discussion is needed, or it is clear that police or children s social care may need to be involved, that will not be done until those agencies have been consulted and have agreed what information can be disclosed to the person. If the person is a member of a union or professional association, s/he should be advised to seek support from that organisation. If there is cause to suspect a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, a strategy discussion will be convened. In these cases the strategy discussion will include a representative from Our Place and will take account of any information Our Place can provide about the circumstances or context of the allegation. In cases where a formal strategy discussion is not considered appropriate because the threshold of significant harm is not reached but a police investigation might be needed, the LADO will conduct a similar discussion with the police, Our Place and any other agencies involved with the child to evaluate the allegation and decide how it should be dealt with. It will share available information about the allegation, the child and the person against whom the allegation has been made, consider whether a police investigation is needed and, if so, agree the timing and conduct of that. In cases where a police investigation is necessary, the joint evaluation should also consider whether there are matters that can be taken forward in a disciplinary process in parallel with the criminal process, or whether any disciplinary action needs to be held in abeyance until the completion of the police enquiries and or prosecution. In some cases this requires Our Place to consider suspending the person. Suspension will follow in any case where there is cause to suspect a child is at risk of significant harm, or the allegation warrants investigation by the police, or is so serious that it might be grounds for dismissal. People will not be suspended without careful thought. It is accepted that this could result in a member of staff being suspended on full pay pending the outcome of an investigation and Our Place may discipline and or dismiss staff following an incident of abuse even when there may be insufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution. Our Place will keep the person who is the subject of the allegations informed of the progress of the case, and arrange to provide appropriate support to the individual while the case is ongoing. (That support may be provided via occupational health or employee welfare arrangements where those exist.) If the person is suspended, Our Place will make arrangements to keep the individual informed about developments in the workplace. If the person is a member of a union or professional association, they will be advised to contact that body at the outset

14 If the complaint or allegation is such that it is clear that investigations by police and or enquiries by social care are not necessary, or the strategy discussion or initial evaluation decides that this is the case, the LADO will discuss future strategies with Our Place. In such circumstances, options open to Our Place range from taking no further action, to summary dismissal or a decision not to use the person s services in future. The nature and circumstances of the allegation and the evidence and information available determine which of the range of possible options is most appropriate. In some cases, further investigation is needed to enable a decision about how to proceed. The investigation should normally be undertaken by Our Place. However, in some circumstances appropriate resources may not be available in Our Place or the nature and complexity of the allegation might point to Our Place commissioning an independent investigation. In some cases staff may be prosecuted for incidents of child abuse and Our Place s disciplinary procedures may be held in abeyance until the result of the police investigation is released. If the allegation is substantiated, following discussion with the LADO Our Place has a duty to refer any person who is deemed as posing a risk to children or has been found to have harmed a child to the Independent Safeguarding Authority. It may be decided that Ofsted is informed as well. Where the initial strategy discussion decides that the allegation does not involve a possible criminal offence, and that it will be dealt with by Our Place if the allegation does not require formal disciplinary action, appropriate action will be instituted within three working days. If a disciplinary hearing is required and can be held without further investigation, the hearing will be held within 15 working days. Where further investigation is required to inform consideration of disciplinary action, Our Place will discuss with the LADO who will undertake that. In some circumstances, it may be appropriate for the disciplinary investigation to be conducted by the Independent Care and Complaints Advisor to ensure objectivity. In any case, the investigating officer should aim to provide a report to Our Place within 10 working days. On receipt of the report of the disciplinary investigation, Our Place will decide whether a disciplinary hearing is needed within two working days, and if a hearing is needed it should be held within 15 working days. In any case in which children s social care has undertaken enquiries to determine whether the child or children are in need of protection, Our Place should take account of any relevant information obtained in the course of those enquiries when considering disciplinary action. The LADO will continue to liaise with Our Place to monitor progress of the case and provide advice/support when required or requested. Allegations that are subject to criminal investigation should be reviewed no later than 4 weeks after the initial evaluation has taken place. Our Place will keep a clear and comprehensive summary of any allegations made, details of how the allegations were followed up and resolved, and of any action taken and decisions reached. These will be kept in a person s confidential personnel file and a copy will be given to the individual. The information will be retained on file, including for people who leave Our Place, at least until the person reaches normal retirement age, or for 10 years if that is longer. The purpose of the record is to enable accurate information to be given in response to any future request for a reference. It will provide clarification in cases where a future DBS check reveals information from the police that an allegation was made but did not result in a prosecution or a conviction. It will also prevent unnecessary re-investigation if, as sometimes happens, allegations resurface after a period of time. It is in everyone s interest to resolve cases as quickly as possible, consistently with a fair and thorough investigation. Every effort should be made to manage cases to avoid any unnecessary delay. The LADO will monitor the case at least monthly

15 The time taken to investigate and resolve individual cases depends on a variety of factors, including the nature, seriousness and complexity of the allegations. Confidentiality Every effort should be made to maintain confidentiality and guard against publicity while an allegation is being investigated and considered. In accordance with ACPO guidance, the police do not normally provide any information to the press or media that might identify an individual who is under investigation, unless and until the person is charged with a criminal offence. (In exceptional cases, where the police might depart from that rule e.g. an appeal to trace a suspect the reasons should be documented and partner agencies consulted beforehand.) The system of self-regulation, overseen by the Press Complaints Commission, also provides safeguards against the publication of inaccurate or misleading information. The Designated Officer (DO) leading the incident will provide feedback to the person who has raised the concern or allegation of a safeguarding incident as to how the incident has been responded to. In the initial consideration at a strategy discussion or joint evaluation, the agencies concerned including Our Place will share all relevant information they have about the person who is the subject of the allegation and about the alleged victim. Wherever possible, the police should obtain consent from the individuals concerned to share the statements and evidence they obtain with Our Place, and or regulatory body, for disciplinary purposes. This should be done as the investigation proceeds rather than after it is concluded, to enable the police and CPS to share relevant information without delay at the conclusion of their investigation or any court case. Children s social care should adopt a similar procedure when making enquiries to determine whether the child or children named in the allegation are in need of protection or services, so that any information obtained in the course of those enquiries that is relevant to a disciplinary case can be passed to Our Place or regulatory body without delay

16 Child Protection and Safeguarding Procedure Flow Chart Disclosure from either a Child or Adult Our Place Designated Officers (DOs) or Team Coordinator informed if DOs not available reporter must give a written report -use safeguarding form part 1 Police informed if significant harm done If disclosure relates to actions of the SMT then the Independent Care and Complaints Advisor - Linda Collins should be informed Reported to Access Centre of Worcestershire Children s Duty Team or out of hours team, strategy meeting or discussions take place Child informed, if appropriate and supported at all stages Inform OFSTED and complete OFSTED notification Stage 1. Incident investigated by DOs, Access Team, LADO, Social Workers from Placing Authority, Police and other concerned parties as necessary Internal safeguarding strategy meeting held to provide support to the child Inform ISA and Ofsted of the outcome if the abuse took place at Our Place and it is deemed appropriate by the LADO Stage 2. Action 1 -Case closed if no further action required or Action 2 - disciplinary/capability proceedings commenced if case to answer; this may run concurrently with a police investigation or may be held in abeyance until criminal case is concluded DO informs parents or carers at stage 1 and 2 if appropriate to do so

17 Data Protection Our Place must comply with the principles of the Data Protection Act, 1998, and will ensure that personal data is obtained and processed properly and lawfully. Information will be held and used only for specified purposes and must be accurate and current. Personal data is held for no longer than necessary by law and is accessible to the individual concerned where a valid request is received. Information held will be protected against unauthorised access and must not be transferred to any other locations which do not provide adequate protection for data. Files and Case Papers Relating to Children Children's files and case papers must be kept in secure cabinets, which are to be locked when not in use. Any member of staff handling children's files and other case information is responsible for them while they are using them, and for ensuring that they are not seen by any unauthorized person. Monitoring and Review Our Place regularly reviews all incidents detailed on the Incident Forms, daily diary and sanctions book. As part of the quality assurance system all records are checked to make sure that they have been completed appropriately and all actions relating to an incident have been taken. Records are inspected externally by Ofsted and by the Independent Care and Complaints Advisor. Information NSPCC NSPCC Child Protection Helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Call to speak to a Helpline adviser. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call our textphone service on Alternatively contact Worcestershire Police: Out of Hours duty team: Childline: Rape Crisis: (Mon-Thurs 7.30pm-9.30pm)

18 Appendix 1: Summary of Child Abuse Information Child abuse generally falls into the one or more of the following areas: Physical Abuse (e.g. hitting, excessive smacking, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding) Sexual Abuse (e.g. forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities) Emotional Abuse (e.g. conveying to a child that they are worthless or inadequate, seeing or hearing the ill treatment of others, causing a child to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of a child) Neglect leading to Acts of Omission (someone failing to do something which leads to child harm) Acts of Commission (somebody does something to a child which leads to harm of a child eg injuries or sexual abuse of another child) In addition to the universal indicators of abuse/neglect listed above the following abusive behaviours must be considered and apply particularly to the care of children in children s homes: force feeding unjustified or excessive physical restraint rough handling behaviour modification techniques which include the deprivation of liquid, medication, food or clothing misuse of medication, sedation, heavy tranquillisation invasive procedures against the child s will where the child is competent failure to attend medical appointments and/or follow medically recommended treatment programmes where the child suffers harm as a result misapplication of programmes or regimes ill-fitting equipment e.g. callipers, sleep boards which may cause injury or pain, inappropriate splinting misappropriation/misuse of a child s finances Where a child is unable to tell someone of the abuse they may convey anxiety or distress in some other way, e.g. behaviour, appearance, change in routine behaviours or refusal to spend time working with someone. Carers and staff must be alert to this

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