SAFEGUARDING POLICY & PROCEDURES

The purpose of this policy statement is:

  • to protect children and young people who receive Doceo Development CIC (“Doceo”) services from harm. This includes the children of adults who use our services; and
  • to provide staff and volunteers, as well as children and young people and their families, with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.

This policy applies to all activities relating to children under 18 for Doceo and applies to anyone working on behalf of Doceo, including senior managers and the board of trustees, paid staff, volunteers, sessional workers, agency staff and students. 

This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in England. A summary of the key legislation is available from nspcc.org.uk/learning.

Objectives

We believe that:

  • children and young people should never experience abuse of any kind; and
  • we have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practise in a way that protects them.

We believe in contributing to the personal safety/welfare of all children/young people attending Doceo programmes by promoting child protection awareness, good practice and sound procedures in all aspects of safeguarding

  • The directors, staff and volunteers at Doceo fully recognise their responsibility to safeguard the holistic welfare of our pupils. We recognise that each employee, including volunteers, has a full and active part to play in protecting our children from any sort of harm or harassment.
  • All, directors and volunteers believe that Doceo should provide a caring, positive, safe and stimulating environment which promotes the social, physical, psychological and moral development of each individual child.
  • Directors, volunteers and staff acknowledge that there is a wide range of areas related to safeguarding children. These recognised areas are:
  1. pupils’ health and safety;
  2. bullying;
  3. racist abuse;
  4. harassment and discrimination;
  5. use of physical intervention;
  6. providing first aid;
  7. meeting the needs of pupils with medical conditions; and
  8. drug and substance misuse.

We recognise that:

  • The welfare of children is paramount in all the work we do and in all the decisions we take all children, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse;
  • Some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues; and
  • Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

Procedures

Doceo follows the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Children Board and take account of guidance issued by the Department for Education and Skills to:

  • When meeting in a physical location, visitors, including parents, must always be supervised by a Doceo member of staff.
  • Ensure we have a Designated Safeguarding Officer present for Doceo programmes, for safeguarding who has received appropriate training and support for this role.
  • Ensure every volunteer and director knows the names of the Safeguarding Officers responsible for safeguarding, and their role.
  • Ensure all volunteers and directors understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse and responsibility for referring any concerns to the designated senior person responsible for safeguarding.
  • Develop effective links with relevant agencies and co-operate as required with their enquiries regarding safeguarding matters including attendance at case conferences.
  • Keep written records of concerns about children, even where there is no need to refer the matter immediately.
  • Develop and then follow procedures where an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer.
  • Ensure all safeguarding incidents are reported centrally to the Head Office Senior Designated Safeguarding Officer (Head of Ofsted) to be recorded on the Company’s Central Incident Record file.
  • Ensure safe recruitment practices are always followed.

Safeguarding Disclosures

What is abuse?

  • CHILD ABUSE: A term to describe a range of ways in which people, usually adults, harm children. Often the adult is a person who is known and trusted by the child.
  • CHILD ABUSE IS NEGLECT, PHYSICAL INJURY, SEXUAL ABUSE OR EMOTIONAL ABUSE inflicted or knowingly not prevented, which cause significant harm or death. NSPCC (1999)

Awareness of actual or likely occurrence of abuse

There are several ways in which abuse can become apparent:

  • A child discloses abuse.
  • Someone else discloses that a child has told him/her or that he/she strongly believes a child has been or is being abused.
  • A child may show signs of physical injury for which there appears to be no satisfactory explanation.
  • A child’s behaviour may indicate that it is likely he/she is being abused.
  • A member of staff’s behaviour or in the way in which he/she relates to a child causes concern.

Awareness of actual or likely occurrence of abuse

Becoming aware of abuse can cause a multitude of emotional reactions, which are personal to everyone. Whatever the reaction and however the abuse has become apparent, actual or suspected, it must be reported in the correct manner according to the procedure outlined here. Even if the truth of the disclosure is uncertain – an appropriate response has to be made.

A response in accordance with the procedure outlined here will be supported by the lead member of staff and ultimately Doceo.

Responsibility

Staff made aware of suspicions, allegations or actual abuse, are responsible to take the appropriate action according to this procedure.

  • The primary responsibility of the person who first suspects or who is told of abuse is to report it to the lead member of staff, and to ensure that their concern is taken seriously whilst adhering to the dos and don’ts below.
  • It is not for staff to decide whether a suspicion or allegation is true.
  • Staff should never try to deal with a suspicion, allegation or actual incident of abuse by him/herself.
  • The safeguarding lead will take responsibility for dealing with allegations or suspicions of abuse, and liaising with appropriate authorities.

What to do upon suspicion or disclosure of abuse

There are some basic principles in reacting to suspicions, allegations, and/or disclosures.

What to do
What not to do

Stay calm, provide a safe, private environment.

Ignore the situation

Take the time to give your full attention; listen, hear, be supportive and show you believe them.

Panic or over-react. It is extremely unlikely that the child is in immediate danger.

Establish the facts and clarify the situation/circumstance. Encourage the child to tell you as much as they feel comfortable to tell you. Let them use their own words.

Make assumptions. Don’t paraphrase or offer alternative explanations.

Try to distinguish if this was a behaviour management incident or something more serious, but do not accuse the child of doing anything wrong, or deserving what happened.

Ask leading questions, or put words in their mouth, this could influence what they say and lead to a false statement.

Use open questions i.e. “Can you tell me more about what happened?”

Push the child if they do not wish to discuss it. Heavily questioning the child may affect how the child’s disclosure is received at a later date.

Give time to the person to say what they want, try not to interrupt.

Make a child repeat a story unnecessarily. This can cause further distress.

Reassure and explain that they have done the right thing in telling someone.

Promise confidentiality to keep secrets or that everything will be ok, you cannot guarantee this.

Explain that only those professionals who need to know will be informed.

Try to deal with it by yourself, it is not your role to counsel the child or investigate his/her claims. Always contact a senior staff member for support.

Act immediately in accordance with the procedure in this policy.

Make negative comments about the alleged abuser. Always remain impartial.

Record in writing asap as verbatim as possible what they said.

Gossip with colleagues about what has been said to you. Only discuss with senior staff that need to be informed.

Report to the lead member of staff in your team.

 Complete an Incident Report

Consider if it is safe and appropriate for the child to go home, or if this may put the child at risk.

What to do upon suspicion or disclosure of abuse

It may sometimes be difficult to accept that something has been disclosed in confidence by a child or anyone else. But the welfare of a child must be paramount and you therefore have a duty to report suspicions, allegations or actual incidents to the designated member of staff.

Information should be reported if you have concerns that a child may be suffering harm or at risk from abuse, even if you are unsure about your suspicions

Once this initial report has been made, the lead member of staff will consult with the relevant statutory agencies within 24 hours, or immediately if the child is in immediate danger. You may or may not be required to discuss your concern/disclosure with the parent if they are the alleged abuser, according to your local Social Services procedures. If the parent is not the named abuser, then ensure they are informed straight away.

Your local contacts are displayed on the Emergency Numbers Poster in the public area of the google drive. These include:

Local Social Services Safeguarding Team & Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team Safeguarding Children’s Board/ MASH – Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub NSPCC Child Protection Help Line  The following information may be required:

  • Staff name, address, telephone number, position/role within the setting.
  • As many details about the child as possible, e.g. name, DOB, address, home telephone number, school, home environment.
  • What the reasons are for making a referral, e.g. suspicion, allegations, disclosure – what has been said, giving details of times and dates and the child’s emotional state, or what the child has said in response to the suspicions/concerns. Make a clear distinction between what is fact, opinion and hearsay.
  • What action has been taken so far.
  • Where possible, a referral to Social Services should be confirmed in writing within 24 hours. Record the name of the Social Services worker, and a case number to be recorded on the Incident Form.

The relevant statutory agency will then give instructions as to what to do next and take the responsibility for further action.

If a member of staff is suspected, alleged or has actually abused a child on the premises or elsewhere, the staff member would be suspended from work immediately and the event fully investigated following our safeguarding policies and procedures. They would report the incident immediately to the:

  • Directors of Doceo
  • Local Safeguarding Children’s Board within 24 hours; in England – specifically the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

The LADO, or equivalent, will provide advice and guidance on how to manage the allegation and check staff have taken all appropriate steps.

The directors would notify Ofsted/Care Inspectorate within 14 days.

Statutory Safeguarding Procedures

What happens next is entirely up to the relevant statutory agency, usually Social Services.

Enough information passed onto the agency may lead to the suspicion, allegation or actual incident, being dealt with quickly with few complications, or it may lead to thorough checks with several other organisations and possibly a safeguarding conference or a visit from an Ofsted/Care Inspectorate Inspector.

A safeguarding conference involves as many people as possible, (including the parents/carers and sometimes the child as well), who discuss the issues that have been raised in the suspicions, allegation or actual abuse that has been reported and investigated. Decisions about what will happen next are made at the conference.

Quite often, the initial person who has made the report may not be contacted again unless further information is required and it is not usual practice for the relevant statutory agency to feed back developments. However, if you feel not enough action has been taken, and the child is still at risk, concerns should be reported again or the NSPCC Child Protection Help Line contacted for advice.

Recording suspected or actual incidents

No matter what happens to a suspicion, allegation or actual incident of abuse, (that is whether or not it is processed through a statutory agency or not), all details must be recorded.

Important information to record includes:

  • The date and time of disclosure, suspicion, allegation or actual abuse incident.
  • Details given to you about the above, e.g. date and time of when things occurred.
  • Any indication of the parties involved.
  • Details of the action that you and the setting have taken.
  • Details of reporting on, e.g. who to (statutory agency) and when.
  • Signature of staff reporting
  • Signature of witnesses (if applicable)
  • Signature of parent if permitted to inform – we would not seek a signature from a parent if a disclosure was made directly about them.

If for any reason it is decided not to consult with a relevant statutory agency, a full explanation of why must be documented.

Recording must be factual, that is no reference made to your subjective opinions.

Records should always be made in pen so they cannot be edited or erased. Records should be kept completely confidential and secure (always locked away) and only shared with those who need to know about the suspicion, allegation or actual incident of abuse.

Incidents should be reported to the directors to be recorded on the Company’s Central Incident Record file.

Emergency Safeguarding Contact Numbers

Nominated child protection lead

The Director is the person responsible for safeguarding in their center – Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO).

Emergency Services: 999 Local Police: 101

Social Services Referral (Normal hours) within 24 hours or immediately if child at risk: Social Services (Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team): Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) within 24 hours of incident involving staff:

Ofsted (England) within 14 days: 0300 123 1231 Care Inspectorate (Scotland) within 14 days: please refer to local district number Scottish Social Services Council: 0345 60 30 891

NSPCC Helpline 

0808 800 5000

We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice annually.