Our setting will work with children, parents and the community to ensure the rights and safety of children, young people and vulnerable adults* and to give them the very best start in life. Our Safeguarding Policy is based on the three key commitments of the Pre-school Learning Alliance Safeguarding Children Policy.
We carry out the following procedures to ensure we meet the three key commitments of the Alliance Safeguarding Children Policy.
Key Commitment 1
We are committed to building a 'culture of safety' in which children, young people and vulnerable adults are protected from abuse and harm in all areas of our service delivery.
Our designated person (a member of staff) who co-ordinates child, young person or adult protection issues is:
Our designated officer (a member of the management team) who oversees this work is: Kate Blackman
The designated person and officer ensure they have links with statutory and voluntary organisations with regard to safeguarding.
We ensure all staff are trained to understand our safeguarding policies and procedures and that parents are made aware of them too.
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 team or the NSPCC.
All staff are confident to ask questions in relation to any safeguarding concerns and know not to just take things at face value but can be respectfully sceptical.
Adequate and appropriate staffing resources are provided to meet the needs of children.
Applicants for posts within the setting are clearly informed that the positions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. 6
Enhanced criminal records and barred lists checks and other suitability checks are carried out for staff and volunteers prior to their post being confirmed, to ensure that no disqualified person or unsuitable person works at the setting or has access to the children.
Where applications are rejected based on information disclosed, applicants have the right to know and to challenge incorrect information.
Enhanced criminal records and barred lists checks are carried out on anyone living or working on the premises.
Volunteers do not work unsupervised.
Information is recorded about staff qualifications, and the identity checks and vetting processes that have been completed including: - the criminal records disclosure reference number; - the date the disclosure was obtained; and - details of who obtained it.
All staff and volunteers are informed 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), if any convictions, cautions, court orders or reprimands and warnings are received during their time of employment, staff will be suspended without pay until the criminal proceedings are finished or a disciplinary hearing is held and concluded.
All staff and volunteers are required to notify us if anyone in their household (including family members, lodgers, partners etc.) has any relevant convictions, court orders, reprimands and warnings or has been barred from, or had registration refused or cancelled in relation to any childcare provision (see above questions), or have had orders made in relation to care of their children.
We notify the Disclosure and Barring Service of any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have led to dismissal for reasons of a child protection concern.
Procedures are in place to record the details of visitors to the setting.
Security steps are taken to ensure that we have control over who comes into the setting so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children.
Steps are taken to ensure children are not photographed or filmed on video 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.
Any personal information is held securely and in line with data protection requirements and guidance from the ICO.
The designated person in the setting has responsibility for ensuring that there is an adequate online safety policy in place.
We keep a written record of all complaints and concerns including details of how they were responded to.
We ensure that robust risk assessments are completed, that they are seen and signed by all relevant staff and that they are regularly reviewed and updated, in line with our health and safety policy.
The designated officer will support the designated person to undertake their role adequately and offer advice, guidance, supervision and support.
The designated person will inform the designated officer at the first opportunity of every significant safeguarding concern, however this should not delay any referrals being made to the children’s social worker services, the LADO, Ofsted or Riddor.
Key commitment 2
We are committed to responding promptly and appropriately to all incidents, allegations or concerns of abuse that may occur and to work with statutory agencies in accordance with the procedures that are set down in 'What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused' (HMG 2015) and ‘No Secrets’ (DoH 2015).
Responding to suspicions of abuse
We acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms - physical, emotional, and sexual, as well as neglect.
We ensure that all staff have an understanding of the additional vulnerabilities that arise from inequalities of race, gender, disability, language, religion, sexual orientation or culture and that these receive full consideration in relation to child, young person or vulnerable adult protection.
When children are suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or experiencing neglect, 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.
We consider factors affecting parental capacity and risk, such as social exclusion, domestic violence, radicalisation, drug or alcohol abuse, mental or physical illness or parent’s learning disability.
We are aware that children’s vulnerability is potentially increased when they are privately fostered and when we know that a child is being cared for under a private fostering arrangement, we inform our local authority children’s social care department.
We are aware of other factors that affect children’s vulnerability that may affect, or may have affected, children and young people using our provision, such as, abuse of disabled children; fabricated or induced illness; child abuse linked to beliefs in spirit possession; sexual exploitation of children, including through internet abuse;
Female Genital Mutilation and Radicalisation or Extremism.
We also make ourselves aware that some children and young people are affected by gang activity, by complex, multiple or organised abuse, through forced marriage or honour based violence or may be victims of child trafficking.
While this may be less likely to affect young children in our care, we may become aware of any of these factors affecting older children and young people who we may come into contact with.
Where we believe that a child in our care or that is known to us may be affected by any of these factors we follow the procedures below for reporting child protection concerns and follow the LSCB procedures.
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 the member of staff who is acting as the 'designated person'. The information is stored on the child's personal file.
In the event that a staff member or volunteer is unhappy with the decision made of the designated person in relation to whether to make a safeguarding referral they must follow escalation procedures.
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 Local Safeguarding Children Board.
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.
We have a whistle blowing policy in place.
Recording suspicions of abuse and disclosures
Where a child makes comments to a member of staff that give cause for concern (disclosure), or a member of staff observes signs or signals that give 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 the date and time; and the names of any other person present at the time.
These records are signed and dated and kept in the child's personal file, which is kept securely and confidentially.
The member of staff acting as the 'designated person' is informed of the issue at the earliest opportunity, and within 1 working day.
Where the 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 Local Safeguarding Children Board.
Making a referral to the local authority children's social care team
The Pre-school Learning Alliance's publication Safeguarding Children contains procedures for making a referral to the local children's social care team, as well as a template form for recording concerns and making a referral.
We keep a copy of this document alongside the procedures for recording and reporting set down by our Local Safeguarding Children Board, which we follow where local procedures differ from those of the Preschool Learning Alliance.
If we feel that a referral made has not been dealt with properly or that concerns are not being addressed or responded to, we will follow the LSCB escalation process.
We will ensure that staff are aware of how to escalate concerns.
Parents are normally the first point of contact. Concerns are discussed with parents to gain their view of events, unless it is felt that this may put the child in greater danger.
Parents are informed 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 Local Safeguarding Children Board 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 If there is a possibility that advising a parent beforehand may place a child at greater risk the designated person should seek advice from children’s social work services, about whether or not to advise parents beforehand, and should record and follow the advice given.
Liaison with other agencies
We work within the Local Safeguarding Children Board guidelines.
The current version of 'What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused' available for parents and staff and all staff are familiar with what they need to do if they have concerns.
We have procedures for contacting the local authority regarding 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 children's social care to work well together.
We notify Ofsted 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, and any specific procedures such as responding to concerns about radicalisation or extremism (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 within 14 days of the allegations being made.
Contact details for the local National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) are also kept.
Allegations against staff
We ensure that all parents know how to complain about the behaviour or actions of staff or volunteers within the setting, 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, volunteer or any other person living or working on the premises, which includes:
- 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 Local Safeguarding Children Board when responding to any complaint that a member of staff or volunteer within the setting, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the setting, has abused a child.
We ensure that all staff or volunteer know how to raise concerns about a member of staff or volunteer within the setting. We respond to any concerns raised by staff and volunteers who know how to escalate their concerns if they are not satisfied with my/our response
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 immediately to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) to investigate.
We also report any such alleged incident to Ofsted, as well as what measures we have taken. We are aware that it is an offence not to do this.
We co-operate entirely with any investigation carried out by children’s social care in conjunction with the police.
Where the management team and children’s social care agree it is appropriate in the circumstances, the member of staff or volunteer will be suspended 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 Disclosure and Barring Service 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.
Key commitment 3
We are committed to promoting awareness of child abuse issues throughout our training and learning programmes for adults. We are also committed to empowering children through our early childhood curriculum, promoting their right to be strong, resilient and listened to.
Training opportunities are sought 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 (including child sexual exploitation) and neglect and that they are aware of the local authority guidelines for making referrals.
Designated persons receive training in accordance with that recommended by the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
We ensure that all staff know the procedures for reporting and recording any concerns they may have about the provision.
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 so that they develop an understanding of why and how to keep safe.
We create within the setting a culture of value and respect for individuals, having positive regard for children's heritage arising from their colour, ethnicity, languages spoken at home, cultural and social background.
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 Local Safeguarding Children Board.
Support to families
We believe in building trusting and supportive relationships with families, staff and volunteers.
We make clear to parents our role and responsibilities in relation to child protection, such as for the reporting of concerns, information sharing, 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 Local Safeguarding Children Board.