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Child protection safeguarding guidance (March 2013)

For Education and Lifelong Learning Services.

1. Introduction

This guidance document has been produced on the basis of supporting good practice within Education and Lifelong Learning in relation to safeguarding and child protection. This guidance clearly defines the expectation on schools and education support services to have in place safeguarding policies and procedures, which are in keeping with local and national procedures and guidance.

The council places significant emphasis on the need for equality of opportunity to permeate all child related activities, and will continue to promote and develop its role as an advocate and protector of those who face special difficulties in realising their full potential.

The council takes seriously its role and responsibilities to protect and safeguard the wellbeing and interests of all children in its care. Its role in protecting children and young people from exploitation and or abuse will not and cannot be underestimated.

Dealing with the safety and protection of children and young people is a demanding and difficult area of work. these difficulties and demands are balanced out with rewarding times, when staff work together to successfully support and protect children and young people. The council recognises these factors and aims to ensure that all staff working the local authority area having contact with children and young people will be provided with appropriate training, guidance and direction in this sensitive but essential area.

It is well documented that effective safeguarding work requires clear and sound procedures, good inter-agency collaboration and co-operation, and requires those who work in this area to be competent and confident in recognising and responding to child protection situations.

In producing this guidance the local authority will draw upon the experience, procedures and practices of those professionals who work with children in education, social, health and other related settings. This guidance is also informed by known good practice within the City and County of Swansea and on a national basis, and is in line with Swansea / Western Bay Safeguarding Children Board (S/WBSCB) policies, protocols and procedures.

2. Role of local authority

Sections 27 and 47 of the Children Act place duties on local authorities to assist local social services acting on behalf of children and young people in need or who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.

Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 requires local authorities and governing bodies of maintained schools and further education institutions to make arrangements to ensure that their functions are carried out with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.

For the purpose of this document the description of a child is a person up to the age of 18 years of age, this is as described in the All Wales Child Protection Procedures 2008.

In addition to this statutory duty, there exists a corporate and pastoral responsibility, which recognises that all children and young people who need to or use the services provided by Swansea Council have a fundamental right to be protected from harm.

This guidance is designed to reaffirm those responsibilities, and endeavours to ensure that all staff when working with or on behalf of children and young people in Swansea are aware of the need to act in a consistent manner to enhance the welfare and safety of children.

In meeting this, the local authority will ensure that the Child Protection Officer for Education reports to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) for Education on a regular basis on matters relating to child protection within Swansea. The local authority also take seriously its responsibilities to address practice, policy and training issues for all educational establishments within the City and County of Swansea. The Senior Leadership Team of the Education department will actively support and promote the work of the S/WBSCB.

3. Purpose of guidance

This guidance aims to provide a framework which ensures that policies and practices within the Education and Lifelong Learning services are consistent and in line with stated values which underpin all work with children and young people. As such, this document provides a context for establishing good practice in all matters relating to the protection and care of children.

This document also endeavours to make clear to all Swansea Council staff in the Education and Lifelong Learning services their professional responsibilities to ensure that statutory and other duties are met in accordance with all local and national requirements and procedures.

4. Underpinning values

Overarching value: The welfare of the child is paramount.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) have identified 7 core aims which are:

  1. Have a flying start in life;
  2. Have a comprehensive range of education and learning opportunities;
  3. Enjoy the best possible health and are free from abuse, victimisation and exploitation;
  4. Have access to play, leisure, sporting and cultural activities;
  5. Are listened to, treated with respect, and have their race and cultural identity recognised;
  6. Have a safe home and a community which supports physical and emotional wellbeing; and
  7. Are not disadvantaged by poverty.

Other underpinning values:

  • Children have a right to be treated with respect and dignity, as do the adults who work with them.
  • It is the responsibility of all adults to protect children.
  • All adults working on a paid or voluntary basis within education and link organisations will have a responsibility to protect children from harm when and wherever they are in a position to do so.
  • All children should have the opportunity to raise concerns, express their views and contribute and comment on decisions taken about their lives, when and where possible and appropriate.
  • All work with children and young people will be informed by equal opportunities and anti-oppressive practice, and will reflect the diversity of needs of the communities that we serve.
  • All those working with or on behalf of children and young people must reflect and promote the value of 'working together' with parents, colleagues and other agencies in order to create safe environments and protect children from harm.

5. Policies, procedures and practice

Each establishment, organisation or service falling within the education department's area of responsibility and involve contact with children and young people, will ensure that there are designated staff who are competent to respond to child protection situations and concerns when and wherever they may arise. It is a recommendation of the local authority that a named deputy designated person is nominated within all establishments to be able to provide cover in times of absence of the designated person.

Within these establishments, organisations and services, there will be a written Child Protection Policy. A template document has been drawn up by the local authority which can be adapted and tailored to suit the individual needs of each school, establishment, organisation etc. A copy of this document is attached at Appendix A (PDF) [269KB]. This document will reflect the guidance and advice received from national and local sources, in particular, the All Wales Child Protection Procedures (AWCPP) (April 2008), Safeguarding Children in Education (April 2008) and associated policy and procedures that have been agreed by the S/WBSCB.

In addition to the template document the local authority has produced an Information and Guidance booklet for Schools (March 2011). Copies of this booklet have been distributed to all schools and establishments in Swansea to distribute to all members of staff. Within this booklet there is information on dealing with concerns about colleagues, guidelines for the designated member of staff, storage and transfer of records and contact details and information for the Children's Central Advice Referral and Assessment Team.

Governors Wales have developed a fact file on whistleblowing. In addition, Governors Wales procedures for school staff and a model policy for governing bodies to adopt, which was published on 3 December 2007 (Circ. 36/2007) can be found on the Governors Wales website.

6. Code of conduct

All adults working in Swansea in either a paid or voluntary capacity will adhere to specific codes of conduct that are clearly stated within each establishment's policy. This expectation in regard to the code of conduct will be emphasised at the beginning of employment or period of voluntary support to each individual.

Such codes of behaviour are intended to safeguard the wellbeing of children and offer protection to adults whose vulnerability in some situations is recognised.

7. Records and record keeping

Well kept records are essential in situations where it is suspected or believed that a child may be at risk of harm or likely to be at risk of harm.

All establishments, organisations and services will be required to maintain accurate and relevant child protection records. These records will be kept in a secure place but separate from all other records pertaining to the child. these 'child protection records' will be accessed and maintained by the designated person/s only. The establishment, organisation or service may have a named deputy designated person who will have access to records in times of need.

Each establishment, organisation or service will need to include in their policy specific procedures for the transfer of sensitive records as and when required. Within schools the local authority has provided a policy and procedures which are to be followed when sensitive records need to be transferred.

Child protection records are subject to the arrangements for maintaining confidentiality and storage within that establishment. The records will be kept for a period of not less than 7 years after the 18th birthday of the child.

The sharing of information or records will be subject to the agreed City and County of Swansea and S/WBSCB protocols and procedures.

Each establishment, organisation or service will keep and maintain records which detail allegations of abuse against any member of staff working for them, whether in a paid or voluntary capacity, whatever the outcome. There are clear requirements to deal with information sharing with legal or statutory organisations, for example ISA and the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW). Advice and guidance for the sharing of this specific information is available from the Human Resources department.

8. Recruitment, supervision and support of staff

Over recent years there has been an increased awareness of the possibility of abuse by people in positions of trust and therefore the need for careful and thorough recruitment and selection of staff is essential. It will be necessary for those responsible for employing and selection of staff to take every precaution to ensure thorough vetting procedures are conducted. Care must be taken to ensure that all details are checked and that references are taken up, obtained and checked. Further guidance and support can be obtained by contacting the local authority's Human Resources department who offer training for headteachers and governors on safe recruitment.

The School and Governor Support Unit will maintain a record of headteachers and chairs of governors who have attended safe recruitment training and remind headteachers and chairs of governors to attend updated training on a three year rolling programme basis. Where governors are involved in recruitment but have not attended safe recruitment training the headteacher will take responsibility to cascade information relating to safe recruitment to appointment panel members.

The potential employer will need to undertake enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for all staff and to comply with the Disclosure and Barring Service (December 2012) requirements for those intending to work with children. It is policy within the City and County of Swansea that DBS are renewed every three years.

All establishments, organisations or services must also ensure that all staff that work with children have access to appropriate induction, training, supervision and support.

9. Training

Headteachers and managers will need to ensure that all staff have access to training that is relevant and appropriate to their role. It is recommended that all staff receive updated child protection training at a period deemed necessary by the individual headteacher or manager. Swansea operates a three year rolling programme for training and all staff should attend training at least every three years if not sooner. These training courses will enhance knowledge and ability to recognise and respond to situations where children have been harmed or likely to be harmed and considered to be at risk.

The authority provides training through its Child Protection Officer and endeavours to ensure that any training offered compliments and supports the work of the S/WBSCB as identified by its sub group for training which is part of the Regional Training group.

Staff should be clear about their role and responsibilities in regards to the protection of children and are aware and understand the role of their colleagues, including others from supporting agencies.

10. Links with other policies, legislation and guidance

This guidance should be considered within the context of other policies that pertain to work with children and young people. Staff will need to be aware and consider how other issues can and do have a bearing on child protection situations such as drug and alcohol misuse, domestic abuse, mental health issues. etc.

 

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Last modified on 30 June 2022