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1.5.11 Guidance for Writing Child Protection Policy and Procedures

This chapter was added to the procedures manual in October 2017.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Writing a Policy Statement
  3. Writing Process
  4. Sample Policy Statement


1. Introduction

Children and young people from every community can be hurt, put at risk of harm or abused, regardless of their age, religion or ethnicity. In our work and contact with children we all have a responsibility to keep them safe from harm. Safeguarding is about trying to make sure that children do not get harmed, and knowing what to do if anyone in your organisation is worried about a child. Making sure your organisation has safeguards in place:

  • Protects children and young people from harm and abuse;
  • Enables staff and volunteers to know what to do if they are worried;
  • Shows that your organisation is responsible.

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 sets out the arrangements for how all organisations and groups must work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

This guidance derives from the NSPCC Safeguarding Tool and will assist you to formulate a child protection policy for your organisation.


2. Writing a Policy Statement

A policy statement makes it clear to staff, parents and children what the organisation thinks about safeguarding, and what it will do to keep children safe. It should be no longer than one or two sides of A4 paper.

A policy statement sets out:

  • What the organisation wishes to say about keeping children safe;
  • Why the organisation is taking these steps;
  • How in broad terms the organisation is going to meet this responsibility;
  • Who it applies and relates to e.g. all staff and volunteers, children up to 18 years old;
  • How the organisation will action the policy and how it links to the wider safeguarding policies and procedures e.g. taking photographs and videos, internet use, safe recruitment.

The policy statement should also:

  • Identify the organisation, its purpose and its function;
  • Recognise the needs of children from minority ethnic groups and disabled children and the barriers they may face, especially around communication;
  • Briefly state the main law and guidance that supports the policy.

Your organisation will also need to demonstrate how it will ensure that everyone, including children, are aware of and understands the organisations safeguarding responsibilities. This needs to explain how you will tell everyone about the safeguards, including disabled people and people who use different languages.


3. Writing Process

A safeguarding procedure sets out a detailed process that tells everyone what to do if they are concerned about a child. It is very important to have clear instructions to ensure that there is a speedy and effective response for dealing with concerns about a child or young person.

Think about the ways in which worries might be raised as this will help the procedures to work well. For instance:

  • A child may tell you about something that has upset or harmed them, or what has happened to another child;
  • Someone else might report that a child has told them or that they strongly believe that a child has been or is being harmed in some way;
  • A child might show signs of physical injury for which there appears to be no satisfactory explanation;
  • A child’s behaviour may suggest he or she is being abused;
  • The behaviour or attitude of one of the workers toward a child worries you or makes you feel uncomfortable in some way;
  • You witness worrying behaviour from one child to another.

3.1 All children have the right to be protected

Your organisation needs to make sure that all children have the same protection. Children who have a disability or come from a different ethnic or cultural group can easily become victims of discrimination and prejudice. Any discrimination is harmful to a child’s well-being, and may mean that they do not obtain the services they need to keep them safe. Children from all cultures may be subject to abuse and neglect and your organisation should be sensitive to differing family patterns and life styles, they must be clear that child abuse cannot be condoned for religious or cultural reasons.

Where appropriate you will need to have the procedures written in different languages for anyone whose preferred language is not English, or in other formats for disabled people, for example Braille or large text.

When writing your procedures, use the sections below as headings and then write your own responses underneath them. The procedures must include:

  • Purpose and aim of the procedures: Do they apply to everyone within the organisation? For example, they should include all those in contact with children, even if it isn’t their main job to look after them – like the caretaker, for example;
  • A description of the different categories of abuse (Working Together to Safeguard Children, 2015): The four categories of abuse are physical, emotional, sexual abuse, and neglect;
  • How to recognise the signs of abuse: Give brief examples of the signs and indicators which might give you cause for concern (see also Cardiff CORE INFO / NSPCC Leaflets);
  • How to respond to signs or suspicions of abuse: Include all details of who should tell whom, what the named person will do, and the actions to take, including contact numbers. It should be clear who staff, parents and children should talk to if they are worried. See also Local Contacts;
  • How to respond to allegations of abuse against a member of staff other worker or volunteer: Explain who should tell whom, and what action to take including contact numbers, for example Designated Officer;
  • How to respond to a child telling you about abuse: Include what to do and say;
  • How to respond to allegations of abuse against someone who is not working in the organisation: A parent or carer, another child, school teacher or anybody else;
  • How information will be recorded: Include how information will be recorded and by whom, how long it will be kept and where it will be stored confidentially;
  • Confidentiality policy: The legal principal is that the “welfare of the child is paramount” means that taking action to safeguard the child is most important. Privacy and confidentiality should be respected, but if doing this leaves a child at risk of harm, the child’s safety has to come first. So, legally, it is fine to share information if someone else is worried about the safety of a child. When a concern or worry is raised, not everyone needs to know about it. This respects the child’s family’s and/or staff’s rights to privacy. So only people who need to know should be told about it. Otherwise there might be gossip and rumours or other people may be genuinely concerned. It is fine to say that a concern has been raised and it is being dealt with following the group’s procedures.
  • Risk assessment: Is an important step in protecting your workers and your business, as well as complying with the law. It helps you focus on the risks that really matter in your organisation – the ones with the potential to cause real harm. In many instances, straightforward measures can readily control risks, for example ensuring spillages are cleaned up promptly so people do not slip, or cupboard drawers are kept closed to ensure people do not trip. For most, that means simple, cheap and effective measures to ensure your most valuable asset – organisation – is protected;
  • Safe recruitment: Services or groups whose staff and volunteers work closely with children must have policies and procedures in place to deter those who are unsuitable to work with children. Common features might include:
    • Disclosure and Barring Service checks;
    • Candidates to confirm identity;
    • Verifying authenticity of qualifications and references directly;
    • Seeking a full employment history for prospective staff and reserving the right to approach any previous employer;
    • Making appointments only after references and checks are obtained;
    • Making all appointments to work with children subject to a probationary period.
  • Training: Services and groups are responsible for ensuring that their staff and volunteers understand their safeguarding responsibilities and are skilled and confident. Training is provided by Northumberland Safeguarding Children Board. Details can be found on the NSCB website;
  • A code of behaviour/conduct for everyone: It is a good idea to think about how you expect everyone to behave in your organisation. This includes staff, volunteers, parents and the children themselves. It is important that a code of behaviour reflects the child centred principles of the organisation. It should be made known to all children, young people and adults and, where possible, it should be prominently displayed, perhaps on a poster. A code of conduct should include positive statements about:
    • Listening to children;
    • Valuing and respecting children as individuals;
    • Involving children in decision making as appropriate;
    • Encouraging and praising children;
    • Everyone involved with your organisation, including staff, volunteers, children and young people, must be made aware of guidelines on safe practice and unacceptable behaviour.


4. Sample Policy Statement

We recognise that:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount;
  • All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse;
  • Working in partnership with children, young people and their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

The purpose of the policy:

  • To provide protection for the children and young people who receive (organisations name) services, including the children of adult member or users;
  • To provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of harm;
  • The policy applies to all staff, including senior managers, board of trustees, paid staff, volunteers, sessional workers, agency staff, students, or anyone working on behalf of (organisation’s name).

We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:

  • Valuing them, listening to and respecting them;
  • Adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers;
  • Recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made;
  • Sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers;
  • Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately;
  • Providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training (list of training available on NSCB website).

Sample information for code of conduct/behaviour

When working with children and young people, it is important to:

  • Operate within (name of group/organisation)’s principles and guidance and any specific procedures;
  • Follow the (name of group/organisation)’s child protection policy and procedures at all times;
  • Listen to and respect children at all times;
  • Avoid favouritism;
  • Treat children and young people fairly and without prejudice or discrimination;
  • Value and take children’s contributions seriously, actively involving children and young people in planning activities wherever possible;
  • Ensure any contact with children and young people is appropriate and in relation to the work of the project;
  • Always ensure language is appropriate and not offensive or discriminatory;
  • Follow the ICT safety policy and report any breaches;
  • Always ensure equipment is used safely and for its intended purpose;
  • Provide examples of good conduct you wish children and young people to follow;
  • Challenge unacceptable behaviour and report all allegations/suspicions of abuse;
  • Ensure that whenever possible, there is more than one adult present during activities with children and young people or if this isn’t possible, that you are within sight or hearing of other adults;
  • Be close to where others are working. If a child specifically asks for or needs some private time with you, ensure other staff should know where you and the child are;
  • Respect a young person’s right to personal privacy;
  • Encourage young people and adults to feel comfortable and caring enough to point out attitudes or behaviour they do not like;
  • Recognise that special caution is required when you are discussing sensitive issues with children or young people.

You must not:

  • Patronise or treat children and young people as if they are silly;
  • Allow allegations to go unreported;
  • Develop inappropriate relationships such as contact with children and young people that is not a part of the work of (name of group/organisation) or agreed with the manager or leader;
  • Conduct a sexual relationship with a child or young person or indulge in any form of sexual contact with a child or young person. Any such behaviour between an adult member of staff or volunteer and a child or young person using the services of (name of group/organisation) represents a serious breach of trust on the part of the staff member or volunteer and is not acceptable under any circumstances;
  • Let children and young people have your personal contact details (mobile number or address);
  • Make sarcastic, insensitive, derogatory or sexually suggestive comments or gestures to or in front of children and young people;
  • Act in a way that can be perceived as threatening or intrusive;
  • Make inappropriate promises to children and young people, particularly in relation to confidentiality;
  • Jump to conclusions about others without checking facts either exaggerate or trivialise child abuse issues;
  • Rely on your reputation or that of the organisation to protect you take unnecessary risks when common sense, policy or practice suggests a more prudent approach;
Adopt an attitude of complacency with regard to your own conduct.

End