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London Safeguarding Children Board: Child Protection Procedures 5th Edition London SCB Powered by tri.x Powered by tri.x
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Appendix 2: Third sector agencies or community groups keeping children safe

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1.1

Where an agency or community group is responsible for bringing together children and adults, that agency / group must exercise its responsibilities to ensure that the children are safe and protected from avoidable harm.

1.2

To achieve this all such agencies and community groups should have in place the following:


Child protection policies

1.3

Each agency / group should to develop and publish internal policies, which recognise the agency /group's responsibilities to the children with whom it works and be consistent with the London Child Protection Procedures. These policies should:

  • Express the agency/group's commitment to protecting and promoting the welfare of the children with whom it works;
  • Recognise the necessity of working with those agencies charged with statutory child protection duties;
  • Confirm its commitment to ensure that recruitment and working practices reflect these ambitions.


Child protection procedures

1.4

Each agency / group is expected to develop and publish internal procedures for all of its professional, paid and volunteer staff detailing actions to be taken whenever there is a concern that a child's welfare might be at risk. Such procedures must be consistent with:

  • The London Child Protection Procedures;
  • Relevant legislation;
  • Good practice guidance for the area of activity.


Code of good practice

1.5

Each agency / group should develop and publish guidance for all of its staff and / or volunteers based upon existing codes and practice guidance for the specified area of activity. A code of good practice should:

  • Identify the expected behaviours of responsible adults when supervising, teaching, coaching or providing support to children, in both formal and informal settings;
  • Specify desirable staff and gender ratios and how these may be achieved;
  • Recognise and address issues of power, gender, sexuality and sexual orientation and place emphasis on practice that both protects children and promotes their self-esteem and development.

1.6

Adherence to the code of good practice by all staff / volunteers should be compulsory. Failure to follow the code of good practice without prior authorisation from senior personnel must result in an immediate enquiry.


Recruitment selection and vetting procedures

1.7

See Safer Recruitment Procedure and Allegations against staff or volunteers, who work with children Procedure.

1.8

Each agency / group is expected to develop and publish its selection and recruitment policies and practices which are designed to identify and exclude any persons who may present a risk to children. Such policies and practices must be consistent with all relevant legislation.

1.9

Designated Child Care Agencies (Protection of Children Act 1999) have statutory responsibilities where staff or volunteers are specifically recruited to have direct contact with children. They qualify for access to the Criminal Records Bureau.

1.10

Other agencies, i.e. those which are not regulated by the Act but which also care for children, should provide for the vetting of all potential staff and volunteers and will arrange for access to the Criminal Records Bureau through a registered agency / group.

1.11

All agencies should ensure that a minimum of two character / employment references are sought for anyone seeking to work in direct contact with children. References should not be received directly from potential employees or volunteers without active checking of their authenticity.

1.12

In addition all agencies must have in place routine systems for continually monitoring the performance of employees and volunteers ensuring compliance to both child protection procedures and the codes of good practice.


Staff / volunteer training strategy and implementation

1.13

See Learning and development - interagency training Procedure (to follow).

1.14

Each agency / group should develop and promote a written strategy for ensuring that all staff receive appropriate training in the recognition and response to potential child protection concerns and the operation of their child protection policies and procedures.


designated safeguarding children professional

1.15

Each agency / group is expected to nominate and train a leader / senior manager / volunteer co-ordinator to the position of designated safeguarding children professional, with specific responsibility for all matters in relation to child protection.

  • To provide a single point of contact between the child protection agencies (the police and LA children's social care);
  • To provide internal expert consultation to staff with concerns.

1.16

It is likely that this person will also have responsibilities for an overview of all of the Local Safeguarding Children Board requirements. However the nomination of such a person should not diminish the corporate responsibilities of all leaders / managers / governing bodies in such agencies to ensure that child protection and child welfare issues are regularly revisited and reviewed.


Equal opportunities policy

1.17

Each agency / group should develop and publish a statement of its equal opportunities policy. Such a policy should ensure that no child is discriminated against on the grounds of race, gender, culture, sexual orientation, economic status or ability (other than where such a distinction is an inherent part of the activity e.g. gender specific activities, religious observance or competitive sports). The policy should address both the corporate and personal responsibilities of agencies and staff, to ensure that all children are treated with respect and encourage to treat their peers similarly.


Complaints and grievance policies

1.18

See Local Safeguarding Children Boards Procedure.

1.19

Each agency / group should develop and publish a procedure by which aggrieved children, parents may make representations should they believe that they have been subject to discriminatory, abusive or inappropriate treatment. The procedures must provide for an element of independent review and for adequate redress where a complaint is substantiated.


Confidentiality policy

1.20

See Sharing Information Procedure.

1.21

Each agency / group should develop and publish a confidentiality policy which details how any information regarding children and their families will be held and under what circumstances such information may be shared with other agencies. The policies must be in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998.


Whistle-blowing policy

1.22

See Local Safeguarding Children Boards Procedure.

1.23

Each agency / group should develop and publish a whistle-blowing policy which provides a method for staff, volunteers or service users to make known any concerns that they may have about the behaviour of any other person within the agency / group. Such policies will detail how such matters will be handled and investigated. Such policies must be framed in accordance with the Human Rights Act 1998, Data Protection Act 1998 and Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.


Information for parents

1.24

See Sharing Information Procedure.

1.25

Each agency / group and agency/group should publish information for the parents of children with whom it has contact. This information should include:

  • Details of the child protection policies and procedures of the agency / group;
  • Advice to parents about how any concerns about children will be dealt with;
  • Advice to parents about how they may make representations of complaints if they have any concerns about the treatment of their children.


Monitoring and review strategy

1.26

See Local Safeguarding Children Boards Procedure.

1.27

Each agency / group should put into place a strategy for the routine monitoring of its child protection policies and practices. As a minimum this may take the form of an annual review of the child protection policies (relevance, compliance and outcomes) by the senior management team of the agency / group reporting to either the chief executive or management committee / governing body.


2.

Guidance - Home Office and Charity Commission

 

2.1

In 1993 the Home Office produced Safe from Harm - a Code of Practice for Safeguarding the Welfare of Children in Voluntary Organisations in England and Wales. This continues to be the only Home Office guidance that is available to voluntary agencies in England and Wales and as such, its 13 key recommendations are listed here. It is appropriate to re-visit this guidance, nevertheless agencies should keep in mind it needs updating in the light of all the developments over the past ten years.

2.2

Safe from Harm recommends that agencies and community groups:

  1. Adopt a policy statement on safeguarding and the welfare of children;
  2. Plan the work of the organisation so as to minimise situations where the abuse of children may occur;
  3. Introduce a system whereby children may talk with an independent adult;
  4. Apply agreed procedures for protecting children to all paid staff and volunteers;
  5. Give all paid staff and volunteers clear roles;
  6. Use supervision as a means of protecting children;
  7. Treat all would-be paid staff and volunteers as job applicants for any position involving contact with children;
  8. Gain at least one reference from a person who has experience of the applicants paid work or volunteering with children;
  9. Explore all applicants' experience of working or contact with children in an interview before appointment;
  10. Find out whether an applicant has any convictions for criminal offences against children;
  11. Make paid and voluntary appointments conditional on the successful completion of a probationary period;
  12. Issue guidelines on how to deal with the disclosure or discovery of abuse;
  13. Train paid staff and volunteers, their line managers or supervisors and policy makers in the prevention of child abuse.

2.3

See also the Charity Commission guidance: Safeguarding Children: Protecting children in your organisation (March 2009) at the Charity Commission website. The Guidance sets out best practice for charities in relation to child protection policy, procedures and systems.