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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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3. Roles and responsibilities

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Contents

3.1

Introduction

3.2

Statutory duties

3.3

Responsibilities shared by all agencies

 

3.3.1

Systems and arrangements

 

3.3.2

Professional competence

 

3.3.3

Competence in using the CAF

 

3.3.4

Being alert to children missing or not enrolled at a school

 

3.3.5

Designated safeguarding children professional

 

3.3.16

Out-of-hours services

 

3.3.17

Working with the public / local communities

3.4

LA children's service authorities

3.5

LA children's social care

 

3.5.9

Standards in LA children's social care

3.6

LA adult social care

3.7

LA housing authorities and social landlords

 

3.7.2

Sharing information

 

3.7.4

Identifying need

 

3.7.7

Health and safety

 

3.7.9

Children and families in temporary accommodation

 

3.7.12

Registered social landlords

3.8

LA environmental health and planning services

 

3.8.3

Sharing information

 

3.8.6

Identifying need

 

3.8.9

Health and safety

3.9

LA sport, culture, play and leisure

 

3.9.8

Youth services

3.10

LA education

 

3.10.7

Early years services

 

3.10.11

Office for standards in education, children's services and skills (Ofsted)

 

3.10.18

Schools and further education Institutions

 

3.10.28

Bullying

 

3.10.30

Discrimination

 

3.10.33

Non-maintained schools and further education (FE) institutions

 

3.10.36

LA school transport services

 

3.10.41

LA education welfare service

3.11

The National Health Service (NHS) and independent / third sector health services in London

 

3.11.1

Part 1: Introduction

 

3.11.10

Part 2: Commissioning Responsibilities

 

3.11.21

Part 3: Safeguarding Responsibilities for all Health Services

 

3.11.41

Part 4: Additional safeguarding responsibilities for NHS Trusts, Mental Health Trusts and Foundation Trusts

 

3.11.53

Part 5: Safeguarding Responsibilities for all Healthcare Staff

 

3.11.58

Part 6: Additional Safeguarding Responsibilities for Healthcare Staff Working in Specific Services

3.12

The Metropolitan Police Service

 

3.12.1

Territorial police (also known as Borough Police)

 

3.12.7

Criminal investigations

 

3.12.12

Child Abuse Investigation Teams (CAITs)

3.13

Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS)

3.14

National Probation Service (London Area) and London Community Rehabilitation Companies

3.15

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)

3.16

The Prison Service and high security hospitals

3.17

The secure estate for children

 

3.17.8

Young Offender institutions

 

3.17.11

Secure Training Centres

 

3.17.14

Local authority secure children's homes

 

3.17.16

Youth Offending Teams

3.18

The Armed Services

 

3.18.4

Within United Kingdom

 

3.18.6

The Army

 

3.18.8

The Royal Air Force

 

3.18.11

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines

 

3.18.13

Overseas

 

3.18.20

United States Forces, London

 

3.18.22

United States Navy, London

3.19

The UK Visas and Immigration

 

3.19.5

Trafficked persons including children

3.20

The Refugee Council

3.21

London Fire Brigade (London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority)

3.22

Transport for London

3.23

The independent and third sectors

 

3.23.11

NSPCC

 

3.23.16

Sports clubs

 

3.23.21

Churches, other places of worship and faith communities


3.1

Introduction

 

3.1.1

This section outlines the main roles and responsibilities of statutory agencies, professionals and the third sector in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.


3.2

Statutory duties

 

Duty to safeguard children and promote the welfare of children

3.2.1

'Safeguarding children is everyone's responsibility'

Professionals in all agencies that work with children and / or adults Making Arrangements to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children (2007) who have parenting responsibilities share a commitment to safeguard and promote their welfare, and for many agencies this is underpinned by a statutory duty or duties. Local authorities which are children's services authorities have a number of specific duties to organise and plan services and safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

3.2.2

Local authorities, district councils, NHS bodies, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), NHS trusts, and NHS foundation trusts, the Police including the British Transport Police, probation and prison services (under the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) structure), Youth Offending Teams (YOTs), and secure training centres – the relevant partners – have a duty under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

3.2.3

Guidance for these agencies about their duty under s11 is contained in Making Arrangements to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children (DfES 2007).

3.2.4

Local authorities also have a duty to carry out their functions under the Education Acts with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children under s175 of the Education Act 2002. Under s175 of the Education Act 2002, maintained (state) schools and Further Education (FE) institutions, including Sixth Form Colleges, also have a  duty to exercise their functions with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of their pupils (students under 18 years of age in the case of FE institutions).

The same duty is put on Independent schools, including Academies, Free Schools and technology colleges, by regulations made under s157 of the 2002 Act.

3.2.5

Guidance to local authorities, schools, and FE institutions about these duties is in Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education and Dealing with allegations of abuse.

3.2.6

In addition, under s87 of the Children Act 1989 independent schools which provide accommodation for children also have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of those pupils. Boarding schools, residential special schools, and further education institutions which provide accommodation for children under 18 must have regard to the respective National Minimum Standards for their establishment. See www.ofsted.gov.uk.

3.2.7

Early years providers have a duty under Section 40 of the Childcare Act 2006 to comply with the welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

3.2.8

The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) also has a duty under s12(1) of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children involved in family proceedings in which their welfare is, or may be, in question.


Duty to co-operate to safeguard and promote the welfare of children

3.2.9

Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places duties on a range of organisations and individuals to ensure their functions, and any services that they contract out to others, are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.


2.3

Responsibilities shared by all agencies

 

Systems and arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children

3.3.1

To fulfil their responsibilities to safeguard and promote the welfare of children all organisations that provide services for children, parents or families, or work with children, should have in place:

  • Clear priorities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children explicitly stated in key policy documents and commissioning strategies;
  • Clear commitment by senior management to the importance of safeguarding and promoting children's welfare through both the commissioning and the provision of services;
  • A culture of listening to and engaging in dialogue with children – seeking their views in ways appropriate to their age and understanding, and taking account of those both in individual decisions and the establishment or development and improvement of services;
  • A clear line of accountability and governance within and across organisations for the commissioning and provision of services designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • Recruitment and human resources management procedures and commissioning processes, including contractual arrangements, that take account of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including arrangements for appropriate checks on new staff and volunteers and adoption of best practice in the recruitment of new staff and volunteers (see Safer Recruitment Procedure);
  • A clear understanding of how to work together to help keep children safe in relation to the new technologies by being adequately equipped to understand, identify and mitigate the risks of new technology;
  • Procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff and volunteers or, for commissioners, contractual arrangements with providers that ensure these procedures are in place;
  • Arrangements to ensure that all staff undertake appropriate training to equip them to carry out their responsibilities effectively (including training to follow these London Child Protection Procedures), and keep this up to date by refresher training at regular intervals; and that all staff, including temporary staff and volunteers who work with children, are made aware of both the establishment's arrangements and their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children (see Learning and development - to follow);
  • Staff receive regular supervision, sufficient to support staff to recognise children in need of support and / or safeguarding, and which is appropriate to their responsibilities within the organisation (see Learning and development - to follow);
  • Policies for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children (for example, pupils/students), including a child protection policy in line with these London Child Protection Procedures, which are known and easily accessible to all staff. Also, effective complaints procedures and procedures that are in accordance with guidance from the local authority and locally agreed inter-agency procedures;
  • Their agency has internal safeguarding children policies and procedures, which are in line with these London Child Protection Procedures, which are known and easily accessible to all staff;
  • Staff have easy access during service delivery times to the agency's designated safeguarding children professional(and in the NHS, also access to their organisations designated safeguarding children professionals and the CCG designated safeguarding children professionals);
  • Arrangements to work effectively with other organisations to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, including arrangements for sharing information; and
  • Arrangements for effective internal and external challenge, conflict resolution and complaint in relation to delivery of services (see Local Safeguarding Children Boards Procedure).
  • Appropriate whistle blowing procedures and a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children to be addressed.


Staff / professional competence

3.3.2

All agencies whose staff come into contact with children in their daily activities, and / or who provide services to adults who are parents, must ensure their staff are familiar with these London Child Protection Procedures. The agencies and the professionals themselves must ensure that they are competent to:


Competence in using the CAF

3.3.3

All agencies whose staff come into contact with children in their daily activities, and / or who provide services to adults who are parents, must ensure their staff are aware of the local Early Help services, the Threshold Document and the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) and how it is used, and that there are enough people in their agency with the necessary skills, training and support to undertake an Early Assessment and/or a CAF. Professionals' understanding should reflect that the CAF form is not a referral form, although it may be used to support a referral or specialist assessment. The absence of a CAF should not be a barrier to accessing services.


Being alert to children missing or not enrolled at a school

3.3.4

Professionals in all agencies providing services to children and families should be alert to:

  • A parent being accompanied by their child/ren during school hours;
  • A child who has not attended school for a while or is not on a school roll (this information may be disclosed).

In these cases, professionals should ask for the child's address and date of birth, and refer the information to the local authority education service for the area indicated by the child's address see Children Missing from Care, Home and Education Procedure.


Designated safeguarding children professional

3.3.5

All agencies working with children or with adults who are parents must appoint one or more senior members of staff, or clinician, nurse, governor and / or volunteer, to lead on all safeguarding children issues for the agency. Where there is only one designated safeguarding children professional, the agency should appoint a deputy to cover absences.

3.3.6

Appointment as a designated safeguarding children professional does not, in itself, signify responsibility personally for providing a full service for child protection. This will usually be done through the agency's safeguarding children arrangements.

3.3.7

The designated safeguarding children professional must be fully conversant with their agency's safeguarding and child protection accountability structures.

3.3.8

The designated safeguarding children professionals and deputies should be provided with relevant child protection training. Designated safeguarding children professionals and their deputies must undergo regular supervision and refresher training in child protection.

3.3.9

Examples of persons who may be designated safeguarding children professional/s include:

  • Schools – a member of the senior management team (usually a qualified teacher) and a governor;
  • Health services – designated and named doctors and designated and named nurses:
    • A lead board level director;
    • A senior lead for children in service planning and commissioning;
    • A public health professional for safeguarding children;
    • A named midwife (in maternity services);
    • A health professional or social worker (in Mental Health Trusts).
  • Local authority – a designated safeguarding children professional in each department / service (children's social care, education, housing leisure etc.);
  • Third sector – in large agencies a specialist person, in small agencies, the manager or leader and in all agencies, a trustee / board member or equivalent;
  • Police – a designated safeguarding children officer in each Borough Command Unit and from the respective Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT).

3.3.10

The term designated safeguarding children professional, as it is used in these London Child Protection Procedures, describes persons appointed at an operational, strategic or commissioning level or with responsibilities encompassing elements of operations, strategy, commissioning or providing consultation and advice.

3.3.11

At an operational level, in general, a designated safeguarding children professional's responsibilities include:

  • Ensuring these London Child Protection Procedures and the agency specific procedures are easily accessible to all staff and volunteers;
  • Keeping all staff updated with current procedure and practice, ensuring all new and temporary staff receive the necessary training to familiarise them with their child protection responsibilities;
  • Referring any concerns as soon as they arise to LA children's social care in line with the Referral and Assessment Procedure;
  • Monitoring the use of services / attendance and the development and wellbeing of children who are the subject of child protection plans;
  • Alerting senior management to any deficiencies which come to light in the agency's arrangements to safeguard and promote the well-being of children;
  • Maintaining accurate and secure child protection records;
  • Being a source of advice and expertise on child protection matters to all staff at the point of need;
  • Promoting good practice and effective communication internally between different sections, departments, disciplines and services and externally between agencies, on all matters relating to the protection of children;
  • Ensuring arrangements are in place for child protection training for all staff involved in providing services to children and families and vulnerable adults who are parents and/or who may pose a risk to children;
  • Ensuring arrangements are in place for child protection supervision of all staff involved in providing services to children and families and vulnerable adults who are parents and / or who may pose a risk to children;
  • Ensuring child protection is an integral part of the agency's risk management strategy and that key staff are aware of the thresholds for triggering child protection enquiries and an assessment of risk of harm;
  • When necessary, conducting the agency's internal case reviews (except when they have had personal involvement in the case, when it will be more appropriate for the deputy / designated professional to conduct the review). The named professional will also be able to ensure the resulting action plan is followed up;
  • Developing, monitoring and reviewing internal agency procedures, specifications and standards, in line with these London Child Protection Procedures and government guidance and regulations, for child protection practice;
  • Ensuring there are effective systems of child protection audit to monitor the application of agreed child protection standards.

These responsibilities are in line with what is expected of a named professional in health services, see also 2.3.5 Designated safeguarding children professional.

3.3.12

At a strategic level, in general, a designated safeguarding children professional's responsibilities are to:

  • Provide the strategic lead on all aspects of the agency's contribution to safeguarding children within the area, e.g. the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area, Local Safeguarding Children Board area, London Probation Areas / Clusters, as appropriate;
  • Support the designated professionals in meeting child protection specifications;
  • Provide professional advice on child protection matters to the multi-agency network;
  • Represent the agency on the Local Safeguarding Children Board and ensuring each department / service / Trust has a specified link to the Local Safeguarding Children Board;
  • Monitor, evaluate and review the agency's contribution to the protection of children;
  • Collaborate with the Local Safeguarding Children Board/s in each local authority area and the operational designated safeguarding children professional in other departments / services / Trusts in reviewing the agency's involvement in serious incidents which meet the criteria for serious case reviews;
  • Ensure the training needs of the agency's staff are addressed by promoting, influencing and developing relevant training, on both a single and inter-agency basis;

These responsibilities are in line with what is expected of a designated professional in health services.

3.3.13

Other strategic responsibilities which a designated safeguarding children professional may have include:

  • Prioritising the promotion of children's welfare and safeguarding in the agency's internal and inter-agency strategic planning;
  • Ensuring the needs of children and their families are kept to the fore whenever services are being reviewed, planned, developed and / or commissioned.

These responsibilities may be in line with the expectations of a lead director, a senior lead person for children in service planning and commissioning or a head teacher.


Out-of-hours services

3.3.14

Each agency's out-of-hours (out of office hours) arrangements for the provision of services to children and families will vary according to the nature of the service provided.

Nevertheless, all agencies providing an out-of-hours service must ensure the professionals working out-of-hours are competent and enabled to follow these London Child Protection Procedures.

3.3.15

Where an agency provides an out-of-hours service:

  • All daytime services must ensure the out-of-hours service is provided with, or has timely access to, sufficient information relevant for them to safeguard and promote the welfare of individual children for whom the daytime service has particular concerns in relation to risk of harm;
  • The out-of-hours service should ensure all relevant information obtained and actions taken out of office hours are transmitted without delay to the relevant sections within daytime services as appropriate.

3.3.16

All professionals whose primary responsibility is to provide services to adults should always consider the safety and welfare of any dependent or vulnerable children, including unborn children.


Working with the public / local communities

3.3.17

The effectiveness of professional agencies in safeguarding children and promoting their welfare is dependent on the public / local community being knowledgeable and confident about:

  • What constitutes neglect and maltreatment in the context of promoting optimal development for children and also in terms children's rights and UK law; and
  • What local services are available and how to access and engage in partnership with them; and
  • How to participate in planning and reviewing the services.

3.3.18

All agencies, and London Local Safeguarding Children Boards, have a responsibility to provide the public / local community with information and facilitate access and partnership in safeguarding local children.

3.3.19

LSCBs can access an LSCB Induction Training Pack (at www.londonscb.gov.uk) designed to be used by trainers with experience of safeguarding children and who are familiar with the London Child Protection Procedures and with the procedures to be followed within their own organisation. The target group of participants is those workers or volunteers within any organisation who are in contact/work with children and young people and adults who are parents/carers. These will be people who are in a position to identify concerns about maltreatment, including those which may come to light during assessment under the Common Assessment Framework (CAF).

3.3.20

All agencies, and London Local Safeguarding Children Boards, should ensure that their staff are competent to assist any member of the public who is concerned a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect, or is/was themselves a neglected or abused child, to contact:

  • LA children's social care; or
  • The police; or
  • The NSPCC's 24 hour Child Protection Helpline or the NSPCC's 24 hour national children's help line ChildLine; see sections 2.23.15 and 2.23.16.

LA children's social care contact details need to be clearly signposted, including on local authority websites, on notice boards in schools, health centres, public libraries and leisure centres, and in telephone directories.


3.4

LA children's service authorities

 

3.4.1

Local Authorities must have a Health and Well Being Board, the purpose of which is to "bring together local commissioners across the NHS, public health and social care, elected representatives and representatives of HealthWatch to deliver integrated health and care services to improve the health and wellbeing of people in their area". Authorities may choose to have a Children's Trust or Partnership Board to focus specifically on children's services. It is important that, within the local area, the links between partnerships are clearly set out in order that the LSCB can ensure that it is exercising its responsibility to scrutinize arrangements for the provision of early help services, support for vulnerable children and for the protection of children who have suffered, or are likely to suffer significant harm.

3.4.2

In order to ensure that children are protected from harm, local authorities commission, and may themselves provide a wide range of care and support for children, young people and their families as well as for children and young people in specific circumstances.


3.5

LA children's social care

 

3.5.1

In order to fulfil their obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare, LA children's social care must:

  • Have systems and arrangements in place;
  • Ensure that their staff are competent;
  • Nominate safeguarding children advisers;
  • Provide an out-of-hours service;
  • Work with the public / local communities.

This should be undertaken in accordance with Statutory duties, Responsibilities shared by all agencies and Working with the public / local communities.

3.5.2

Across London, Local Authorities have developed a range of different organisational structures within which social care services are located. However, all authorities must have a senior officer responsible for undertaking the statutory duties of a Director of Children's Services to organise and plan services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (Section 18 of the Children Act 2004).That senior officer, or a senior manager reporting to her, must have relevant skills and experience in, and knowledge of, safeguarding and child protection, and that they provide high quality leadership in this area as part of the delivery of effective children's social care services as a whole.

3.5.3

The local authority is required to ensure that children in its area are protected from significant harm. Any child who has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm is invariably a child in need in terms of s17, Children Act 1989. The local authority has a general duty under the Children Act 1989 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in need and, so far as it is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families by providing services appropriate to the child's needs. They should do this in partnership with parents and in a way which is sensitive to the child's race, religion, culture and language, and where practicable, take account of the child's wishes and feelings.

3.5.4

Local authorities, with the help of other agencies as appropriate, also have a duty (s47, Children Act 1989) to make enquiries if they have reason to suspect that a child in their area is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm, to enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard or promote the child's welfare.

3.5.5

Where a child has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm, LA children's social care professionals are responsible for co-ordinating an assessment of the child's needs, the parents' capacity to keep the child safe and promote their welfare, and of the wider family circumstances.

3.5.6

Local authorities also have responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children who are excluded from school, or who have not obtained a school place (e.g. children in pupil referral units or being educated by the authority's home tutor service) and monitoring children educated at home. They should also:

  • Ensure that maintained schools, Academies and Free Schools give effect to their responsibilities for safeguarding;
  • Make available appropriate training, model policies and procedures;
  • Provide advice and support;
  • Facilitate links and co-operation with other agencies.

3.5.7

LA children's social care professionals and Local Safeguarding Children Boards should offer the same level of support and advice in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of pupils to independent schools, Academies, Free Schools and further education colleges and non-maintained special schools in their area. This includes support in respect of the investigation of allegations of abuse.

3.5.8

LA children's social care services have the following responsibilities:

  • To be the principal point of contact for children about whom there are welfare concerns;
  • To be available to be contacted directly by children, parents or family members seeking help, concerned friends and neighbours, or by professionals and others;
  • To assess, plan and provide support to children in need, including those suffering or likely to suffer significant harm;
  • To make enquiries under s47 of the Children Act 1989 wherever there is reason to suspect that a child in the LA area has suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm;
  • To convene and chair child protection conferences;
  • To maintain a list (accessible to relevant agencies) of children resident in the area, including those who have been placed by another local authority or agency, who are considered to be at continuing risk of significant harm and for whom there is a child protection plan;
  • To provide a qualified lead social worker for every child who has a child protection plan;
  • To ensure the agencies who are party to the protection plan coordinate their activities to protect the child;
  • To undertake an assessment in relation to each child with a child protection plan, ensuring other agencies contribute as necessary to the assessment and that assessments take account of key issues (e.g. domestic violence or neglect);
  • To convene regular reviews of the child's progress through both core group and child protection conference review meetings;
  • To instigate legal proceedings in accordance with these London Child Protection Procedures and other relevant procedures.


Standards in LA children's social care


Office for standards in education, children's services and skills (Ofsted)

3.5.9

Ofsted is the lead children's inspectorate, with responsibility for inspecting to ensure that children's social care providers meet minimum national standards in safeguarding and promoting children's welfare and well-being. Providers will also be expected to have knowledge of child protection, including signs and symptoms and what to do if abuse or neglect is suspected.

3.5.10

Ofsted's responsibilities include:

  • The registration and inspection of childcare (childminding, nurseries and children's centres);
  • The registration and inspection of arrangements for the care and support of children and young people;
  • The inspection of all maintained schools, academies and free schools as well as some independent schools;
  • Inspection of the arrangements for theprovision of early help services, services for children in need, children at risk of significant harm, looked after children and care leavers;
  • Inspection of further education;
  • Inspection of all publicly funded adult learning and skills and privately funded training provision;
  • Inspection of adoption and fostering agencies.

3.5.13

If during an inspection inspectors become concerned with respect to a child or children's safety and well-being, Ofsted must contact LA children's social care and, in consultation with the LA children's social care services, consider whether any action needs to be taken to protect children attending / receiving a service from that registered provision.

3.5.14

Ofsted must be informed when a child protection referral is made to the LA children's social care regarding a person who works in any of the services regulated by Ofsted or the CQC who should be invited to any strategy meetings / discussions convened due to concerns or allegations about professionals in regulated settings.

3.5.15

Ofsted also undertake inspection of local authority children's services. Launched in 2013, the "inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers (single inspection framework) and reviews of Local Safeguarding Children Boards" is the most recent such framework.


3.6

LA adult social care

 

3.6.1

Those who work with adults in social care services must consider the implications of service users' behaviour for the safety and well being of any dependent children and / or children with whom those adults are in contact.

3.6.2

LA adult social care professionals who receive referrals about adults who are also parents or expectant parents must consider if there is a need to alert children's services to a child or unborn child who may be 'in need' or 'suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm'.

3.6.3

LA adult social care must establish and maintain systems so that:

  • Managers within adult services can monitor those cases which involve dependent children;
  • There is regular, formal and recorded consideration of such cases between managers in both LA adults' and children's social care;
  • Where both LA adults' and children's social care are providing services to a family, staff share information in a timely way, undertake joint assessments and agree interventions.

3.6.4

Once action is taken under child protection procedures (and regardless of whether the work is undertaken jointly or separately) LA children's social care becomes responsible for co-ordinating this.

3.6.5

For all joint-work between LA adult social care and LA children's social care there should be clear joint working procedures on information sharing and referring, as well as ongoing sharing of information and feedback.


3.7

LA housing authorities and social landlords

 

3.7.1

Housing and homelessness staff in local authorities and housing managers (whether working in a LA or for a social landlord) can play an important role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.


Sharing information

3.7.2

Housing authorities / associations often hold significant information about families where there is a child at risk of harm. In the case of mobile families they may have more information than most other agencies. Housing authorities / associations have an obligation to share information relevant to child protection with LA children's social care. Conversely LA children's social care staff and other agencies working with children can have information which will make assessments of the need for certain types of housing more effective.

3.7.3

Housing authorities and social landlords should be signed up to the local authority's information sharing protocol (along with all other appropriate agencies), to share information with other agencies, e.g. children's social care or health professionals in appropriate cases.


Identifying need

3.7.4

Housing authorities are key to the assessment of the needs of families with disabled children who may require housing adaptations to participate fully in family life and reach their maximum potential. Each local authority will have an individual approach to this area.

3.7.5

LA housing staff should be alert to child protection issues when dealing with reports of anti-social behaviour by young people which might reflect parental neglect or abuse.

3.7.6

Housing authorities have a frontline emergency role, for instance managing re-housing or repossession when adults and children become homeless or at risk of homelessness as a result of domestic violence.


Health and safety

3.7.7

Housing staff, in their day-to-day contact with families and tenants, may become aware of needs or welfare issues to which they can either respond directly (e.g. by making repairs or adaptations to homes, or by assisting the family in accessing help through other agencies).

3.7.8

Environmental health officers, in particular those who inspect private rented housing, may become aware of conditions that impact adversely on children. Under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004, authorities must take account of the impact of health and safety hazards in housing on vulnerable occupants including children when deciding the action to be taken by landlords to improve conditions.


Children and families in temporary accommodation

3.7.9

Following changes in the housing benefits regulations, the number of families in temporary accommodation increased in 2013. Many families in temporary accommodation move frequently. There is evidence that moving between services has a negative impact on children and their families, when it is not based on positive life-choices.

3.7.10

LA housing, other LA services and health services are responsible for maintaining effective systems to ensure children and families are appropriately housed in temporary accommodation and receive health and education services, as well as any specific services to meet individual children's assessed needs, in a timely way.

3.7.11

Wherever possible, local authorities should not place families out of their area if there is a child in the family who is subject to child protection plan, although this is becoming increasingly difficult in London.


Registered social landlords

3.7.12

In many areas, local authorities do not directly own and manage housing, having transferred these responsibilities to one or more registered social landlords (RSLs). Housing authorities remain responsible for assessing the needs of families, under homelessness legislation, and for managing nominations to RSLs who provide housing in their area. They continue to have an important role in safeguarding children because of their contact with families as part of the assessment of need, and because of the influence they have designing and managing prioritisation, assessment and allocation of housing.

3.7.13

Social landlords do not have the same legal requirements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children as local authorities. They are regulated by the Tenant Services Authority (TSA). Under the TSA's regulatory framework - [The regulatory framework for social housing in England from April 2010] - all social housing providers are expected to understand and respond to the particular needs of their tenants and co-operate with other partners at a local level, including local authorities, to promote social, environmental and economic well-being in those areas.

3.7.14

Housing authorities / RSLs and LA children's services should refer to the joint DCSF and CLG guidance about their duties under Part III of the Children Act 1989 and Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 to secure or provide accommodation for homeless 16- and 17-year-old children: Joint working between housing and children's services: Preventing homelessness and tackling its effects on children and young people (DCSF/CLG, 2008).

3.7.15

Housing authorities / RSLs can help reduce risk of harm to children by:

  • Ensuring all homeless families with child/ren subject to s47 enquiries and / or subject of a child protection plan are offered temporary accommodation within their home borough, unless alternative arrangements are consistent with the protection plan;
  • Assessing the homelessness needs of 16 / 17 year olds evicted from home. They may be a child in need, they may be leaving due to violence and abuse and other children may remain in the home;
  • Social landlords should ensure that repairs / major works and servicing contracts require operatives to report child welfare concerns and that their staff is given appropriate guidance. It should be noted that operatives are more likely to gain access to tenants' homes than housing officers, particularly as there is a statutory requirement to carry out an annual gas safety check;
  • Providing alternative accommodation or other solutions to a parent and child(ren) if they have experienced domestic violence;
  • Ensuring dangerous offenders are not offered tenancies in locations offering high levels of access to children (see also Risk Management of Known Offenders Procedure);
  • Ensure that housing authorities are represented on the MAPPA to ensure that the allocation of property is carried out with due regard to the risk posed to the children;
  • Ensuring wherever possible homeless families are provided with accommodation within their home borough;
  • Sharing the address of a family which is transferred outside of the borough with relevant agencies
  • Providing references to Ofsted for potential childminders.

3.8

LA environmental health and planning services

 

3.8.1

In order to fulfil their part of the local authority's obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare, LA environmental health, Trading Standards, Licensing, Noise, Anti Social Behaviour and planning services must:

  • Ensure their staff are competent to identify and refer concerns about children;
  • Nominate a senior manage as a designated safeguarding children professional lead.

3.8.2

LA Environmental Health, Trading Standards, Licensing, Noise, Anti Social Behaviour and Planning services staff working directly for local authorities or contracted to provide a service on behalf of a local authority can play an important role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.


Sharing information

3.8.3

Officers may hold, or uncover, significant information about situations that could present a risk of harm to children. When this is identified, or occurs, staff have an obligation to share information relevant to child protection with LA children's social care staff.

3.8.4

LA children's social care staff and other agencies may from time to time require the assistance of these staff when assessing the welfare of children.

3.8.5

These officers should understand the requirement to share information with other agencies in appropriate cases, and to comply with the London child protection procedures relevant to their role.


Identifying need

3.8.6

They may be able to assist with assessing the needs of families with disabled children, who may require housing adaptations in order to participate fully in family life and reach their maximum potential.

3.8.7

Staff should be alert to child protection issues when dealing with complaints about environmental health issues or possible breaches of planning regulations. For example, a complaint about a noise nuisance could be the first indication of a 'home alone' situation or some other form of parental neglect or abuse. Alternatively, a complaint about over occupation in breach of planning rules might be the first indication of an illegal children's home.

3.8.8

These services have a front line emergency role, for instance when a household is discovered where children are living and where the property is neglected and infested with vermin.


Health and safety

3.8.9

Officers inspecting conditions in private rented housing may become aware of conditions that impact adversely on children particularly. Under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004, authorities must take account of the impact of health and safety hazards in housing on vulnerable occupants (including children) when deciding the action to be taken by landlords to improve conditions.

3.8.10

Officers inspecting conditions in commercial premises such as restaurants and clubs may become aware of situations that impact adversely on children. For example, they may become aware that children are being employed in contravention of the law (e.g. under age or for hours that exceed the statutory limit). Such situations may be the first indication of a more serious situation such as child labour exploitation or trafficking. See Safeguarding Children on licensed premises procedure.


3.9

LA sport, culture and leisure

 

3.9.1

Sport and cultural services designed for children and families such as libraries, play schemes and play facilities, parks and gardens, sport and leisure centres, events and attractions, museums and arts centres are directly provided, purchased or grant aided by local authorities, the commercial sector and by community and third sector agencies. Many such activities take place in premises managed by authorities or their agents.

3.9.2

Leisure services must particularly ensure casual and temporary staff also receive child protection training as part of their induction and then ongoing training.

3.9.3

Staff, volunteers and contractors who provide these services will have various degrees of contact with children who use them, and appropriate arrangements to safeguard children will need to be in place through the commissioning and contractual arrangements. These should include appropriate codes of practice for staff, particularly sports coaches, such as those issued by national governing bodies of sport, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or the local authority. Working practices should be adopted which minimise unobserved contact with children.

Sports agencies can also seek advice on child protection issues from the Child Protection in Sport Unit, which has been established as a partnership between the NSPCC and Sport England.

3.9.4

Leisure services must also ensure any agencies contracting to use leisure premises have adequate child protection policies and procedures.

3.9.5

Managers of library services should ensure their child protection policies include the procedure for staff to follow if children are left unsupervised in the library.

3.9.6

Through the facility for homework helpers and holiday groups, some library staff have direct unsupervised contact with children and all must be competent to comply with internal child protection policies and procedures and these London Child Protection Procedures.

3.9.7

Because libraries provide opportunities for anonymous access to the internet, staff must be aware and take reasonable precautions to prevent access to pornography and chat rooms in which children may be drawn into risky relationships. See Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based Forms of Abuse Procedure.


Youth services

3.9.8

In order to fulfil their obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare, youth services must ensure that their staff are competent to identify and refer concerns about children and  nominate a designated safeguarding children professional,

3.9.9

Sharing information:

  • Officers from youth services may hold, or uncover, significant information about situations that could present a risk of harm to children. When this is identified, or occurs, they have an obligation to share information relevant to child protection with LA children's social care staff;
  • LA children's social care staff and other agencies may from time to time require the assistance of these staff when assessing the welfare of children;
  • These officers should understand the requirement  to share information with other agencies in appropriate cases, and to comply with the London child protection procedures relevant to their role.

3.9.10

Requirements within commissioning arrangements should ensure that youth workers appropriately prioritise safeguarding children and young people and that confidentiality between the youth worker and the young person is not inappropriately maintained. Volunteers within the youth service are subject to the same requirement.

3.9.11

Youth services must particularly ensure casual and temporary staff also receive child protection training as part of their induction and then ongoing training.

3.9.12

Youth Centres may provide opportunities for anonymous access to the internet, staff must be aware and take reasonable precautions to prevent access to pornography and chat rooms in which children may be drawn into risky relationships.

3.9.13

Where the local authority funds local third sector youth agencies or other providers through grant or contract arrangements, the local authority should ensure proper arrangements to safeguard children people are in place (e.g. through commissioning arrangements). The agencies might get advice on how to do so from their national bodies or the Local Safeguarding Children Board.


3.10

LA education

 

3.10.1

In order to fulfil their obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare, LA education services must have systems and arrangements in place and ensure that their staff are competent to identify and refer concerns about children.

3.10.2

LA education must appoint a lead officer with responsibility for co-ordinating policy and action on child protection across schools and non-school services maintained by the local authority, and for providing advice to them. They must nominate designated safeguarding children professionals in educational establishments. See Designated safeguarding children professionals.

3.10.3

LA education should ensure guidance on child protection is sent to all head teachers in maintained and non-maintained schools in their borough. In accordance with Local Safeguarding Children Board arrangements, they should also ensure that independent sector schools, Academies and Free Schools (including independent sector special schools) are sent relevant guidance.

3.10.4

LA education should keep up-to-date lists of the designated safeguarding children professional (governor and staff member) in each school, including independent sector schools. Academies and Free Schools and LA education should encourage schools to support and train these staff.

3.10.5

Wherever LA education places a child in a school outside their area, they should ensure the school has adequate child protection policies and procedures. The local authority must also ensure that training, which should include child protection training, is available for persons who provide or assist in providing childminding or day care.

3.10.6

Each local authority has responsibility for the provision of information and advice about childminding and day care primarily through the Children's Information Service (Childcare Act 2006)


Early years services

3.10.7

Early years services include children's centres, nurseries, childminders, preschools, playgroups, and holiday and out-of-school schemes. All early years providers must:

  • Take necessary steps to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • Promote the good health of children, take necessary steps to prevent the spread of infection, and take appropriate action when they are ill;
  • Manage children's behaviour effectively and in a manner appropriately for their stage of development and particular individual needs; and
  • Ensure that adults looking after children, or having unsupervised access to them, are suitable to do so.

These general welfare requirements are set out in detail in Inspecting safeguarding in early years, education and skills settings: Guidance for inspectors undertaking inspection under the common inspection framework (Ofsted, August 2016).

The current statutory guidance ‘Early Education and child care: Statutory guidance for local authorities (September 2014)’ will remain in force till September 1st 2017 when the new guidance will replace it.

3.10.8

Early years providers have a duty under section 40 of the Childcare Act 2006 to comply with the welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage, under which providers are required to take necessary steps to safeguard and promote the welfare of young children. Childminders and everyone working in day care services should know how to recognise and respond to harm or the risk of harm to a child through abuse and / or neglect.

3.10.9

Independent, third sector and local authority day care providers caring for children under the age of eight years must be registered by Ofsted under the Children Act 1989, and should have a written statement, based on What To Do If You're Worried A Child Is Being Abused (March 2015). This statement should clearly set out professionals' responsibilities for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect in accordance with these London Child Protection Procedures. It should include contact names and telephone numbers for the local police and LA children's social care. The statement should also include procedures to be followed in the event of an allegation being made against a member of staff or volunteer, in line with the Allegations against staff or volunteers, who work with children Procedure

3.10.10

Sometimes (not very often) childcare services may be set up for children over 8 years old, which do not need to be registered with Ofsted. These services must comply with these London Child Protection Procedures.


Office for standards in education, children's services and skills (Ofsted)

3.10.11

Registered childminders and group day care providers must satisfy explicit criteria in order to meet the national standard with respect to child protection. Ensuring they do so is the responsibility of the early years directorate of Ofsted.

3.10.12

Ofsted requires that:

  • All childminders and group day care staff have knowledge of child protection, including the signs and symptoms of abuse and what to do if abuse or neglect is suspected;
  • Those who are entrusted with the day care of children or who childmind have the personal capacity and skills to ensure children are looked after in a nurturing and safe manner.

3.10.13

Ofsted will seek to ensure that day care providers:

  • Ensure the environment in which children are cared for is safe;
  • Have child protection training policies and procedures in place, which are consistent with these procedures;
  • Be able to demonstrate these London Child Protection Procedures have been followed when a concern is raised about harm to a child or an allegation is made against a childminder or staff member.

3.10.14

Ofsted must be informed when a child protection referral is made to the LA children's social care about:

  • A person who works as a childminder;
  • A person who works in day care for children;
  • Any service regulated by Ofsted's early years directorate.

3.10.15

Ofsted must be invited to any strategy meeting / discussion where an allegation might have implications for other users of the day care service and/or the registration of the provider.

3.10.16

Ofsted will seek to cancel registration if children are at risk of significant harm through being looked after in a particular childminding or group day care setting.

3.10.17

Where warranted, Ofsted will bring civil or criminal proceedings against registered or unregistered day care providers who do not adequately safeguard and promote the welfare of children in their care.

See also Ofsted.


Schools and further education institutions

3.10.18

Schools (including independent schools and non-maintained special schools) and further education (FE) institutions should implement their duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of their pupils (students under 18 years of age in the case of FE institutions) under the Education Act 2002 by having a Safeguarding policy that demonstrates how the school will:

  • Create and maintain a safe learning environment for children by having arrangements in place to address a range of issues, including safe recruitment, dealing with allegations against staff, site security, health and safety, the medical needs of pupils, pupil behaviour and discipline the use of physical restraint and the measures the school will take to combat bullying in all its forms;
  • Contribute to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children through the curriculum, by developing children's understanding, awareness, and resilience;
  • Identify where there are child welfare concerns and take action to address them, in partnership with other agencies where appropriate.

3.10.19

Governors and headteachers should have regard to any statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State for Education.

3.10.20

Schools should ensure that they designate a member of the Senior Leadership team who has been appropriately trained to take overall responsibility for the Safeguarding arrangements within the school.

3.10.21

The Designated Senior Leader should ensure that all staff in the school are aware of the indicators abuse, changes in behaviour that give rise to concern or the failure of a child to develop, and that reporting arrangements in these circumstances are in place.

3.10.22

Special schools, including non-maintained special schools and independent schools, which provide medical and / or nursing care should ensure both their non-medical and medical / nursing staff are particularly competent and well supported to recognise and respond to child protection concerns.

3.10.23

The Designated Senior Leader should ensure that appropriate staff are competent to work in partnership with the local authority children's social care by:

  • Contributing to the assessment of a child's needs;
  • Implementing agreed action to meet those needs.

3.10.24

Where a child of school age is the subject of a child protection plan, school staff are well placed to engage with planning and implementing the plan and an appropriate member of staff should be an active member of the core group.

3.10.25

The Designated Senior Leader should ensure that the school's system for recording concerns or files relating to Child Protection processes for individual children are kept safely and securely and appropriately transferred at time of transition from one school to another.

3.10.26

A school or FE institution should remedy any deficiencies or weaknesses in its arrangements for safeguarding and promoting welfare that are brought to its attention without delay.

3.10.27

In addition to having child protection procedures in line with these London Child Protection Procedures, schools and FE institutions must have a behaviour policy that the headteacher must publicise in writing, to staff, parents and pupils at least once a year.  The policy should include information on

  • screening and searching pupils;
  • the power to use reasonable force and other physical contact;
  • the power to discipline beyond the school gate;
  • when to work with other local agencies to assess the needs of pupils who display continuous disruptive behaviour.


Bullying

3.10.28

The majority of cases of bullying will be effectively dealt with within the context of a school or FE institution's policy. There may however be circumstances when a referral to LA children's social care or to the police is required in line with Referral and Assessment Procedure, for example when the bullying causes significant harm to a child or serious harm to an adult, involves criminal behaviour and/or initial steps taken to combat it effectively have failed.

3.10.29

Staff should take advice from the school's designated safeguarding children professional and the LA education welfare (or similar, dependent on the LA) service.

See also Bullying Procedure, Children Harming Others Procedure and Risk Management of Known Offenders Procedure.


Discrimination

3.10.30

Educational curricula and teaching materials and methods must reflect the diversity of London's population and seek to promote an anti-discriminatory environment.

3.10.31

All schools and colleges must have a system in place to deal with discriminatory incidents.

3.10.32

There will be occasions when the impact of discriminatory incidents is so severe it constitutes significant harm for the victim. In such instances a referral to LA children's social care or police must be made in line with the Referral and Assessment Procedure.


Non-maintained schools and further education (FE) institutions

3.10.33

In order to fulfil their obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare, non-maintained schools and FE institutions must:

  • Have systems and arrangements in place;
  • Ensure that their staff are competent;
  • Nominate safeguarding advisers;
  • Work with the public / local communities;

This should be undertaken in accordance with Statutory duties, Responsibilities shared by all agencies and Working with the public / local communities.

3.10.34

Governing bodies and proprietors of non-maintained schools and FE institutions must seek advice as necessary from LA education or LA children's social care.

3.10.35

In general, non-maintained schools and other educational institutions should ensure adherence to the guidance provided above in relation to schools and FE institutions.


LA school transport services

Minimum statutory duty

3.10.36

Local authorities have a minimum statutory duty to provide or arrange free transport to and from the nearest suitable school for a pupil of statutory age who lives in the borough. see the Education Act 2002 and Guidance on home to school travel and transport s508D of the Education Act 1996 if:

  • The pupil is under eight years of age and the shortest available route to school on foot is over two miles;
  • The pupil has reached their eighth birthday and the shortest available route to school on foot is over three miles;
  • The route, whatever its length, is unsafe if travelled on foot, even if the child is accompanied by an adult;
  • There are exceptional circumstances (e.g. the child is looked after or has special educational needs).


Local authority responsibilities

3.10.37

Local authorities are responsible for:

  • Deciding which children are eligible for transport and which children require an escort;
  • Managing the day-to-day transport arrangements (e.g. booking vehicles, allocating pupils to routes, employing escorts, ordering bus passes from the bus companies where necessary);
  • Notifying parents in advance of all transport arrangements, and any contractual and timetabling changes;
  • Ensuring, as far as possible, that the travelling time for children with special educational needs does not normally exceed one hour, fifteen minutes;
  • Providing children with special needs with a regular driver and escort, as far as possible;
  • Ensuring that all vehicles are fitted with seat belts or some other kind of restraint and that specialist seating and harnesses are available for all children who need them;
  • Ensuring that all drivers and escorts are recruited in accordance with local authority recruitment policy and with Safer Recruitment Procedure;
  • Ensuring that no drivers or escorts smoke in the presence of children;
  • Ensuring that all staff treat children and parents politely and respectfully;
  • Ensuring that parents are supported to use the local authority complaints procedures where necessary;
  • Providing procedures for drivers and escorts, for example:
    • When a parent is not at home to receive a child at the end of the day, and meet them from the vehicle (e.g. that the child is taken to an 'emergency' address, where details have been provided by the parent, or, alternatively, to the nearest LA children's social care office, from where parents must collect them);
    • When a child misbehaves on / in a school vehicle and in particular if they pose a threat to the safety of themselves or other children and / or adults.
  • Make available to parents copies of relevant transport contract, escorts and drivers' handbooks, and guidelines for the use of physical restraint in schools, to be available for inspection on request.


Drivers' responsibilities

3.10.38

Local authorities must ensure that drivers:

  • Carry and display suitable identification at all times;
  • Are, as far as possible, punctual;
  • Ensure that all passenger harness and restraint straps are properly adjusted and fitted securely before the journey commences;
  • Ensure that all wheelchairs are securely clamped;
  • Ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy, adequately ventilated, maintained at a comfortable temperature, and kept clean;
  • Report any bad behaviour of passengers to their supervisor and / or the local authority, and not take matters into their own hands;
  • Take charge in the event of an accident;
  • Treat parents, carers and children with respect and avoid confrontations.

Problems should be referred to their supervisor and/or transport services for appropriate action.


Escorts' responsibilities

3.10.39

Local authorities must ensure that escorts:

  • Are competent to take full responsibility for the care of the children whilst they are journeying to and from school;
  • Are aware of children's medical needs and know what to do in an emergency;
  • Carry and display suitable identification at all times;
  • Do not use any form of physical restraint except where a child is presenting a threat to themselves, or other passengers or road users. Escorts may also reasonably restrain a child who is wilfully damaging property, including the vehicle;
  • Have had suitable training in the restraint of children and know the local authority's guidelines for the use of physical restraint of children;
  • Report any problems that arise during the journey to parents, the headteacher and the local authority as soon as practically possible;
  • Always sit in the rear of the vehicles, where they can see all the children in their charge, and never leave the children unattended in the vehicle except in an emergency;
  • Treat parents and children with respect and avoid confrontations, referring difficulties to the local authority for appropriate action.

3.10.40

For further information about arrangements for the safety of children on public transport see Transport for London.


LA education welfare service

3.10.41

In their direct welfare work with families, education welfare officers (known in some areas as education social workers or school attendance officers) are well placed to identify child protection issues and refer them to LA children's social care, in line with the Referral and Assessment Procedure.

3.10.42

Education welfare officers should be competent and available to provide advice and support to other education staff on child protection matters. They should assist the designated safeguarding children professional in each school to monitor children who are subject of child protection plans.


3.11

The National Health Service (NHS) and independent / third sector health services in London

 

Part 1: Introduction

3.11.1

All health staff have a duty to protect children and promote their welfare. It is central to all NHS care services and governance systems. 

3.11.2

These London Child Protection Procedures apply to staff in all London NHS, independent, private and third sector health services, all NHS Provider Trusts, including NHS Foundation Trusts, Mental Health Trusts (MHTs), NHS England, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), Public Health England (PHE) and Local Education and Training Boards.

3.11.3

Commissioners of all health services should ensure that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is explicit in all contracts.    

3.11.4

All staff delivering front-line healthcare in any provider setting should ensure that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is central to their practice, even if the child is not the patient receiving a service.

Regulation and Registration Requirements

3.11.5

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) both register and inspect NHS services as the independent regulator of safety and quality in the NHS. 

3.11.6

All providers of regulated activities have to be registered with the CQC[1]. The CQC has a range of statutory independent enforcement actions to use where a care service does not meet essential standards of safety and quality. Compliance inspections include lines of enquiry against Essential Standard 7 and unannounced inspections of children's safeguarding and Looked After Children.

3.11.7

Any enforcement action being considered by the CQC, including possible deregistration, should include, where appropriate, arrangements in partnership with the relevant commissioner to re-provide services for children as quickly and safely as possible.

NHS Structure and Responsibilities

3.11.8

The NHS in London consists of NHS England (London Region) Local CCGs, Public Health England, the Local Education and Training Boards and provider organisations.

3.11.9

Responsibility for NHS England (London Region) rests within the Chief Nurse Directorate.  London has been divided into three patches each with a Director of Nursing who takes the lead for safeguarding children.  Roles and responsibilities are set out in 'Safeguarding Vulnerable People in the Reformed NHS: Accountability and Assurance Framework' (2013).[2]

  [1] Care Quality Commission
[2] NHS Commissioning Board


Part 2: Commissioning Responsibilities

3.11.10

All Commissioners of NHS Services and or NHS funded services, should work collaboratively to provide coordinated and, wherever possible integrated services.

3.11.11

All providers of health services must have comprehensive policies and procedures to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, consistent with statutory requirements and these London Child Protection Procedures.

3.11.12

Service standards of all contracted NHS service providers must be routinely monitored against formal assurance frameworks within contract monitoring processes.

3.11.13

Commissioners and providers must ensure that safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is integral to clinical governance and audit arrangements.

3.11.14

Commissioners of NHS services should ensure access to paediatricians trained in examining, identifying and assessing children who may be experiencing abuse or neglect and that local arrangements include having all the necessary equipment and staff expertise for undertaking forensic medical examinations. These arrangements should avoid repeated examinations.

3.11.15

NHS England Directly Commissioned Services

NHS England (London Region) are responsible for the commissioning of primary care services [3] specialist paediatric care, Tier 4 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Sexual Assault and Referral Services [4] (SARS), prison health including health care in Young Offender Institutions and other secure settings, health visiting and family nurse partnership services [5]. 

3.11.16

All SARS for children and young people, should comply with the standards for paediatric forensic medical services Service Specification for the Clinical Evaluation of Children and Young People who may have been sexually abused (RCPCH, 2009) [6], the Children's National Service Framework (NSF) - now archived [7] - and the You're Welcome quality criteria: Making health services young people friendly [8].

 

[3] Services provided at the first stage of health care offered - by family doctors, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists and ophthalmic medical practitioners
[4] The Havens in London are specialist centres for people who have been raped or sexually assaulted: The Havens
[5] Health Visiting and FNP services will be commissioned by Local Authorities by 2015
[6] RCPCH
[7] National service framework documents
[8] Department of Health

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)

3.11.17

CCGs are statutory NHS bodies with a statutory duty to safeguard children.  They commission health and care services for their registered populations and for unregistered patients who live in their area.

3.11.18

CCGs are not directly responsible for commissioning primary medical care (or other primary care services), but they have a duty to support improvements in the quality of primary medical care.

3.11.19

Their responsibilities are as follows:

  • Safeguarding Training for CCG staff;
  • CCG governance arrangements (accountability);
  • Co-operation with Local Authorities;
  • Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) membership and support;
  • Securing the expertise of designated doctor and nurse for safeguarding children – Looked After Children and a paediatrician for Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP).

Public Health: Commissioning

3.11.20

Public Health England is a new NHS body that delivers a public health and health protection service in England. Directors of Public Health are employed in each Local Authority (LA), working with LA colleagues, NHS organisations, and others to protect and improve the health of the people of London by analysing the health needs of the population, commissioning services to support healthier choices, and by addressing inequalities.  When commissioning health services the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children should always be taken into account [9].  Local Authorities commission School Nurses and will commission Health Visitors and Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) services from October 2015.

[9] Public Health England – Our priorities for 2013/14 (Public Health England)


Part 3: Safeguarding Responsibilities for all Health Services

3.11.21

In order to fulfil their obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare health commissioners and providers must:

  • Have systems and arrangements in place, including safer recruitment;
  • Ensure that their staff are competent;
  • Identify safeguarding children professionals;
  • Provide an out-of-hours health service, as relevant (for example out of hours paediatric services and unscheduled care services);
  • Work with the public/local communities;
  • Have child protection systems in place;
  • Ensure ready access to a copy of the London Child Protection Procedures and any relevant local LSCB protocols;

3.11.22

This chapter should be considered alongside requirements in Parts A and B of these London Child Protection Procedures and Guidance. Including Part B1 Practice Guidance - Sections 3.2, Statutory duties and 3.3, Responsibilities shared by all agencies.

3.11.23

A wide range of health staff will come into contact with children and parents or carers in the course of their normal duties. All these staff should be trained in how to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, be alert to potential indicators of abuse or neglect in children, and know how to act upon their concerns in line with these London Child Protection Procedures and Working Together 2015.

3.11.24

See Section 3.3.5 of Part B1 Practice Guidance, London Child Protection Procedures for more information on the role of the nominated safeguarding children advisers and named professionals.

Safeguarding Children Responsibilities for Adult Services

3.11.25

All adult health services have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

3.11.26

Substance mis-use and adult mental health services

Working with parents/carers

  • Arrangements should be in place between substance mis-use and adult mental health services, and LA children's social care, for timely identification, referral and joint-assessment of families where a child (including an unborn child) may be at risk of harm through their parent/carer's substance misuse or mental illness.

Working with children

  • Where children may be suffering significant harm because of their parent's or carer's substance misuse or mental illness, procedures should clearly state that staff should make an immediate referral to LA children's social care;
  • Where children are not suffering significant harm but there are concerns for their welfare, referral arrangements should be in place to enable children to receive early help and for their broader needs to be assessed and responded to;
  • Staff working with service users who are known to have children or provide care to children should have access to safeguarding supervision and managerial oversight which takes account of the needs of children. Training resources regarding child protection should be available and accessible.

3.11.27

General Practitioners (GPs)

As employers, GPs should ensure the practice has safe recruitment practices in place and that practice nurses, practice managers, receptionists and any other staff whom they employ, are given the opportunities to attend local courses in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children or ensure that safeguarding training is provided within the team at a level that is appropriate to their role and responsibilities.

Procedures for registration with a GP should not delay the child's medical or safeguarding needs being addressed.

Each GP practice should have a lead for safeguarding and a deputy lead for safeguarding.

Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs)

3.11.28

All commissioners and health providers must co-operate in the operation of the LSCB and, as a partner, share responsibility for the effective discharge of LSCB functions in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. Representation on the LSCB should be at an appropriate level of seniority. The Designated Nurse and Designated Doctor should be members of their LSCB and provide a strategic overview of the local health economy.

3.11.29

The executive leads of NHS health organisations are responsible for ensuring the availability of appropriate expertise and advice and support to the LSCB in respect of a range of specialist health functions, e.g. primary care, mental health (adult and child and adolescent) and sexual health.

3.11.30

The Designated Safeguarding Professionals must also ensure that all health providers, including the independent healthcare sector with which they have commissioning arrangements, have links with LSCBs in the area in which they operate, and that health providers work in partnership in accordance with their agreed LSCB plan. This is particularly important where Trusts' boundaries / catchment areas are different to those of LSCBs.

3.11.31

Each Local Safeguarding Children Board has a website containing useful resources and information to support practice.

Serious Case Reviews (SCR)

3.11.32

CCGs via the safeguarding children Designated Professionals are responsible for coordinating and evaluating the health component of serious case reviews. They should notify NHS England and the CQC of all serious case reviews. See also London Child Protection Procedures: Part B2 Practice Guidance; Section 2, Serious Case Reviews.

Management of Safeguarding Allegations Against Health Professionals

3.11.33

Healthcare for children and families in London comprises a range of services, both NHS funded and independent, providing universal, targeted and specialist services in a variety of settings. Despite all efforts to recruit healthcare staff safely there will be occasions when allegations of abuse against children are raised.  

3.11.34

This guidance meets the requirements laid out in the London Safeguarding Children Board Child Protection Procedures (Part A) 2013 and should be read in conjunction with the national NHS England working draft 'Managing Safeguarding Allegations Against Staff: Policy and Procedure (2014).  It covers allegations made against healthcare staff in the course of their health service duties and outside of this, including their private life and family home.

3.11.35

The safety of any children or young people involved is of paramount importance. Immediately following any allegation action must be taken to safeguard any children at risk by referring the case to children's social care.

3.11.36

The issue must be reported without delay, and in accordance with the statutory timescales set out in Working Together 2015[11], to the relevant Designated Officer, the safeguarding children Designated Professionals for the Borough, who will be the single point of contact for health engagement, and the NHS England Safeguarding Team.  The concern must also be reported to the staff member's line manager.

3.11.37

Human Resources employment advice should be sought with regards to suspension or any disciplinary or performance processes deemed necessary.  Advice with regards to disciplinary or performance matters can be obtained from the Safeguarding Team at NHS England, London Region who will liaise with the medical/nursing directorate as appropriate

3.11.38

Consideration of issues relating to organisational reputation must also be considered and managed appropriately by discussion with the relevant communications team.  Every effort must be made to maintain confidentiality.

3.11.39

Following notification to the Designated Officer a strategy meeting may be convened. Healthcare providers should cooperate fully with the strategy meeting and any on-going multi-agency investigation.

3.11.40

Further detailed information and guidance for employers regarding the management and follow up for healthcare staff can be found in: NHS England working draft 'Managing Safeguarding Allegations Against Staff: Policy and Procedure (2014).

[11] Working Together 2015


Part 4: Additional safeguarding responsibilities for NHS Trusts, Mental Health Trusts and Foundation Trusts

3.11.41

NHS Trusts, Mental Health Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts must co-operate with the local authority in the establishment and operation of the LSCB and as statutory partners share responsibility for the effective discharge of its functions in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.

3.11.42

All NHS Trusts, Mental Health Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts must identify a lead director, a named nurse and a named doctor for child protection / safeguarding children, and those providing maternity services should also identify a named midwife.

Designated Nurse / Doctor Safeguarding Children

3.11.43

Each CCG is responsible for securing the expertise of a designated doctor and nurse for safeguarding children and for Looked After Children and a designated paediatrician for unexpected deaths in childhood.

3.11.44

The designated professionals are clinical experts and strategic leaders. They have a responsibility to give advice, support and challenge in their local area, across the health economy and the multiagency network.

3.11.45

Designated professionals should be performance managed and receive professional leadership and support in relation to their designated functions at the level of board-level director who has executive responsibility for safeguarding children as part of their portfolio of responsibilities. If this person is not the board-level lead for clinical governance and clinical professional leadership, the designated professional will also need to work closely with the board-level lead.

3.11.46

NHS organisations should ensure establishment levels of designated and professionals are proportionate to the size and demographic of the local resident populations.

3.11.47

For further guidance on the competences and support required for healthcare professionals to fulfil their child safeguarding responsibilities - see Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competences for Health Care Staff, Intercollegiate document supported by the Department of Health (2014). [12]

[12] RCPCH

Named Professionals Safeguarding Children

3.11.48

All NHS Trusts must have named professionals (doctor, nurse, midwife or named professional) who have a key role for their organisation, promoting good professional practice and supporting the local safeguarding system and processes. See Statutory Guidance Working Together, 2015.

3.11.49

It is an expectation that named professionals will receive safeguarding supervision from a designated professional for safeguarding children in their area.

Named Professionals in Mental Health

3.11.50

Named professionals for safeguarding children in Mental Health NHS Trusts play a key role in bridging adult and children's services. It is important that named professionals have experience and understanding of child welfare, child development, multi-agency child protection practice, adult mental health services and mental illness.

3.11.51

Named professionals in Mental Health Trusts will be expected to contribute to the work of Local Safeguarding Children Boards by ensuring adult mental health services take full account of their child protection responsibilities and also ensuring the range of LSCB partner agencies have an understanding of the role of adult mental health services.

3.11.52

In addition to having in place a named nurse and a named doctor for safeguarding children, NHS Trusts may need to appoint additional staff with the appropriate level of competency to ensure each borough and service has access to specialist safeguarding support. The number of safeguarding staff must be related and proportionate to the size and demographic of the population the organisation serves.


Part 5: Safeguarding Responsibilities for all Healthcare Staff

3.11.53

All healthcare staff have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and must be familiar with the procedures to be followed if abuse or neglect is suspected – see Part A (Core Procedures) in the London Child Protection Procedures[13]. They should take part in training about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and should ensure their knowledge and skills remain up to date through their continuing professional development.

3.11.54

In addition, all healthcare staff should:

  • Have the knowledge and skills to identify concerns regarding a child's welfare, know how to refer to Children's Social Care and who to contact for advice; including the designated professionals in the CCG;
  • Ensure they develop the competencies specifically needed by healthcare workers to promote children's safety within the healthcare system as described in the intercollegiate document Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competences for Health Care Staff (RCPCH 2014)[14];
  • Understand the circumstances when they may be approached by LA children's social care and asked to provide information about a child or family, who are the subject of professional concerns;
  • With the consent of the child/young person and/or parent/carer, identify early help opportunities and refer appropriately;
  • Know when it is appropriate to refer a child to LA children's social care for help as a 'child in need', and how to act on concerns a child may be at risk of significant harm through abuse or neglect;
  • Actively and appropriately involve children and families in processes relating to safeguarding concerns unless this would result in harm to the child;
  • Give consideration to the need to inform other relevant health care professionals about a safeguarding concern when a referral is being made to social care. For example, if a GP makes a referral to CSC, they should inform the child's health visitor if the child is under 5;
  • Where a child (or children) from the same household presents repeatedly, even with slight injuries, advice should be sought from an individual with appropriate safeguarding expertise, as to whether a referral to CSC is appropriate. These professionals could include their line manager, Child Protection Supervisor or their Named Professional;
  • Know who the local named or lead professionals are for safeguarding in their organisation and contact them for advice and support in regards to safeguarding issues;
  • Access safeguarding supervision commensurate to their role;
  • Be alert to the possible impact on children of a range of issues affecting members of the household or family, including domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental ill-health. For example, a parent or carer's ability to adequately care for and protect their child might be affected by their substance mis-use or illness. For further information see Part B3 (Safeguarding Children Practice Guidance) in the London Child Protection Procedures;
  • Be alert to children presenting for health care outside of a school setting but within normal school hours and/or to children not enrolled at a school. See section 6: Not Attending School in Part B3 (Practice Guidance), London Child Protection Procedures;
  • Be alert to children/families who may be missing from home or care and families who may not be engaging with services – see Section 4: Children Missing from Care, Home and School in Part B3 (Practice Guidance), London Child Protection Procedures;
  • When working with an adult who discloses they were abused in childhood, endeavour to ascertain whether the past abuser is currently in contact with children who could be at risk of harm. Professionals must sensitively inform the service user of their professional duty to safeguard children and where there are concerns that there is a risk to a child/children a referral should be made to CSC and consideration should also be given to informing the police;
  • When working with an adult who discloses that they have abused children or are continuing to abuse children, advice should be sought from their named professional regarding contacting the police and making a referral to CSC. In circumstances where advice is sought, this must not cause unjustifiable delay in referring to CSC or notifying the police;
  • When working with an adult who discloses that they wish or plan to abuse children, advice should be sought from their named professional regarding contacting the police and making a referral to CSC. Where advice is sought this must not cause unjustifiable delay in referring to CSC or notifying the police.

[13] http://www.londoncp.co.uk/
[14] RCPCH

Responsibility to Notify LA Children's Social Care (CSC) of Children in a Health Care Setting for 3 Months

3.11.55

There remains a duty under the Children Act 1989, for providers of health care services to notify the local authority of children who are, or are likely to be, accommodated in a health care setting for at least three months.

Specific Types of Abuse where Health Services have a Significant Role in Identification and Referral

3.11.56

There are a range of safeguarding concerns that are primarily identifiable through health examinations. These include Female Genital Mutilation and some types of self-harming or suicidal behaviour. For guidance on how to identify and address these issues please refer to Part B3 (Safeguarding Children Practice Guidance) in the London Child Protection Procedures.

3.11.57

In addition, health professionals have a role in identifying children using health services who may be at risk of specific types of abuse such as sexual exploitation. For example, sexual health services have a role in safeguarding sexually active children who may be at risk of exploitation. For guidance on how to identify and address these issues please refer to Sections 8 and 11 in Part B3 (Safeguarding Children Practice Guidance) in the London Child Protection Procedures.


Part 6: Additional Safeguarding Responsibilities for Healthcare Staff Working in Specific Services

Unscheduled Care Settings - Accident and Emergency Departments (A&E), Urgent Care Centres, Walk-in Centres and Minor Injury Units

3.11.58

Staff in unscheduled care settings should be alert to the need to safeguard the welfare of children when treating parents or carers; including where the parent or carer has a psychiatric condition. They should also be alert to parents or carers who seek medical care for their child/children from a number of sources in order to conceal the repeated nature of a child's injuries.

3.11.59

Specialist paediatric advice should be available at all times to unscheduled care settings where children receive care.

3.11.60

Staff working in unscheduled care settings should be familiar with the Child Protection Information System (CP-IS) and ensure that both local and national patient databases are checked to ascertain whether or not a child is vulnerable as a consequence of being subject to a protection plan or as a result of being looked after.

3.11.61

Staff working in unscheduled care settings should be able to recognise the signs of abuse and be familiar with local procedures for making enquiries to find out whether a child is subject to a child protection plan.

3.11.62

The child's GP should be notified of visits by children to an unscheduled care setting. Where the child is not registered with a GP, the provider should have systems and processes in place to facilitate GP registration. When a child is not registered with a GP, consideration must always be given to notifying the Health Visitor/School Nurse of the attendance.

3.11.63

Consent should be sought from a competent child or if the child is not competent, then from their parents for the health visitor/school nurse or another health professional to be notified, where such professionals have a role in relation to the child.

3.11.64

Professionals should override a refusal to give consent where there is a clear risk of significant harm to a child. In such circumstances, the public interest test regarding consent will be satisfied.

3.11.65

Professionals should include the reasons for the decision to override consent as part of the child's visit to the unscheduled care setting. These reasons should be explained to the child and their family (unless explaining the reasons will place the child at risk of harm or further harm).

[15] 111 is a service for urgent medical help that is not life threatening

Ambulance Services and 11115– including the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and private and voluntary ambulance services

3.11.66

The staff working in these services will have access (by phone or in person) to family homes and be involved with individuals at times of crisis and may therefore be in a position to identify initial concerns regarding a child's welfare. Each of these agencies should have organisational and local named or lead for safeguarding children[16]. All staff should comply with local procedures and the London Child Protection Procedures.

3.11.67

The LAS and private and voluntary ambulance services should ensure staff have access to and have been trained in their organisation's child protection procedures, so they are able to respond appropriately when they attend an incident and suspect that an injured child or any child at the location may have been abused or neglected.

3.11.68

These procedures should detail that, in addition to providing any necessary paramedical attention and transport to hospital, staff must:

  • Carefully record the patient's overall physical condition, clothing and the environment in which they were found;
  • Compare the injury / observed condition with any explanation provided by parent or carer;
  • Listen to the child and respond in a manner which instils confidence, and avoids unnecessary probing;
  • Provide a confidential patient report to the senior nurse at the A&E department and request a check of whether the child is subject to a child protection plan;
  • Pass on relevant information to central ambulance control or emergency bed service, who will inform LA children's social care or in an emergency the police.

3.11.69

Children are not always conveyed to hospital by the LAS and private and voluntary ambulance services, however, an assessment of risk for all children at the scene must be carried out and where there are safeguarding concerns, staff must inform the appropriate person in their organisation and make a referral using their organisation's reporting mechanism.

3.11.70

When attending a scene, staff should comply with single and multiagency procedures in relation to the preservation of evidence.

3.11.71

If a parent or carer refuses to allow the ambulance crew to convey their child to hospital when it is clinically indicated, central ambulance control must be informed. Central ambulance control must inform police and make a referral to the relevant LA children's social care immediately, and must arrange for a London Ambulance Service officer to attend the scene.

[16] Whether to organization has a Named or Lead Professional will depend on their organizational structure.

Maternity and Obstetric Services

3.11.72

Midwives and obstetricians are well placed to observe attitudes towards the developing baby and identify potential problems during pregnancy, birth and the child's early care

3.11.73

Increased risk factors include:

  • Parental mental health concerns;
  • Substance misuse;
  • Domestic abuse;
  • Learning disability in either parent or carer;
  • Teenage pregnancy;
  • Mother previously or currently looked after;
  • Maternal or family history of FGM.

3.11.74

Domestic abuse risk should be assessed through routine enquiry employed according to best practice guidance.

Paediatric services

3.11.75

All paediatricians will come into contact with child abuse and neglect in the course of their work. All paediatricians must maintain their skills in the recognition of abuse and neglect and be familiar with the procedures to be followed if harm is suspected.

3.11.76

Consultant paediatricians in particular may be involved in difficult diagnostic situations, differentiating those cases where abnormalities may have been caused by abuse from those which have a medical cause. In their contacts with children and families they should be sensitive to, and knowledgeable about, indicators suggesting the need for additional support or inquiries to prevent or identify abuse and neglect.

3.11.77

Where paediatricians undertake child protection, forensic and/or sexual abuse medical examinations, they must ensure they are competent to do so and, as professionally necessary, carry out the examination with a colleague who is also trained to undertake Child Sexual Abuse Medicals[17], or a forensic medical examiner who has the necessary complementary skills.

3.11.78

Paediatricians will sometimes be required to provide reports for child protection investigations, civil and criminal proceedings and appear as witnesses to give oral evidence. When appearing as a witness they must always act in accordance with guidance from the General Medical Council and professional bodies and ensure their evidence is accurate. The core and case dependent skills required are outlined in detail in: Guidelines on Paediatric Forensic Examinations in Relation to Possible Child Sexual Abuse (The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine).

3.11.79

Some paediatricians will act as independent expert witnesses in legal proceedings and should follow the Expert Witness Guidance (British Medical Association, 2007)

[17] Child protection companion 2013 and Guidance for best practice for the management of intimate images that may become evidence in court (June 2010) RCPCH And Fabricated or Induced Illness by Carers (FII): A Practical Guide for Paediatricians (October 2009)

Mental Health Services

3.11.80

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

CAMHS may be provided either within general or specialist multi-disciplinary teams depending upon the severity and complexity of the problem. In order to fulfil their obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare, CAMHS professionals must:

  • Identify, as part of assessment and care planning, whether child abuse or neglect are factors in a child's mental health problems and refer the child to LA children's social care in line with Section 2, Referral and assessment in Part A Core Procedures of the London Child Protection Procedures;
  • Ensure that the harm is addressed appropriately in the child's treatment and care.

CAMHS professionals may have an advisory role in the initial assessment process in cases where their specific skills and knowledge are helpful, for example[18]:

  • Children with severe behavioural and emotional disturbance, eating disorders or self-harming behaviour;
  • Children who harm others (e.g. children with sexually harmful behaviour), in particular children where there are concerns about learning difficulties or mental ill health;
  • Children in families where there is domestic abuse;
  • Teenagers in violent relationships with peers;
  • Families where there is a perceived high risk of danger;
  • Where the abused child or abuser has severe communication problems;
  • Where the parent or carer fabricates or induces illness;
  • Where multiple victims are involved;
  • Children with mental health problems who offend;
  • Children with significant learning difficulties, a disability, or sensory and communication difficulties (potentially requiring the expertise of a specialist learning disability in addition to a CAMHS professional);
  • Children with mental health problems whose parents also have mental health problems.

CAMHS can also have a role in the provision of reports for court and direct work with children, parents/carers and families – where these services have been commissioned.

[18] The advisory role does not require the child or young person to be in receipt of CAMHS

3.11.81

Adult Mental Health Services

Contact between adults with mental health problems and children does not necessarily indicate a risk of abuse or neglect to the child; however the impact of the mental health condition must be considered as there is evidence that some children who are cared for by an adult with severe and enduring mental health problems may be at increased risk of harm.

Staff working in adult mental health services should follow the guidance in Part 6 of this document 'Safeguarding Responsibilities for all Healthcare Staff'.  In addition, adult mental health services may play a role in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in one or more of the following ways:

  • Safeguarding the children cared for by, or in contact with, service users by:
    • Assessing the risk in relation to the unborn children of service users and any children service users have contact with or for whom they have responsibility and considering whether this requires a referral to LA children's social care;
    • Giving children the opportunity to contribute to assessments, appropriate to their age and development - they will have insight into the patterns and manifestations of their parent's mental ill-health;
    • Liaising with other community services for children;
    • Identification and referral for assessment of children who are young carers;
    • Considering, if the children of service users are known to CAHMS, and liaising proportionally where relevant.
  • Supporting services users who are parents or carers;
    • Routinely recording details of patients' responsibilities in relation to children and to consider their support needs in relation to parenting in all aspects of their work using the Care Programme Approach (CPA);
    • Seeking to discover whether any patient/service user/client has responsibility for, or significant contact with, a child and consider the impact the service user's condition may have on that child and whether this requires a referral to LA children's social care;
    • Supporting parents/carers to care for their children, in order to keep the children and the service user safe - including advising parents about the impact of their mental illness on their children;
    • Identifying when the impact of a service user's mental illness is impairing their child's health and development and taking action to safeguard the child including adapting the care and treatment plan for adult;
    • Contributing to parenting assessments, by advising on the impact of the adult's mental illness on the child.
  • Working jointly with LA children's social care;
    • When adult mental health services and children's social care services are both involved with a family, joint assessments should be considered and where clinically appropriate carried out. These joint assessments should include assessment of parental support needs and risk of harm to the child. Other services such as primary care or other community services should be part of the joint assessment process, if this will support improved case planning and outcomes;
    • When Mental Health Act assessments and child protection assessments are being considered around the same time. Early joint planning and assessments may prevent exacerbation of risk and the need for the use of police public protection powers;
    • Contributing to s47 child protection investigations and subsequent child protection conferences and reviews;
    • Care Programme Approach (CPA) assessments and meetings for adults who are parents or carers must include an on-going perspective on the needs and risk factors for the children concerned. LA children's social care should be invited to contribute to care planning, if they are involved with a family and attend CPA meetings, especially in discharge planning;
    • Providing information for other agencies and courts where necessary;
    • Contributing to multi-agency early help planning for children and their families.

3.11.82

Children visiting psychiatric patients (Adult and CAMHS Services)

All inpatient mental health services must have policies and procedures relating to children visiting inpatients that comply with Guidance on the Visiting of Psychiatric Patients by Children – series number HSC 1999/222: LAC (99)32 (now archived)19 and  Guidance on the High Security Psychiatric Services (arrangements for Visits by Children) Directions 2013 – DH)[20].

[19] Health Service Circular Local Authority Circular
[20] The High Security Psychiatric Services (Arrangements for Visits by Children) Directions 2013

Primary Health Care and Community Teams

3.11.83

GPs, their staff and community health practitioners such as health visitors and school nurses, are employed or work within a range of different health care provider organisations, but all have key roles to play in identifying children who may have been abused and those who are at risk of abuse; and in subsequent intervention and protection. Any contact or information with a child or parent/carer is likely to help to build up a picture of the child's situation and can alert the team to an issue of concern.

3.11.84

The GP, practice employed staff and the primary health care team are well placed to recognise when a parent/carer or other adult has problems which may affect their capacity to parent or which may mean that they pose a risk of harm to a child. Whilst GPs and other primary health care professionals have responsibilities to all their patients, children are particularly vulnerable and their welfare is paramount. When GPs and other health professionals have concerns that an adult's illness or behaviour or history (as a victim or abuser) may be putting a child at risk of suffering significant harm, they should make a referral to LA children's social care, in line with these procedures.

3.11.85

Because of their knowledge of children and families, GPs, together with other practice staff and primary health care team members, have an important role in all stages of safeguarding children practice, from early help to child protection processes. This will include appropriate information sharing with health colleagues and with LA children's social care when enquiries are being made about a child. Relevant and proportionate information sharing is fundamental to contributing to assessments, working to support a child protection plan to protect a child from harm. GPs, practice staff and other primary health care team professionals should make relevant information about a child and family available to child protection conferences whether or not they, or a member of the primary health care team, are able to attend. See Section 4, Child Protection Conferences, in Part A (Core Procedures) in the London Child Protection Procedures.

3.11.86

Primary health care and community teams should have a clear means of identifying in records those children (together with their parents/carers and siblings) who are subject of a child protection plan, who are looked after and when there are known risk factors[21]. There should be effective timely communication between GPs, health visitors, school nurses, practice nurses, midwives and adult services as appropriate in respect of all children about whom there are concerns.

3.11.87

Out-of-hours services and staff working within these services should work in an integrated way, in accordance with these procedures.

3.11.88

General Practitioners (GPs)

GPs are encouraged to become special interest practitioners for safeguarding children and young people by extending their competences and skills within the formally accredited Practitioners with Special interests (PwSis) framework[22]

3.11.89

Health Visitors

Health Visitors should follow the guidance in Part 6 of this document 'safeguarding Responsibilities for all Healthcare Staff'. In addition, health visitors:

  • Have a crucially important role in assessing the needs of families and risks to children, primarily 0-5 years;
  • Where formal child protection procedures are in place, health visitors should have on-going contact with families so that the child/children continue to receive preventative health interventions both during the crisis, and in the future, in order to safeguard and promote the child's welfare;
  • Health visitors should work with other professionals and agencies so that risk factors are identified, and progress against outcomes is regularly reviewed.

3.11.90

School Nurses[23]

School nurses should follow the guidance in Part 6 of this document 'safeguarding Responsibilities for all Healthcare Staff'. In addition, within child protection meetings the school nurse can act as an advocate for the child, in respect of their health and development needs.

[21] RCGP Toolkit 2010
[22] Guidance and Competences for the Provision of Services using Practitioners with
Special Interests (PwSis): safeguarding children and young people (Royal College of General Practitioners)
.
[23] NHS School Nurses may be called 'school health advisers' or 'health advisers'

3.11.91

Substance Misuse Services

Staff working in substance mis-use services should follow the guidance in Part 6 of this document 'safeguarding Responsibilities for all Healthcare Staff'. 

3.11.92

Dental Services

Staff working in dental services should follow the guidance in Part 6 of this document 'safeguarding Responsibilities for all Healthcare Staff'. In addition, all dental care providers are required to;

  • Have access to Child Protection and the Dental Team: an introduction to safeguarding children in dental practice (DH /  Committee of Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors UK) – an educational resource consisting of a handbook;
  • Have access to Procedures to be Adopted by the Dental Professional who Suspects Child Abuse (British Society of Paediatric Dentistry and the Royal College of  Paediatrics and Child Health).

It is important that dental care employees and professionals are aware that they may be in a position to identify injuries to the head, neck, face, mouth and teeth of children, in addition to identifying other child welfare concerns.

3.11.93

Optometrists

Optometrists should follow the guidance in Part 6 of this document 'safeguarding Responsibilities for all Healthcare Staff'. In addition all optometrists and their staff should:

  • Have access to the College of Optometrists'safeguarding Children Guidance on what to do if an optometrist suspects a child is being abused, available on the College website;
  • Have access to the College of Optometrists' Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Professional Conduct, also available at: The College website.

3.11.94

Pharmacists

Pharmacists, should follow the guidance in Part 6 of this document,' Safeguarding Responsibilities for all Healthcare Staff'. Pharmacists should also consult the General Pharmaceutical Council for safeguarding advice relating to their profession[24]. The General Pharmaceutical Council is the regulatory body for pharmacy.

In addition and in recognition of the specific services that some Pharmacists undertake in relation to emergency contraception and medicines management, pharmacists are encouraged to develop special interest practitioners for safeguarding children and young people extending their competences and skills within the formally accredited Practitioners with Special interests (PwSis) framework[25].

Pharmacists prescribing emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) to minors should have enhanced training in the recognition and referral for sexually abused and sexually exploited children.

The Centre for Pharmacy Post-Graduate Education (CPPE) run safeguarding children and vulnerable adults' programmes which can be accessed via their website

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society Pharmacy is the support body for pharmacists

[24] General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)
[25] Practitioners with special interests


3.12

The Metropolitan Police Service

 

Territorial police (also known as Borough Police)

3.12.1

In order to fulfil their obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare, the territorial police must:

  • Have systems and arrangements in place;
  • Ensure that their staff are competent;
  • Nominate safeguarding children advisers;
  • Provide an out-of-hours service;
  • Work with the public / local communities.

This should be undertaken in accordance with Statutory duties, Responsibilities shared by all agencies and Working with the public / local communities.

3.12.2

The main roles of the police are to uphold the law, prevent crime and disorder and protect the citizen. Children, like all citizens, have the right to the full protection offered by the criminal law. The police have a duty and responsibility to investigate all criminal offences and, as Lord Laming pointed out in his report into the circumstances leading to the death of Victoria Climbié (2003), 'the investigation of crimes against children is as important as the investigation of any other serious crime and any suggestions that child protection policing is of lower status than any other form of policing should be eradicated.'

3.12.3

The police recognise the fundamental importance of inter-agency working in combating child abuse, as illustrated by well-established arrangements for joint training involving police and social care colleagues. The police also have specialist training in investigating child abuse cases. The second edition of guidance on Investigating Child Abuse and Safeguarding Children was published by ACPO and the National Police Improvement Agency in 2009. This sets out the investigative doctrine, training courses and terms of reference for police forces' child abuse investigation teams (CAITs). The third edition is currently being drafted by the College of Policing.

3.12.4

Safeguarding children is not solely the role of CAIT officers, it is a fundamental part of the duties of all police officers. Patrol officers attending domestic violence incidents, for example, should be aware of the effect of such violence on any children normally resident within the household. The Children Act 2004 places a wider duty on the police to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. They also maintain relevant UK-wide databases, such as VISOR, the Violent and Sexual Offenders Register. This has been developed jointly between the police and probation services to assist management of offenders in the community. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. It replaces the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). The service regulates all those who work with children (and vulnerable adults), and will rely on regularly updated police information. It is not the intention that the police will deploy resources into areas which are not in their normal range of duties, and separate guidance is available to help the police to carry out this responsibility, but officers engaged in, for example, crime and disorder reduction partnerships, Drug Action Teams, Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) and Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). must keep in mind the needs of children in their area.

3.12.5

The police hold important information about children who may be at risk of harm in addition to those who may cause such harm. They are committed to sharing information and intelligence with other agencies where this is necessary to protect children. This includes a responsibility to ensure those officers representing the service at a child protection conference are fully informed about the case and experienced in risk assessment and the decision-making process. Similarly, they can expect other agencies to share with them information and intelligence they hold to enable the police to carry out their duties.

3.12.6

For further information see the Protocol on the Exchange of Information in the Investigation and Prosecution of Child Abuse Cases (2003), developed by CPS, ACPO, LGA, ADSS; endorsed by HO, DfES and Welsh Assembly.


Criminal investigations

3.12.7

The police are responsible for the gathering of evidence in criminal investigations. This task can be carried out in conjunction with other agencies but the police are ultimately accountable for the product of criminal enquiries. Any evidence gathered may be of use to local authorities (e.g. local authority solicitors preparing civil proceedings to protect a child) and others (e.g. employer's human resources departments dealing with concerns about members of staff / volunteers). The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) should be consulted, but evidence will normally be shared if it is in the best interests of the child.

3.12.8

The police should be notified as soon as possible by LA children's social care wherever a case referred to them involves a criminal offence committed, or suspected of having been committed, against a child. Other agencies should also share such information wherever possible. This does not mean in all such cases a full investigation will be required, or there will necessarily be any further police involvement. It is important, however, to ensure the police are informed and consulted so all relevant information can be taken into account before a final decision is made by any agency about action in a given case.

3.12.10

Decisions about instigation of criminal proceedings are made by police and the CPS, whenever possible after consultation with other agencies and the decision is primarily based upon:

  • Sufficiency of evidence;
  • Interests of the child; and
  • Public interest.

3.12.10

In addition to their duty to investigate criminal offences, the police have emergency powers to enter premises and ensure the immediate protection of children believed to be suffering from, or at risk of, significant harm. Such powers should be used only when necessary, the principle being that wherever possible a decision to compulsorily remove a child from a parent should be made by a court.

3.12.11

All police (including territorial officers / criminal investigations department (CID) officers) must ensure that when they deal with any incident or report where children are concerned, involved or present (e.g. an incident of domestic violence) they complete a Merlin PAC (previously Form 78) and immediately dispatch this to the Police CAIT. The CAIT Detective Sergeant ensures that a risk assessment is undertaken depending on the information. At the conclusion of that assessment, a decision will be made on whether to send to relevant agencies (however, they are always sent to LA children's social care). Not all Merlin entries will be sent to agencies, only those that reach a threshold of significant harm or likely to have suffered significant harm.


Child Abuse Investigation Teams (CAITs)

3.12.12

In order to fulfil their obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare, the Child Abuse Investigation Team (CAIT) must:

  • Have systems and arrangements in place;
  • Ensure that their staff are competent;
  • Nominate safeguarding children advisers;
  • Provide an out-of-hours service;
  • Work with the public / local communities.

This should be undertaken in accordance with Statutory duties, Responsibilities shared by all agencies and Working with the public / local communities.

3.12.13

The Metropolitan Police have combined the Sapphire and Child Abuse Investigation Command and this is now referred to as the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command.  Currently the Sapphire units which investigate Rape and serious sexual assault that is not interfamilial remain with the same terms of reference.  The Child Abuse Investigation Teams (CAIT's) are based within four regions in London (north, south, east and west), Each region is managed by a Detective Chief Inspector.  Each region has a number of CAIT's managed by a Detective Inspector.  The command have a Sexual Exploitation team that specifically deals with child sexual exploitation, complex case team and paedophile unit together with the computer crime unit, investigating child abuse on the internet.

3.12.14

The Metropolitan Police have access to a database titled IMPACT Nominal Index (INI) to check which forces (UK-wide) hold information on a particular individual. Each CAIT has access to this system. However, this system will only be searched on receipt of a s47 referral or request for information using form 87B (see Child Protection Inquiry – Information Request Form 87B), and the process can be slow. Therefore, on occasions there may be a delay.

3.12.15

The system has greatly enhanced the police's ability to contribute to inter-agency requests in addressing perceived risks. The INI capability draws on a number of police databases including child protection, domestic violence, crime, custody and intelligence as an investigation tool enables access to information that may not be on the Police national computer.

3.12.16

The CAIT provides a 24 hour service to:

  • Protect life and prevent crime;
  • Investigate (often serious) crimes against children;
  • Instigate criminal proceedings (in conjunction with the CPS) provided there is sufficient evidence, it is in the public interest to do so and it is in the best interests of the child;
  • Share information within, and where necessary outside the police service to protect children;
  • Make decisions and undertake risk assessments;
  • Undertake emergency protection of abused or neglected children and use powers of entry and removal where necessary;
  • Share information about sex offenders for local Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA);
  • Support civil proceedings;
  • Set professional standards.

3.12.17

The CAIT Terms of Reference are:

  1. Intra-familial abuse (as opposed to a stranger attack); Intra-familial means: within the family and extended family defined as aunts; uncles; cousins; siblings including step, fostered, half brother and sister, grandparents, step grandparents, step mothers or fathers and can include long term partners but must be an established relationship;
  2. Professional abuse - working in a child focused environment who abuses their paid position e.g. teachers; sports coaches; youth workers; ministers; caretaker of a school; school cleaner; prison staff;
  3. Other carers - who act as a carer with some responsibility for the child at the time of the offence - e.g. babysitters; voluntary groups like scouting, unpaid sports coaches, close personal family friends. This list is not exhaustive and consideration should be given to new forms of abuse such as those who facilitate child trafficking, exploit children sexually or use children in organised criminal activity (cannabis farms or street theft);

Where the victim is an adult and the abuse occurred whilst he or she was a child under the circumstances as described in (a - c); Which are connected matters (offences against other children) coming to notice during enquiries by officers into (a) to (d) (e.g. where an abuser within a family has also committed similar offences against an unrelated child); Allegations categorised as parental abduction, outlined in S1Child Abduction Act 1984 To investigate sudden and unexpected death in infancy of children under the age of 2 within the family.

3.12.18

Investigations falling within the above terms of reference will be conducted by the appropriate CAIT depending on the location of the incident and where the child lives.

3.12.19

Investigations, outside the CAIT terms of reference, will be dealt with (to the same standard) by CID officers from the police station which covers the area in which the offence occurred.


3.13

Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS)

 

3.13.1

Cafcass has a duty under s12(1) of the Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act 2000 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children involved in family proceedings in which their welfare is, or may be, in question.

3.13.2

Cafcass's functions are to:

  • Safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are the subject of family proceedings;
  • Give advice to any court about any application made to it in such proceedings;
  • Make provision for children to be represented in such proceedings;
  • Provide information, advice and other support for children and their families; and
  • Assess risk.

3.13.3

Cafcass Officers have different roles in private and public law proceedings. These roles are denoted by different titles:

  • Children's Guardians, who are appointed to safeguard the interests of a child who is the subject of specified proceedings under the Children Act 1989, or who is the subject of adoption proceedings;
  • Parental Order Reporters, who are appointed to investigate and report to the court on circumstances relevant under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990; and
  • Children and Family Reporters, who prepare welfare reports for the court in relation to applications under section 8 of the Children Act 1989 (private law proceedings, including applications for residence and contact). Increasingly they also work with families at the stage of their initial application to the court.

3.13.4

Cafcass staff must refer any child protection concerns to LA children's social care without delay, in line with the Referral and Assessment Procedure.

3.13.5

Cafcass will notify LA children's social care where allegations of, or information about, domestic violence and abuse are brought to its attention during private law proceedings.

3.13.6

Cafcass carry out visit screening / assessments in respect of all private law applications. This screening will include checks with LA social care services and police criminal records. Requests for these checks should be responded to promptly in order to ensure that children in private law proceedings are safeguarded.

3.13.7

The Cafcass Officer has a statutory right in public law cases to access and take copies of local authority records relating to the child concerned and any application under the Children Act 1989. That power also extends to other records that relate to the child and the wider functions of the local authority, or records held by an authorised body (for example, the NSPCC) that relate to that child.

3.13.8

Where a Cafcass Officer has been appointed by the court as Children's Guardian and the matter before the court relates to specified proceedings (specified proceedings include public law proceedings; applications for contact; residence, specific issue and prohibited steps orders that have become particularly difficult can also be specified proceedings) they should be invited to all formal planning meetings convened by the local authority in respect of the child. This includes statutory reviews of children who are accommodated or looked after, child protection conferences, and relevant Adoption Panel meetings. The conference chair should ensure that all those attending such meetings, including the child and any family members, understand the role of the Cafcass Officer.


3.14

National Probation Service (London Area) and London Community Rehabilitation Companies

 

3.14.1

The Probation Services supervises offenders with the aim of reducing re-offending and protecting the public. As part of their main responsibility to supervise offenders in custody and the community, offender managers are in contact with, or supervising, a number of offenders who have been identified as presenting a risk, or potential risk, of harm to children. They also supervise offenders who are parents or carers of children and these children may be at heightened risk of involvement in (or exposure to) criminal or anti-social behaviour and of other poor outcomes. By working with these offenders to change their lifestyles and to enable them to change their behaviour, offender managers safeguard and promote the welfare of offenders' children. In addition, London Probation Areas / Clusters provide a direct service to children by:

  • Providing a statutory victim contact scheme to the victims of specific violent and sexual offences, including children and young people (where the victim is aged under 17, their parent or guardian is also entitled to services);
  • Fulfilling their role as statutory partner of Youth Offending Services (YOS); and
  • Ensuring support for victims, and indirectly children in the family, of convicted perpetrators of domestic abuse participating in accredited domestic abuse programmes.

3.14.2

Offender managers should also ensure that there is clarity and communication between MAPPA and other risk management processes – for example, in the case of safeguarding children, procedures covering registered sex offenders, Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC) and other domestic-abuse management meetings, child protection procedures and procedures for the assessment of people identified as presenting a risk or potential risk of harm to children. See Risk Management of Known Offenders Procedure.

3.14.3

Probation staff may become involved with cases which are relevant to child protection:

  • In the course of preparing reports for example to the criminal courts or other reports such as for parole and home detention curfew;
  • As a result of their responsibility for the supervision of offenders (including those convicted of offences against children);
  • When fulfilling their Court duties which can include bail information assessments and notifications to appropriate agencies when a single carer is subject to a custodial remand or sentence;
  • When undertaking home and community visits.

3.14.4

Probation staff must refer a child to LA children's social care if they are concerned that they may be a child in need or have suffered, or are likely to suffer, significant harm.

3.14.5

All offenders referred to the Probation Services are assessed in terms of their risk level and needs by use of a standard risk assessment tool (OASys). Those who commit specific offences and are assessed as high or very high risk of harm are dealt with by means of the statutory Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) – see Risk Management of Known Offenders Procedure, Multi-agency public protection arrangements.

3.14.6

Offender managers should ensure there is clarity and communication between MAPPA and other risk management processes (e.g. in the case of safeguarding children, procedures covering registered sex offenders, MARAC, child protection procedures and procedures for the assessment of persons identified as presenting a risk of harm or potential risk to children). See Risk Management of Known Offenders Procedure.

3.14.7

The Probation Services Victim Liaison Officer should consult LA children's social care in cases where the victim is a child and liaise with the Offender Manager, if appropriate.

3.14.8

Probation policy and procedures for the assessment and management of risk of harm for the London probation area are universal to all London boroughs.

3.14.9

When working with any member of a family where child abuse is known or thought to have occurred and where the child remains in the care of or has contact with the abuser, the probation staff must liaise closely with LA children's social care and any other relevant agencies (the exception is where child has been removed and has no planned contact).


3.15

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)

 

3.15.1

In order to fulfil their obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare, the Crown Prosecution Service must have systems and arrangements in place to safeguard children and nominate designated safeguarding children professionals.

This should be undertaken in accordance with Statutory duties and Responsibilities shared by all agencies.


3.16

The Prison Service and high security hospitals

 

3.16.1

Governors of prisons (or, in the case of contracted prisons, their directors) have a duty to make arrangements to ensure their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, not least those who have been committed to their custody by the courts.

3.16.2

In particular Governors / Directors of women's establishments which have mother and baby units have to ensure staff working on the units are prioritised for child protection training, and that there is always a member of staff on duty in the unit who is proficient in child protection, health and safety and first aid / child resuscitation. Each baby must have a childcare plan setting out how the best interests of the child will be maintained and promoted during the child's residence on the unit.

3.16.3

Governors / Directors of all prison establishments must have arrangements in place that protect the public from prisoners in their care. This includes having effective processes in place to ensure prisoners are not able to cause harm to the public and particularly children. Restrictions will be placed on prisoner communications (visits, telephone and correspondence) that are proportionate to the risk they present. As a response to incidents where prisoners have attempted to 'condition and groom' future victims, all prisoners who have been identified as presenting a risk to children will not be allowed contact with children unless a favourable risk assessment has been undertaken, see Children Living Away from Home Procedure, Children in Custody. This assessment will take into consideration information held by the police, probation, prison and LA children's social care.

3.16.4

The views of the child or young person will be an important element of the assessment. When seeking the views of the parent (person with parental responsibility) regarding contact, it is important that the child's views are sought. In the letter to the child's parents it should be emphasised that the child's views should be taken into account. If a child is able to make an informed choice, these views must be considered. LA children's social care staff will ascertain the views of the child during the home visit.

3.16.5

When there are plans to release a prisoner convicted of an offence against children, prisons are required to notify the LA children's social care and probation services in the area in which the offender intends to be resettled on release. This notification enables enquiries to be made regarding potential risk posed to children.

Governors of prisons should ensure they have adequate representation on their Local Safeguarding Children Board.

3.16.6

The high security hospitals (Ashworth, Broadmoor and Rampton) have a duty to implement child protection policies, liaise with the LSCB in their area, provide safe venues for children's visits and provide designated safeguarding children professionals to oversee the assessment of whether visits by specific children would be in their best interests. LA children's social care services may assist by assessing if it is in a particular child's best interests to visit a named patient, see Children Visiting Psychiatric Wards and Facilities Procedure.


3.17

The secure estate for children

 

3.17.1

The Children Act 1989 applies to children and young people in the secure estate and the local authority continues to have responsibilities towards them in the same way as they do for other children in need. LSCBs will have oversight of the safeguarding arrangements within secure settings in their area.

3.17.2

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) has a statutory responsibility under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 for the commissioning and purchasing of all secure accommodation for children and young people who are sentenced or remanded by the courts. It does not deliver services directly to young people but is responsible for setting standards for the delivery of those services.

3.17.3

There are three types of secure accommodation in which a young person can be placed, which together make up the secure estate for children and young people:

  • Young Offender Institutions (YOIs);
  • Secure Training Centres (STCs); and
  • accommodation provided by or on behalf of a local authority for the purpose of restricting the liberty of children and young people;
  • accommodation provided for that purpose under subsection (5) of section 82 of the Children Act 1989; and
  • such other accommodation or descriptions of accommodation as the Secretary of State may by order specify.

3.17.4

All these establishments have a duty to effectively safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people, which should include:

  • Protection of harm from self;
  • Protection of harm from adults; and
  • Protection of harm from peers.

3.17.5

Each centre holding those aged under 18 should have in place an annually reviewed safeguarding children policy. The policy is designed to promote and safeguard the welfare of children and should cover issues such as child protection, risk of harm, restraint, recruitment and information sharing. A safeguarding children manager should be appointed and will be responsible for implementation of this policy.

Detailed guidance on the safeguarding children policy, the roles of the safeguarding children manager and the safeguarding children committee, and the role of the establishment in relation to the LSCB can be found in Prison Service Instruction (PSI) 08/2012 'Care and Management of Young People'.

3.17.6

All members of staff working in secure establishments have a duty to promote the welfare of children and young people and ensure that they are safeguarded effectively. They should receive appropriate training to enable them to fulfil these duties. In addition, Governors, Directors and senior managers have a duty to ensure that appropriate procedures are in place to enable them to fulfil their safeguarding responsibilities. These procedures should include, but not be limited to, arrangements to respond to:

  • Child protection allegations;
  • Incidents of self-harm and suicide; and
  • Incidents of violence and bullying.

3.17.7

All staff working within secure establishments should understand their individual safeguarding responsibilities and should receive appropriate training to enable them to fulfil these duties. Appropriate recruitment and selection processes should be in place to ensure staff's suitability to work with children and young people. These procedures should cover any adult working within the establishment, whether or not they are directly employed by the Governor/Director.


Young Offender Institutions

3.17.8

Young offender institutions (YOIs) are facilities run by both the Prison Service and the private sector and accommodate 15 to 17 year olds. Young people serving Detention and Training Orders can be accommodated beyond the age of 17 subject to child protection considerations. The majority of YOIs accommodate male young people, although there are four dedicated female units

3.17.9

The statutory responsibility for YOI's to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children in their care falls to the Governor of the establishment, who is required to have regard to the policies agreed by the Prison Service and the YJB for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children held in custody. The arrangements are published in Prison Service Order 4950 Juvenile Regimes and should be discharged in consultation with the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) for the area. The Governor must represent the YOI on the Local Safeguarding Children Board.

3.17.6

For more detail on the requirements and expectations of YOI safeguarding practice, see Prison Service Order 4950 Juvenile Regimes, at: http://pso.hmprisonservice.gov.uk/PSO_4950_regimes_for_juveniles.doc.

3.17.8

Governors of YOIs must ensure that a multi-agency child protection committee, chaired by a senior member of staff, is in place within the establishment. Minimum core membership should include:

  • The Governor;
  • A representative from the Local Safeguarding Children Board;
  • The establishment's safeguards manager;
  • Representatives of healthcare, throughcare and the chaplaincy;
  • A representative of the local Youth Offending Team;
  • A representative personal officer / caseworker.

3.17.9

Key objectives of the committee will be to:

  • Appoint a senior member of staff as safeguards manager, to be a member of the committee and to take the lead responsibility for child protection and safeguarding matters, although ultimate accountability for this work will remain with the Governor of the establishment;
  • Develop, review and update internal policies and procedures to ensure the YOI fulfils its duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The policies and procedures should be in line with these London Child Protection Procedures and approved by the local LSCB and must include:
    • A child protection policy, making clear arrangements and procedures for managing abuse and disclosure of abuse, including referral to LA children's social care, in line with Referral and Assessment Procedure, and the police;
    • Procedures for managing and supporting young people who self-harm or threaten suicide;
    • A strategy for reducing incidents and the level of violence within the establishment, including procedures for dealing with all forms of bullying. All YOI staff, particularly those with direct responsibility for safeguarding (i.e. the safeguards manager) should be aware of, and follow, Children Harming Others as this section has particular relevance to the work of the secure estate;
    • Procedures for managing children in their care who are known to pose a risk to the public, which feeds into Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA);
    • Procedures for managing (or cooperating with) child protection investigations under s47 of the Children Act 1989 where there are concerns about the welfare of a child or young person resident in the establishment.

3.17.10

The same measures should apply to children in other custodial settings, such as children in adult prison settings or immigration detention centres.

Secure Training Centres

3.17.11

Secure training centres (STCs) are purpose-built centres for young offenders up to the age of 17. STCs can accommodate both male and female young people who are held separately. They are run by private operators under contracts, which set out detailed operational requirements. There are four STCs in England

3.17.12

STCs focus on childcare and considerable time and effort is spent on individual needs so that on release young people are able to make better life choices. Each STC has a duty to protect and promote the welfare of those children in its custody. Directors must ensure that effective safeguarding policies and procedures are in place that explain staff responsibilities in relation to safeguarding and welfare promotion. These arrangements must be established in consultation with the local LSCB.

3.17.13

In particular, internal policies and procedures must give clear direction to staff about their safeguarding responsibilities and the responsibility to ensure that when appropriate s47, Children Act 1989.


Local authority (LA) secure children's homes

3.17.14

Most secure children's homes (SCHs) are run by local authority children's social care. They can also be run by third sector organisations. They accommodate children and young people who are placed there on a secure welfare order for the protection of themselves or others, and for those placed under criminal justice legislation by the Youth Justice Board. SCHs are generally used to accommodate young offenders aged 12 to 14, girls up to the age of 16, and 15 to 16 year old boys who are assessed as vulnerable.

3.17.15

SCHs, like all children's homes, are registered and inspected by Ofsted and must comply with the Children's Homes Regulations 2001 and meet the Children's Homes National Minimum Standards, both of which cover a range of issues including child protection.


Youth Offending Teams

3.17.16

In order to fulfil their obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare, Youth offending teams (YOTs) must:

  • Have systems and arrangements in place for all staff, volunteers and visitors;
  • Nominate designated safeguarding children professionals.

This should be undertaken in accordance with Statutory duties, Responsibilities shared by all agencies and Working with the public / local communities.

3.17.17

The duties of the YOT are to co-ordinate the provision of youth justice services for all those in the local authority's area who need them, and to carry out other duties under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. YOTs have contact with both victims and perpetrators of crime, and their families, therefore there may be occasions when professionals identify circumstances in which action by LA children's social care is required. Due to the multi-disciplinary nature of YOTs, they are well placed to fulfil their responsibilities under s11 of the Children Act 2004.

3.17.18

A number of the children who are supervised by YOTs will be children in need, some of whose needs will require safeguarding. There should therefore be clear links between youth justice services and LA children's social care, both at a strategic level and at a child-specific operational level.

3.17.19

The responsibilities set out below apply not only to the mainstream YOT, but also to initiatives under the prevention agenda, and professionals / agencies contracted to provide services on behalf of the YOT. YOTs have a duty to make arrangements to ensure their functions are discharged, having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and to this end must ensure the following arrangements are in place:

  • A senior member of staff should be nominated to take lead responsibility for child protection and safeguarding matters, although ultimate accountability for this work lies with the YOT manager;
  • Each YOT should be represented on the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB);
  • Appropriate policies and procedures must be in place to ensure the YOT fulfil their duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and they should be approved by their LSCB. These must include:
    • compliance with these London Child Protection Procedures;
    • practice guidance for staff around 'safe working practice', in order to try and avoid the potential for allegations against staff.

3.17.20

In addition:

  • All YOT professionals should be appropriately trained to ensure they are able to carry out their safeguarding responsibilities, including training in the identification and management of child protection concerns. Staff should also receive regular refresher training;
  • Clear arrangements should be in place for information sharing with partner agencies, including the transfer of information to the secure estate regarding young people's risk of harm and vulnerability;
  • There should be HR procedures in place which adequately reflect the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, and all staff should receive enhanced DBS clearance;
  • All assessments carried out by YOT professionals (i.e. ASSET and Onset) should place adequate emphasis on the identification and management of safeguarding issues;
  • When completing local management plans following a serious incident, due consideration should be given to the safeguarding needs of both the perpetrator and the victim (where the victim is a child). Consideration as to whether a serious case review is necessary should also be evidenced;
  • All YOT professionals should be aware of and follow Children Visiting Psychiatric Wards and Facilities, as this section has particular relevance to the work of a YOT;
  • YOTs should ensure they have close links with their local Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), the arrangements for which are set out under Risk Management of Known Offenders Procedure, Multi-agency public protection arrangements.

3.18

The Armed Services

 

3.18.1

Local authorities have the statutory responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the children of service families in the UK (when service families or civilians working with the armed forces are based overseas the responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of their children is vested in the Ministry of Defence.)

In discharging these responsibilities:

  • local authorities should ensure that the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Families Association (Ssafa), the British Forces Social Work Service or the Naval Personal and Family Service is made aware of any service child who is the subject of a child protection plan and whose family is about to move overseas and
  • each local authority with a United States base in its area should establish liaison arrangements with the base commander and relevant staff. The requirements of English child welfare legislation should be explained clearly to the US authorities, so that the local authority can fulfil its statutory duties.

3.18.2

Responsibility for the welfare of armed services families is vested in the employing service and specifically in the commanding officer. The frequency of moves makes it imperative that armed services authorities are fully aware of any child deemed to have suffered, or who is likely to suffer significant harm.

3.18.3

The service authorities should co-operate with statutory agencies and support service families where child abuse or neglect occurs or is suspected. The information they hold on any family can help in the assessment and review of child protection cases. Service authorities may also hold information on ex-service families, which may help with current enquiries.


Within United Kingdom

3.18.4

Service authorities, through their internal instructions, are made aware that the primary responsibility for the protection of children is with the local authority and assistance should be given to enable it to fulfil its statutory obligations.

3.18.5

Incidents of child abuse and neglect, indicating serious harm or injury, should be referred to LA children's social care for assessment and s47 enquiries as appropriate.


The Army

3.18.6

The provision of secondary welfare support to Army families in the UK is the responsibility of the Army Welfare Service (AWS).

3.18.7

Where a child from an Army family is subject of a child protection enquiry, contact should be made immediately with the local AWS personal support.


The Royal Air Force

3.18.8

The station's personnel department, usually the Officer Commanding Personnel Management Squadron (OCPMS), generally manages welfare support in the RAF.

3.18.9

The department liaises and works closely with the Soldiers, Sailors, Air Force Association (SSAFA) social work assistant, and a professionally qualified social work adviser.

3.18.10

In the event of a child protection enquiry, LA children's social care service liaison should be with the OCPMS and the SSAFA social work adviser for the area.


The Royal Navy and the Royal Marines

3.18.11

All child protection matters are handled by the Naval Personal and Family Service (NPFS), the Royal Navy's own social work department.

3.18.12

In the event of a child protection enquiry, LA children's social care service liaison should be with the NPFS, who are able to discuss and facilitate service action on behalf of families.


Overseas

3.18.13

Local authorities should ensure that SSAFA is made aware of any service child on the register whose family is about to move overseas. SSAFA should confirm the existence of appropriate resources in the proposed overseas location to meet identified needs. Full documentation should be provided to SSAFA.

3.18.14

SSAFA provides, at the request of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), a qualified social work and health visiting service to families of all services overseas.

3.18.15

Procedures exist in all three services for the assessment and monitoring of the protection of children, and the usual rules of confidentiality are observed.

3.18.16

When it appears a child is in need of emergency protection, a designated person may make an application for a protection order [ss19-22 Armed Forces Act 1991] to a commanding officer. This order may last up to a maximum of 28 days, subject to review every 7 days by a senior officer. If a case conference decides, whilst the order is in force, that it is not in the child's best interests to return to their parents, the child will be removed to the care of an appropriate local authority in the UK.

3.18.17

Assistance will be given to parents to return to the UK so they can be involved with all proceedings and decisions affecting their child.

3.18.18

The protection order, made in the overseas command, remains in effect for 24 hours following the arrival of the child in the UK. During this period the local authority must decide whether to apply to the UK court for an emergency protection order (EPO).

3.18.19

When a service family with a child in need of protection is about to return to the UK, SSAFA or the NPFS is responsible for informing the relevant local authority and ensuring that full documentation is provided to assist in the management of the case.


United States Forces, London

3.18.20

All US forces in London are subject to English law and therefore all reports of significant harm to children involving American military personnel should be reported to the relevant borough's LA children's social care.

3.18.21

Each LA with a US base in its area should establish liaison arrangements with the base commander and relevant staff. The requirements of the English child welfare legislation should be clearly explained so that local authorities can fulfil their statutory duties.


United States Navy, London

3.18.22

The Commander for U.S. Naval Activity in the U.K. has in place a child protection service which investigates all reported cases of child abuse, provides safety responses and case manages all known reports through the Navy's Family Advocacy Program.

3.18.23

Good joint working between the U.S. Navy family advocacy representative and British child protection agencies will ensure that all mandatory reporting requirements for both systems are met.

3.18.24

Incidents of child abuse and neglect, indicating serious harm or injury, should be referred to the LA children's social care service for assessment and s47 enquiries.

3.18.25

Information must be shared to ensure proper professional assessment, including video / audio recording, photographs and medical reports.


3.19

The UK Visas and Immigration

 

3.19.1

The UK Visas and Immigration does not directly provide services to children but it does play a part in identifying and acting upon concerns about the welfare of children with whom it comes into contact. Under section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. The UKVI has a duty to ensure that its functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in the UK. See the Statutory guidance to the UK Border Agency on making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (HO, 2009) at the Home Office website.

3.19.2

UKBA's main contributions to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children include:

  • Ensuring good treatment and good interactions with children throughout the immigration, detention (where appropriate) and customs process;
  • Applying laws and policies that prevent the exploitation of children throughout and following facilitated illegal entry and trafficking; and
  • Detecting at the border any material linked to child exploitation through pornography.

3. 20.3

Other elements of the UKVI's contribution include:

  • Exercising vigilance when dealing with children with whom staff come into contact and identifying children who may be likely to suffer harm; and
  • Making timely and appropriate referrals to agencies that provide ongoing care and support to children.

3.19.4

All unaccompanied asylum seeking children should be referred to LA children's social care. Immigration officers who have contact with children on arrival in the country and staff at the asylum screening unit (ASU) in Croydon to whom 'post entry' applications for asylum are made, must refer to the relevant LA children's social care if they have concerns about the future safety of any child.


The UKBA and trafficking of persons, including children

3.19.5

In accordance with the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (the Convention) the UK operates a National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for victims of human trafficking. Under the NRM framework the details of children identified as vulnerable as a result of a suspicion of trafficking are referred simultaneously to the relevant local authority and to specially trained 'competent authority' teams based in the UKVI and the UK Human Trafficking Centre.

3.19.6

These 'competent authority' teams consider all relevant information, including any provided by LA children social care services, in determining whether a case meets the thresholds for trafficking set out in the Convention. A positive decision will lead to an extendable 45-day reflection period during which the victim will have access to support and will not be removed from the UK. Following this they may be eligible for a residence permit under current immigration policy.

3.19.7

See Safeguarding Trafficked and Exploited Children Procedure.


3.20

The Refugee Council

 

3.20.1

The Refugee Council assists families through the provision of advice about available options and help with paperwork.

3.20.2

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children are provided with support and advice through the Refugee Council's children's panel.

3.20.3

The support provided may be through individual allocation to a casework adviser or via the drop in service, and will focus on:

  • Asylum procedures and processes;
  • The need for legal representation and processes;
  • Facilitating access to other agencies to meet health and welfare needs;
  • Provision of advocacy services.

3.20.4

Referrals may be self-referrals, from the UKVI legal representatives or from local authorities and community groups.

3.20.5

The Refugee Council has its own child protection policy and procedures and all staff receive basic induction training, with further input for those directly working with children.

3.20.6

If a child is identified as in need of support or in need of protection a referral will be made to the relevant LA children's social care.

3.20.7

The Refugee Council's advice line is: 020 7346 6777.


3.21

The London Fire Brigade (London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA))

 

3.21.1

Whilst the London Fire Brigade (the Brigade) has no express or direct statutory duties towards children beyond those it owes the public at large, its safeguarding children policy fully recognises that the protection of children is everybody's responsibility and it is committed to complying with these procedures.

3.21.2

The Brigade has a responsibility to ensure that its staff are aware of its safeguarding children policy and also where relevant understand the London Child Protection Procedures, in particular. Statutory duties, Responsibilities shared by all agencies and Working with the public / local communities. Its staff must follow the policy and procedures if they suspect or believe that a child may have suffered, or is likely to suffer, significant harm through some form of abuse or maltreatment.

3.21.3

In order to fulfil its obligations to safeguard children and promote their welfare, the London Fire Brigade will work with the relevant authorities and communities to:

  • Ensure that relevant staff are competent; and
  • Have systems in place to fulfil its commitments in respect of safeguarding children, including arrangements to refer concerns to the appropriate authority at any time of day.

3.21.4

The Brigade operates a number of youth schemes, one of which is its Juvenile Firesetters Intervention Scheme (JFIS) which is London-wide education-based programme working with children who have demonstrated any type of fireplay or firesetting behaviour in or outside the home; from curiosity fireplay in younger children to deliberate firesetting and arson in older children. The purpose of the scheme is to stop child-set fires by educating children. Trained JFIS advisers from within the London Fire Brigade work directly with the child to address the firesetting behaviour. Where a child's needs are complex, working with other agencies may be necessary in order to address the firesetting behaviour. Family and professional referrals including  referrals from fire crews, LA children's social care, CAMHS, police, schools and YOTs.


3.22

Transport for London

 

3.22.1

Transport for London (TfL) developed its Safeguarding Children and Young People policy in 2009. For the guidance, see: the TFL website.

3.22.2

TfL has no express or direct statutory duties towards children but fully recognises the need to safeguard children and young people as they are important and can be vulnerable users of our services. TfL strives to create a safe and secure transport network for all who use it but will work towards addressing any specific needs of children and young people. TfL will therefore take all reasonable measures to ensure that the risks of harm to children and young people using our services are minimised and will take appropriate actions to address concerns about their safety and security. TfL will achieve this through clear policies, guidance to staff and by working in partnership with other agencies.

3.22.3

The Safeguarding policy is relevant and contains guidance for all the transport modes TfL operates, including those contracted service providers such as London Buses, London Underground, London Overground, Tramlink and Docklands Light Railway.

3.22.4

Transport for London will meet its responsibilities to safeguarding children in the following ways:

  • A clear statement of TfL's responsibilities to children and young people
  • Ensuring senior management commitment
  • Issuing step by step guidance to staff
  • Ensuring a clear line of accountability from each staff member up through TfL and contracted service providers
  • Working together with partner agencies and sharing information when applicable
  • Listening to children and young people
  • Appropriate selection and vetting procedures for staff

3.22.5

TfL are currently in the process of developing a Youth Strategy which will capture a vast range of activities it promotes under the headings of:

  • Health and Sustainability
  • Casualty Reduction
  • Community and Personal Safety
  • Skills and Employment.

3.23

The independent and third sectors

 

3.23.1

Third sector agencies and private sector providers play an important role in delivering services for children, including in early years and day care provision, family support services, supplementary schools, youth work and children's social care and health care. Many third sector agencies are skilled in early intervention and preventative work and may be well placed to reach the most vulnerable children and their families. Safe Network provides an easy-to-use standards framework that enables voluntary and community organisations to fulfil their responsibilities, plus back up resources. 

3.23.2

Third sector agencies also deliver advocacy for looked-after children and for parents and children who are the subject of s47, Children Act 1989 enquiries and child protection conferences. The services they offer include therapeutic work with children and their families, particularly in relation to child sexual abuse; specialist support and services for children with disabilities or health problems; and services for children abused through sexual exploitation and for children who harm other children.

3.23.3

Some third sector agencies operate national help lines. Parentline Plus (0808 800 2222) offers support to anyone parenting a child. Helplines provide important routes into statutory and third sector services. See also the NSPCC helplines in sections 3.23.15 and 3.23.16.

3.23.4

Third sector agencies also play a key role in providing information and resources to the wider public about the needs of children, and resources to help families. Many campaign on behalf of groups on specific issues.

3.23.5

Voluntary and community sector organisations working with children and young people can seek help, advice and support from Safe Network with putting safeguards in place and developing safe practice. Safe Network is run by the NSPCC and Children England. It has an accessible website with a wide range of resources and information, as well as an enquiry service, e-newsletters, and regular learning opportunities via its webinar programme. Safe Network also has a local and regional presence, managed and co-ordinated by a team of Regional Development Managers. The Safe Network website provides details of its contacts and activities in London.

The NSPCC is the only third sector agency authorised to initiate proceedings to protect children under the terms of the Children Act 1989, but this is rare. Third sector agencies often play a key role in implementing child protection plans.

3.23.6

The third sector is active in working to safeguard the children for whom it provides services. There is a range of umbrella and specialist agencies, including the national governing bodies for sports, which offer service standards, guidance, training and advice for third sector agencies on keeping children safe from harm. For example, the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU), established in partnership with the NSPCC and Sport England, provides advice and assistance on developing codes of practice and child protection procedures to sporting agencies.

3.23.7

Where independent agencies have a formal relationship with statutory ones (e.g. subject to registration and inspection or contracted to provide services), the statutory agencies may reasonably be expected to provide clear advice and assistance.

3.23.8

Paid and volunteer staff need to be aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and how they should respond to child protection concerns. Private and third sector agencies and community groups need to work effectively with the Local Safeguarding Children Board in their area. Similar to statutory sector agencies, they should have appropriate arrangements in place, including:

  • Child protection policies and procedures;
  • A code of conduct;
  • Recruitment selection and DBS checking procedures;
  • Staff / volunteer training strategy and implementation;
  • designated safeguarding children professionals;
  • An equal opportunities policy;
  • Complaints and grievance policies;
  • A confidentiality policy;
  • A whistle-blowing policy;
  • Information for parents;
  • Monitoring and review strategy.

See also Appendix 2: Third sector agencies or community groups keeping children safe.

3.23.9

Private and third sector agencies and community groups should develop their arrangements in line with these London Child Protection Procedures, with appropriate support of the LSCB in their area (see also the requirements in Faith communities).

3.23.10

Whenever there is concern that a child has been abused or neglected, or has perpetrated significant physical or sexual harm on another child, the paid or volunteer staff member who first becomes aware of the concern must make a referral without delay to the LA children's social care for the area in which the child lives, in line with the Referral and Assessment Procedure. The staff member may want to discuss the concern with their agency's designated safeguarding children professional – however, this should not delay the referral.


NSPCC

3.23.11

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is the major national charity with a duty to protect children from abuse and neglect. The NSPCC has the statutory power to bring care proceedings in its own right, although this is now very unusual.

3.23.12

LA children's social care services may commission the NSPCC to undertake specific child protection related work, including s47 enquiries and 'special investigations'.

3.23.13

The NSPCC also provides services for children and families and has the same responsibilities in this respect as other third sector agencies.

3.23.14

The NSPCC operates a national 24 hour Child Protection Helpline (0808 800 5000), offering advice to adults and children worried about a child's safety or welfare. The Helpline accepts referrals and passes the information to the relevant LA children's social care services.

The service can usually provide an interpreter, if one is requested at the beginning of a call. There is a free textphone service (0800 056 0566) for adults or children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The NSPCC's Asian child protection helpline provides advice in Bengali (0800 096 7714), Gujurati (0800 096 7715), Hindi (0800 096 7716), Punjabi (0800 096 7717), Urdu (0800 096 7718) and Asian/English (0800 096 7719).

3.23.15

The NSPCC also operates a free 24 hour national helpline, ChildLine (0800 1111), for all children who need advice about abuse, bullying, and other concerns.


Sports clubs

3.23.16

Many children regularly attend sports clubs and all such agencies should have their own child protection procedures and training for relevant staff and volunteers.

3.23.17

The NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) works in partnership with Sport England and other major sports agencies to develop safeguards for children in sport.

3.23.18

In partnership with Ladbrokes, the NSPCC has issued a free leaflet and checklist of questions (Have Fun Be Safe) that parents should ask for from agencies offering sports activities for children (available from NSPCC and Ladbrokes shops).

3.23.19

The child protection procedures instruct individuals to seek advice or make referrals to the NSPCC helpline, LA children's social care or the police.

3.23.20

Where suspected abuse occurs within a football setting, the FA head of education and child protection should be informed of the concerns and will provide information for any relevant child protection enquiries and strategy meetings / discussions.


Churches, other places of worship and faith communities

3.23.21

Churches, other places of worship and faith-based agencies provide a wide range of activities for children and young people. They are some of the largest providers of children's and youth work, and have an important role in safeguarding children and supporting families. Religious leaders, staff and volunteers who provide services in places of worship and in faith-based agencies will have various degrees of contact with children.

3.23.22

Like other agencies that work with children, churches, other places of worship and faith based agencies need to have appropriate arrangements in place for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. All faith communities, with support from nominated individuals in the local LSCB, should be encouraged to develop and maintain their own child protection procedures, consistent with these London Child Protection Procedures. In particular, these should include:

  • Procedures for staff and others to report concerns they may have about the children they meet (in line with these London Child Protection Procedures), as well as arrangements such as those described above;
  • Appropriate codes of practice for staff, particularly those working directly with children, such as those issued by the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (see also section 3.23.25 below) or their denomination or faith group;
  • Recruitment procedures in accordance with these London Child Protection Procedures, alongside training and supervision of staff (paid or voluntary) - see Safer Recruitment Procedure;
  • Procedures for dealing with allegations against staff and volunteers (see Allegations against staff or volunteers, who work with children Procedure).

3.23.23

Faith communities should ensure that all clergy, staff and volunteers who have regular contact with children:

  • Have been checked for suitability in working with children and understand the extent and limits of the volunteer role;
  • Are aware of the possibility of child abuse and neglect;
  • Have access to training opportunities to promote their knowledge;
  • Know how to report any concerns about possible abuse or neglect;
  • Are vigilant about their own actions so they cannot be misinterpreted.

3.23.24

All allegations against people who work with children must be reported to  the Designated Officer, and there is a duty to refer to the Disclosure and Barring Service any relevant information so that those who pose a risk to vulnerable groups can be identified and barred. In addition where they are a charity all serious incidents need reporting to the Charity Commission.

3.23.25

Churches and faith communities must have in place effective arrangements for safely allowing sexual and violent offenders to worship and be part of their religious community. This should include a contract of behaviour stipulating the boundaries an offender would be expected to keep. Faith communities should consult the MAPPA Guidance (2009) issued by the National Offender Management Service Public Protection Unit which specifically addresses 'Offenders and Worship'.

3.23.26

Churches and faith agencies can seek advice on child protection issues from their own child protection procedures such as the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS) or from the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS). CCPAS can help with policies and procedures; its guidance to churches manual can assist churches and its safeguarding children and young people can assist other places of worship and faith-based groups.

3.23.27

CCPAS provides a national (24 hour) telephone helpline for churches, other places of worship and faith-based groups and individuals, providing advice and support on safeguarding issues (0845 120 45 50).

3.23.28

In developing procedures for child protection, faith communities should be encouraged to:

  • Nominate an individual to take responsibility for drawing up and maintaining policy for child protection;
  • Have a designated safeguarding children person for reporting child protection concerns to, along with a deputy;
  • Have guidelines about the care of children in the absence of parents, which respect the rights of the child and the responsibilities of the adults towards them;
  • Have guidelines about safe caring practices e.g. not being alone with children without alerting others to the reason, guidelines on touch, and discipline, and have in place abuse of trust guidelines, and ensuring sufficient supervision of groups / activities. Ensure that all allegations, however minor, are reported to the agency / group manager / leader;
  • Have rigorous recruitment procedures for workers (whether paid or voluntary) including completing application forms, taking up references, interviewing candidates, and undertaking DBS disclosures where appropriate;
  • Ensure that workers undertake child protection training;
  • Recognise that members of faith communities may be victims of abuse, and to provide assistance to support those affected by abuse;
  • Recognise that faith communities can include those who have harmed children; therefore, to safeguard children, faith communities should work with LA children's social care and where appropriate Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) to provide supervision and pastoral care of offenders, including contracts;
  • Ensure that any agencies who hire premises (e.g. playgroups have child protection procedures in place);
  • Promote and maintain links with the statutory agencies in relation to both general and specific child protection matters.

3.23.29

Whenever there is concern that a child has been abused or neglected the concern should be referred, without delay, to the duty social worker for the area in which the child lives.

See also the Spiritual, cultural and religious beliefs Procedure.