We fully recognise the responsibility to have arrangements in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children.
As a Playgroup we aim to comply with the procedures set out by the Local Safeguarding Board. We wish to maintain an environment in which children feel safe and secure and where any suspicion of abuse is promptly and appropriately dealt with. The child will always be of paramount importance.
There are four main elements to our policy:
1. Prevention through the support offered to children and the creation and maintenance of a whole-setting protective ethos.
2. Procedures for identifying and reporting cases, or suspected cases, of abuse.
3. Supporting children
4. Promoting a protective ethos. Our policy applies to all staff, paid and unpaid, working in the setting, including volunteers. Concerned parents may also contact the setting’s Designated Person/s for Child Protection.
We recognise that high self-esteem, confidence, supportive friends and good lines of communication with a trusted adult help to protect children. The setting will therefore:
- Establish and maintain an ethos where children feel secure, are encouraged to talk, and are actively listened to.
- Ensure children know that there are adults in the setting whom they can approach if they are worried or in difficulty.
The Designated Persons for Child Protection are:
- Ensure we have a Designated Person for Child Protection on site at every session, who has undertaken, as a minimum, the two-day child protection training course.
- Ensure this training is updated every three years.
- Ensure there are contingency arrangements should the Designated Person not be available (another Designated Person will be on site).
- Ensure that the Designated Person has access to Social Care at the Local Authority for ‘what if’ conversations. The Emergency Duty Team (out of hours) is also available.
The roles of staff and management:
We will ensure every member of staff knows:
- The name of the Designated Person and her role.
- How to pass on and record concerns about a child.
- That they have an individual responsibility for referring child protection concerns to relevant agencies and within the timescales set out in LSCB procedures.
We will follow ‘safer recruitment’ procedures. Training will be provided for all staff from the point of their induction, and we will ensure that it is updated every three years at a minimum. Training made available must enable staff to identify signs of possible abuse and neglect at the earliest opportunity and to respond to these in a timely and appropriate way. These may include:
- Significant changes in children’s behaviour.
- Deterioration in children’s general well-being.
- Unexplained bruising, marks or signs of abuse or neglect.
- Children’s comments which give cause for concern.
- Any reasons to suspect neglect or abuse outside the setting for example in the child’s home.
- Inappropriate behaviour displayed by other members of staff or other person working with the children.
Liaison with other agencies:
We will work to develop effective links with relevant agencies and cooperate as required with their enquiries regarding child protection matters, including attendance and written reports at child in need, Team Around the Child (TAC) meetings and child protection conferences and core groups.
We will keep clear, detailed written records of concern about children’s welfare using the Log of Concern Form (noting the date, event and action taken). We will ensure all records are kept secure and in locked locations. Unless it would place the child at risk of acute harm, parents will be informed that a Log of Concern Form has been completed, where it will be stored and what will happen to it when the child leaves the setting.
When the child about whom there have been child welfare concerns (whether subject to a child protection plan or not) leaves us or transfers to school, the child’s child welfare file will be transferred to the receiving school or setting using the following protocol:
- The file will be marked ‘confidential, addressee only’ and sent to the Designated Person, if known, of the receiving setting or school. The file will be delivered by hand if possible; otherwise sent by delivery that can be tracked and signed for.
- We will contact the receiving setting/school by telephone to make them aware that there is a child welfare file and, once sent, ask them to confirm as soon as possible that they have received the file. We will keep a record that the file has been received in order to be able to identify its location.
- Parents will be made aware that child welfare records will be transferred, unless this would place the child at risk of acute harm.
- If individual child welfare files cannot be transferred for any reason, the setting will archive them for 25 years from the child’s date of birth.
Confidentiality and information sharing:
Staff will ensure confidentiality and that relevant and proportionate information is shared appropriately.
The Designated Person may disclose any information about a child to other members of staff on a ‘need to know’ basis only.
All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share relevant and proportionate information with other agencies in order to safeguard children.
If a child discloses information that may indicate that they are at risk of abuse or neglect, the staff member must be clear that they cannot promise to keep the information a secret. The staff member should be honest to the child and explain that it will be necessary to tell someone else in order to help them and keep them safe.
The LSCB Guidance on the Sharing of Information on Children in Need and in Need of Protection can be accessed from the LSCB website (www.cambslscb.org.uk).
Communication with parents:
- Undertake appropriate discussion with parents prior to involvement of another agency, unless the circumstances may put the child at further risk of harm. If in any doubt, staff will seek advice from Social Care as required.
- Ensure that all parents/carers have an understanding of the responsibility placed on the setting and staff for safeguarding and child protection by ensuring that they receive a copy of this policy when registering their child at the setting.
We recognise that children who are abused or witness abuse may find it difficult to develop a sense of self-worth and trust those around them.
We recognise that some children may adopt inappropriate or abusive behaviours and that these children may be referred on for appropriate support and intervention.
We will endeavour to support the child through:
- Activities to encourage self-esteem and self-motivation.
- An ethos that actively promotes a positive, supportive and secure environment that values people.
- A behaviour policy aimed at supporting all children. All staff will agree on a consistent approach, which focuses on the behaviour of the child but does not damage the child’s sense of self worth. The setting will ensure that the child knows that some behaviour is unacceptable but she/he is valued and not to be blamed for any abuse which has occurred.
- Liaison with other agencies which support the child and family such as Social Care and Locality Teams.
- A commitment to develop partnerships with parents.
- Recognition that children living in a home environment where there is domestic abuse/violence, mental ill-health or substance misuse may be vulnerable and in need of support and protection.
- Monitoring children’s welfare, keeping records and seeking advice or making a referral to other agencies, e.g. Social Care, when necessary.
Children with Special Educational Needs and/or Additional Needs:
We recognise that, statistically, children with behavioural difficulties and disabilities are most vulnerable to abuse. Setting staff who deal with children with complex and multiple disabilities and/or emotional and behavioural problems should be particularly sensitive to signs of abuse.
Promoting a protective Ethos:
We will create an ethos in which children feel secure, their viewpoints are valued, they are encouraged to talk and they are listened to. This will be achieved in the following ways:
- All staff, including the Designated Persons, are trained regularly to ensure skills and knowledge are up-to-date.
Contribution to an inter-agency approach to child protection by working effectively and supportively with other agencies.
- Raising children’s awareness and actively promoting self-esteem building, so that children have a range of strategies and contacts to ensure their safety.
- Working with parents to build an understanding of our responsibility to the welfare of the children.
- Ensuring the relevant policies are in place, i.e. behaviour management, intimate care, whistle-blowing, social networking.
- Being vigilant to the inappropriate behaviour of staff or adults working with children and ensuring that all staff and volunteers know the allegations procedure and relevant contacts.
- Staff acting as positive role models to children and young people.
We have a separate whistle-blowing policy which aims to help and protect both staff and children by:
- Preventing a problem getting worse;
- Safeguarding children and young people;
- Reducing the potential risks to others.
The earlier a concern is raised, the easier and sooner it is possible for the setting to take action.
The responsibility for expressing concerns about unacceptable practice or behaviour rests with all staff, students and volunteers.
Allegations of abuse against staff or volunteers:
If an allegation is made against a staff member or volunteer, the following action will be taken (as per the ‘Allegations of Abuse against Adults who Work or Volunteer in a Childcare Setting’ flowchart and guidance):
We will ensure the immediate safety of the children.
- We will not start to investigate and will immediately contact the Early Years Named Senior Officer (if the Early Years Named Senior Officer is not contactable, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) should be contacted direct).
- We will notify Ofsted of a significant incident.
- The Early Years Named Senior Officer will notify the LADO, who will decide if it could be a child protection case.
- If the LADO decides the matter is a child protection case, external/internal agencies (e.g. police) will be informed by the LADO and we will act upon the advice given to ensure that any investigation is not jeopardised.
- It may be necessary for Great Gransden Playgroup to suspend the alleged perpetrator. Suspension is a neutral act to allow a thorough and fair investigation.
- If it is agreed that the matter is not a child protection case, we will investigate the matter and feed back the outcome of the investigation to the Early Years Named Senior Officer and Ofsted.
THE USE OF MOBILE PHONES AND CAMERAS:
Staff/visitors/Parents are not allowed to use a mobile phone in Playgroup except for the staff room/kitchen. Visitors are asked to leave their phones in the staff room. Staff use the Playgroup cameras only – in the two main rooms/lobby or outside to record children at play.
Management Child Protection Policy:
The committee fully recognises their responsibilities with regard to child protection and safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. They will ensure that this policy is annually reviewed in conjunction with the Playgroup’s Designated Person.