Safeguarding Children Policy and Procedures

(includes Prevent Duty of Care, Allegations against a Member of Staff and Whistleblowing)

Safeguarding children is the action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.   It applies to all children and is defined as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

DESIGNATED AND DEPUTY SAFEGUARDING LEADS

The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is Marion McMullan. Katharine Wright is the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead.    The DSL and Deputy DSL work together to ensure the setting meets the Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements with regard to safeguarding children. They are aware of their responsibilities to safeguard children outside operational hours and will develop effective working relations with other agencies and services as necessary and decide whether to take further action about specific concerns. Their roles are to ensure that:

  • Surrey Safeguarding Children’s Board procedures are followed within the setting and that they keep up to date with latest safeguarding training and changes.
  • All Staff (permanent and temporary), volunteers and helpers are aware that safeguarding children is everyone’s responsibility.
  • All adults working and looking after children at playgroup have read this document and are able to put these procedures into practice.
  • Safeguarding training of all staff is up to date.

This policy covers the following sections:

  • Pyrford Playgroup’s Safeguarding Procedure
  • Contact numbers to report a safeguarding concern
  • General points about safeguarding at Pyrford Playgroup
  • Mobile phones and cameras
  • Existing Injuries to children
  • Child absence from playgroup
  • Staff supervision meetings
  • Bruising in children who are not independently mobile
  • Prevent Duty of Care
  • Child Sexual Exploitation, Female Genital Mutilation, Forced Marriage, Domestic Abuse, Parental Mental Ill Health and Substance Misuse.
  • Physical intervention
  • Allegations against a member of staff
  • Whistleblowing

PYRFORD PLAYGROUP’S SAFEGUARDING PROCEDURE

All staff are aware of the following procedure and understand that the abuse of children can take different forms: physical, emotional, sexual, neglectful, or a mixture of these.

1. What we do if a member of staff has general concerns

If a member of staff has any general concern about a child’s welfare, he or she must inform the DSL and the Deputy DSL immediately.  Information regarding concerns must be recorded by the member of staff in the “Safeguarding File” on the “Record of Concerns form”. It must be signed and dated by the member of staff and the parent/carer. However, if it is felt that sharing the information with the parent/carer, could put the child at significant harm, the DSL may decide to seek advice from the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) – 0300 470 9100.   The playgroup will follow their advice in all cases. The recording of information in the €œSafeguarding File € must be accurate and factual.   The “Safeguarding File” is kept secure and confidential and will be reviewed termly.

2.   What we do if a child makes a disclosure?

If a child tells a member of staff that they, or another child, is being abused, the member of staff will show concern and that they have heard what the child is saying and will listen to and allow the child to talk. However, the member of staff will not prompt the child or ask leading questions. They will not interrupt when a child is recalling significant events and they will not make a child repeat their account.

The member of staff will explain what actions they must take, in a way that is appropriate to the age and understanding of the child.   The member of staff will write down what they were told, using the “Disclosure by a child form” kept in the Safeguarding File. Exact words will be recorded where possible, making a note of the date, time, place and people who were present.

Staff know not to act upset, shocked or show disbelief. They will not speculate, make accusations or jump to conclusions. It is not their responsibility to decide if the allegation is true or not.   The member of staff will report the concerns immediately to the DSL or Deputy DSL. They should not delay an immediate response to protect a child.

The DSL and Deputy DSL will call the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) – 0300 470 9100 for advice. The playgroup will follow their advice in all cases.   Alternatively the DSL or Deputy DSL may decide to contact the police using the non emergency number 101, or in an emergency, where the safety of a child is at immediate risk, 999.   This may be done without prior discussion with parents. It is not the playgroup’s responsibility to investigate the situation.

If a referral is made, the DSL will ensure that written confirmation (using the Multi-Agency Referral Form – MARF- www.surreycc.gov.uk/safeguarding) of the concerns are sent within 48 hours to Surrey Children’s Services.   All records relating to safeguarding are in a secure locked place.   All records which concern child protection will be passed onto new settings and schools.

CONTACT NUMBERS TO REPORT A SAFEGUARDING CONCERN

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)   for advice or to make a referral:

0300 470 9100

Email mash@surreycc.gov.uk                                                 Secure email: mash@surreycc.gcsx.gov.uk

MASH team, Surrey Police, PO Box 101, Guildford,   Surrey GU1 9PE

Outside office hours/public holidays, the Emergency Duty Team can be contacted on

01483 517 898.

Police    Non emergency number 101

In an emergency where safety of a child is at immediate risk 999

GENERAL POINTS ABOUT SAFEGUARDING AT PYRFORD PLAYGROUP 

  • The playgroup has a copy of “What to do if you are worried a child is being abused”, produced by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, for all parents and staff to refer to on site. All staff know where this booklet is kept (on the counter in the kitchen) and the playgroup will follow the guidelines set out in the booklet.
  • The playgroup follows Ofsted’s requirements in respect of references and DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks for staff and volunteers, which ensures that no disqualified person or unsuitable person works at our playgroup, or has access to the children.
  • Staff are aware that they have a duty to inform the DSL if before, or during their employment:
    • they are, or have been, involved with the Police (interviewed, questioned, cautioned, convicted).
    • anyone involved in their personal life has been, or is being, cautioned or convicted of any offence that may have a bearing on their suitability to work with children
    • they have, or had, parental responsibility for a child who is being assessed under section 47 of the Children Act 1989.

These three questions are also asked as a regular check at staff supervision meetings. The DSL will contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) on 0300 123 1650 for further advice if appropriate.

  • Staff attend “Working together to Safeguard Children” and refresher training every three years.   Staff will be trained to respond to:

– significant changes to a child’s behaviour

– deterioration in a child’s general well being

– unexplained bruising, markings or signs of possible abuse or neglect

– the comments children make 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 any other person working with the children.   For example, inappropriate sexual comments; excessive one-to-one attention beyond requirements of their usual role and responsibilities; or the inappropriate sharing of images.

  • Staff are aware that it is a disciplinary offence to be under the influence of alcohol or any other substance which may affect their ability to care for children.   If a member of staff is taking medication which may affect their ability to care for children, they should inform the DSL or Deputy DSL and medical advice will be taken. If medical advice confirms that the medication is unlikely to impair that staff member’s ability to look after children, then the member of staff will be allowed to continue working.   If any staff medication is brought onto the premises, it is securely stored and out of the reach of children at all times.
  • The way in which the hall is set up, allows staff to provide constant supervision to the children at the playgroup. Staff will never be left alone for long periods of time with individual children or small groups of children. An adult without a DBS check completed will never be left alone with a child.

MOBILE PHONES AND CAMERAS

Staff, volunteers and helpers understand the reasons why they are not allowed to have mobile phones in the setting and why we have to ensure that phones are kept secure and locked away from 9.00am – 12.00pm.   Mobile phones brought into the premises are kept in a locked tin in the kitchen during these hours. The playgroup has a designated camera for taking pictures of playgroup activities.   This camera is kept secure between sessions with the DSL or Deputy DSL.   It never goes home with a member of staff.

EXISTING INJURIES TO CHILDREN

Parents/carers should inform a member of staff of any accidental or non accidental injury that the child may have had outside playgroup hours and record the injury on an “Existing Injuries” form. The form will be placed in the “Accident/Incident File” under the Existing Injuries section.   This file is kept confidential and reviewed termly.

CHILD ABSENCE FROM PLAYGROUP

Parents/carers are expected to notify playgroup of their child’s planned or unplanned absence from playgroup by phone, email or text. Playgroup will record the reason given. If the child is away, without any notification, then the DSL or DDSL will contact the parent/carer to find out the reason for the absence and a likely return date. The register file will be reviewed termly by the DSL and Deputy DSL.

STAFF SUPERVISION MEETINGS

Supervision is part of safeguarding children.   Staff have termly supervision meetings with the DSL and Deputy DSL where they have the opportunity to discuss children causing them concern and access support to deal with possible child protection issues. They also have the opportunity to reflect on work practices, skills and training needs to ensure high standards of service are delivered.   They are asked to answer safeguarding and health and safety questions as a regular check.

BRUISING IN CHILDREN WHO ARE NOT INDEPENDENTLY MOBILE*

Bruising is one of the commonest presenting features of physical abuse in children. Therefore, any bruising (or mark that might be bruising), in a child who is not yet independently mobile, is a matter for inquiry and concern.   In line with our safeguarding obligations, if the DSL, Deputy DSL or a member of staff, helper or volunteer sees a non independently mobile child with a bruise (even if they do not attend playgroup), we have to refer the matter immediately to children’s services. Referrals will be made via the contact Centre for Children’s services on 0300 200 1006.

*A non independently mobile child is any child who is not yet crawling, bottom shuffling, pulling to stand, cruising or walking independently.   This includes all children under 6 months (even if they are rolling) and children with significant disabilities resulting in immobility

PREVENT DUTY OF CARE
To protect and safeguard young children and families deemed at risk of radicalisation, with the intent to prevent them from being drawn into terrorism. As from July 1st, 2015 it is a legal requirement for All Early Years Providers to have in operation a Prevent Duty of Care Policy.

Pyrford Playgroup is committed to providing a secure environment for children. The prevent duty of care forms part of our wider safeguarding responsibilities in keeping children safe from harm by understanding the prevention of radicalisation. We aim to provide a broad and balanced early years curriculum, delivered by skilled professionals, so that our children understand and become tolerant of difference/diversity and also to ensure that they thrive and feel valued and respected as individuals.   We recognise that if we fail to challenge extremist views, we are failing to protect our children.

There is no single way of identifying an individual who is likely to be susceptible to a terrorist ideology, but staff will be alert to changes in children’s behaviour, which could indicate they may be in need of help or protection. These behaviours can be evident during free play, group activities, role play and quiet times such as story time or one to one/small group activities. Quiet times are often when children will make disclosures, as they might be closest to their key person or another member of staff.   People from any walks of life can be drawn into radicalisation and not necessarily from a particular religion or ethnicity. Dress codes and certain terminology/ phrases used by some communities are not indicative factors that they are at risk of being radicalised. Terrorism is not promoted by any religion.   The Prevent duty does not require childcare providers to carry out unnecessary intrusion into family life but we are required to take action when we observe behaviour of concern.

As part of their wider safeguarding responsibilities, staff will be alert to:

  • Disclosures by children of their exposure to the extremist actions, views or materials of others outside of the setting, such as in their homes or community groups.
  • Graffiti symbols, writing or art work promoting extremist messages or images
  • The fact that children can be exposed to extremist material online, including through social networking sites
  • Parental reports of changes in behaviour, friendship or actions
  • Local authority services and police reports of issues affecting children in other local schools or settings
  • Use of extremist or ‘hate’ terms to exclude others or incite violence
  • Intolerance of difference. Whether secular or religious or, in line with our equalities policy, views based on, but not exclusive to, gender, disability, homophobia, race, colour or culture.

Where there are concerns of extremism or radicalisation staff will   make use of our internal safeguarding systems to raise any issue in confidence.   If there is an immediate risk, police will be contacted on 999.   All other concerns should be referred to the Children’s Services Referral Hub or MASH. The Counter Terrorism Security Advice number is 01483 639871.

CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION, FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION **, FORCED MARRIAGE, DOMESTIC ABUSE, PARENTAL MENTAL ILL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Staff attend “Working Together to Safeguard Children” and Refresher courses as appropriate to ensure that their safeguarding training is up to date.   The courses cover the above areas and staff are aware what the above terms mean, who is vulnerable, how to recognise possible indicators and what to do if they are worried.

** Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female circumcision is illegal in the UK and it is an offence to take UK nationals or permanent UK residents abroad to aid, abet or carry out FGM abroad. All agencies have a statutory responsibility to safeguard children from being abused through FGM. If you are concerned that a girl is at risk of FGM this is a child protection issue and must be documented and reported to Social Care and or the police.

Who is vulnerable to FGM?

  • Any young person who comes from a culture where FGM is routinely practised including Kenyan, Somali, Sudanese, Sierra Leonean, Egyptian, Nigeria and Eritrean.
  • Girls between the age of 0 -15 (3 – 5 is the most common)
  • Families where mother has had FGM
  • Families where older siblings have had FGM

Recognising FGM can be very difficult and there are two things to consider:

  • Is the child at risk of FGM or 2) has FGM already taken place?

If the child is at risk of FGM, we may identify that they:

  • Are not attending playgroup
  • Are returning to their home country for an extended period
  • Are talking about a family celebration/coming of age
  • Are being given gifts and a special party.

A child who may already have had FGM done may:

  • Spend long periods of time in the toilet
  • Have lots of urinary infections
  • Be unable to take part in physical activities

If a child is at immediate risk of being removed from the country, or for FGM to take place in the UK, we will

contact the police. All other concerns will be referred to Children’s Services Referral Hub, or MASH. 

PHYSICAL INTERVENTION

Staff use positive handling. Some examples of this are:

  • giving guidance such as helping hold a paintbrush or use the climbing frame
  • providing emotional support such as placing and arm around a distressed child
  • providing physical care such as first aid or toileting.

Restrictive physical intervention will only be used when a child is injuring (or about to injure) themselves/another person or is damaging (or about to damage) property.   Where it is judged necessary to use restrictive physical intervention, staff should:

  • Aim for side to side contact (reducing risk of being kicked)
  • Be aware of head positioning to avoid head butts
  • Keep their backs as straight as possible
  • Hold children by their “long bones” avoiding joints where pain/damage are most likely.
  • Avoid holding a child around chest cavity/stomach, thereby restricting ability to breathe.

Any use of restrictive physical intervention will be recorded within 24 hours on a form in the Accident/Incident book and signed by the parent/carer.   If a parent/carer has a concern about any incident, they should speak to the DSL or Deputy DSL.   Staff who are concerned about the actions of a colleague should refer to the whistle blowing section of this policy.

ALLEGATIONS AGAINST A MEMBER OF STAFF

If a parent/carer has a concern that a member of staff /volunteer may have behaved in a way that has, or may have, harmed a child or possibly committed a criminal offence against/in relation to a child, or behaved towards a child in a way that indicates she/he is unsuitable to work with children, they should speak to the DSL or Deputy DSL without delay.

Procedure for reporting and managing allegations:

  1. The DSL or Deputy will consult the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) to report the allegations against a member of staff (LADO DUTY TEAM – 0300 123 1650 option 3) within 24 hours. We will follow their guidance when responding to any allegation. We may also contact Early Years Safeguarding Children Advisor, Sue Monk on 01372 833826 for support and advice.
  2. We will inform Ofsted (telephone number 0300 123 1231), within 24 hours of the allegation being made and then in writing within 14 days.
  3. It is the playgroup €™s policy to suspend the member of staff on full pay for the duration of the investigation. This is not an admission that the alleged incident has taken place, but is to protect the staff, as well as the children and families, throughout the process. Unless the allegations are found to be malicious, records will be kept for 10 years.
  4. In the event of disqualification, the playgroup will not continue to employ that person and will make a referral to DBS

WHISTLEBLOWING

(Please also see section on Allegations against a member of staff)

Staff have a responsibility for raising concerns about a colleague’s unacceptable practice or behaviour to the DSL/Deputy DSL or to the relevant agencies.  Although this can be difficult and staff may feel disloyal to colleagues, this is of paramount importance where the welfare of children may be at risk. Examples of inappropriate behaviour may be excessive one-to-one attention beyond the requirements of the role, inappropriate sharing of images or sexual comments.

How to raise a concern:

  • Staff should raise their concerns, suspicions or uneasiness as soon as they feel they can with the DSL or the Deputy DSL.
  • They should try to pinpoint exactly what practice is concerning them and why.
  • If their concern is about the DSL or the Deputy DSL, or they feel they need to take it to someone outside the playgroup, they should contact the Mult-agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). They can also contact the Ofsted Whistleblowing number for advice on 0300 1233 155.
  • Staff are not expected to prove the truth of an allegation, but will need to demonstrate sufficient grounds for the concern.
  • Staff will be given information on the nature and progress of any enquiries.
  • Such reporting will remain confidential in most instances, however, this cannot be guaranteed where concerns raised are about the welfare of safety of children. The DSL/Deputy DSL has a responsibility to protect the member of staff from harassment or victimisation.
  • If the concern was raised in good faith, staff should be reassured that no action will be taken against them if it proves to be unfounded.
  • Malicious allegations may be considered as a disciplinary offence.

It is recognised that whistle blowing can be difficult and stressful. However, poor practice or performance should always be challenged in order to safeguard the welfare of children.

Date policy written:                Aug 2011
Reviewed:                             Oct 2011
Reviewed:                              Sept 2013
Reviewed:                              Nov 2014
LAST REVIEW DATE:               NOV 2016
 

Signed:   ________________________

Marion McMullan

 

Signed:  _______________________

Katharine Wright