Safeguarding

West End in Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

Policy Statement

West End in fully recognises its responsibility for child protection and for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of young people.

The company aims to create and maintain a safe environment for young people and similarly for students who are over eighteen, staff, volunteers, and visitors.

c)  The company is committed to working with all other agencies. We recognise our responsibility towards our students and other children in our care.

d)  This policy includes the relevant guidance of the child protection agency.

Coverage

The policy applies to all staff and workers working for West End in.

Definitions

For the purposes of the Safeguarding Policy:

i)  A „child or young person‟ means any person under the age of 18 (i.e. those who have not yet reached their 18th birthday).

ii)  „Staff‟ means all employees, full-time and fractional, and all agency, franchise, contract and volunteer staff working for West End in.

Aims of the Safeguarding Policy

The aims of the policy are:

i)  To promote an environment that is safe, where staff and students treat each other with mutual respect and develop good relationships built on trust.

ii)  To raise the awareness of all staff of the need to safeguard young people and of their rights and responsibilities in identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse.

iii)  To provide support to young people who are thought to be at risk of harm.

iv)  To ensure that relevant information about a young person at risk of harm is disseminated to appropriate staff within the College on a “need to know‟ basis.

v)  To develop a structured procedure which will be followed by all members of the College staff in cases of suspected abuse.

vi)  To support the development of effective working relationships with other agencies, particularly the Police and Children’s Services.

vii)  To ensure that all staff who have access to young people have been checked for their suitability.

Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

ix) To support young peoples development in ways that will foster security, confidence and independence.

Key Safeguarding Principles

a)  West End in is committed to follow the key safeguarding principles outlined Department for Children, Schools and Families.

i) The needs of the young person are paramount and underpin all child protection work and resolve any conflict of interests.

ii)  All young people have the right to be safeguarded from harm and exploitation.

iii)  West End in have a responsibility to provide a safe environment and minimise risks of harm to young people‟s welfare.

iv)  Staff have a responsibility to identify young people who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm and take appropriate action with the aim of making sure they are kept safe both at home and at our school.

v)  Responsibility for protection of young people must be shared because young people are safeguarded only when all relevant agencies and individuals accept responsibility and co-operate with one another.

vi)  Statements about or allegations of abuse or neglect made by young people must be taken seriously.

6)  Responsibility for Child Protection

a)  Company director Michael Park, will be responsible for the oversight of child protection policy and procedures and informing his staff of the necessary procedures.

7)  Managing a disclosure

If a student makes a disclosure, you must follow the steps outlined below:

Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

i)  Never promise confidentiality – it is not possible to guarantee to a student that a disclosure of abuse will be kept confidential. Inform the student that you are bound by law to report what they disclose to the company’s designated person.

ii)  Listen and reassure – Listen carefully to what the student is telling you. You are able to ask open questions such as “how did that happen?‟ or “what was happening at the time?‟.

iii)  Do not probe or make accusations – remember you are not there to investigate a disclosure. This could also compromise any further criminal investigation.

iv)  Make notes and record the disclosure – as soon as possible, record the conversation with the student. Remember to use the students own words as far as possible.

v)  Refer the disclosure to the designated person. The designated person will then make arrangements to see the student and organise further support as necessary and notify appropriate authorities.

b)  Allegations against staff:

i)  If an allegation is made against any member of staff, Michael Park should be 
informed immediately. Michael will then discuss the content of the allegation with the local authoritys Senior Advisor for Safeguarding Children in Education.

ii)  West End in will follow the local authoritys procedures for managing allegations against staff.

c)  Whistleblowing:

i)  Students cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so. All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, about the attitude or actions of colleagues.

 

8)  Staff Appointments

a)  West End in will ensure that all college staff have been checked for their suitability before taking up their appointment.

b)  All applicants will be scrutinised by:

i)  Verifying identity and any academic or vocational qualifications.

ii)  Obtaining professional and character references.

iii)  Checking previous employment history.

iv)  Checking that a candidate has the health and physical capacity for the job.

v)  Holding face to face interviews.

vi)  Carrying out the mandatory check of List 99 or through the Vetting and Barring Scheme.

vii)  Where appropriate, a Criminal Records Bureau check before the candidate takes up the post.

Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

ii)  Employers are aware of their responsibilities in relation to safeguarding and the protection of children or vulnerable adults.

iii)  Staff are aware of the action to be taken, and by whom, should a child or vulnerable adult protection issue be raised before, during or after the placement.

iv)  Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks.

10) Staff Training on West End in Procedures

a)  West End in will ensure that:

i)  The Centre directors responsible for Safeguarding will receive training in procedures which gives them the knowledge and skills needed to fulfil their responsibilities.

ii)  All new members of staff will be made aware of the Safeguarding policy and procedures.

b)  The initial training will ensure that all staff:

i)  Know who to contact if they have a concern that a young person is at risk of serious harm.

ii)  Know where to go for advice in relation to safeguarding or protection issues or when they are uncertain about whether to refer a concern about a child.

iii)  Know the procedure for referrals on child protection issues, including referrals to external agencies and partner organisations.

iv)  Understand that they have the right to contact the appropriate agencies if they feel that concerns are not being passed on appropriately by West End in.

v)  Are aware of the requirement to keep detailed, accurate, secure written records of any referrals or concerns.

vi)  Are able to recognise and respond to safeguarding and welfare concerns.

vii)  Understand their responsibilities in being alert to the signs of abuse.

Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

viii)  Know how to respond to a student who discloses abuse or is at risk of self harm.

ix)  Know the company’s policy and procedures on Confidentiality and Disclosure in Child Protection cases.

x)  Understand that there is a need to take special care when working with young people with special needs and to be alert to signs of abuse as these members may not be able to raise concerns themselves.

xi)  Are aware of appropriate approaches to confidentiality and disclosure of information.

Guidance on relationships with students i) West End will:

(1)  Provide staff with guidance on appropriate relationships with students.

(2)  Have procedures in place for dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff.

11) Confidentiality, Reporting and Disclosure

a)  West End in recognises the need to comply with relevant legislation and guidance in relation to data protection and confidentiality.

b)  It is also recognised that, where there are concerns about abuse or safeguarding, data sharing with appropriate agencies may be necessary even when it is contrary to the wishes of an individual.

c)  The following issues will inform decisions about sharing data:

i)  West End in will ensure that as part of the safeguarding training for staff, the issue of confidentiality is clarified so that staff know they cannot promise confidentiality in all cases as they may have to pass on information to other professionals to keep the young person safe.

ii)  The principle of “proportionality‟ applies to sharing confidential information, i.e. when disclosing information without consent the member of staff limits the extent of the disclosure to that which is absolutely necessary to protect the young person.

iii)  Young people under 16 may be sufficiently mature to understand and consent to the disclosure of information. The young person’s ability to make such decisions should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

iv)  Referrals to other agencies such as Children’s Social Care should be made with the young person’s agreement where practicable. However, it may not be practicable to seek their agreement where, for example, seeking permission might place them or another person at risk of serious harm or where they are not mentally competent to give their agreement. There may also be cases where the young person’s agreement is sought but they refuse to give that agreement.

v)  Disclosure of information can take place without consent in cases where this is justifiable in the overriding public interest – e.g. to protect the young person from significant harm.

Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

vii) In the context of child protection the welfare of the young person outweighs the family’s right to privacy.

e) Reporting

West End will routinely report to the Local Authority Designated Officer in any case involving concerns of malpractice, abuse or poor professional practice.

 

12) Record Keeping

a)  An accurate record should be made whenever there is a concern about a child or vulnerable adult in terms of risk of harm or safeguarding.

b)  The record should include:

i)  Appropriate personal details of the child.

ii)  The nature of the concern.

iii)  The source(s) of information about the concern.

iv)  Any advice given.

v)  Whether confidentiality has been discussed with the child.

vi)  Names of staff with whom discussed.

vii)  Details of action taken or any referral to an external agency.

viii)  Date and signature of the person making the record.

13) Raising awareness of safeguarding and protection issues

a)  All parents/carers of students under eighteen will be made aware of the responsibilities of staff members with regard to child protection procedures.

Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

The creation of a climate in which responsible behaviour is encouraged and where students feel safe to ask for help if threatened or at risk of abuse.

 

 

Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

Definitions of Abuse

Physical abuse

This may take many forms e.g. hitting, shaking or poisoning a young person. It may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a young person.

Emotional abuse

This is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a young person such as to cause severe and persistent effects on their emotional development. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in most types of ill treatment of young people, though emotional abuse may occur alone.

Sexual abuse

This involves forcing or enticing a young person to take part in sexual activities. This may include non-contact activities such as looking at or producing pornographic materials, watching sexual activities or encouraging young people to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Neglect

Involves the persistent failure to meet a young person basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of their health and development. This may involve failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of basic emotional needs.

The Context of Abuse

Family Circumstances: Domestic Violence

Where there is domestic violence the implications for the young person at college and for younger children in the household must be considered. Young people from families with a history of domestic violence often have behavioural difficulties, absenteeism, ill health, bullying, and drug and alcohol misuse.

b)  Drug/alcohol abusing parents 
i) There is an increased risk of violence in families where this occurs. A young person may have to take on responsibilities for younger children in the family.

c)  Forced Marriages

Forced marriage is an entirely separate issue from arranged marriage. Forced marriage is a human rights abuse and falls within the Crown Prosecution Service definition of domestic violence. Young people at risk of a forced marriage may also be experiencing physical and/or emotional abuse at home.

Mental Health Issues

Self harm, suicide threats and gestures by a young person must always be taken seriously and may be indicative of a serious mental or emotional disturbance. The possibility that self-harm, including a serious eating disorder has been caused or triggered by any form or abuse or chronic neglect should not be overlooked.

Abuse by peer group: bullying, racism and abuse

i)  Bullying is a common form of deliberately hurtful behaviour, which is usually repeated over a period of time, when it is difficult for the victims to defend themselves.

ii)  It can take many forms, but the three main types are physical (e.g. hitting); verbal (e.g. threats); and emotional (e.g. isolating the individual).

iii)  It may involve physical, sexual or emotional abuse including homophobic, sexual, racial or religious harassment, or behaviour which is offensive to those with learning or physical disabilities.

iv)  Severe harm may be caused to young people by the abusive and bullying behaviour of their peers. The damage inflicted by bullying is often underestimated and can cause considerable distress. In extreme cases it can cause significant harm, including self-harm.

Safeguarding Policy and Procedures Guidance on Relationships with Students

The vast majority of staff who work with young people in educational settings act professionally and seek to provide a safe and supportive environment for students. It is recognised that achieving this aim is not always straightforward. Much relies on student and staff interactions where tensions and misunderstandings can occur. It is here that staff behaviours can give rise to allegations being made against them. Allegations may be genuine, malicious or misplaced. They may arise from differing perceptions of the same event, but when they occur, they are inevitably distressing and difficult for all concerned.

This guidance should not be interpreted to mean that, in order to avoid misplaced allegations, all forms of physical or close contact with students should be avoided. There will be occasions where physical contact is appropriate, e.g. in situations where a degree of physical intervention is required. The guidance is concerned with avoiding sexual activity in a relationship of trust and other contact which may be inappropriate.

Relationships of Trust

A relationship of trust exists where a member of staff or volunteer is in a position of power or influence over a student by virtue of the work or nature of the activity being undertaken. Those in a position of trust must carry the responsibility of ensuring that they do not abuse their position or put themselves in a position where allegations of abuse of trust, whether justified or unfounded, could be made.

It is important to recognise that a variety of circumstances can arise, including a sexual relationship at one end of the scale, through close friendships, to, at the other end of the scale, an innocent situation which has been entirely misconstrued. Staff and volunteers should take steps to minimise the risk of circumstances being misconstrued or misunderstood and relationships with language and conduct which could give rise to comment and speculation.

All staff should clearly understand the need to maintain appropriate boundaries in their dealings with students. Intimate or sexual relationships between staff and students will be regarded as a grave breach of trust. Where a relationship of trust exists, allowing a relationship to develop in a way that might lead to a sexual relationship is wrong. A sexual relationship will be intrinsically unequal within a relationship of trust and is therefore unacceptable. Abuse of trust involving sexual activity with a young person under 18 who is a student at West End in may be a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. It is also inappropriate since the professional relationship of trust would be altered.

From time to time staff may encounter students who display attention-seeking behaviour, profess to be attracted to them or begin to develop a relationship of emotional dependency. Particular care should be exercised if the student is vulnerable. Staff should aim to deal with those situations sensitively and appropriately, but ensure that their behaviour cannot be misinterpreted. The member of staff or volunteer should inform their line manager if they have any concerns or if there is a concern that a young person is becoming attracted to him or her, or that there is a developing attachment or dependency. If a member of staff or volunteer is concerned that s/he might be developing a relationship with a young person which could have the potential to represent an abuse of trust, the first advice must be to ensure that the relationship does not develop further. Arrangements should be made by the line manager to minimise direct contact between the student and member of staff or volunteer and to prevent all contact if possible. Where contact must take place another member of staff should be present at all times.

Students should not be asked or encouraged to visit the home of a member of staff or socialise informally outside. These contacts or visits can place staff in a vulnerable position and can in some case lead to allegations being made against staff.

The following are examples of actions, albeit not overtly abusive, that could be interpreted as a member of staff ‘grooming’ a student or allowing a dependent relationship to begin or continue.

Inviting students to their home.

Visit students at their home.

Giving students gifts.

Offering students lifts outside normal duties.

Singling individual students out for special attention.

Seeing students socially.

Do not give students their mobile or home telephone number

The frequency, nature and degree of such behaviour may justify the need for further investigation.

Physical Contact

Physical contact may be misconstrued by a student, parent or observer. Touching students, including well-intentioned gestures such as putting a hand on a shoulder, can, if repeated regularly, lead to serious questions being raised, particularly if this occurs when a member of staff is alone with a student. As a general principle, staff must not make gratuitous physical contact with their students. It is particularly unwise to attribute touching to their teaching style or as a way of relating to students. Teachers and other staff do however have the right to use reasonable physical intervention to restrain students in certain circumstances. Staff should be aware of the on the use of physical intervention.

There may also be occasions where a distressed student needs comfort and reassurance which may include physical comforting such as a caring parent would give. Staff should use their discretion in such cases to ensure that what is normal and natural does not become unnecessary and unjustified contact, particularly with the same student over a period of time.

Some staff are also likely to come into physical contact with students from time to time in the course of their duties. Examples of this could include sports coaching which may involve non-sexual physical contact. Contact of this type should not take place when a member of staff is alone with a student.