The SSS Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding and Child/Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy – Sevenoaks Shakespeare Society

Introduction

This policy has been developed in accordance with the principles established by the Children Act 1989 and related guidance including The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families and Working Together to Safeguard Children.

This group takes seriously our responsibility to promote the welfare and safeguard all the children and young or vulnerable people entrusted to our care.

The designated member of the group is Jo Groves who has overall responsibility for overseeing the safeguarding practice within this group.

As part of the ethos of the group we are committed to:

    • Providing an environment in which children and vulnerable adults feel safe, secure, valued and respected; confident to talk openly and sure of being listened to
    • Providing suitable support and guidance so that they have a range of appropriate adults who they feel confident to approach if they are in difficulties
    • Using the opportunities for increasing self-awareness, self-esteem, assertiveness and decision making so that they have a range of contacts and strategies to ensure their own protection and understand the importance of protecting others
    • Developing effective and supportive liaison with other agencies

Responsibilities

The group is responsible for ensuring that all action taken is in conjunction with Kent’s Child in need/Child Protection procedure.  This process implemented in April 2001 follows the requirements of the central government guidance contained in the Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and their Families and Working Together to Safeguard Children.  The child protection process is now incorporated within a comprehensive policy and procedures for all children in need.

The role of the group within this procedure is to contribute to the identification, referral and assessment of children or vulnerable adults in need including those who may have suffered, or are suffering or who are at risk of suffering significant harm.

All adults have a role to play in relation to: protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse, promoting their welfare and preventing them from being harmed.

The role of the group in situations where there are child protection concerns is NOT to investigate but to recognise and refer.

Designation Named Person – Jo Groves
Is responsible for:

  • Liaising with other agencies
  • Ensuring that locally established procedures are followed including reporting and referral processes
  • Acting as a consultant for all members to discuss concerns
  • Making referrals as necessary
  • Maintaining a confidential recording system
  • Representing the group when appropriate at inter-agency meetings or Child Protection Conference
  • Organising training for all members
  • Liaising with other professionals

General Strategies

This section gives an opportunity for members to identify the specific ways in which child protection issues are addressed within the group, policies and guidance or through school/community initiatives. This may include: anti-bullying strategies, complaints procedures, health and safety, and risk assessments.

Procedures

Recognition and Categories of Abuse: All members should be aware of the definitions and signs and symptoms of abuse.  There are four categories of abuse; these are physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect.
Useful information is the Department of Health Guidelines “What to do if You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused” which is also available on the Website: www.education.gov.uk/publications

Responding to Concerns: Concerns for a child or vulnerable adult may come to the attention of members in a variety of ways for example through observation of behaviour or injuries or disclosure.  Any member who has a concern however insignificant this might appear to be should discuss this with the designated member of the group as soon as is practically possible.  More serious concerns must be reported immediately to ensure that any intervention necessary is accessed as early as possible.
If a child or vulnerable adult makes a disclosure of abuse to a member of the group they should:

  • Allow them to make the disclosure at their own pace and in their own way
  • Avoid interrupting except to clarify what they are saying (attentive listening/reflective feedback)
  • Not ask leading questions or probe for information that the child or vulnerable adult does not volunteer
  • Reassure them that they have been heard and explain what you will do next and to whom you will talk
  • Record the conversation as soon as possible
  • Inform the group’s named person

Record Keeping:Members can play a vital role in helping children or vulnerable adults in need or at risk by effective monitoring and record keeping.  Any incident or behavioural change in a child or vulnerable adult that gives cause for concern should be recorded on an incident sheet. It is important that records are factual and reflect the words used by the child or vulnerable adult.  Opinions should not be given unless there is some form of evidence base, which can also be quoted.  Records must be signed and dated with timings if appropriate.  It is important to remember that any issues are confidential and members should know only on a ‘need to know’ basis.

Information to be Recorded

  • Name and date of birth
  • Child or vulnerable adult in normal context e.g. behaviour, attitude, (has there been an extreme change)
  • The incident(s) which give rise for concern with date(s) and time(s)
  • A verbatim record of what has been said
  • If recording bruising/injuries indicate position, colour, size, shape and time on body map.
  • Action taken

These basic details are vital to the information gathering process and do not constitute an investigation.  Written information should be passed to the group’s named person, who should always be kept informed of any significant issues.

Storage of Records: The group will ensure that records relating to concerns for the welfare or safety of children or vulnerable adults are kept separate from other files and are stored securely.  Information will be shared on a strictly need to know basis and in line with child protection policy guidance.

Referrals to Social Services: It is the responsibility of the designated member of the group to decide when to make a referral to the Social Services Department.  To help with this decision s/he may choose to consult (anonymously if appropriate) with the Social Services Children and Families Duty Service, who offer opportunities for consultation as part of the Child in need / child protection process.  Issues discussed during consultations may include the urgency and gravity of the concerns for a child or vulnerable adult and the extent to which parents/carers are made aware of these.  Some concerns may need to be monitored over a period of time before a decision to refer to Social Services is made.  In all but the most exceptional cases parents/carers will be made aware of the concerns felt for a child at the earliest possible stage and in the event of this becoming necessary, their consent to a referral to Social Services will be sought.

Referrals to Social Services will be made in writing where time allows for this.  In situations where there are felt to be urgent or grave concerns a telephone referral will be made and followed up in writing.

If a child or vulnerable adult is referred, the group will ensure that relevant members are informed of this.

If after consultation with the designated member of the group team, the person who raised concerns feels that appropriate action is not being taken in respect of his or her concerns for a child or vulnerable adult s/he should consult with or refer directly to Social Services. The group should be informed of this decision.

Concerns involving members of the group: Any concerns that involve allegations against a group member should be referred immediately to the group, who will seek further consultation with the Local Authority Designated Officer or Social Services to discuss and agree further action to be taken in respect of the child and the member.

Code of Practice: Any member of the group affected by issues arising from concerns for children’s welfare or safety can seek support from the named person. The named person can put members and parents in touch with outside agencies for professional support if they so wish.

Training Opportunities: The named person is responsible for ensuring members including him/herself receive training in the area of child and vulnerable adult protection.

Monitoring and Review: All members will have a copy of this policy and will have the opportunity to consider and discuss its contents.

The policy forms part of the group’s development and will be reviewed annually. All members should have access to this policy and sign to the effect that they have read and understood its content.

Adopted May 2016
Reviewed and re-adopted May 2017

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The SSS Safeguarding Policy

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