Current guidelines and safeguarding concerns – Recognition of types of abuse and neglect.
My setting is committed to promoting awareness of child abuse issues throughout its training and learning programmes for adults. They are committed to empowering young children, through its early childhood curriculum, promoting their right to be strong, resilient and listened to. The Staff have undertaken relevant and up to date safeguarding and child protection training through induction and specific safeguarding training as required by the London Borough of Islington. Training for all staff is updated every three years as required and every two years for the designated officer. Agency staff, volunteers and students are also briefed on their roles and responsibilities during their induction to the setting which covers how to identify signs and symptoms of abuse and how to share their concerns with the designated safeguarding person (Bennett Court Playgroup).
Bennett Court playgroup are committed to safeguard and protect children. Children have the right to freedom from abuse and harm. They work with children, parents/carers and the community to ensure the rights and safety of children and to give them the very best start in life. Bennett Court’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy is based on the London Child Protection and Safeguarding Children Procedures (LSCB 2013) and in line with Islington council’s Early Years Safeguarding and Child protection procedures and Guidance (2011) along with the Working Together to Safeguard Children (DCSF 2013). Children with Special educational needs are welcomed and supported to make a smooth transition to the setting by discussing how they can best meet their needs, gain the appropriate support and services before starting the setting (Bennett Court Playgroup). Please see (Appendix 2) for current procedures meeting the Safeguarding Children and child protection requirements.
‘Whistleblowing’ is when a member of staff, in any line of work provides information of improper and unacceptable behaviour within a setting against an employee, other working professionals or a member of the public. An example of improper or unacceptable behaviour may be when someone is discriminating, bullying or harassing their colleagues and/or others. Within legislations ‘whistleblowing’ is known as The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. This act is to safeguard employees that may be experiencing types of prejudice, disadvantages or harm during their employment or they may be disregarded by their employer if they have disclosed information in obedience to the legislation (Brookes, 2015).
My setting believes that children and parents are entitled to expect courtesy and prompt, careful attention to their needs and wishes. they welcome suggestions on how to improve the setting, will give prompt and serious attention to any concerns about how the setting is run (Bennett Court Playgroup).
Any concerns of bad practice should be managed appropriately before ‘whistleblowing’ is needed. When staff are made to feel openly comfortable raising concerns about bad practice within the setting during staff meetings and under constant supervision, this will allow bad practices to be revised and modified before any types for cause of concern will result in harm towards a child and/or member of staff/public. Any member of staff involved in ‘whistleblowing’ within the setting holds the responsibility to be able to indicate the bad practice, be able to record and report factual information of the incident to required parties for e.g. your manager or agencies like Ofsted and children’s social services, keeping copies of all relevant information shared between agencies and ensuring to follow the settings procedures for complaints, please see (Appendix 3) for my settings complaints procedures. Practitioners must follow the ‘whistleblowing’ procedure whether or not they will be treated differently or become involved in conflict with other colleagues. Staff who may come across bad practice and choose to ignore this can result in implicating the individuals in the bad practice. Dealing with bad practice should be risen within the early stages to obstruct any further escalations (Small wonders child care, no date).
Early Years Practitioners have a duty to the safeguarding, protection and welfare of children when left in their care by parents/carers. My setting commits to developing and maintaining a culture of openness and honesty when working in partnerships with parents/carers to ensure the best interests of children and their families are met. An EYP must be able to identify signs and symptoms of abuse whilst children are in their care, they must be knowledgeable to diversity, promote equality of opportunity between children through various activities and in planning that will support the safety, welfare and protection of children for e.g. motivating and teaching children different ways to keep safe for e.g. when taking children out on trips teach them to stay together and how to cross the road correctly, to be able to express themselves openly and to be confident sharing their concerns. If a child ever discloses any form of abuse made towards them, an EYP must not interfere whilst the child is talking, make notes of facts only and not interpretations of what was said, also if a child asks them to keep this to themselves, they must explain in a gentle way for the child to understand that they must tell someone in order to keep this child safe, that the child has done the right thing, it is not not their fault and they are in no trouble. EYPs have a statutory responsibility to notify agencies if they have reason to believe that any child’s safety and welfare are of any cause for concern (Bateman, 2013).
When dealing with confidentiality all suspicions and investigations must be kept in an individual file in a locked cupboard or files on a PC with a secure password and shared only with those who require access to it. In my setting any information is shared under the guidance of Islington’s Safeguarding Children Board and follows the legislation, Data Protection Act (1998). All practitioners must follow their settings confidentiality policy and procedures to ensure that they are aware of what can be kept confidential and what causes for concerns need to be reported and how. In my setting we have a designated safeguarding person and also someone who acts in her absence, I have been made fully aware of who and where to report any concerns I may have. Practitioners must never share information about children out of the setting or to unnecessary parties (Bennett Court Playgroup).
When working with others for the safeguarding, protection and welfare of children, this can benefit them in many ways. For e.g. as an EYP there may be some things you may not be able to help a child with, possibly SEN or disclosures of harm or abuse, so you must be able to report and refer a child to the right services that best suits their needs. Some services that may work together to safeguard children can be children’s social services, health services, schools, psychologists, GPs, local police, the UNCRC etc. also working in partnership with parents supports the safeguarding of children, unless this will put the child at risk or further harm. Working in partnership also allows services to pinpoint any issues within the family and help resolve these issues in the best possible way, conducting constructive meetings to expand and assess each individual child. Where children may have certain health problems it is important to gain information and learn about how to handle any condition at any point and also be aware of who to contact when needed, for e.g. you may need to report certain symptoms to the child’s parents/carers, GPs or health specialists (Bennett Court Playgroup).
Practitioners must be aware that the abuse of children may occur in different forms, the four categories of abuse are physical, emotional, sexual and neglect. Bullying is also a form of abuse, as like female Genital Mutilation, the impact of domestic violence (DV) including Honour based violence which comes across all cultures and communities. Practitioners must be mindful that these forms of abuse can fall into one or more of the above categories and are often taken to great lengths to be disguised. This may include refusing freedom or contact with others, taken out off or forced to leave the country. Children that may be suffering from physical, emotional or sexual abuse may be experiencing neglect and this may be demonstrated through direct or indirect disclosures or through their behaviours within the setting. Practitioners must be able to recognise the signs, symptoms, indicators and behaviours that may cause concern, for example the child may unexpectedly become quiet, tearful, withdrawn or aggressive. Notable changes in a child’s appearance e.g. loss of weight without a medical explanation, eating problems, for instance, overeating or loss of appetite, unexplained bruising or marks or signs of neglect, some signs of neglect may be when a child is wearing inappropriate clothing for the weather or clothes that are too big/small, a child may not have appropriate lunch to eat if provided by parents/carers, or they have not been washed, had their hair combed properly or untreated lice. A child may show changes during their play, they may disengage from other children they may also hurt or be cruel to other children, a child may be knowledgeable to adult sexual behaviour, or they may participate in sexual play which is unsuitable for the children’s age (Bennett Court Playgroup).
In my setting where there is a concern about a child’s welfare or wellbeing, or a concern that a child may be in need of protection, this should be recorded using the Islington’s concerns tracking form and then passed on and discussed with one of the designated child protection officers for action (or if unobtainable seek advice from Islington’s Children’s Social Care Team). The records placed must include the actual disclosure or concern, date, time and the name of the person who has recorded the concern and stored in the child’s personal file in a secure cupboard. All staff and also volunteers are made aware to report any concerns immediately to the designated member of staff, all concerns will be discussed with parents/carers unless this will put the child in further risks of harm or abuse, records of concerns, emails, notes or phone conversations and actions are noted and confidentially stored in a secure place. In my setting when we have concerns about a child’s welfare we need to focus on, the needs of the child, their physical and emotional welfare, be sensitive, taking into account individual family’s circumstances and discuss this with one of the designated members of staff. If it is suspected that a child is in immediate risk of ham or abuse this must be reported as soon as possible to the police and/or children’s social services (Bennett Court Playgroup).
LegalFramework- Legislations for the safeguarding, protection and welfare of children in my setting.
- Children Act (1989)
- Protection of Children Act (1999)
- Data Protection Act (1998)
- The Children Act (Every Child Matters) (2004)
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006)
- Help Children to Achieve More (2010)
- The Early Years Statutory Framework (2014)
- Sexual Offences Act (2003)
- Criminal Justice and Court Services Act (2000)
- Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000)
- Equalities Act (2010)
- Data Protection Act (1998)
- Working Together to Safeguard Children (revised HMG 2013)
- What to do if you’re Worried a Child is Being Abused (HMG 2006)
- Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families (DoH 2000)
- The Common Assessment Framework (2006)
- Statutory guidance on making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under section 11 of the Children Act 2004 (HMG 2007)
- Information Sharing: Practitioners’ Guide (HMG 2006)
- Other useful publications: Child Protection Record (2007)
(Bennett Court Playgroup)
Current procedures to Safeguarding Children and child protection requirements in my setting.
We carry out the following procedures to ensure we meet the Safeguarding Children and child protection requirements, we do this by
- Recognising that all children have the right to freedom from abuse and harm.
- Promoting joint working with parents in the interests of children’s welfare and well being.
- Ensuring all our staff and volunteers are carefully selected and vetted ensuring that they carefully selected through the CRB and DBS recruitment process, have the relevant qualifications and experience and accept responsibility for helping to prevent the abuse of children in their care. We have a named designated safeguarding officer who takes specific responsibility for young children’s and young people’s protection, safety and well-being. There is also a second designated safeguarding officer who acts in her absence.
- Supporting all staff to in bringing their concerns to the attention of the Designated member of staff, so they can be considered and acted upon if necessary. Responding quickly and appropriately to all suspicions or allegations of abuse.
- Providing parents /carers, children /young people with the opportunity to voice any concerns they may have.
- Adopting positive behaviour management procedure and strategies which are non-violent and do not impose humiliation or bias attitudes.
- Reviewing the effectiveness of the organisations child protection policies and procedures yearly (unless something proved to be ineffective).
- Working with external agencies, for example children’s social care team, police and health visitors, to ensure as far as possible young children/ people are protected
- Not tolerating bullying. Incidents of bullying will be investigated and treated seriously and action will be taken in partnership with parents.
- Children are supported to form positive relationships and refrain from harming each other through anti-bullying practice (Bennett Court Playgroup).
Complaints procedures in my setting.
All settings are required to keep a ‘summary log’ of all complaints that reach stage two or beyond. This is to be made available to parents as well as to Ofsted inspectors.
- Any parent who has a concern about an aspect of the setting’s provision talks over, first of all, his/her concerns with the setting leader.
- Most complaints should be resolved amicably and informally at this stage.
- If this does not have a satisfactory outcome, or if the problem recurs, the parent moves to this stage of the procedure by putting the concerns or complaint in writing to the setting leader and the owner or chair of the management committee.
- For parents who are not comfortable with making written complaints, there is a template form for recording complaints in the above-mentioned publication; the form may be completed with the person in charge and signed by the parent.
- The setting stores written complaints from parents in the child’s personal file. However, if the complaint involves a detailed investigation, the setting leader may wish to store all information relating to the investigation in a separate file designated for this complaint.
- When the investigation into the complaint is completed, the setting leader or manager meets with the parent to discuss the outcome.
- Parents must be informed of the outcome of the investigation within 28 days of making the complaint.
- When the complaint is resolved at this stage, the summative points are logged in the Complaints Summary Record.
- If the parent is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, he or she requests a meeting with the setting leader and the owner/chair of the management committee. The parent should have a friend or partner present if required and the leader should have the support of the chairperson of the management committee, or the proprietor/senior manager, present.
- An agreed written record of the discussion is made as well as any decision or action to take as a result. All of the parties present at the meeting sign the record and receive a copy of it.
- This signed record signifies that the procedure has concluded. When the complaint is resolved at this stage, the summative points are logged in the Complaints Summary Record.
- If at the stage three meeting the parent and setting cannot reach agreement, an external mediator is invited to help to settle the complaint. This person should be acceptable to both parties, listen to both sides and offer advice. A mediator has no legal powers but can help to define the problem, review the action so far and suggest further ways in which it might be resolved.
- Staff or volunteers within the Pre-school Learning Alliance are appropriate persons to be invited to act as mediators.
- The mediator keeps all discussions confidential. S/he can hold separate meetings with the setting personnel (setting leader and owner/chair of the management committee) and the parent, if this is decided to be helpful. The mediator keeps an agreed written record of any meetings that are held and of any advice s/he gives.
- When the mediator has concluded her/his investigations, a final meeting between the parent, the setting leader and the owner/chair of the management committee is held. The purpose of this meeting is to reach a decision on the action to be taken to deal with the complaint. The mediator’s advice is used to reach this conclusion. The mediator is present at the meeting if all parties think this will help a decision to be reached.
- A record of this meeting, including the decision on the action to be taken, is made. Everyone present at the meeting signs the record and receives a copy of it. This signed record signifies that the procedure has concluded.
The role of the Office for Standards in Education, Early Years Directorate (Ofsted) and the Local Safeguarding Children Board
- Parents may approach Ofsted directly at any stage of this complaints procedure. In addition, where there seems to be a possible breach of the settings registration requirements, it is essential to involve Ofsted as the registering and inspection body with a duty to ensure the Welfare Requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage are adhered to.
- If a child appears to be at risk, our setting follows the procedures of the Local Safeguarding Children Board in our local authority.
- In these cases, both the parent and setting are informed and the setting leader works with Ofsted or the Local Safeguarding Children Board to ensure a proper investigation of the complaint, followed by appropriate action.
- A record of complaints against our setting and/or the children and/or the adults working in our setting is kept, including the date, the circumstances of the complaint and how the complaint was managed.
- The outcome of all complaints is recorded in the Summary Complaints Record which is available for parents and Ofsted inspectors on request. (Bennett Court Playgroup)