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5.34 Safeguarding Guidance for Early Years Settings

This chapter was added to the manual in November 2016.


Contents

  Introduction
  Principles
  Designated Lead Practitioner for Safeguarding
  Procedures – Significant Harm – Immediate Harm
  Injuries
  Where a Staff Member Believes a Parents/Carer May be Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
  Prevent Duty
  Confidentiality
  Managing Allegations Against Members of Staff or Volunteers
  Recommended Documentation


Introduction

This chapter provides guidance for Early Years settings to support them in their statutory duty to ‘take all necessary steps to keep children safe’ (EYFS 2014). This guidance should be used alongside the setting’s own safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures and national guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ 2015, ‘What to do if you are worried a child is being abused – Advice for practitioners’ 2015, and the Prevent Duty 2015.

We know that being a young person makes them vulnerable to abuse by adults. The purpose of this guidance is to make sure that the actions of any adult in the context of the work carried out by Early Years settings are transparent and safeguard and promote the welfare of all young people.

Early Years registered providers are responsible for ensuring that their staff are competent and confident in carrying out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare.


Principles

This guidance is underpinned by two key principles:

  • Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility: for services to be effective each professional and organisation should play their full part; and
  • A child-centred approach: for services to be effective they should be based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of children.


Designated Lead Practitioner for Safeguarding

The EYFS 2014 requires that:

“A practitioner must be designated to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children in every setting. Childminders must take the lead responsibility themselves. The lead practitioner is responsible for liaison with local statutory children’s services agencies, and with the LSCB. They must provide support, advice and guidance to any other staff on an ongoing basis, and on any specific safeguarding issue as required.”

It is important that all members of staff and any volunteers know who this designated practitioner is, and also what to do if that person is not available when an urgent safeguarding concern arises.

The Role and Responsibilities of the designated lead practitioner are:

  • To ensure all staff and volunteers are aware of what they should do and who they should go to if they are concerned that a child/young person may be subject to any form of abuse;
  • To ensure any concerns about a child/young person are acted on promptly, clearly recorded, referred on where necessary and, followed up to ensure the issues are addressed;
  • To record any reported incidents in relation to a child/young person or breach of Child Protection policies and procedures. This must be kept in a secure place and its contents must be confidential;
  • To ensure any concerns about the actions of any member of staff, volunteer, or person living or working on the premises are acted on promptly, clearly recorded, referred on where necessary and followed up to ensure the issues are addressed;
  • To liaise with the Registered Provider and ensure they are fully aware of any serious concerns within the setting;
  • To ensure information is shared when necessary, in line with Working Together to Safeguard Children guidance, and that information and records are passed on to the appropriate person if the child transfers to another setting or school.


Procedures – Significant Harm – Immediate Harm

Any member of staff who believes that a child may be suffering, or is likely to be at risk of suffering, significant harm, including sexual, physical or emotional abuse or neglect, must make a referral to the Children’s Social Care Duty and Assessment Team as follows:

  1. Discuss your concerns immediately with the designated lead practitioner;
  2. Designated lead practitioner should advise whether parents/carers should be informed/consulted in the first instance or whether this would place the child at further risk;
  3. Referrals must be made in accordance with Making Referral to Children’s Social Care Procedure;
  4. A safeguarding record should be opened by the designated lead practitioner and an initial cause for concern form completed. A copy of the referral should also be kept, and details of any discussion with parents should be logged and included. A date to review the cause for concern should be made and recorded on the initial cause for concern form. Any subsequent incidents or concerns should be recorded on an incident report and social care should be updated as necessary. Brief details should be added to a chronology sheet which should be kept at the front of the file.

NO ATTEMPT SHOULD BE MADE BY STAFF TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION INTO CASES OF SUSPECTED ABUSE. NO CHILD SHOULD BE TOUCHED OR EXAMINED. Social Care and the police are responsible for undertaking investigations. Inappropriate actions by others may negate or contaminate evidence.

Key points when making a referral:

  • Parents should be alerted of your intention to inform the Children’s Social Care Duty and Assessment Team, unless you feel this would put the child at further risk;
  • When speaking to the Children’s Social Care, give your name and your role within the setting; (HAVE THE CHILD’S PERSONAL RECORD WITH YOU AND THE RECORD OF THE CONCERN);
  • Explain your concerns, giving as much information as possible. It may be difficult at the time but try to give clear, concise and accurate information based on your professional judgement. The Social Care Worker will discuss with you any concerns you have about your immediate course of action. For example, if you are caring for a child and the parent is due to collect them;
  • Obtain and record the name and role of person who you have spoke along with the date and time the telephone call was made;
  • Ensure all information is recorded accurately and in a timely manner.

Advice

  • If you are unsure about your referral and wish to have a discussion, you can contact Children’s Social Care for advice, you may be put through to one of the Advanced Practitioners or a Social Work Assistant.

Making a referral when the child already has a Social Worker:

  • If the child you have concerns about already has a Social Worker telephone them directly. If the Social Worker is unavailable escalate your concerns to a Manager;
  • Please note: it is not appropriate just to email the social worker in these cases; contact must be made with the social worker/duty worker/team manager by telephone on the same day;
  • The Social Care Worker will assess the situation and, if required, initiate the appropriate procedures to protect the child. The designated lead practitioner will need to co-ordinate any further action the setting is required to take by the social worker, this may involve gathering information and discussions with other team members;
  • A record of any discussions and/or actions should be added to the child’s safeguarding file;
  • As with all significant events staff should ensure the chronology at the front of the file is completed.

Professional Disagreements

If the designated lead practitioner has a concern regarding the advice given or action taken once they have referred to Social Care they should follow the Resolving Professional Disagreements Procedure.


Injuries

If a staff member notices a mark or injury on a child they must report the injury to the designated lead practitioner immediately and record that they have done so. Staff should use a body / face map to record the details of an injury/mark, and be as specific as possible about size, shape, location and colouration of any mark or injury.

If a staff member notices a mark or injury on a child on arrival at the setting, the staff member should complete an ‘Injuries on Arrival Form’ (detailing the time the injury was noticed). This should be done with the person who has brought the child to the setting present, the explanation of the injury should be recorded as described, and the form should be signed by the person bringing the child. The staff member should immediately report this to the designated lead practitioner. If a staff member does not notice the mark or injury on arrival but later into the session then they must complete an ‘Injuries on Arrival Form’ retrospectively (detailing the time the injury was noticed). The staff member should immediately report this to the designated lead practitioner. The injury should be discussed with the parent when they return, explanation recorded and the form signed retrospectively.

If the child with an injury has a Social Worker then the designated lead practitioner must immediately report it to them (by telephone and then followed up in writing). If the Social Worker is unavailable by telephone concerns should be discussed with a duty social worker or a team manager. Please note: it is not appropriate just to email the social worker in these cases; contact must be made with the social worker/duty worker/team manager by telephone, on the same day.

If the child with an injury does not have a Social Worker then the designated lead practitioner would use their professional judgement to assess the situation. This may involve seeking advice from Social Care depending on the nature of the injury and any history of injuries, in most cases however the designated lead practitioner would usually ask the child’s Key Worker/Person to speak to the child’s parent and ask how the injury occurred. This information given by the parent must be immediately shared with the designated lead practitioner and accurately recorded. The lead practitioner will then assess using their professional judgement if the explanation is plausible and consistent with the children’s development level or whether it is a safeguarding issue (if it is safeguarding a cause for concern will be actioned).

When noting explanations from parents/carers regarding injuries staff should record whether a parent/carer volunteered the information on arrival or whether the staff member had to ask for the explanation.


Where a Staff Member Believes a Parents/Carer May be Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

If parent/carer presents at a setting and a member of staff feels the parent/carer maybe under the influence of Alcohol or Drugs staff member should immediately alert the designated lead practitioner. If it is felt that the parent/carer is impaired to such an extent that they are not able to care for the child, and letting the child leave the setting with them would put them at risk, the practitioner should ask if there is another family member who could collect and care for the child. If there is no other suitable and responsible adult available, the setting should contact Children’s Social Care, and if necessary to prevent the parent from taking the child, the police. If the parent/carer is not presenting as impaired, the incident should be recorded and any repeat occurrences should be discussed with the parent, including undertaking an Early Help assessment assessment and signposting to alcohol and substance misuse services where appropriate.


Prevent Duty

See: Radicalisation Procedure.

Section 36 to 41 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 sets out the duty on Local Authorities and partners of local Panels to provide support for people vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. In England and Wales this duty is the Channel programme. The term “Channel” refers to the duty as set out in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act. Channel is a key aspect of the Prevent strategy which in turn is a fundamental part of the UK Governments Counter Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST).

Channel is a multi-agency approach to protecting people at risk from radicalisation. Channel uses existing collaboration between local authorities and statutory partners to:

  • Identify individuals at risk of being drawn into terrorism;
  • Assess the nature and extent of that risk;
  • Develop the most appropriate support plan for the individuals concerned.

Channel is focused around safeguarding children and adults who may be at risk of being drawn into committing terrorist-related activity. Channel uses early intervention to protect and divert people away from the risks they face before the threat from extremism and violent extremism is posed.


Confidentiality

See: Information Sharing and Confidentiality Procedure.

Personal information about children and families held by professionals and agencies is subject to a legal duty of confidentiality and should not normally be disclosed without the consent of the family. The law does however permit the disclosure of confidential information without permission if it is necessary to safeguard a child or children; this includes cases of Safeguarding. In addition all staff must follow their own setting’s confidentiality policy.

Keeping children safe from harm requires people who work with children to share information - see Guidance, Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners (GOV.UK).


Managing Allegations Against Members of Staff or Volunteers

See: Allegations Against Persons who Work with Children (Including Carers and Volunteers) Procedure.

All staff are required to disclose any convictions, cautions, court orders, reprimands and warnings which may affect their suitability to work with children (whether received before or during their employment at the centre). Providers must not allow people, whose suitability has not been checked, including through a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, to have unsupervised contact with children being cared for.

If you have information which suggests an adult who works with children (in a paid or unpaid capacity) has:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed or may have harmed a child;
  • Possibly committed a criminal offence against, or related to, a child;
  • Behaved towards a child/ren in a way that indicated s/he is unsuitable to work with children.

You should speak immediately to the designated lead practitioner. They should consult with/make a referral to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer) Safeguarding Children Unit.

Please note: If the designated lead practitioner is implicated in the concerns, the matter should be discussed with someone of responsibility within the setting if possible, for example the manager or registered provider. If this is not possible, the person with the concern should discuss the concern directly with the LADO.

Ofsted must also be informed on: 0300 123 1231 as soon as is reasonably practicable, but at the latest within 14 days of the allegation being made.


Recommended Documentation

End