SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN (CHILD PROTECTION) POLICY AND PROCEDURES

In our playgroup we aim to provide an environment which ensures children are safe from potential abuse.  We will respond to any suspicion of potential abuse in a way which respects the child’s rights and reinforces the adults’ responsibilities to the children. All staff are familiar with ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ the Government’s Statutory Guidance.

To do this we will:

Exclude known abusers

It will be made clear to applicants for posts within the group that the position is exempt from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

All applicants who work within the group, whether voluntary or paid will be interviewed before an appointment is made and will be asked to provide at least two references. All references will be followed up. In the case of applicants with unexplained gaps in their employment history, or who have moved rapidly from one job to another, explanations will be sought.  All prospective workers, whether paid or voluntary will need to complete a DBS check (Disclosure and Barring Service), to be checked on the national database at an enhanced level.

All appointments whether paid or voluntary, will be subject to a probationary period of three months and will not be confirmed unless the group is confident that the applicant can be safely entrusted with children, following the disclosure and barring check.

Appropriate training

We seek out training opportunities for all adults involved in the playgroup to ensure that they are able to recognise the 4 signs and symptoms of possible physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect and so that they are aware of the local authority guidelines for making referrals. We ensure that all staff know the procedures for reporting and recording their concerns in the playgroup. Refer to Safeguarding Children (Child Protection) Procedure.

If a child who is Not Independently Mobile (NIM) has any bruising the DCPO will immediately contact the Surrey Safeguarding Hub.

                 Surrey Safeguarding Hub 0300 1231620. 

Good practice

Adults will not be left alone with individual children or with small groups. An adult who needs to take a child aside e.g. for toilet duties, will still be visible to others.

Adults who have not been registered as ‘fit persons’ or DBS checked will not take children unaccompanied to the toilet or left unattended with the children.

Children will be encouraged to develop a sense of autonomy and independence through adult support in making choices and in finding names for their own feelings and acceptable ways to express them.  This will enable children to have the self-confidence and the vocabulary to resist inappropriate approaches.

The layout of the accommodation of the group will enable constant supervision at all times.

We have procedures for recording the details of visitors to the playgroup.

We take security steps to ensure that we have control over who comes into the playgroup so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children.

Responding to suspicions of abuse

Changes in children’s behaviour/appearance will be observed and monitored.

Parents will normally be the first point of contact, unless the DCPO thought the child was at greater danger.  Suspicions will also be referred to Surrey Safeguarding Children Board.

All such suspicions and investigations will be kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know.  Those involved are likely to be the group leader and the management committee chairperson, if applicable.

Records

Whenever worrying changes are observed in a child’s behaviour, physical condition or appearance, a specific and confidential record will be set up, separate from the on-going records of children’s progress and development.  The record will include, in addition to the name, address and age of the child: timed and dated observations, describing objectively the child’s behaviour/appearance, without comment or interpretation; where possible, the exact words spoken by the child; the dated name and signature of the recorder.  Such records will be kept in a separate file and will only be accessible to the group leader and the chairperson, if applicable.

Liaison with other agencies

The playgroup will, if necessary share confidential record with the Surrey Safeguarding Children Board and will maintain on-going contact with Ofsted as the registering authority.  Details of all contact names, telephone numbers will be accessible.

If a report on a child is to be made to the authorities, the child’s parents will be informed at the same time as the report is made.

Supporting families

The playgroup takes every step in its power to build up trusting and supporting relations among families, staff and volunteers in the group.

Where abuse at home is suspected, staff will continue to welcome the child and family whilst investigations proceed.

Confidential records kept on a child will be shared with the child’s parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child only if appropriate under the guidance of the Area Child Protection Committee.  All records are kept under lock and key.

Whilst the care and safety of the child is the priority, staff will work with and support the child’s family.

Complaints

We ensure that all parents know how to complain about staff or volunteer action within the playgroup, which may include an allegation of abuse.

We follow the guidance of the Area Child Protection Committee when investigating any complaint that a member of staff or volunteer has abused a child.

We follow all the disclosure and recording procedures when investigating an allegation that a member of staff or volunteer has abused a child as if it were an allegation of abuse by any other person.

Disciplinary Action

Where a member of staff or volunteer is disciplined or suspended during the course of an investigation, relating to an allegation in relation to a child, they would be suspended whilst the investigation is carried out. LADO would immediately be contacted. 

 Surrey LAD0  – 0300 200 1006 (option 3)

Early Years Children’s Services named person 01372 833895

If a member of staff is dismissed from our employment because of misconduct relating to a child, we would notify the DBS and Ofsted and inform them of the 

Steps we have taken.

      Ofsted 0300 123 1231

Non Attendance

If a child is absent from the setting staff will record the reason for absence using the following code.

A = absent no phone call or message

S = absent due to illness

H = absent due to holiday

The reasons for absence will also be noted in the diary.

Mobile phones, social media and camera use.

The use of mobile phones is strictly forbidden at all times during Playgroup sessions.

Any photos taken at Playgroup will be used solely for Children’s developmental records, with the playgroup camera and this will be with permission of individual’s parents. 

Parents and visitors are requested not to use their phones and cameras whilst on Playgroup premises. 

In the event of an emergency, personal mobile phones may be used in privacy, where there are no children present, with permission from the Supervisor.

Staff and volunteers ensure the playgroup telephone number is known to immediate family and other people who need to contact them in an emergency.

Social networking sites have become very popular and provide a great way for people to keep in contact with friends. However, through the open nature of such sites it is possible for third parties to access the information.

Staff are in a professional position and are responsible for the care and education of children. Therefore they must not engage in activities on the internet which might bring the setting or its associated employees into disrepute.

All staff and parents should bear in mind that the information they share through social networking applications, even though they are on private spaces, are still subject to copyright, data protection and freedom of legislation, the safeguarding vulnerable groups act 2006 and other legislation.

If a member of staff allows parents to view their social networking page, they must ensure that the relationship remains professional at all times. They must ensure that there will be no uploading of photos of staff, or children and their families on any site.

If any of the above points are not followed then the member of staff involved could face disciplinary action which in turn could lead to dismissal. 

Designated Child Protection Officer –  Sophie Swarbrick

Safeguarding Contact Centre (out of hours)

01483 517898.

Surrey County Council provides up to date information on Safefguarding Children on their website:

www.surreycc.gov.uk/safeguarding.

Our procedures are based on the content therein and the website is accessed by either Lisa Brewis or Julie Pascoe regularly and as required.

In order to ensure we work effectively with other agencies, we will follow the CAF.

This policy was reviewed and updated on 10/01/2019.