1. PURPOSE AND PRINCIPLES
1.1 The purpose of this policy is to set out Bristol Childcare’s commitment to safeguarding including details of our Child Protection procedures.
1.2 We recognise that safeguarding involves “…protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s mental or physical health or development; ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.” Working Together to Safeguard Children 2020
1.3 We acknowledge that we have a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of individuals under the age of 18 years old and vulnerable adults pursuant to the Children Act 2004 and the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.
1.4 Therefore, our safeguarding measures are included in many policies as follows:
Deter – we have a robust recruitment process, see Recruitment Policy. We have detailed policies and high expectations that processes are followed at all times. This is communicated to staff.
Prevent – we have a professional Code of Conduct and clear expectations about staff behaviour. We have an open culture with no secrets where staff are encouraged to share any concerns and know our clear management structure so that there is always a manager or senior manager that they can talk to. Staff have contact information for Senior Management. We have robust safeguarding practices and detailed induction and probation processes, backed up by documentation, to ensure all staff understand our processes. We have a robust professional development process and ensure there is ongoing safeguarding training, delivered in many ways.
Detect – we have a culture of vigilance whereby staff feel comfortable in questioning unusual behaviour and understand who to talk to if they have concerns. We have clear processes in place about what to do including a Whistleblowing Policy and a culture where staff are listened to and their concerns respected.
1.5 We recognise our responsibility to take all reasonable steps to provide a protective environment, promote safe practice and to protect children from harm, abuse and exploitation. We acknowledge our duty to act appropriately to any allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse and to share information and co-operate with other agencies as necessary. We respect the rights and feelings of children and have a listening ethos in our nurseries.
“Always do something, never do nothing”.
1.6 In implementing this Safeguarding policy, and all policies involving Safeguarding issues, Bristol Childcare will:
- Ensure all staff understand their legal and moral responsibility to protect all children from harm, abuse and exploitation.
- Ensure all staff understand their duty to report concerns that arise about a child.
- Ensure all staff understand their duty to report concerns about another member of staff to the Child Protection Lead or other senior manager.
- Ensure all staff understand their role is to listen, record and report, not to judge or decide what will happen.
- Ensure that any procedures relating to the conduct of staff are implemented in a consistent and equitable manner in a way that provides effective protection for the child but also supports the person who is the subject of the allegation.
- Provide opportunities for all staff to develop their skills and knowledge in relation to the welfare and protection of children.
- Ensure all staff understand the importance of developing professional relationships with parents so that any concerns are raised as they arise and can be dealt with in a way that is sensitive to each family.
- Recognise that SEND children can be more vulnerable to abuse and ensure staff understand normal patterns of behaviour for each child.
- Ensure the fundamental British values of democracy, rule of law, individual liberty mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs, which are embedded in the EYFS, are followed and promoted in our nurseries.
2. THE SINGLE ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK (SAF)
Bristol Childcare is aware of SAF and is seeking to find out how to acknowledge this process as an important part of safeguarding and how to use SAF to benefit children in its care.
Accident at Home form – this is to record any bruises or marks when a child arrives at nursery. This can be done on iConnect or a paper form as at Appendix 5. If the information is inputted onto iConnect then the completed form is printed for parents to sign and then filed confidentially.
Disclosure form – this is to record any concerns, observations or disclosures of abuse by a child. See Appendix 6.
Concerns about Staff form – this is to record any concerns or observations of abuse by another member of staff. See Appendix 7.
Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) – this is the Nursery Manager in each setting and the Deputy Manager or Assistant Deputy Manager in the Manager’s absence. Please see Appendix 3 for contact details. The DSL should always contact the Managing Director (or another senior BCC manager) if they have concerns or need to make a referral. The role of the DSL is set out in a document in folder 9.1 on BCC Admin.
LADO – Local Authority Designated Officer. Please see Appendix 3 for contact details.
Staff – will include any students or agency staff
4. RECORDING AND MANAGING CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
4.1 All information is kept confidential, but we acknowledge our duty to share information with other agencies if requested, or we believe it is in the interests of the child. In accordance with this policy, we will not inform parents that we are sharing information with other agencies if we reasonably believe that doing so would put the child at risk of significant harm.
4.2 All allegations will be dealt with confidentially and any documentation will be filed securely in a locked cabinet. Information from paper CP forms is inputted by the DSL onto Connect Childcare which is password protected. Documents are then filed alphabetically in the Safeguarding folder. Please see our Confidentiality Policy.
4.3 Disclosure documents must be handwritten in black ink. Do not use correction fluid. A line must be drawn and initialled at the end of the report. Accident at Home forms can be entered straight onto Connect Childcare, then printed and signed. Longer meeting notes can be typed but must be printed and signed. Remember that any documents may be read at Case Conferences where parents may be present so ensure professional language is always used. Keep information factual; ensure names are correctly spelt.
4.4 All Safeguarding, Accident and Incident forms are audited by the manager once a month to see if there are any patterns of behaviour or areas of the nursery which are causing issues. The manager will collate the information onto charts and take action or raise concerns with Senior Management as appropriate.
4.5 Copies of child protection documents are passed to schools/other settings when a child leaves, in accordance with Local Authority procedures. See Child Leaving Checklist in folder 2.4 on BCC Admin.
B CHILD PROTECTION PROCEDURES
We recognise that Child Protection is part of Safeguarding and promoting Welfare: “The activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.” Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015
1. MAIN TYPES OF ABUSE AND SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ABUSE
1.1 We recognise that abuse can happen in a number of ways. Staff are expected to be familiar with signs and symptoms of abuse. See Appendix 1 for a table of these.
1.2 Children may directly disclose abuse through speech. They may also express themselves through play, artwork, gestures or sexualised behaviour inappropriate for their age.
1.3 We are aware that radicalisation could be one reason why a child’s behaviour could be of concern and would deal with this in accordance with Clause 2.5.
2. STAFF PROCEDURES
2.1 Stage One – Seeing or Hearing
A If a child arrives at nursery with a prominent bruise or mark on their body:
- Ask the parents for an explanation and fill out an Accident at Home form which you, the DSL and parent must sign.
- If the parent refuses to do this or gives an explanation you do not feel comfortable with, record this on the Accident at Home form and speak to the DSL.
- The DSL will decide what action is appropriate. See Appendix 9 for Non-Mobile Babies.
B If abuse is suspected:
- Record your concerns on a Disclosure form as soon as possible and without discussing it with anyone. Then, as soon as is practically possible, inform the DSL. Do this in a confidential manner.
- It is important that you record what you have seen or heard before you discuss the matter with the DSL, so that your initial impressions are recorded without the influence of anyone else. Record any words or phrases that the child has used
- The Key Person, or appropriate member of staff, should keep monitoring the child’s behaviour, making notes of particular concerns (when, where and what happened).
C If abuse is disclosed:
- Stay calm. Stop what you are doing and listen.
- Reassure the child.
- Be clear about what they are saying by asking questions as sensitively as possible. If you can, take brief notes while they are speaking, but not if this will be off putting.
- Do not ask leading questions such as “did he touch your private parts?”. Ask open questions such as “anything else to tell me?”
- Do not make promises you may not be able to keep, ie “not telling anyone else”.
- Accept what you hear without passing judgement or showing a reaction.
- Explain to the child what you are going to do next.
- As soon as possible, and without discussing it with anyone else (see B2 above about why), record what you have heard or seen, not what you feel. Record what the child said (using their words), what you said, circumstances, context (what was happening at the time, any triggers?) behaviour, date and time. Record statements and observable things rather than interpretations or assumptions. Use a Disclosure form.
- Inform the DSL as soon as is practically possible. Do this in a confidential manner.
- Do not discuss what you have heard with any colleagues other than the DSL and Senior Management.
- Ask for supervision if you need support regarding what you have heard.
- Follow up with the DSL to find out what has been done.
- Stage Two – The Seven Possible Actions that may be taken
In discussion with staff, the DSL will decide what action should be taken. Please see Appendix 3 for hierarchy of senior managers to involve. DSLs and senior managers should note that they can have anonymous discussions with the referral team if they are unsure and would benefit from advice.
Please see Appendix 2 for a Flow Chart.
Action 1 – No further Child Protection action is considered necessary. Staff believe they have a “child in need” so explore other avenues to support child and family, eg, SAF, health visitor, behaviour support strategies.
Action 2 – Record on-going observations on a Disclosure form but take no further action at present time.
Action 3 – Discuss issues with parents – you are sufficiently concerned to raise issues with parents but do not consider it necessary to make a referral. If your concern remains, or are heightened by the parent’s response, consider making a referral. Also consider, is there anything else you could be doing with the parent to help the child, eg, behaviour strategies, SAF, liaison with children’s centre.
Action 4 – Make a referral. Discuss with the referral team about informing the parents. DO NOT INFORM THE PARENTS IF YOU ARE CONCERNED THIS WILL PUT THE CHILD AT RISK OF SIGNIFICANT HARM. Take advice then speak to the parents as soon as possible. See Appendix 3 for contact details.
Action 5 – If you reasonably believe that discussing with a parent will put a child at further risk of significant harm, make a referral without informing the parents. Discuss these concerns with the referral team. A telephone referral must be followed up with a written referral within 48 hours.
Action 6 – If you believe the child is at risk of significant harm or needs urgent medical attention, call the police or an ambulance on 999. Remember that the safety and welfare of the child is the overriding concern.
Action 7 – contact the police or Channel team for a radicalisation concern. See Appendix 3.
2.3 Stage Three – Making a referral
Take note of each Local Authority safeguarding arrangements, eg in relation to Thresholds
- Make an initial telephone call. See Appendix 3 for details. Ensure you have all the child’s details to hand. Always note down who you speak to and their phone number, and record all details of the discussion on an Important Conversations form. If you have concerns about repercussions with the parents, ask if the referral can remain anonymous and the parents are not told where it has come from. See also Referrals Checklist in Manager’s Handbook.
- A telephone referral must be followed up with a written referral within 48 hours. You may be asked to complete a referral form. Ask for help in deciding whether the referral is for a Child in Need or Child Protection. Keep copies of all forms and documents sent.
- You should have a response within 48 hours of the referral to state what action is to be taking. If you do not receive this, you should chase the referral. If you are not happy with the response, take the referral to a higher authority in the Children and Young People’s Information Service. Keep pursuing until you feel comfortable with the response.
- When making a referral, please note: The duty of Bristol Childcare staff is only to report; social workers will investigate and assess.
2.4 Maintaining Relationships with Parents
- We recognise that it is important to endeavour to maintain good relationships with parents, even in difficult circumstances, in the interests of the child.
- If the nursery is contacted by another agency about a Child Protection issue, the DSL will ask about the level of confidentiality and ascertain whether they can tell parents about the nursery’s involvement before they hear it from a social worker.
2.5 The Prevent Duty
- Under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 we have a duty to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This is known as the Prevent Duty.
- At Bristol Childcare we will identify children who are vulnerable to radicalisation by:
- Observing behaviour, conversation and play of children; and
- Listening to parents and discussing issues with them.
- Each nursery has undertaken a risk assessment, which is constantly updated and available at the setting.
- Should staff have any concerns that a child is at risk of being drawn into terrorism or is being influenced by radicalisation they will record their concerns on a Disclosure form and inform the nursery DSL who will make a referral, call the police or implement the Channel process by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
3. INAPPROPRIATE STAFF BEHAVIOUR
Bristol Childcare is committed to having effective recruitment procedures, including checking all staff to ensure they are safe to work with children. See our Recruitment and DBS Policies.
Should a member of staff become disqualified they will be suspended from work while they apply to Ofsted for a waiver. See also Clause 11.
Section 38 of the Staff Handbook sets out our Whistleblowing Policy.
Section 12 of the Staff Handbook set out rules that private mobile phones and cameras may not be used in Nursery. See Mobile Phones and Social Media Policy.
If there are concerns that a member of staff has, on the premises or elsewhere:
- behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child, or
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child or
- behaved in an inappropriate way towards a child which may indicate that he or she is unsuitable to work with children; or
- behaved inappropriately, in ways that make other staff uncomfortable
These procedures must be followed (please see Appendix 4):
- Concerns must be recorded (before consulting with anyone) and reported immediately to the DSL. The individual who witnessed the concern or was given information (by a child or adult) should make a full written record of what was seen, heard and/or told as soon as possible after observing the incident or receiving the report. Information may be given by a parent or someone from an outside agency. Use a Concerns about Staff form. If you have seen physical behaviour, don’t forget to comfort the child.
- If the concerns are regarding the DSL, report them to Saffia Bullock, see Appendix 3 for contact details. Staff must raise this with an external authority if they do not feel their concerns are being responded to or taken seriously by Senior Management. See the NSPCC Whistleblowing information in Appendix 3 or the poster in each nursery staff room.
- The senior member of staff must take steps to ensure that during the remainder of the working day, any member of staff against who an allegation is made is not left in sole charge of any children.
- The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) must be informed during that working day. Please note all such allegations must be referred to the LADO. Referral to the LADO must not be delayed to gather further information. The decision as to whether an allegation is false should not be made without prior consultation with the LADO
- The DSL will take advice from the LADO on the next steps to be taken, including how and when to inform the parents of any child or children involved and whether those families may need additional support.
- The LADO will advise the DSL about informing the alleged perpetrator, which must be done as soon as possible after consulting with the LADO.
- The LADO and DSL will discuss whether further details are needed to enable a decision about how to proceed and how and by whom they will be gathered.
- If a child has clearly been injured and/or there is clear evidence of significant harm or risk of significant harm, immediate referral to the police must be considered with the LADO also informed during that working day. Remember that the safety and welfare of the child is the overriding concern.
- Ofsted will be informed within 14 days of any allegations of abuse by a member of staff or any abuse that is alleged to have taken place.
- The DSL should discuss with the LADO, in all cases, whether disciplinary action is appropriate. Suspension is not automatic and will not be done without careful thought. Even if no further child protection procedures are considered necessary by the LADO, the DSL must consider how the matter should be dealt with under BCC procedures in accordance with the Staff Handbook.
- Disciplinary procedures may be implemented as a result of allegations made, in accordance with the Staff Handbook. This may include against the person who made the allegation if it was found to be malicious.
- We recognise that it is important to ensure that all allegations are followed up and examined objectively by someone independently; this may be a manager from another BCC nursery. We will inform the LADO of all allegations brought to our attention. We will ensure that any internal disciplinary meetings are carried out by a senior manager who has not been part of the investigation.
- Every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality and guard against publicity while an allegation is being investigated.
- We recognise that under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 we have a duty to make a referral to the DBS where a member of staff is dismissed (or would have been had the person not left the setting first) because they have harmed a child or put a child at risk of harm. See Appendix 3 for details.
4. USE OF IMAGES
4.1 Staff are not permitted to use their own camera on nursery premises.
4.2 We ask parents for permission to use images of their children on the Health and Permissions form and in a Use of Images Consent letter in the Welcome and Induction Pack. Parents are asked once a year if they would like to update any information, including permissions.
4.3 Managers must check photographs before they are developed or printed. Photographs can only leave nursery to be developed. Photographs may only be used in marketing material with written parental consent obtained as above or on a form created to ask permission for a specific purpose, eg, a staff training report.
4.4 See the E-Safety Policy for procedures as regards safe use of IConnect.
5. USE OF MOBILE TELEPHONES AND DEVICES
5.1 Use of mobile telephones and other mobile devices including cameras is prohibited in childcare areas of nursery premises. This applies to all staff, parents, visitors and contractors.
5.2 If staff bring their mobile phone or other device into nursery it must be locked in the safe provided.
5.3 Staff are only permitted to use their mobile telephones during rest breaks away from childcare areas.
5.4 Car parks are considered a childcare area if children are in the garden.
5.5 All visitors and contractors must hand in all mobile phones to the manager so they can be locked in the safe. Contractors sign a statement in accordance with the Health and Safety Policy.
6. HOME VISITS
6.1 Home visits are used to help with settling in if required. Staff will be aware of the issues regarding safeguarding when they visit a child’s home and will follow Bristol Childcare’s Home Visits Code of Conduct. See Settling In Policy.
7. NON ATTENDANCE
7.1 If a child does not arrive for nursery at the expected time and parents/carers have not informed staff by telephone or email, the manager will telephone parents that day to enquire after the child. If they are not able to speak to any of the child’s parents or carers they will phone each of the emergency contacts until they can obtain some information. If the manager is not able to speak to any of the contacts that we hold for that child to find out why the child is not attending nursery, or they have concerns about why the child is not attending, they will telephone the local authority (as per Appendix 3) with this information. Parents will be informed of this procedure at the parent induction meeting.
8. CHILD SEXUAL EXPLOITATION (CSE) AND SELF HARM
8.1 We are aware of CSE in relation to any Young Persons that we employ or Students on placement with us. We will take all necessary action to support Students and Young Persons, which would include Apprentices aged under 18. We have a Young Person’s Risk Assessment and a Young Person’s Risk Assessment – Students and the relevant document is filled in when a student attends an interview or when a Young Person is employed by BCC, both with an accompanying adult.
8.2 Should managers have any concerns about Young Persons employed or Students on placement at any Bristol Childcare nursery they will follow the child protection procedures in this policy and the Managing Director must be informed. For employees, we would contact the Young Person’s parents; for Students we would also contact the school or college they are on placement from.
8.3 We are also aware of the need to be mindful of self-harm as regards Young Persons and Vulnerable Adults (see policy). This will be part of their ongoing supervision and mentoring. Managers will observe any behaviour changes and take appropriate action in accordance with this policy and any local authority guidance.
8.4 DSLs and Senior Managers have had CSE training as part of local authority inter-agency training and awareness and training as regards CSE and self-harm is ongoing.
9. DOMESTIC ABUSE, HONOUR BASED VIOLENCE, FORCED MARRIAGE
9.1 We are aware of domestic abuse, honour based violence and forced marriage, both in how they may affect our staff, students, volunteers and parents and carers and how they may impact on children.
9.2 The Managing Director must be informed immediately the manager has any concerns. Any concerns regarding children would be reported to local authorities in accordance with the child protection procedures in this policy and local authority guidance. For any concerns regarding adults, support would be given and action taken in accordance with this policy, the Vulnerable Adults Policy and any local authority guidance. See Appendix 3.
9.3 DSLs and Senior Managers have ongoing training in accordance with setting needs.
10.1 Staff babysitting for parents do so in their own time and independently of Bristol Childcare Ltd. Both parents and staff must follow the Babysitting Code of Conduct, see Appendix 8. A copy of the Code of Conduct is signed by each family and member of staff where there are babysitting arrangements, and this is filed in the member of staff’s personnel folder.
11.1 We recognise that some parents do not speak English as a first language. When liaising with parents over child protection issues, we will be sensitive to individual language needs and, recognising the importance of parents understanding the issues, will, if necessary, take appropriate measures to assist parents understanding, such as finding an interpreter. For details of local authority translators and interpreters, please see Appendix 3.
12. TRAINING AND REVIEW OF POLICY
12.1 Bristol Childcare commits to constant evaluation of our safeguarding and child protection procedures. This policy will be reviewed annually or when required and input from all staff is valued.
12.2 All staff will be trained in safeguarding and child protection issues and will have a copy of this policy or access to it online, as preferred. New staff will be given a copy of this policy and will attend discussion sessions with their manager/mentor during their induction to ensure they have read and understood it. Their probation is not signed off until the manager/mentor if confident that the person understands all safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures.
12.3 Training courses will be held as required to ensure that all new staff are trained and anyone who needs to can refresh their training. Staff attend a safeguarding course at least every 3 years.
12.4 We ensure that staff safeguarding awareness is updated regularly though sharing of relevant articles, updates and information as well as training at staff meetings and group-wide Cascade Training. This will involve safeguarding and child protection training through role-play, discussion of scenarios and refreshing understanding as regards signs of abuse, whistleblowing etc.
12.5 Those staff who have DSL responsibilities, along with Senior Management, will attend Advanced/Inter-agency Level 2 Child Protection training every two years.
12.6 We will ensure additional training is provided as required, in accordance with local authority guidance and taking into account setting and local community needs.
13. PHONE CALL ASKING FOR INFORMATION
13.1 Should anyone phone asking for information about children, managers must deal with this. They must request a number and phone the person back to verify who they are. Confidential information should not be given over the telephone but requested in writing.
14.1 Should Bristol Childcare be disqualified from registration, we will not continue as an early years provider.
14.2 Should one of our childcare workers be disqualified, we will no longer employ them. See above, Clause 3 as regards applying for a waiver.
14.3 Should we become aware of information that may lead to disqualification of an employee, we will take action to ensure the safety of children, under Clause 3 of this Policy.
14.4 We ask staff at interview, during induction, at supervision meetings and at each annual appraisal whether they are disqualified or in a relationship which may have implications for the safeguarding of children and a declaration is signed annually. See Recruitment and DBS Policy.
14.5 We will do all we can to support staff to understand what disqualification means, including by providing a full list of offences with the declaration. Should a manager be concerned about a new partner or relationship, they will have a discussion about how this could have implications for the safeguarding of children. Our ethos is to have a culture of openness.
14.6 We will notify Ofsted, within 14 days of becoming aware of information, of a significant event which is likely to affect the suitability of any person who is in regular contact with children.
15. SUPPORT FOR STAFF
15.1 We recognise the importance of nurturing the wellbeing of all our staff. Staff have access to regular supervision in accordance with our Supervision Policy in the Staff Handbook.
15.2 We recognise that staff may be traumatised through involvement in a child protection issue or due to an allegation made against them. We will offer all staff affected appropriate support such as counselling. This will be done in accordance with our Health and Safety Policy.
16. SUPPORT FOR PARENTS
16.1 We recognise that parents may be victims of abuse. We will do all we can to support them using the procedures set out in this policy, the Vulnerable Adults Policy and local authority guidance. See contact information in Appendix 3.
16.2 If the parent is under 18 and is the victim of abuse which is disclosed to us or we become aware of, we will follow the child protection procedures in this policy.
List of Appendices