The government has published Working Together to Safeguard Children in March 2013. ‘Working Together’ streamlines the previous statutory guidance in an attempt to be clearer about the responsibilities of all professional agencies to safeguard children from harm and protect them from abuse, all practitioners (Brio staff) who work with children and families should be familiar with the requirements of the legislation.
Brio’s policy and procedures has been developed in line with this guidance and is based on a robust application of the frame work and is underpinned by the Children’s Act 1989. It should be read and used in conjunction with other relevant guidance including specific NGB guidance, along with multi-agency policies and procedures.
Working Together 2013 seeks to ensure that all organisations working with children have effective safeguarding systems in place and sets out principles that should underpin all safeguarding arrangements.
Sport, and physical recreation are a key part in the development of the physical, social and personal skills of children and young people. The majority of a child’s or young person’s physical activity relies heavily on adult involvement.
Any adult working in the provision of physical activity for young people, in either a paid or voluntary capacity, is legally bound to provide a safe and caring environment, free from risk or potential risk of harm. Children must be protected from all forms of discrimination and abuse and treated equally, regardless of age, gender, race, culture, religion, language, sexual orientation or ability.
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility
All professionals need to share information appropriately, in a timely way, and with primary regard to the interests of the child or young person. This includes making sure that all agencies contribute to delivering whatever actions are needed to safeguard and promote a child’s welfare.
A step-by-step guide
The purpose of this document is to outline the process for Brio employees to report and respond to concerns that a child or young person may be subject to abuse. It outlines the actions they should take, as a minimum, if they suspect that a child or young person is at risk of harm. Additionally how to report concerns or information about the suitability of a colleague or adult who is in a position whereby they could cause harm to a child or young person.
- If the concern is about the safety and wellbeing of a child or young person Process A.
- If the concern is the about the conduct of an employee, volunteer or adult Process B.
This framework is to promote good practice amongst employees and volunteers by:
- Promoting the general welfare, health and safety of children and young person during any organised activity within Brio.
- Ensuring that all employees who come into contact with children and young persons are alert to their needs and any risks or potential risks of harm.
- Making the child or young person’s needs paramount, so that every child or young person receives the support they need before a problem escalates.
- Enabling Brio employees, coaches, volunteers and parents to recognise potential signs of abuse.
- Providing clear procedures for Brio employees, coaches, volunteers, parents and young people to raise and report any concerns.
- Raising the awareness of Brio employees, coaches, volunteers, parents and young people about safeguarding issues.
- Ensuring that all employees, coaches, volunteers are appropriately recruited, vetted, trained and supervised.
Employee / Volunteer Responsibilities:
- To work safely to safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults.
- To undertake regular safeguarding training.
- To be familiar with current documentation.
- To know the correct recording / reporting procedures if you have concerns about anything you have seen or heard.
- To understand that children, young people and vulnerable adults need to be listened to, taken seriously, and have their concerns acted upon.
- To be aware that abuse could be perpetrated by colleagues.
- To use communication systems provided to record, report and request support.
- If you are in doubt about a child being potentially at risk, first consult with your line manager or a Brio safeguarding officer.
The Safeguarding Officer Responsibilities:
The role of a Safeguarding Officer who is designated an appointed person is to:
- Receive information from employees, volunteers, children or parents and carers who have safeguarding concerns.
- Assess the information promptly and carefully, clarifying or obtaining more information about the matter as appropriate.
- Consult initially with their line manager or other safeguarding officer to test out any doubts or uncertainty about the concerns.
- To contact the child’s or young person’s parent or guardian to help evaluate the concerns.
- When required to make a formal referral to a statutory safeguarding authority, ESAT or CART or the police.
- To report the incident to the Brio safeguarding lead as soon as practically possible and to complete and obtain all required documentation and forms.
- It is not the safeguarding lead or safeguarding officer’s role to decide whether a child, young person or vulnerable adult, has been abused or not.
The Safeguarding Lead for Brio Leisure is:
HR Manager: Jan Hyde
The Safeguarding Officers for Brio Leisure are:
HR Advisor: Christine Dodd, Leanne Farrell
Facility Managers: Jon Kelly, Julie Kirkham, Kerry Graham, Lesley Finnigan, Phil Harding, Paul Hesketh, Mark Swaffield
Aquatics Officer: Jane Wedgwood
Aquatics Leads: Lynne Roberts, Yvonne Parry, Michael Secker
Health& Fitness Officer: Bev Pentland.
Community Development Manager: Jess Jeffrey
It is important that all staff and volunteers involved in a case maintain confidentiality throughout the disclosure, potential investigation and with the relevant documentation gathering. Any such breach in confidentiality could be damaging both to the child and to the investigation and is a potential serious breach of data protection legislation.
Process A – A child or young person is at risk of harm
Step 1: Identifying cases
Any child or young person may find himself or herself in a situation, which puts them at risk of harm. This list is not exhaustive. It is not the responsibility of those working with children and young people to decide that child abuse has occurred but it is their responsibility to act on any concerns.
Step 2: Referring cases
Where staff or volunteers suspect that a child or young person is at risk or has concerns for a child’s or young person’s safety, they should discuss their concerns with their line manager or a Brio safeguarding officer immediately.
- The Brio safeguarding officer will make contact with the parent, guardian or supervising adult.
- They will raise their concerns in the form of an enquiry and listen to the parent guardian or supervising adult reply carefully and make an assessment.
- If a safeguarding officer still has concerns about the child or young person’s welfare or safety, they will inform the parent, guardian or supervising adult that they will report the concern, initially to the Brio safeguarding lead and if required to the LSCB safeguarding team.
- The Brio safeguarding officer will then contact immediately the safeguarding lead or another safeguarding officer/their line manager to share their concern, seek advice to obtain consensus that the concern should be reported. If no other designated Brio safeguarding officer is available the initial safeguarding officer will make the decision in isolation.
- If after discussion concerns remain, the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB) Pan-Cheshire Multi-Agency Safeguarding Children Procedures should be followed. The parent, guardian or supervising adult will be informed that the concern has now been passed to the LSCB.
- Where there is an imminent risk to a child or young person there should be no delay in taking action to safeguard. Where the threat is immediate it may be appropriate to inform Cheshire Police on telephone number 101 or if necessary through the emergency number 999.
- If the concern meets the criteria for a referral, initial advice and guidance should be sought form the Early Support Access Team (ESAT). Contact number 0300 1237047.
- If a referral is to be made to the LSCB it is made to the Children’s Services Contact and Referral Team (CART) using the Multi Agency Referral Form (MARF) online form or the contact number 01606 275099.
- Outside normal hours contact the Emergency Duty Team (EDT) on the CART contact number 01606 275099.
- The Brio safeguarding report form must be completed along with the gathering of any statements, relevant documentation and should then be sent immediately to the Safeguarding Lead and the Business Development and Operations Manager.
Step 3: Assessment
When the referral –MARF is received by CART they will undertake further enquiries. CART will either offer advice and guidance to the referrer (Brio safeguarding officer) or identify other agencies that can offer appropriate support or, will determine that a social worker needs to be allocated to complete an Initial Assessment. CART will then create a referral to the appropriate Child in Need team.
Step 4: Multi Agency meeting
The Brio safeguarding lead will then be responsible for the external multi-agency process and attendance at strategy meetings.
Forms of Abuse can be:
Where adults fail to meet the young person’s basic needs like food or warm clothing, or fail to refuse to give young people love, affection and attention. Young people might also be constantly left alone or unsupervised. Neglect in a sporting situation could conclude a helper not ensuring that young people were safe, exposing them to undue heat or cold, or to unnecessary risk of injury.
Bullying may be seen as deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. Anyone can be the target of bullying, victims are often shy, sensitive and perhaps anxious or insecure. Sometimes they are singled out for physical reason – being overweight, physically small, having a disability or belonging to a different race, faith or culture.
Where adults physically hurt or injure young people by hitting, shaking, squeezing, burning or biting, or by giving young people alcohol, inappropriate drugs or poisonous substances. In sports situations, physical abuse might occur when the nature and intensity of training exceeds the capacity of the immature and growing body of a child or young person.
Sexual exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation can occur using technology without the child’s immediate recognition; for example being persuaded to post sexual images on the internet/mobile phones without immediate payment or gain. In all cases, those exploiting the child/young person have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength and/or economic or other resources. Violence, coercion and intimidation are common, involvement in exploitative relationships being characterised in the main by the child or young person’s limited availability of choice resulting from their social/economic and/or emotional vulnerability.
Persistent lack of love and affection, where a child may be constantly shouted at, threatened or taunted and made to become very nervous and withdrawn would constitute emotional abuse. Emotional abuse could also occur when there is constant, or there is neglect, physical or sexual abuse. Emotional abuse might be constant criticism, bullying or unrealistic pressure to perform to high expectations.
Some indications that a child has been abused may include:
- Unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts or burns, particularly if situated on a part of the body not normally prone to such injuries.
- An injury for which the explanation seems inconsistent.
- The child describes what appears to be an abusive act involving him/her.
- Having bruising on a regular basis or extreme bruising and the child cannot explain how they got the bruising.
- Someone else (a child or adult) expressing concern about the welfare the child.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Sudden drop in performance.
- Changes to attendance patterns.
- Unexplained changes in behaviour over time e.g. becoming very quiet, withdrawn or displaying sudden bursts of temper.
- Physical aggression towards parents, siblings, pets, teachers or peers.
- Low self esteem.
- Engaging in explicit sexual behaviour.
- Detachment from age appropriate activities.
- Distrust of adults, particularly those with whom a close relationship would normally be expected.
- An apparent difficulty in making friends.
- The prevention by an adult from socialising with other young people.
- Displaying variations in eating patterns including overeating or loss of appetite.
- Weight loss for no apparent reason.
- An increasingly dirty or unkempt appearance, a change in appearance.
- Displaying frequent unexplained minor injuries.
- Going missing for a period of time.
- Sexual relationship with a significantly older person.
- Adults or older youths loitering outside or near child or young person.
- Excessive phone calls from an unknown adult or person.
- Inappropriate use of the internet and forming relationships.
When dealing with a potential victim of abuse:
- React calmly so as not to frighten the child or young person.
- Listen carefully to the child or young person.
- Take what the child or young person says seriously, recognising that there might be difficulties in interpreting what is being said.
- Keep questions to a minimum to ensure an accurate understanding of what has been said.
- Reassure the child, but do not make promises of confidentiality which might be impossible to keep.
- Make a full written record of what is said, heard and/or seen as soon as possible.
- The safeguarding officer should take witness statements and gather any relevant documentation.
Process B – Procedure for managing allegations against adults
This procedure is for managing allegations of harm or concerns about adults working with children or young people, which may render an adult unsuitable to work with children. The key principle is that children and young adults are appropriately safeguarded and that the process is proportionate, consistent and timely. The process of any investigation can be very difficult and stressful for those involved, support is offered for both the child/ren, young persons and the adult/s involved.
Step 1: Identifying cases
If you have a concern or an allegation is made about a person who works with children whether a professional, a staff member, volunteers, teacher or carer and they may have:
- Behaved in a way that has harmed a child or young person, or may have harmed a child or young person.
- Possibly committed a criminal offence against a child or young person or related to a child or young person.
- Behaved towards a child, children or young person in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children or young persons.
Step 2: Reporting procedure
- The member of staff should first report the matter to the safeguarding officer or their senior manager or the Brio safeguarding lead who is responsible for allegation management and who will liaise with the LADO within the Local Authority Safeguarding unit.
- In the absence of either a safeguarding officer the Brio safeguarding lead discuss the matter with a Brio site senior manager who will assess the allegation.
- If the allegation meets the criteria for referral the safeguarding officer can report or seek advice from a senior manager, the safeguarding lead or the LADO.
- The safeguarding lead must make a referral within one working day. The LADO contact number is: 0151 337 4570.
- The LADO together with the ESAT and CART operate a duty system to ensure guidance and advice is available when an initial discussion can take place regarding how the matter will be progressed.
- If it agreed that it is an appropriate referral to the LADO, a referral form should be completed at http://www.cheshirewestlscb.org.uk.
Promoting good practice
All children and young people have the right to be safe and to be treated with dignity and respect. The following guidelines will help to protect young people, volunteers and the organisation as a whole.
It is possible to reduce the potential for the abuse of young people whilst protecting staff from allegations of abuse by using the following basic guidelines.
Guidelines for employees, coaches and volunteers
- Children and young people in Brio’s direct care should never be left unattended.
- Comply with the relevant NGB safeguarding guidance.
- Situations where a staff member or volunteer and an individual child are completely unobserved should be avoided whenever possible.
- Parents should take responsibility for their child in changing rooms when possible. If groups do need to be supervised in changing rooms, adults should preferably work in pairs.
- If any form of manual support is required during an activity, it should be provided openly according to guidelines provided by the relevant national governing body.
It is advisable not to:
- Spend time alone with young people away from others.
- Take young people alone on car journeys, even in the event of illness or an accident.
- Take young people to the home of staff or volunteers.
- Make contact with children from the work environment via social media.
- Engage in rough, physical or sexually provocative physical activities.
- Allow or engage in any form of inappropriate contact.
- Condone inappropriate language.
- Make sexually suggestive comments to a child or young person, even in fun.
- Become involved in personal task which young people can do for themselves.
All employees and volunteers:
- Who directly supervise children and young people as a requirement within their role will be screened via the Disqualification and Barring Service (DBS) as part of the recruitment process.
- Will have an update DBS every 3 years throughout their employment.
- Employees or Volunteers working within the IW contract will be rescreened every 12 months.
- Who teach or coach children in sporting and activity sessions must hold a valid and appropriate qualification for the activity delivery.
- Will be expected to maintain a current technical knowledge and skill of the intended activity via CPD and relevant ongoing training and updates.
- Are required to read, understand the safeguarding policy and procedures.
- Will be trained to the appropriate level for their role.
- All safeguarding officers will receive regular training on safeguarding and reporting processes.
LSCB website: http://www.cheshirewestlscb.org.uk
ESAT: 0300 1237047
CART: 01606 275099
LADO: 0151 337 4570
Cheshire police protection unit referrals: 01606 364294