HE Access Network: Safeguarding policy

This policy was published in November 2016.

A)  INTRODUCTION

We believe that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind. We all have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people and to keep them safe. We are committed to practice in a way that protects them.

The purpose of this policy is a) to protect children and young people who take part in our programmes and events and b) to provide staff and those to whom this policy applies with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection.

B) LEGAL FRAMEWORK

This policy has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children, namely: 

  • Children Act 1989
  • United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • Children Act 2004
  • Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • Relevant government guidance on safeguarding children  

C) WE RECOGNISE THAT:

  • The welfare of the child is paramount, as enshrined in the Children Act 1989
  • All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
  • Safeguarding children is everybody’s business
  • Adults engaged in positions of trust towards children must exercise the highest levels of integrity and good practice

D) WE WILL SEEK TO KEEP CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE SAFE BY: 

  • valuing them, listening to and respecting them 
  • adopting child protection practices through procedures and a code of conduct for staff, contractors and volunteers 
  • developing and implementing an effective e-safety policy and related procedures 
  • providing effective management for staff, contractors and volunteers through supervision, support and training 
  • recruiting staff, contractors and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made 
  • sharing information about child protection and good practice with children, parents, staff, contactors and volunteers 
  • sharing concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately.

E) E-SAFETY

  • All internet and telephone communication with students will take place in secure channels or via school staff or parents.
  • Students will be notified of the role and existence of the Safeguarding Officer at the beginning of the programme and encouraged to contact the named recipient if they have any concerns.

F) SCOPE

This policy applies to:

  • All staff employed or engaged by us, including interns
  • Board members
  • Volunteers and visitors (such as donors) to our programmes who may be in contact with children
  • Consultants and contractors who are defined as working with children
  • Organisations that run programmes on our behalf or in partnership with us that are defined as working with children

G) DEFINITIONS

Child is someone under the age of 18

Child abuse is when any child is being harmed. Abuse can be physical, sexual, or emotional, or take the form of neglect.

Working with children is defined as those who are engaged in an activity on behalf of our funded by us that involves direct contact with, or facilitates access to, children.

H) CODE OF CONDUCT

Everyone who is covered by this policy commits to respecting, promoting, upholding and protecting, at all times, the rights of the child as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Anyone found to be in breach of our Code of Conduct will be subject to disciplinary action which may include dismissal or termination of employment or other arrangement with us.

Everyone covered by this policy should always follow the guidelines below when interacting directly with children and young people in any capacity on behalf of the HE Access Network.  

  1. Prioritise the safety and wellbeing of the child at all times. 
  2. Never take sole responsibility for a child; if a child needs care alert the parent or chaperone.
  3. Only take on practical caring responsibilities, for example, taking a child to the toilet, in an emergency.
  4. Never give out your personal contact details, and do not 'friend' or 'follow' children you are working with on social networking sites.
  5. Remember they are children first, and contributors or participants second.
  6. Never lose sight of the fact that you are with children - behave appropriately and use appropriate language at all times.
  7. Listen to and respect children at all times; don't patronise them.
  8. Avoid favouritism, and treat children and young people fairly and without prejudice or discrimination.
  9. Always act within professional boundaries; ensure all contact with children is essential to the programme / event / activity / project you are working on. 
  10. If you feel anyone is behaving inappropriately around children, you have a duty to report your concern through the HE Access Network’s Safeguarding Procedure (below)

I)  PARTNER ORGANISATIONS

All formal or contractual arrangements with partners, individuals, groups or organisations which come into contact with children must include agreement on the rules in this Safeguarding Policy. Partners must adopt this policy or have developed their own policy of a similar standard. Partnership agreements must contain agreed procedures for reporting and investigating concerns involving safeguarding.

J) RECRUITMENT

At least one member of staff on every interview panel must be Safer Recruitment trained and apply these principles throughout the recruitment process. New members of staff cannot begin work with children until they are in possession of a valid DBS check at the level appropriate to their role.

K) TRAINING

All staff will be trained in this policy and related procedures on induction, and must undergo refresher training every two years.

Safeguarding procedure

If you are worried about a child it is your professional duty to report your concerns.

All staff of the HE Access Network have a duty of care for the physical and mental well-being of all children we work with. For the purposes of this procedure, a child is defined as someone under the age of 18, but you must also apply this duty of care to students you are working with who have had their 18th birthday in the academic year.

All adults working for or with us must report concerns about a child, no matter how insignificant that concern might seem.

All staff must follow this procedure when working with children. If you are working with children through a school or college, that institution’s safeguarding policy also applies; you must ensure you familiarise yourself with it before starting work and be aware of the local Safeguarding Focal Point. Staff working centrally at EdSpace must be aware of Hackney Community College’s Safeguarding Policy.

DEFINITIONS

Child is someone under the age of 18

Staff are all staff employed or engaged by us, including interns; board members and trustees;  volunteers and visitors (such as donors) to our programmes who may be in contact with children; consultants and contractors who are defined as working with children; organisations that run programmes on our behalf or in partnership with us that are defined as working with children

Working with children is defined as those who are engaged in an activity on behalf of our funded by us that involves direct contact with, or facilitates access to, children.

CHILDREN TAKING PART IN OUR PROGRAMMES

Staff members working directly with children on our programmes must make them aware of the name and contact details of the HE Access Network’s Safeguarding Officer (details below) and told to contact them if they have any concerns.

DISCLOSURE

If a child discloses to you that they are being abused, or that they have concerns about someone else, follow these guidelines;

  • Allow the child to talk freely; do not put words into their mouth.
  • Do not promise to keep a secret.
  • Reassure the child that what has happened is not their fault and that they were right to tell someone.
  • Don’t criticise the alleged perpetrator.
  • Explain you must share the information with the appropriate person in the child’s school and at the HE Access Network.
  • Make a formal record, using the child’s words where possible, and pass it onto the Designated Safeguarding Lead at the school and at the HE Access Network.
  • Follow the Reporting and Referral Procedure below.

CONCERNS

If you are worried about a child it is your professional duty to report you concerns. You do not need to make a judgment; we have professionally-trained staff who will escalate your concerns if necessary.

There are four official categories of child abuse:

  1. Physical abuse - possible signs are bruises, burns, cuts, marks, frequent accidents, unexplained injuries, aggressive play or behaviour.
  2. Neglect - possible signs are hunger, poor hygiene, poor attendance, tiredness, appearing withdrawn, poor achievement, poor appearance.
  3. Emotional abuse - possible signs are mood swings, poor relationships, excessive fear or anxiety, low self-esteem, being withdrawn or passive, dominating behaviour.
  4. Sexual abuse - possible signs are inappropriate sexual behaviour, inappropriate sexual language, self-harm, recurrent pains, pregnancy.

REPORTING AND REFERRAL

  • If a child is in immediate danger you must call 999.
  • All other concerns must be shared as soon as possible with the Designated Safeguarding Lead at the school where you are working (if applicable) and with the HE Access Network’s Designated Safeguarding Lead.

DESIGNATED STAFF

Designated Safeguarding Lead: Julie Randles, Safer Recruitment Trained, safeguarding@hean.org.uk