This Policy is concerned with the Safeguarding of young people involved in Worktree employability education and training activities, including Workout and Employability Now workshops.
Worktree is a Not for Profit company with a charitable mission to improve the employability of the young people of Milton Keynes. This objective is primarily discharged by running various projects designed to increase the knowledge, skills and ambitions of young people.
The activities covered by this policy are those defined as employability education and training and will typically involve the young person’s meeting with employers in either schools or places of work.
This policy will be reviewed annually by the Worktree’s Employability Manager and approved annually by Worktree Board for continued use. It will also be reviewed on an ad hoc basis informed by changes in law or best practice or local requirements. The Employability Manager is responsible for ensuring both the timeliness of the annual review and that appropriate ad hoc reviews are carried out.
General Policy Statement
Worktree wishes to fulfil its responsibility for promoting the welfare and protection of children and young people and has a duty to safeguard them from significant harm, as embodied in the Children Act 1989. This includes the physical, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect of all children and young people with whom Worktree has contact. Somebody may abuse a child or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by knowingly not preventing harm. Children may be abused in a family, the community, an institutional setting, or more rarely by a stranger.
Worktree will work within the Safeguarding procedures of Milton Keynes Safeguarding Children Board (MKSCB) and will undertake all reasonable steps to safeguard and avert preventable harm to children and young adults. Worktree will take seriously any allegation of abuse or neglect and make a referral to the appropriate agency.
For the purpose of this policy, a child is legally deemed to be any child up to and including the age of eighteen.
This Safeguarding Policy sets out the key principles under which Worktree will operate in support of schools’ ‘duty of care’ for children and young people in all activities organised by Worktree.
All adults contributing to the education and training of children and young people have a responsibility for their social, physical and emotional welfare. Business organisations have a duty and responsibility to ensure that they provide adequate safeguards for the children and young people with whom they have contact. This Safeguarding Policy addresses ways of ensuring that Worktree is able to establish safe working practices, for children, young adults and their own employees. It is hoped that the adoption of this Policy will promote the safety of children and minimise the potential for any unfounded allegations made against volunteers. It will also demonstrate to all parties involved (children, young people, parents and educators) that business partners are taking these responsibilities seriously and are committed to the protection of children and young people. Employers will be aware of the standards expected of them.
The core principle of the Children Act, 2004 is that the welfare of the child is paramount. In meeting this requirement we must ensure that children are protected from significant harm. Local authorities have a duty to investigate where children are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm and partner agencies (such as Worktree) have a duty to assist.
The objective of the Policy
The objective of the policy is to promote the welfare and protection of children and young people, and to safeguard them from significant harm (as embodied in the Children Act 1989), whilst they undertake Employer Engagement activities that are organised by Worktree, as outlined in the Scope, above.
The organisation (and responsibilities) for carrying out the Policy
Worktree has a designated contact regarding the Safeguarding of children and young people involved in employability education and training activities off school site. This is the Employability Manager. All other staff are responsible for raising issues and taking appropriate action.
The arrangements and procedures relating to this policy are given below.
Designated Contact – The role of the designated contact is to:
- Ensure that all staff are aware of these procedures
- Ensure that all staff have appropriate training
- Develop an effective working relationship with other agencies
- Make referrals where child abuse is suspected or disclosed
- Ensure that any disclosures or allegations are recorded, and that all records are kept securely and with restricted access.
Worktree staff will undertake an appropriate training session on Safeguarding, to highlight the legislative requirements, how to recognise abuse, how to respond to a disclosure, and how incidents should be recorded and referred.
Role of individual members of staff
All staff need to be aware of the requirements of their job. They must take responsibility for knowing and correctly implementing the relevant policy and procedures of the organisation. This includes issues relating to abuse and disclosure. Other responsibilities are as follows:
- If any member of staff, Board member or consultant is concerned about a child or young person, he or she must inform the Designated Contact immediately
- A record should be made about the concerns, as quickly as possible
- The designated Contact will decide whether an immediate referral is necessary. He or she may decide to seek advice initially from the Education Welfare Service or from Social Care
Allegations involving a business person i.e. activity volunteer – staff should note the following:
- When an allegation is made against a business person, Worktree’s Employability Manager should report the situation within 48 hours to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and the Designated Safeguarding Officer at the school of the young person making the allegation
Records will be kept of all conversations and action.
Worktree will not investigate the allegation directly but will inform the Local Authority Designated Officer and co-operate with any investigation that the LADO undertakes.
The school will follow the processes outlined in its Safeguarding Policy.
When a student discloses to an employer or member of Worktree staff or volunteers
Worktree’s Employability Manager will inform the Designated Safeguarding Officer at the school at the earliest possible opportunity
The Designated Safeguarding Officer will take appropriate action according to the school’s Safeguarding Policy
In consultation with the school’s Designated Safeguarding Officer, Worktree may liaise with the Duty Social Care Officer at MK Children & Young People’s Services. In such cases, however, it will be the responsibility of the school’s Designated Safeguarding Officer to advise the child and parent of this action and the potential consequences (unless the child is seriously at risk of further harm if the parent knows of the referral, in which case the parent need not be informed).
Worktree will record all the details, and provide support for the employer.
Allegations involving a member of Worktree staff
When an allegation is made against a Worktree employee or volunteer, the Employability Manager must immediately be informed and seek advice from the Local Authority Designated Officer
Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) – All Worktree staff who have contact with children and young people will undergo a check through the DBS.
Responding to a disclosure by a child or young person – A disclosure may involve a child or young person telling a member of staff about a concern, which might put that young person at risk. The experience may be related to the work Worktree has organised, or it may be unrelated. In either case, the situation should be treated in the same way.
It is important to remember that a child who has been abused and is prepared to make a disclosure needs to be treated with the utmost sensitivity. Remember that the child may have already lost much of their trust and confidence in adults. It is important therefore, that those adults who have been trusted by the child, respond in ways that do not further undermine their trust.
Staff who find themselves in this situation should observe the following:
- Create a climate of trust
- Be fully ‘there’ for the child
- Allow silence
- Ensure there are no distractions or interruptions
- Allow them to tell their story in their own way
- Give positive prompts (but not leading questions)
- Allow the child to be upset
- Avoid false reassurance and promises
- Be clear about what you will do.
Staff should not do the following:
- Criticise the abuser
- Disbelieve the child’s account/story
- Interpret what the child says
- Deny, avoid or postpone action when required
- Promise the child absolute confidentiality
- Decide alone what to do
- Speak to parents or employers without advice from Social Care for Children and Families
- Conduct investigations into “the truth”.
In summary, the role of the member of staff in this situation is to:
- Listen rather than question
- Never stop a child who is freely recalling significant events
- Record the conversation on the same day:
- Time of disclosure
- What was said – in the child’s own language
- Record statements and observable things, rather than interpretations or assumptions
- Distinguish known facts from allegations
- Inform Worktree’s Designated Contact and refer to the Schools Designated Teacher/Lead LA Officer.
All original paperwork (including rough notes) relating to a disclosure must be kept in case it is used in evidence in a criminal investigation.
If a child needs immediate medical attention this must be sought. Otherwise the investigating authorities must make this decision.
If an adult discloses the same action should be taken.
Worktree’s designated person will report the incident without delay to the Lead LA Officer who will decide on the appropriate course of action. Any suspicions, allegations or disclosures made by a child or young adult to a business volunteer, concerning possible abuse, should be reported to a senior member of the teaching staff in the school, ideally the designated teacher for child protection. If there are concerns about the conduct of a business volunteer the school should liaise, as a matter of urgency, with the designated Child Protection person at Worktree.
Taking and using photographs
There are many occasions when the use of photographs of individuals will be required for promotion purposes. This will only be done with the full knowledge and permission of the school involved.
Advice for business and community volunteers in schools
Volunteers from local businesses and community agencies in collaboration with our partners in Education will:
- Ensure that children and young people are encouraged to report any concerns to their teachers or another identified adult. All adults have a duty to report if they suspect a child may be at risk. As there is a requirement to pass on certain information, absolute confidentiality cannot be agreed.
- Be very clear about professional boundaries with children and young people by:
- Never using verbal interactions that are demeaning or belittling. Jokes should never be made at the expense of children or young adults. Extreme care should be taken so that statements cannot be misconstrued, and that innuendo is avoided
- Not sharing personal or sensitive information inappropriately e.g. home address.