Child Safeguarding and Protection Policy
1 Policy statement
The Brokerage believes that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and recognises its responsibility to safeguard all children and young people and promote their welfare, by a commitment to practice which protects them.
1.1 We recognise that:
The welfare of the child/young person is paramount at all times.
- All children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse.
- Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers, schools teachers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.
1.2 The purpose of the policy:
- To provide protection for the children and young people who take part in The Brokerage activities.
- To provide The Brokerage staff, trainees, volunteers and work experience students with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm.
1.3 We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:
- Valuing them, listening to and respecting them.
- Adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for staff and volunteers.
- Recruiting staff safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made when appropriate.
- Sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately.
- Providing effective management for staff through supervision, support and training.
- To take due care when recruiting companies and partner organisations to our programmes, keeping them informed of our policy, procedures and guidelines.
- We are committed to reviewing our policy and good practice on a regular basis.
2.1 This policy applies to all members of The Brokerage staff, contractors providing Brokerage services, volunteers, trainees and work experience students.
2.2 This policy is intended to protect children and young people who are engaged in The Brokerage activities. It also aims to protect children or young people who are not directly involved in The Brokerage activities but who may come into contact with staff who are undertaking work on behalf of The Brokerage.
3.1 Child: in this document, as in the Children Acts 1989 and 2004, a child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. ‘Children’ therefore means ‘Children and Young People’ throughout. The fact that a Child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently, is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital, in prison or in a Young Offenders’ Institution, will not change his or her status or entitlement to services or protection under the Children Act 1989 and 2004.
3.2 Volunteer: in this document, as in the DBS definition of a volunteer which is defined in the Police Act 1997 (criminal records) Regulations 2002, “Any person engaged in an activity which involves spending, unpaid (except for travel and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party and not a close relative.”
3.3 Staff Member: anyone employed by The Brokerage or contracted to provide services for The Brokerage. For the purposes of this policy this encompasses but is not limited to permanent staff, trainees and work experience students.
3.4 Abuse and Neglect: The Working Together to Safeguard Children paper, HM Government March 2015 (link below) provides the following definitions for Abuse and Neglect, Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Sexual Abuse and Neglect: Somebody may Abuse or Neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. A Vulnerable Person may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.
3.4.1 Physical Abuse: Physical Abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.
3.4.2 Emotional Abuse: Emotional Abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on their emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child from participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying, causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
3.4.3 Sexual Abuse: Sexual Abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging them to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
3.4.4 Neglect: Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of their health or development. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: 1. Provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment) 2. Protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger 3. Ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers) 4. Ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include Neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
3.4.5 Position of Trust: A position of trust, for the purposes of this policy, is one where a member of The Brokerage staff is in a position of power or influence over a child by virtue of the work or nature of the activity being undertaken.
4 Our protection and safeguarding measures
The Brokerage aims to ensure the safeguarding of children and young people through implementing the measures as established below.
4.1 Safe Recruitment
The Brokerage will make every effort to ensure only suitable candidates are selected using the appropriate legal requirements and best practice guidelines. Careful attention to staff selection and the recruitment of staff will encompass:
4.1.1 A disclosure check at standard or enhanced level depending on the nature of the role as administered by Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) for England and Wales.
4.1.2 When appropriate staff will be checked under the new Vetting & Barring scheme through the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) which will be administered by the DBS.
4.1.2 At least two written references from previous employers including the most recent employer.
4.1.3 A formal interview process.
4.2 Child Protection Officer and Deputy
The Brokerage will appoint a child protection officer (CPO) and deputy (DCPO). The CPO will be responsible for ensuring all child safeguarding and protection policies are carried out. The DCPO will deputise for the CPO in case of absence.
4.3 Training of staff members
Induction training will give an overview of the organisation and ensure staff know the purpose, values and structure of The Brokerage. Training will be provided to relevant staff on specific areas such as identifying and reporting abuse, and confidentiality of personal information will be given to individuals as deemed appropriate to the role.
4.4 A Safe and Secure working environment
Workshops take place in schools, at The Brokerage or on the premises of our partner organisations. Measures are taken to ensure the safety of children and young people at all times and those participating are given appropriate advice on the safety procedures at the beginning of each workshop session.
The Brokerage staff members may be present within schools when liaising with school contacts or for programme delivery. All staff members must adhere to The Brokerage Code of Conduct to minimise risks.
All participants of Brokerage activities are under supervision and every effort is made to ensure their safety. In all contact with partner organisations the school will have the primary responsibility for safeguarding their pupils and should ensure that a teacher / youth worker is present at all times. The presence of The Brokerage staff is an added safeguard.
The Brokerage staff must recognise that they are placed in a position of trust with regard to all children and young people involved and must undertake to uphold that trust all times.
4.5 Participant guidelines
Participants will be briefed regarding behaviour guidelines at the beginning of each session so they know what is expected of them throughout the session. The information contained in these guidelines is adapted to suit the age group and ability of the people in each session, as well as the location in which the session is held.
4.6 Volunteer guidelines
The Brokerage works with many different volunteers and often does not have direct contact with them before workshop sessions. Company contacts are provided with a volunteer briefing sheet and code of conduct to give to volunteers so they know what is expected of them.
Volunteers will be given written guidelines on appropriate behavior, including not giving out their personal details at any time, nor should they accept personal details from students. If a student does pass on details the volunteers should inform a Brokerage staff member and if possible, the teacher / youth leader that is present.
4.7 Multi-Agency Approach
The Brokerage is committed to working in partnership with public agencies and other organisations where in the extremely rare event that an abuse of trust would be reported to an agency, for example, the local authority and therefore requires cooperation and assistance from The Brokerage representative.
Representation at multi-agency meetings will be decided on an individual basis.
4.8 Consequences of non-compliance
Staff working for The Brokerage are placed in a position of trust with regard to the children and young people taking part in The Brokerage activities. Anyone who abuses that trust will be subject to disciplinary action.
4.9 Clear Reporting Guidelines
It is the responsibility of the staff of The Brokerage to report a potential abuse of trust of a child or young person. Details of the procedures for this are detailed in point 5. Any concerns should be reported in writing.
5 Our Procedures
Children reporting abuse
If a child reports to a member of staff that they are experiencing abuse or the staff member sees signs that suggest that abuse may be taking place the following procedures must be followed:
5.1 The Brokerage staff member MUST NOT seek evidence of abuse, encourage the child to talk about it or ask leading questions. It is the role of social services to investigate such concerns and inappropriate questioning by others can jeopardise this process. Any questions in these circumstances must therefore be limited to broad and open questions, for example ‘How was your weekend?’
5.2 If a child does confide in The Brokerage staff member, they MUST immediately tell the child that the law (Children’s Act) requires them to report the matter.
5.3 Anyone who has knowledge, or suspects that a child is suffering significant harm, or is at risk of significant harm MUST IMMEDIATELY report their concerns to the child protection officer at the child’s school in writing, or the equivalent person at the organisation through which the child/ young person has come into contact with The Brokerage. The Brokerage member of staff must write a full account of the incident and report it to child protection officer as soon as possible, except if the situation is of the utmost urgency and the child is in immediate danger, in which case action must be taken immediately (see 5.6 and 5.7).
5.4 If the young person/child discloses an abuse whilst at The Brokerage workshop (not in school) and the adult feels the child is in immediate danger (i.e., doesn’t want to leave or go home because they are frightened) it must be reported to the school staff member accompanying the children/ young people. In extreme cases of imminent threat or harm the Brokerage member of staff should call the police. The Brokerage member of staff must then report the incident, verbally and in writing, to the executive director of The Brokerage.
5.5 If the young person/child discloses an abuse whilst in school and The Brokerage staff member feels he/she is in immediate danger it must be reported to the child protection officer in the school; failing this, it should be reported to a senior member of staff immediately. The child should be encouraged to accompany the Brokerage staff member, but if the child wishes to return to class he/she should be allowed to do so. The Brokerage member of staff must then report the incident, verbally and in writing, to The Brokerage child protection officer.
5.6 The welfare of the child is paramount. Privacy and confidentiality should be respected where possible but if doing this leaves a child at risk of harm then the child’s safety has to come first. All information relating to the incident must be dealt with care. The Brokerage will share information as appropriate with Social Services and other relevant authorities in order to aid investigations where necessary, but otherwise all information will be treated as strictly confidential.
Recording Child Safeguarding and Protection incidents
5.7 All incidents relating to child safeguarding and protection, including disclosures by young people, incidents witnessed by Brokerage staff, or incidents reported by volunteers or school staff, should be recorded using the appropriate form and shared with the CPO as soon as possible.
5.8 In the absence of the CPO, records of child safeguarding and protection incidents should be shared with the DCPO. In the absence of both, or in the case of an incident involving the CPO or DCPO, records should be shared with the executive director of The Brokerage.
5.9 The CPO is responsible for the safe and confidential storage of child safeguarding and protection incident reports. Paper records will be stored securely and electronic copies will be saved in a secure file.
Allegations of abuse
If any staff member of the Brokerage has abuse allegations made against them, the executive director and/or the board of trustees should be informed immediately. If allegations are being made against the executive director, the chair of the board of trustees should be informed immediately and an investigation will be undertaken.
If any member of staff suspects another member of staff, a volunteer or anyone else in contact with a child or young person it should be reported to the executive director or a senior member of staff.
6 Lone worker policy in relation to child protection and safeguarding
6.1 The Brokerage staff should ensure that meetings with young people under the age of 18 are not booked for a time when there is likely to be only one member of The Brokerage staff present.
6.2 If a young person under the age of 18 is present in the office when there is only one member of staff present, they will be asked to wait in the public areas of the building, rather than The Brokerage offices until additional staff members have arrived.
7 Maintaining policies and procedures in line with legislation and best practice
The Brokerage will ensure that the codes of conduct, participant guidelines and the organisation’s child protection procedures are regularly monitored, developed and maintained and are appropriately communicated throughout the staff of The Brokerage annually. Staff throughout the organisation are responsible for ensuring that they are familiar with the codes, guidelines and procedures of the organisation, and that new staff will be appropriately inducted.
8 Where to look for further help and advice
If you have concerns or would like further information try the following:
London Safeguarding Children Board
The NSPCC Child Protection Helpline (0808 800 5000) can also be called, free of charge, in situations where some external advice or guidance is needed.
Reviewed November 2017