This document describes how ABC to read, intends to fulfil its responsibilities with regard to Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of Children and Young People and Child Protection. It will follow the guidelines of the LSCB Toolkit.
For the purposes of this document the term volunteers refers to all personnel working in a voluntary role (including trustees) unless otherwise stated.
The Role of ABC to read
The role of ABC to read in safeguarding children who may be in need of child protection services is usually in identifying children or young people who may be at risk and alerting the appropriate agencies.
- All Staff in ABC to read that work or volunteer with children and young people must ensure that they know the child protection procedures that are in force within ABC to read (and, for volunteer reading mentors, the school in which they work) and which staff member(s) is currently responsible for child protection issues.
- In an event of a child or young person being at immediate risk a direct referral to Children’s Social Care or the Police is required.
Referrals must always be made to Children’s Social Care if there are signs that a child under the age of 18 years, or, in the case of a teenage parent, an unborn baby
- Is suffering or has suffered abuse and/or neglect
- Is likely to suffer abuse and/or neglect
- (With agreement of a person with parental responsibility) would be likely to benefit from family support services.
(Telephone numbers can be found in Appendix A of this document but may be subject to change by the relevant agencies. Current contact details may be found on the relevant agency’s website.)
Support within ABC to read
All staff and volunteers have a duty to ensure that the children under the provision of ABC to read are safe and secure from any form of harm. This means that the adults who care for the children attending activities are responsible not only for protecting the children within the group environment but must also be alert to the signs and symptoms which may indicate that any form of harm or abuse is occurring elsewhere.
The CEO is the ‘designated person’ for Child Protection and, as such, will ensure that all staff and committee members are aware of the procedure to follow if they have reason to believe that a child has been abused. For activities which take place at school and within school hours, however, responsibility for the protection of the children remains the responsibility of the designated person within the school and any concerns must be reported to that person.
The CEO will be responsible for taking the appropriate action if a member of staff or a volunteer is the subject of an allegation. In the event that the CEO is the subject of an allegation, the nominated Safeguarding Trustee will assume responsibility.
Should the occasion arise, the CEO of ABC to read will delegate responsibility to a named person to provide support and advice to a member of staff or volunteer if he or she is the subject of an allegation. Alternatively, the staff member or volunteer concerned may nominate a person of their choice to act in the ‘named person’ role. The named person will remain impartial at all times and will not be involved in any investigation or disciplinary procedures, if these should be invoked.
All volunteers that work with children and young people should raise all child safeguarding concerns with the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) within school (if it occurs on school premises within school hours). Where appropriate the CEO should also be informed when an ABC to read staff member or volunteer has reported a child protection issue within school. In the case of staff and non-school-based volunteers) e.g. Trustees, all concerns should be raised with the CEO. If the CEO is not available advice must be sought from Children’s Social Care. If staff are in any doubt they must always seek guidance.
The following Principles are key for all staff and volunteers:
- The interests of the child are paramount.
- In cases of suspected child abuse all staff and volunteers have a responsibility to take action in the ways set out in this procedure.
- Immediate action, to refer or consult, is required where there is suspicion of abuse.
- Investigation is the responsibility of the relevant Children’s Social Care Department and the Police. These agencies have to balance the necessity for action to protect the child with the potential adverse effects of an investigation on the family and/or others.
- Record keeping is essential at each stage and all documents should be kept to the standards outlined in the agency’s recording procedures.
- This procedure also covers disclosures made in electronic communications (e-mail or text messaging).
It is the right of each and every child to be able to grow to adulthood in a safe and secure environment, which allows him or her to develop fully on every level.
The Safeguarding Policy has a vital role to play in securing the well-being of each and every child. The staff and volunteers at ABC to read will support the welfare of the children by:
- creating an environment which builds a child’s confidence and develops their feelings of self-worth.
- enabling children to speak to responsible adults if they find themselves in an abusive or potentially abusive situation;
- training staff and volunteers how to recognise signs and symptoms of abuse;
- training staff and volunteers how to listen objectively, without judging or blaming;
- ensuring that the ABC to read has a clearly documented procedure for handling suspected cases of abuse and that all staff and volunteers are aware of that procedure and their responsibilities;
- ensuring that, once detected, any incidents of abuse or suspected abuse are dealt with promptly in accordance with the procedure and that appropriate notes and records are kept;
- ensuring that the appropriate agencies are informed as soon as possible;
- ensuring that a named person is designated to offer impartial support and advice, without prejudice, to a member of staff or volunteer who is the subject of an allegation, if he or she wishes it;
- ensuring that appropriate confidentiality is maintained at all times.
Procedure for Responding to a Disclosure:
If someone tells you that they, or someone they know, is being abused:
- Believe what the person is saying and take it seriously.
- Reassure the person who has made the disclosure to you that they have done the right thing.
- Give the child time to talk and do not probe or ask leading questions. Investigation is not your responsibility.
- Do not promise to keep secrets. All allegations of harm or potential harm must be acted upon.
- Explain to the child that you will share this information with a senior member of staff who will ensure the appropriate procedures will be followed.
- E-mails or text messages received detailing details of suspected abuse should be immediately referred to the school or to Children’s Services where appropriate.
- Record the event in a written form and make the report available to the school and/or Children’s Services as appropriate.
- The CEO of ABC to read will support volunteers in contacting school DSL(s), or for events outside the control of schools, the Children’s Social Care for the appropriate Local Authority to make a referral. They will be familiar with the procedure and will be able to advise you.
- The timing of referrals must reflect the perceived risk and should normally be within one working day of recognition. If, for any reason, you cannot contact the CEO of ABC to read you should go ahead and contact Children’s Social Care.
- Under no circumstances should you speak to or confront the abuser. Do not share suspicions or information with any other person other than the school Designated Safeguarding Lead, the CEO of ABC to read, Children’s Social Care and the Police. Information given to Children’s Social Care or the Police will be taken seriously, handled sensitively and shared appropriately but on a ‘need to know’ basis, wholly to protect the child. However, in order to ensure that children are safeguarded on the basis of proper evidence, the source of the referral cannot be kept anonymous.
Acting on Concerns Regarding an Adult’s Behaviour
If you have any concerns about an adult’s behaviour towards children or young people.
- Do not ignore it – the school and ABC to read will take any concerns very seriously.
- You must discuss your concerns with the DSL in school and the CEO who will support you in liaising with the statutory agencies should any child protection matter arise.
- Do not confront the adult but seek the advice of the CEO. If she is not available seek advice from Children’s Social Care.
Acting on a Disclosure from an Adult that they are involved in the abuse of a child or young person.
If any adult discloses that they are involved in the abuse of a child or young person, YOU MUST TAKE ACTION:
- Believe what they are saying and take the allegation seriously.
- Record details of what you have been told as soon as possible on the ABC to read incident report form.
- Report it to the CEO, who will ensure the appropriate actions are taken, also explaining the limits of confidentiality.
- If for any reason you cannot immediately contact the CEO then you must directly contact either Children’s Social Care or the Police. Your actions must be communicated to the CEO as soon as possible.
Staff and Volunteer Conduct
The following guidelines apply to all employees and volunteers whether acting in a paid or unpaid capacity:
- Always avoid unnecessary physical contact.
- Wherever possible avoid taking a child alone in a car, however short the journey.
- Do not take a child to the toilet unless another adult is present or only if another adult is aware.
- If you find you are in a situation where you are alone with a child make sure that others can clearly observe you.
- Maintain appropriate relationships with a child or vulnerable adult.
- Do not divulge personal contact details such as email address or telephone number.
- Do not make suggestive or inappropriate remarks to or about a child, even in fun, as this could be misinterpreted.
- If a child or vulnerable adult makes any kind of accusation regarding a member of staff, you should report this immediately to the Designated Person (in school) and the CEO.
- Participate in any training which is available to you to support you in your work with children.
- Remember that those who abuse children and vulnerable adults can be of any age (including other children and vulnerable adults), gender, ethnic background or class, and it is important not to allow personal preconceptions about people to prevent appropriate action taking place.
- Good practice includes valuing and respecting children and vulnerable adults as individuals, and the adult modelling of appropriate conduct – which would exclude bullying, aggressive behaviour, racism, sectarianism or sexism.
Training (including Safeguarding Training)
All ABC to read staff and volunteers that work or are involved with children or young people must ensure that they attend Universal Safeguarding Children Training and regular refresher training in accordance with the requirements and standards of ABC to read.
Volunteers’ initial training is delivered to satisfy the requirements of Universal Safeguarding Children Training and no volunteer may be placed in a school unless this training has been completed.
In particular, ABC to read’s initial Safeguarding Training will include how to recognise the signs and symptoms of different types of child abuse:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Sexual abuse
ABC to read’s initial Safeguarding Training will also cover recognising and responding to signs of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Female Sexual Exploitation (FGM).
Volunteers will be trained how to respond to a disclosure by a child and their duties and responsibilities for appropriate information sharing and for following the correct procedures for referring any Safeguarding concerns.
Schools will invite ABC to read volunteers to participate in further Safeguarding refresher training, as provided by the school for its own staff and/or volunteers. ABC to read volunteers should respond positively to such invitations, unless there is a genuine reason to decline. As part of the annual visit, fieldworkers will check that each volunteer’s safeguarding training is up-to-date and collect copies of any relevant certificates. Where a volunteer’s last safeguarding training took place more than three years previously, or where that three-year anniversary is approaching, ABC to read will decide how best how to proceed. For example, the volunteer may be required to complete alternative, approved online safeguarding training or to attend a course specified by ABC to read.
If, in spite of ABC to read’s best efforts to make necessary arrangements, a volunteer fails to update their Safeguarding Children training, arranged either by the school, or ABC to read, or another agreed agency, the CEO will suspend that volunteer from attending any school, until the situation has been resolved to ABC to read’s satisfaction. The CEO will also inform the relevant school(s) of the situation.
ABC to read staff must attend initial and refresher Safeguarding Training appropriate to their job description.
Recruitment and Selection
Advertisement of posts and application packs should make explicit reference to the commitment of the ABC to read to Safeguarding, including:
- Intention to carry out enhanced DBS checks with barring checks, wherever appropriate;
- Clear statements in the Job Description and Person Specification that explicitly reference the individual’s safeguarding responsibilities;
- Providing information about Safeguarding Policy and Practices to applicants.
The selection process should:
- seek carry out enhanced DBS check with barring checks, wherever a volunteer or staff member may be involved in an activity, in which they are involved in regular, unsupervised activity with children;
- always use application forms (CVs should not be accepted);
- for employees, check for any gaps in employment history and these gaps explored during interview;
- ensure, wherever possible, that at least one of the two references is from a previous employer or voluntary work supervisor and specifically asks if there have been any concerns or allegations about the applicant’s behaviour towards children; any disciplinary action; and confirmation of the applicant’s responsibilities. Compare this information with that provided by the applicant. Any inconsistencies or concerns regarding the information provided in a personal reference must be followed up directly with the referee;
- seek to explore the applicant’s attitudes towards children and young people, their motivation for pursuing the role, and managing boundaries, at interview;
- always ensure that any other uncertainty or inconsistency about the information provided about the applicant is followed up and resolved.
Acting on Allegations Against Employees and Volunteers
Concerns for the safety and well-being of children could arise in a number of different ways and in a range of settings. It is essential to act immediately and effectively if an allegation is made, or if there is suspicion or concern about a professional or volunteer’s relationship with a child, young person or group of children/young people, particularly if they have:
- behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, a child;
- possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to, a child; or
- behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates she/he is unsuitable to work with children.
If an allegation is made, or a concern arises, about a member of staff or volunteer, ensure that the school’s DSL and ABC to read’s CEO are informed immediately and the relevant Local Authority Social Care Duty Service are informed. The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) is available to provide advice or support in any allegations process, including advising whether or not immediate suspension of the person concerned should be initiated. The CEO must give serious and urgent consideration as to whether the subject of the allegation should be suspended from working with children. The CEO must also produce an action plan with timed targets for dealing with the all
If there is any concern about the immediate welfare of a child/young person or if the information suggests that a criminal offence may have been committed the Police and Social Care Duty/Out of Hours Services should be informed immediately.
Records should be secured and access will be strictly limited to relevant staff and external professionals on a need to know basis.
The member of staff or volunteer should be treated fairly and honestly, helped to understand the concerns expressed, the process being followed and any outcomes of the process. The CEO should seek advice from the LADO and Social Care/Police before informing the person who is subject to an allegation.
Children and young people can be vulnerable to exploitation or abuse through the medium of Information Technology. It is important that staff and volunteers are alert to potential risks children or young people may be exposed to, and that steps have been taken to mitigate the risk of this occurring, with specific reference to:
- Content – e.g. exposure to age inappropriate material, inaccurate or misleading information, socially unacceptable material (e.g. inciting violence, hate or intolerance) and illegal material (including images of child abuse;
- Contact – e.g. grooming using communication technologies leading to inappropriate behaviour or abuse;
- Commerce – e.g. exposure to inappropriate advertising, online gambling, identity theft and financial scams;
- Culture – e.g. bullying via websites, mobile phones or other communication technologies, or inappropriate downloading of copyright materials (i.e. music, films, images); exposure to inappropriate advertising, online gambling and financial scams;
Addressing these issues through training for staff and volunteers, and awareness raising with service users or members of the community, will be undertaken by ABC to read. If there is any indication that a child or young person is experiencing difficulties in this area (for instance if they are reported to be spending long periods of time using a PC on their own or if they appear unnecessarily defensive, secretive or anxious about their PC use), then this must be taken seriously.
14 Mentoring Children Remotely / Online
Where volunteers are mentoring children remotely, either in school or in the child’s home, additional safeguarding measures should be observed:
- Prior to each remote mentoring session, the volunteer must be aware that all relevant consent forms have been signed and returned to the school and/or ABC to read. If there is any doubt about this, the remote mentoring session must not be initiated.
- Children receiving remote mentoring support should always be supervised by their parent or carer in their homes or a suitable adult in the school. The volunteer should see and speak to the supervising adult at least at the beginning and end of the remote mentoring session.
- Any concerns about a child’s safety should be noted and reported in the same way as for a face-to-face session. Advice and support will be available from the CEO.
The Trustees and CEO will monitor to ensure that all ABC to read procedures, including the use and storage of documentation, comply with the Berkshire Child Protection Procedures. Where inconsistencies or shortcomings are identified, prompt remedial action will be taken.
An annual Safeguarding report will be presented to the Trustees by the CEO, in consultation with the Lead Trustee for Safeguarding at their spring term meeting. WE DO NOW HAVE SAFEGUARDING ON THE AGENDA OF EACH TRUSTEE MEETING SO NOT SURE IF THIS IS CORRECT AS AN ANNUAL REPORT AS WE AGREED IT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FOR EACH MEETING?
The Lead Trustee for Safeguarding and/or the CEO will report to each meeting of the Trustees, at which Safeguarding will be a standing Agenda item.
Safeguarding Children in Berkshire
Important Contact Details
(Checked and updated: 09/10/2023)
In an emergency, the Police can be contacted 24 hours a day,
365 days of the year: 999
To report a concern about a child, call Children’s Services relevant to the school in which you volunteer:
- Reading Borough Council – CSPA 0118 9373641
- Bracknell Forest Council – MASH: 01344 352005
- Slough Borough Council – MASH – 01753 875362
- Windsor & Maidenhead (Royal Borough) – MASH – 01628 683150
- West Berkshire Council – CAAS – 01635 503090
- Wokingham Borough Council – MASH – 0118 908 8002
(CAAS = Contact Advice & Assessment Service; CSPA – Children’s Single Point of Access; MASH = Multi- Agency Safeguarding Hub)
Berkshire Children’s Social Care Emergency Duty Team –
01344 351 999
Some of the above Local Authority telephone numbers will automatically forward out-of-hours calls to this team, which provides a 365-days-a-year gateway for emergency child protection referrals between 5pm and 9am and all weekends and Bank Holidays. You can also call them direct on the above number.
Allegations against staff and volunteers
Call the relevant Children’s Services and say that you have or have received an allegation against a member of staff or a volunteer. They will guide you on what to do next, which is likely to involve the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for such allegations.
Other sources of Safeguarding Support & Advice:
NSPCC – 0808 800 5000
ChildLine – 0800 1111
Family Lives Parentline – 0808 800 2222
Thirtyone:eight (formerly CCPAS) – 0303 003 11 11
A written risk assessment is required for every process involving children including those that involve only brief contact. Where a risk assessment already exists, this must be consulted and action taken as necessary.
A risk assessment should be completed before any new or changed event/visit.
- incorporate standard health and safety risk assessment procedure;
- identify the nature, length and frequency of the contact;
- consider children who are particularly at risk;
- consider whether any children have allergies; are on medication; have any disabilities (physical or mental) or behavioural difficulties;
- identify any potential areas for harm and detail action to prevent harm occurring, which might include consideration of alternative working practices;
- identify those situations that would require a criminal record check to be undertaken.
- Risk assessments must be signed off by the CEO not the member of staff arranging the visit or event in question. Completed risk assessments must be stored together in a separate file which is kept by the CEO.
APPENDIX C: Risk Assessment Template
Name of Process/Procedure/Event
Nature, Length and Frequency of Contact
Text describing the process/event
|Name of Employee/Volunteer||Nature of Contact||Length||Type of Contact||Risk|
Frequency of Event/Process (e.g no. of times per month/year):
Health and Safety Issues
Safe use of ICT (including risks posed be direct access, indirect access or exposure and the ICT environment)
Any Children particularly vulnerable (all children and young people accessing service/provision)
Medical, disability or behavioural difficulties (identified children and young people with particular needs)
Potential Areas of Harm (environmental or social factors)
Selection processes – Requirement for enhanced Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) Check and adequate references
|Visitors||Ensure supervised if with child|
Supervision processes – Allegations Management Process
Amended and reviewed May 2021
Reviewed 23rd October 2023