Statement of Intent

Our setting wants to work with children, parents and the community to ensure the safety and protection of children and to give them the very best start in life.

Aims

Our aims are to:

  • create an environment in our setting which is safe and secure for all children.
  • Enable children to have the self confidence and the vocabulary to resist inappropriate approaches.
  • Encourage children to establish and sustain satisfying relationships within their families, with peers, and with other adults.
  • Encourage children to develop a sense of independence.
  • Work with parents to build their understanding of and commitment to the welfare of all our children.

In order to fulfil these aims

  • Our staff have received training in Safeguarding Children and we ensure their information is kept up to date by refreshing their training every three years.
  • We follow the guidelines laid down by the Local Safeguarding Board.
  • We have a copy of Manual of Safeguarding Children Procedures available for staff to use if required and for parents to see if they wish, along with the publication ‘What to do if you’re worried a Child is being abused’
  • All members of staff know the setting’s procedures for recording and reporting incidents.
  • In consultation with parents/carers we are able to refer children for additional help through the Common Assessment Framework.
  • We notify the registration authority (OFSTED) of any incident or accident which affects the well-being of children.
  • We have procedures for contacting the local authority’s Intake and assessment team on safeguarding children issues.
  • If a report is to be made to the authorities, we take advice from the Intake and assessment team in deciding whether we must inform the child’s parents at the same time.

How we ensure that Children are safe and protected

 Staffing and Volunteering

  • Our Safeguarding Coordinator is Mandy Adger.
  • We provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources to meet the needs of children.
  • All staff have a duty to maintain the well-being of children in their care.
  • Applicants for posts within the setting are clearly informed that the positions are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Candidates are informed of the need to carry out Enhanced CRB checks and take-up references before posts can be confirmed. Where applicants are rejected because of information that has been disclosed, applicants have the right to know and to challenge incorrect information.
  • We abide by Ofsted requirements in respect of references and police checks for staff and volunteers, to ensure that no disqualified person or unfit person works at the setting or has access to the children. We follow Safer Recruitment procedures when taking on new staff.
  • Volunteers do not work unsupervised.
  • We abide by the Protection of Children Act requirements in respect of any person who is dismissed from our employment, or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have lead to dismissal for reasons of safeguarding children concern.
  • We have procedures for recording the details of visitors to the setting.
  • We take security steps to ensure that we have control over who comes into the setting so that no unauthorised person has unsupervised access to the children.
  • In the event that an allegation is made against a member of staff they will be immediately suspended, Ofsted will be notified immediately along with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will also be contacted.

Disciplinary Action

 Where a member of staff or a volunteer is dismissed from the setting or internally disciplined because of misconduct relating to a child, we notify Ofsted, LADO (Local Authority Desiganted Officer), and our Chair Person.

Training

 All staff have received training on Safeguarding Children Issues. We seek out training opportunities for all adults involved in the setting to ensure that they are able to recognise the signs and symptoms of possible physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect and so that they are aware of the local authority guidelines for making referrals. We ensure that all staff are aware of the procedures for reporting and recording their concerns in the setting.

Planning

 The layout of the setting allows for constant supervision. Staff will change children’s nappies in the accessible toilet with the door left open, although this is a discrete area it is not secluded from the rest of the Playroom.

Curriculum 

  • We create within the setting a culture of value and respect for every individual.
  • We ensure that this is carried out in a way that is appropriate for the ages and stages of our children.
  • We introduce key elements of safeguarding children into our foundation stage curriculum (EYFS), and plan activities so children can develop an understanding of why and how to keep safe (e.g. road safety, risky play, people they can trust)

Complaints 

  • We ensure that all parents know how to complain about staff or volunteer action within the setting, which may include an allegation of abuse.
  • We have a procedure on Allegations made against a member of staff.
  • We notify OFSTED and the Intake and assessment team when we receive an allegation made about a member of staff, I line with our procedures.
  • We follow all the disclosure and recording procedures when investigating an allegation that a member of staff or volunteer has abused a child as if it were an allegation of abuse by another person.

If we suspect abuse 

  • We acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms – physical, emotional, sexual and neglect.
  • When children are suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, this may be demonstrated through changes in behaviour or, or in their play. Where such changes in behaviour occur, or where children’s play gives cause for concern, the setting investigates.
  • We allow investigation to be carried out with sensitivity. Staff in the setting take care not to influence the outcome either through the way they speak to children or ask questions of children.
  • Where a child shows signs and symptoms of ‘failure to thrive’ or neglect, we make appropriate referrals. We seek parents permission before making a referral unless by seeking this permission we put a child at risk.
  • We work cooperatively with the parent unless this inconsistent with the need to ensure the child’s safety

Disclosures made to us

Where a child makes a disclosure to a member of staff, that member of staff:

  • Offers reassurance to the child.
  • Listens to the child, and
  • Gives reassurance that she or he will take action.

The member of staff does not question the child – the golden rule is observe and listen but do not probe.

Recording and Reporting suspicions of abuse and disclosures

Staff make a record of

  • Child’s name, address and date of birth.
  • Date and time of the observation or the disclosure.
  • An objective record of the observation or disclosure.
  • The exact words spoken by the child.
  • The name of the person to whom the concern was reported, with date and time.
  • The names of an other person present at the time.
  • In cases of suspected physical abuse, any mark seen will be recorded with a factual description detailing location on the body found, but staff will not form any medical opinion.

These records are signed and dated and kept in a separate confidential file.

The member of staff will discuss the incident with their Safeguarding Coordinator and Manager and a decision will be made about who should be notified. If a child’s safety is at risk the Intake and Assessment team will be contacted immediately. We will take advice from them regarding information then given to parents

In a case where a child is not in immediate danger we try to discuss the matter with parents before making any referrals. However it is the welfare of the child which is paramount and this is at the forefront of all our actions. We are aware that many children have suffered because of lack of communication between agencies, and that government guidance now encourages the full sharing of information. We shall therefore use our professional judgement in sharing information with the agencies that ‘need to know’ being open and honest with parents and children as to why we feel we need to share the information.

Full records of conversations will be maintained when any referrals or discussions are held with any other agencies or with parents prior to a referral. These records will include dates and times of the conversation, who we speak to, and the advice we were given.

Informing Parents

We will always aim to involve parents in any referrals before they are made. However if a suspicion of abuse is recorded, and the child is considered at risk an immediate referral will be made to the Intake and Assessment team and we will take advice on informing parents.

Confidentiality

All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. If there are concerns within a setting it is important that Manager and Safeguarding Coordinator are made aware of them. However children will work with a number of different adults in a setting and they should also be made aware that there are concerns about an aspect of well-being of the child in question. Any information shared with external agencies is done under the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.

Support to families

  • The setting takes every step in its power to build up rusting and supportive relations among families, staff and volunteers in the group.
  • The setting continues to welcome the child and the family whilst investigations are being made in relation to abuse in the home situation.
  • Confidential records kept on a child are shared with the child’s parents or those who have parental responsibility for the child only if appropriate under the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
  • With the proviso that the care and safety of the child is paramount, we do all in our power to support and work with the child’s family.
Referrals to the local authority (MASH) team 01234 718 700
Referrals to the local authority (Emergency Out Of Hours Team) 0300 300 8123
Local authority designated officer (LADO) 01234 276 693
Bedford Borough Safeguarding Children’s Board 01234 276 512 or 01234 276 346
Bedford Borough Family Information Service 0800 023 2057
OFSTED 0300 123 1231
Police 01234 841 212