Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Service Safeguarding and Protecting Children Policy, Procedures and Practices
The purpose and scope of this policy statement
The purpose of this policy statement is:
- to protect children and young people who receive services from the Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Service (Y.E.S) from harm.
- to provide staff and volunteers, as well as children and young people and their families, with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection. This policy applies to anyone working on behalf of Y.E.S including paid staff, the board of trustees, volunteers, sessional workers, and agency staff.
Our approach to safeguarding: core principles
Our approach is guided by the following 6 principles:
- All children have a right to protection from harm and abuse, regardless of age, ability, gender, racial heritage, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, identity or additional vulnerabilities.
- The best interests of the child are paramount in all considerations about their welfare and protection, including when to maintain confidentiality and when to share information about them.
- Children have a right to participate in decisions about their lives. Their views, wishes, feelings and experiences are evident in our work with them.
- Concerns or allegations that Y.E.S staff or volunteers have abused or neglected a child will be managed sensitively and fairly in accordance with these policies, relevant legislation and local procedures.
- Working together with children, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential to promoting children’s welfare/wellbeing and ensuring their protection. In some limited circumstances, it will not be appropriate to engage with parents and carers to protect the child.
- As part of working together we expect professionals to act on our concerns, and we will escalate our concerns in our efforts to be satisfied that the child has been protected, taking a stand in cases where we consider the protection of the child has not been taken seriously either within Y.E.S or those investigating child protection.
We also recognise that the welfare of children is paramount in all the work we do and in all the decisions we take; working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare; all children, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse; some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues; and extra safeguards may be needed to keep children who are additionally vulnerable safe from abuse.
This policy has been drawn up based upon current legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children in England
This policy statement should be read alongside our organisational policies, procedures, guidance and other related documents.
- Role description for the designated safeguarding officer
- Dealing with disclosures and concerns about a child or young person
- Managing allegations against staff and volunteers
- Recording concerns and information sharing
- Child protection records retention and storage
- Code of conduct for staff and volunteers
- Behaviour codes for children and young people
- Photography and sharing images guidance
- Safer recruitment
- Online safety
- Managing complaints
- Health and safety
- Induction, training, supervision and support
- Adult to child supervision ratios
We recognise that:
- the welfare of children is paramount in all the work we do and in all the decisions we take all children, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation have an equal right to protection from all types of harm or abuse
- some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
- working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.
- All children, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, socio-economic status, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from all forms of harm and abuse, that includes children of adults who use our services.
- Child protection is everyone’s responsibility.
- Children have the right to express views on all matters which affect them, should they wish to do so.
- Organisations shall work in partnership together with children and parents/carers to promote the welfare, health and development of children.
Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Service (YES) will:
- Promote the health and welfare of children by providing opportunities for them to take part in the services provided, safely.
- Respect and promote the rights, wishes and feelings of children.
- Promote and implement appropriate procedures to safeguard the well-being of children and protect them from abuse.
- Recruit, train, support and supervise its staff, members and volunteers to adopt best practice to safeguard and protect children from abuse and to reduce risk to themselves.
- Provide staff and volunteers, as well as children and young people and their families, with the overarching principles that guide our approach to child protection
- Require staff, members and volunteers to adopt and abide by this Child Protection Policy and these procedures.
- Respond to any allegations of misconduct or abuse of children in line with this Policy and these procedures as well as implementing, where appropriate, the relevant disciplinary and appeals procedures.
- Observe guidelines issued by local Child Protection Committees for the protection of children.
- Regularly monitor and evaluate the implementation of this Policy and these procedures
We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:
- valuing, listening to and respecting them
- appointing a nominated child protection lead for children and young people, a deputy and a lead trustee/board member for safeguarding
- adopting child protection and safeguarding best practice through our policies, procedures and code of conduct for staff and volunteers
- developing and implementing an effective online safety policy and related procedures
- providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support, training and quality assurance measures so that all staff and volunteers know about and follow our policies, procedures and behaviour codes confidently and competently
- recruiting and selecting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
- recording, storing and using information professionally and securely, in line with data protection legislation and guidance
- sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with children and their families via leaflets, posters, group work and one-to-one discussions
- making sure that children, young people and their families know where to go for help if they have a concern
- using our safeguarding and child protection procedures to share concerns and relevant information with agencies who need to know, and involving children, young people, parents, families and carers appropriately
- using our procedures to manage any allegations against staff and volunteers appropriately
- creating and maintaining an anti-bullying environment and ensuring that we have a policy and procedure to help us deal effectively with any bullying that does arise
- ensuring that we have effective complaints and whistleblowing measures in place
- ensuring that we provide a safe physical environment for our children, young people, staff and volunteers, by applying health and safety measures in accordance with the law and regulatory guidance
- building a safeguarding culture where staff and volunteers, children, young people and their families, treat each other with respect and are comfortable about sharing concerns.
Young People & Vulnerable Adults with SEND.
Adults who work with children, young people and vulnerable adults with SEND should be aware of the additional need’s children/adults may have that could mean they are more vulnerable to abuse and/or less able to speak out if something isn’t right.
Some children/adult may be vulnerable because they:
- have additional communication needs
- they do not understand that what is happening to them is abuse
- need intimate care or are isolated from others
- are dependent on adults for care.
‘Children and young people up to the age of 25 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) are covered by Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014. Under this legislation, a child or young person aged 0-25 has special educational needs (SEN) if they have a learning difficulty or disability which calls for special educational provision to be made for them.’ – NSPCC website
For further information please check the following link;
Nominated child protection leads
Name: Julie Kirby – Counselling Services Manager
Phone/email: 01206 710771/07436805270 firstname.lastname@example.org
Name: Sydnie Sadler – Teenage Pregnancy Link Worker (Colchester)
Phone/email: 01206 710771/07834254607 email@example.com
Name: Tracey Giles – Teenage Pregnancy Link Worker (Tendring)
Phone/email: 01255 434601/07918051688 firstname.lastname@example.org
Responsible child protection lead
Name: David Sollis – CEO
Phone/email: 01026 710771/07484091578 email@example.com
Trustee for safeguarding and child protection
Name: Alan Lazell – Board Member
This policy was last reviewed in August 2023
Appendix 1. Organisational roles and responsibilities
Y.E.S has a duty to ‘safeguard and to promote the welfare’ of the children and young people for whom we provide activities or services. Y.E.S shall provide a safe environment for children and young people and will identify those children and young people who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm and take action with the aim of making sure they are kept safe both at home wherever possible and within other settings.
The charity has a responsibility to ensure that professional behaviour applies to all relationships between staff and the children with whom they work.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees will ensure that the adequate resources are available to implement the requirements of the Policy. The Trustees also have a responsibility to promote and support the aims and objectives of this Policy. The trustee responsible for safeguarding has overall responsibility for child protection matters so far as they relate to Safeguarding.
Designated Safeguarding Officer/ Named Senior Officer
The Trustees have appointed the head of counselling to be the Designated Safeguarding Officer. They will also be Named Senior Officer and is to be the first person that staff should consult with concerns of suspicion or abuse. It is their responsibility to ensure that safeguarding policies and procedures are being implemented correctly.
Should the counselling lead not be available, staff should consult the Chief Executive Officer who is the charity’s Named Senior Officer.
The head of counselling telephone number is 01206 710771 (work), and their mobile number is 07436805270 (work). The Clacton office number is 01255 434601.
Chief Executive Officer
David Sollis is the Chief Executive Officer. He is also required to ensure that this Policy is implemented and monitored, and that employees receive information, instruction, training and supervision to enable them to perform.
David Sollis’ telephone number is 01206 710771 (office) and mobile number is 07484 091578.
Staff are expected to have their own copy of the Southend, Essex and Thurrock (SET) Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures (2019) and be familiar with the following Government guidance, “What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused (2015)” (Appendix 2). All staff are expected to read these documents on an annual basis and sign a document to confirm that this has been completed.
All staff must take all reasonable steps to prevent the physical, emotional or sexual abuse of all children and young people with whom they come into contact.
Staff have a responsibility to ensure that they are familiar with and follow the charity’s policies and procedures for promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children and young persons and know who to contact in the organisation to express concerns about a child’s welfare. All staff have a responsibility to ensure that they recognise and know how to act upon evidence that a child may be suffering harm or is at risk of suffering harm.
Appendix 2. Role descriptor for Designated Safeguarding Officer (Head of Counselling)
Purpose of the role
- To take the lead in ensuring that appropriate arrangements for keeping children and young people safe are in place at both office locations of the Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Service
- To promote the safety and welfare of children and young people involved in Y.E. S’s activities at all times
Duties and responsibilities
- Take a lead role in developing and reviewing Y.E. S’s safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures.
- Take a lead role in implementing Y.E. S’s safeguarding and child protection policies and procedures: ensuring all safeguarding and child protection issues concerning children and young people who take part in Y.E.S’s activities are responded to appropriately.
- Make sure that everyone working or volunteering with or for children and young people at Colchester and Tendring Youth Enquiry Service including the board of trustees understands the safeguarding and child protection policy and procedures and knows what to do if they have concerns about a child’s welfare.
- Make sure children and young people who are involved in activities at Y.E.S and their parents know who they can talk to if they have a welfare concern and understand what action the organisation will take in response.
- Receive and record information from anyone who has concerns about a child who takes part in Y.E. S’s activities.
- Take the lead on responding to information that may constitute a child protection concern, including a concern that an adult involved with Y.E.S’s activities may present a risk to children or young people. This includes:
- assessing and clarifying the information
- making referrals to statutory organisations as appropriate
- consulting with and informing the relevant members of the organisation’s management
- following the organisation’s safeguarding policy and procedures.
- Liaise with, pass on information to and receive information from statutory child protection agencies such as:
- the local authority child protection services
- the police.
This includes making formal referrals to agencies when necessary.
- Store and retain child protection records according to legal requirements and the organisation’s safeguarding and child protection policy and procedures.
- Work closely with the board of trustees to ensure they are kept up to date with safeguarding issues and are fully informed of any concerns about organisational safeguarding and child protection practice.
- Report regularly to the board of trustees on issues relating to safeguarding and child protection, to ensure that child protection is seen as an ongoing priority issue and that safeguarding, and child protection requirements are being followed at all levels of the organisation.
- Be familiar with and work within inter-agency child protection procedures developed by the local child protection agencies.
- Be familiar with issues relating to child protection and abuse and keep up to date with new developments in this area.
- Attend regular training in issues relevant to child protection and share knowledge from that training with everyone who works or volunteers with or for children and young people Y.E.S.
- Attend team meetings, supervision sessions, case conferences and management meetings as arranged.
Appendix 3. What to do if there are concerns about a child / young person’s welfare and / or you suspect abuse
‘Working together to safeguard children’ outlines 4 separate categories of abuse, namely physical, emotional, and sexual and neglect. These categories often overlap, and an abused child regularly suffers more than a single type of abuse.
The ‘SET Safeguarding and Child Protection Procedures (2022)’ provides definitions of what child abuse is, significant harm, abuse and neglect and information to assist staff in the general recognition of circumstances where a child may be at risk of suffering abuse or neglect.
The following types of abuse or situations are explained further in the SET Safeguarding and Child Procedures, together with advice as to recognising symptoms and what to do:
- Child sexual exploitation
- Honour based abuse
- Female genital mutilation and male circumcision
- Forced marriage
- Child abuse linked to belief in spirit possession
- Children missing from care, home and school
Staff must understand the definitions of these categories and the information available to help identify potential abuse and neglect so that they can recognise and know how to act upon evidence that a child is suffering or is at risk of suffering harm.
All those who encounter children and families in their everyday work have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
All concerns and allegations or abuse will be taken seriously by trustees and staff and responded to appropriately.
Appendix 4. Steps to be taken where there are concerns for a child’s welfare
1. Where a member of staff has concerns that a child may have suffered, or is at risk of suffering significant harm, he/she must consult as a matter of priority the designated child protection officer Head of Counselling, or in their absence CEO and discuss matters with them.
2. If after this discussion there are still concerns for a child’s welfare, the designated child protection officer must consider whether it is necessary to make a referral to social care.
3. Staff are expected to discuss their concerns with the child as appropriate to their age, understanding and preference. This is especially important for disabled children and for children whose preferred language is not English. Discussions should also take place with their parents as part of considering
what action to take in relation to concerns about the child’s welfare, unless the child is in risk of immediate danger of being harmed by his/ her parents.
4. Staff are expected to speak with the child and listen carefully to clarify the issues in question, offer reassurance about how he/she will be kept safe, and explain what action will be taken. The need to protect children from significant harm means that staff should not guarantee a child absolute confidentiality. Please see the section below on Information Sharing and Confidentiality (see SET Safeguarding 3.2-3.3) for more information.
5. The member of staff member must remember that an allegation of child abuse or neglect may lead to a criminal investigation and therefore must take care and must not do anything that may jeopardise a police investigation. For example, asking a child leading questions or attempting to investigate the allegations of abuse. Staff are expected to have reached a considered judgement about the level of risk, need or vulnerability of the child or young person and ascertain his or her wishes and feelings as part of considering what action to take in relation to concerns about the child’s welfare. A decision should be made as to whether the concern is justified.
6. If possible, any referral should be made with the child’s and/ or his/her parent’s agreement unless the designated child protection officer considers such a discussion would place the child at an increased risk of significant harm. The child’s safety is paramount, any action taken by members of staff should ensure that no child is placed/ left in immediate danger. Always follow up oral communication to other professionals in writing and ensure your message is clear.
7. Staff must complete a Record of Concern, which must include full details of all discussions about the child, decisions made and the reason for those decisions. The child’s records must include an up-to-date chronology and details of lead workers in relevant agencies, if known.
Appendix 5. Making a referral
Y.E.S has a duty to make a referral to Social Care where there are signs that a child, (defined in The Children Act 1989 as being under the age of 18 years), is suffering or may have suffered harm and/ or is likely to suffer harm.
It is the designated Safeguarding Officer’s, (or CEO or Simin in their absence) responsibility to report any concerns to Social Care and/or the police and they shall do so in accordance with local arrangements in the area where the child is living.
- A referral should be made to Social Care by telephone immediately after an allegation has been made and confirmed in writing within 48 hours using the Request for Support form and e-mailed to Essexeffectivesupport.org.uk. Staff must ensure that all relevant information is shared when referrals are made and are advised to complete the referral form prior to doing so.
- Where there are immediate concerns for a child’s welfare staff are required to call the police immediately by dialling ‘999’. If staff know that a social worker is already involved with the child and/ or his/her family then staff must contact that person immediately. In the social worker’s absence staff should ask to speak with their team manager.
- Social Care should acknowledge all written referrals within 1 working day of receiving it. If however Social Care have not acknowledged the referral within 3 working days further contact with Social Care should be made.
- Staff must ensure that the referral information sheet is completed, signed and dated. When making a referral consent a decision not to seek parental permission before making a referral to social care must be recorded and the reasons given. Likewise, where a parent has agreed to a referral, this must also be recorded and confirmed when making the referral.
- All written records of referrals and concerns must be passed to the designated Child Protection Officer for placing on the office central file. These records are regarded as extremely sensitive and will therefore be kept in a locked cabinet/ drawer.
Appendix 6 Missing children / young person
Children and young people running away and going missing from care, home and education is a key safeguarding issue, and one which YES is likely to encounter.
Running away or going missing can be an indicator of underlying problems, such as:
- Problems at home and/or family conflict
- Abuse or neglect
- Issues at school
- Wanting to harm themselves
- Placement issues if Looked After by the Local Authority
- Pressure from friends or others
- Sexual exploitation or trafficking
- Wanting to buy and/or use alcohol or drugs
Children and young people who run away may be at risk of significant harm whilst away from home or their care placement. For example, they may be missing overnight or for several days, sleeping rough, and/or in contact with people who may pose a risk to them. Even when a child or young person is only missing for a short period, the risk could still be significant.
The Police will lead efforts to locate children and young people who are missing, working closely with other agencies.
Staff must therefore take the time to read through the relevant section of the SET Safeguarding and Child Procedures of this policy so that they understand the definitions, and for further information as to what to do in this situation.
Where staff become aware of a child or young person who has run away from home or is missing, the steps set out in the above sections entitled “What to do if you’re worried about a child/ young person’s welfare and/ or you suspect abuse” and “Making a referral” should be followed. As explained in “Making a referral”, you should speak to the designated Safeguarding Officer (or CEO of Simin in their absence), but where there are immediate concerns for a child’s or young person’s welfare staff are required to call the police immediately by dialling ‘999’.
If further advice is required, the Family Operations Hub can be called on 0345 603 7627.
Appendix 7 Recruitment
Y.E.S has a duty to provide a safe environment for the children and young people for whom we provide activities or services.
To fulfil this duty, we are committed to promoting safe practice, identifying instances in which there are grounds for concern, working together with all those involved for providing services for children and young people and preventing unsuitable adults from working for the charity and with children and young people. Y.E.S recognises that it must recruit its staff safely, ensuring all necessary check are made, to prevent the employment or engagement of unsuitable individuals.
The law states that it is an offence for an employer to permit a disqualified person from working in a ‘regulated position’ with children. A regulated position is a position which involves regular, close contact with children, or where the person concerned is in a position of trust in an organisation working with children and young people.
All staff and trustees are working in regulated positions. Therefore, the charity has a duty to undertake background checks (‘disclosure’) which involves confirming that the person concerned does not have a history of abusing or exploiting children or is unsuitable to work with them for other reasons.
The Disclosure and Barring Service provides two levels of background information, Standard or Enhanced Disclosure. Due to the nature of the services provided by the charity enhanced disclosure shall be obtained in all cases where disclosure is necessary.
Any offer of employment will be made conditional on the outcome of an appropriate disclosure. Disclosure shall only be sought after a prospective employee has been made a provisional offer of employment.
Staff should consult the ‘Recruitment’ policy for further guidance.