A Guide To Child Safeguarding Policy In The UK
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable.”
Protecting the vulnerable and the innocent is definitely a marker of a civilised society.
Everyone would agree that protecting children from harm at the hands of predatory or ill-intentioned people should be a top priority for governments, police, organisations, families, and individuals.
That’s why most countries now have child protection or child safeguarding legislation and policies in place, to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.
What Is A Child Safeguarding Policy?
In the United Kingdom, there is rigorous legislation in place to make sure that all organisations and businesses that deal with children have an up-to-date Child Safeguarding Policy (CSP) document outlining their commitment to protecting children from harm. The types of organisations or establishments that need a CSP in place are school, hospitals, clinics, childcare facilities, etc.
The purpose of the CSP is to set out exactly how the organisation or business will monitor the treatment of children in their care and what steps are being taken to ensure children’s safety and wellbeing. The CSP document should be very clear as to what the steps are, who is responsible for what, and how to go about ensuring the welfare of children.
What Is Usually Contained Within A Child Safeguarding Policy?
A CSP is required for any business or organisation that provides services to children or a location where there is likely to be children present.
Although each Child Safeguarding Policy is unique to that business or organisation, there are some things that are typically included. Here is a list of the most common things included in a CSP:
- Definition of the goals and aims of the organisation regarding child safeguarding
- An explanation of why the policy is needed
- Definition of who the policy is intended to protect and who it applies to
- An outline of the procedure in place to protect children from harm, danger, and abuse
- An outline of the steps that should be taken if a child is in danger or being harmed.
- Statement to define how the organisation will protect disabled and disadvantaged children, including those belonging to minority ethnic groups
- Reference to the rules and regulations used to create the policy
- Define the date upon which the policy becomes active
- Define the date upon which the policy will next be reviewed
If all of the above details are included in a CSP, then it is a thorough document that should cover every eventuality and meet with the requirements of UK legislation.
Once the CSP is established and active, the guidelines set out within it must be followed in all circumstances. Regular reviews should be scheduled to make sure that the CSP is still fit for purpose and that people within the organisation are following it. During the review recommendations can be made to amend or improve the CSP and an updated version can be issued.
The CSP must be available to everybody within the organisation and business and stored in an easily accessible place.
How DBS Checks Play A Vital Role In Child Safeguarding
The CSP document usually contains guidance on background checks for staff. Most organisations that have a CSP in place will request that all relevant staff are subject to a DBS check to make sure that there has been no criminal behaviour related to children in their past.
Any member of staff or volunteer that is in regular, unsupervised contact with children will need to apply for an Enhanced DBS with Barred List check. Any role that is classified as a “regulated activity” by the DBS will require this level of check, as required by law in Section 11 of the Children Act of 2004.
The Enhanced DBS Check with Barred List will search an individual’s criminal record, highlighting any spent or unspent convictions, warnings, cautions, and reprimands, as well as any relevant police notes and a check against the DBS barred list.
Which Organisations Need A Child Safeguarding Policy In Place?
Any organisation that works with, teaches, coaches, or provides services for children (under the age of 18) need to write up and stick to a CSP.
Even if your business doesn’t mean you’re in regular contact with children, you’ll still need a CSP for times when you are.
All organisations need a CSP if they fall into the above categories, regardless of religion, racial background, or cultural differences. Both private and public sector organisations need a CSP, as long as they work with children, or come into contact with children as part of their everyday operations.
In July 2018, the UK government issued a guidance booklet entitled “Working Together to Safeguard Children” with the aim of encouraging cooperation between various organisations and bodies that deal with child safeguarding and welfare.
The guidance makes it clear that the responsibility for child safeguarding does not rest solely with the immediate care provider or service, but with multiple agencies and organisations. The document identifies assessment and monitoring, as well as information sharing between relevant parties, as fundamental to the provision of effective child safeguarding.
The guidance also states that a joined up child protection plan should be in place that is agreed between the various agencies and organisations involved in the care of children, including schools, healthcare providers, police, social workers, housing services, probation officers, youth offending teams, voluntary organisations, etc.
Find Out More About CSPs And DBS Checks
Having a Child Safeguarding Policy (CSP) document in place is essential for any business or organisation that involves working with children, whether it is directly or incidentally.
DBS checks are an important part of child safeguarding and need to be included in the document. If you want to find out more about DBS checks or ask any questions related to child safeguarding, please get in touch with one of our experts today.