Child Safeguarding Policies
As the world gets more crowded the threats to children increase. Simply put, it is in everyone’s interest that today’s adults do whatever is necessary to create a safe environment for today’s kids. In the spirit of child safety, the UK requires organisations to devise rigorous Child Safeguarding Policies. A Child Safeguarding Policy or CSP, is a document that must be drawn up and adhered to without fail by every organisation that deals with children in any way. That includes schools, childcare facilities, hospitals, clinics or anyplace that is designed to cater to the needs of children. This post on Child Safeguarding Policies is all you need to know about this important child protection mechanism.
What is Safeguarding as it Pertains to Children?
The purpose of the Child Safeguarding Policy is to lay out in no uncertain terms what steps the organisation in question will take to promote and protect the welfare of children. There are no ifs, ands, or buts in a Child Safeguarding Policy. No loopholes that can be exploited by the ill-intentioned. It should state precisely what steps the organisation in question will take to prevent any type of harm from befalling children.
What is Included in a Typical Child Safeguarding Policy?
Any organisation that provides any type of service for children or that is likely to attract children to its premises needs to have a Child Safeguarding Policy. There may be slight variations in the wording from one CSP to the next but each should:
- Define the precise aims of the organisation and why the policy is necessary.
- Explain who is bound to adhere to the policy and who the policy is intended to protect.
- Outline what steps will be taken to safeguard children from danger, abuse or mistreatment.
- Outline what steps will be taken in the event a child’s well-being is threatened in any way.
- Explain how the organisation will address the specific needs of disabled children or children belonging to ethnic minority groups.
- Explain what legislation was used as guidance when formulating the policy.
- State what date the policy will become effective.
- State exactly when the policy will undergo its first review.
As you can see these guidelines have been drawn up to ensure no possibility of things slipping through the cracks. Once the CSP is enacted it must be adhered to without fail. Its efficacy must also be reviewed on a regular basis and if any amendments or revisions are made every member of the organisation must be appraised of those revisions or amendments. The CSP must also be displayed in plain view where any interested party can see it.
How Are Child Safeguarding Policies and DBS Checks Related?
There are some who harbour the impression that if an organisation has a CSP in place they do not need to subject potential staff members to DBS checks. This is not true. Any organisation that requires a CSP will also need to have an Enhanced DBS with Barred List check performed on each and every potential staff member as well as any volunteers and anyone the organisation may contract to work on the premises. This is not a suggestion. It is the law as stated in Section 11 of the Children Act of 2004.
The Child Safeguarding Policy is a complement of, not a substitute for, Enhanced DBS Checks. These checks are required by law for anyone whose job entails regulated activity. That is, activity that brings them into contact with children or vulnerable adults. The checks make sure no one in an organisation is barred from working with these groups.
Does My Organisation Require a Child Safeguarding Policy?
The safeguarding children policy rules apply to all organisations that provide services for, work with or otherwise come in contact with children as part of their normal operations. Obviously, that includes schools and childcare centres as well as hospitals and clinics. But if you own a toy shop or sell children’s clothing or other items intended specifically for children you will also require a Child Safeguarding Policy and DBS checks for all staff members, paid or unpaid.
These policies are designed to provide robust protection to everyone under the age of 18. There are no exceptions made for religious, racial or other reasons. In addition, these policies are not the sole concern of private sector organisations. Police, district councils and other local authorities must also abide by the CSP rules.
The Child Safeguarding Policy has evolved over time into an effective mechanism for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children when outside the home. Together with DBS checks, they ensure no one ends up working with children who should not and that there are well-understood protocols in place should a child’s well-being come into question. If you have any questions regarding an online DBS check or Child Safeguarding Policies call The Check People today.