Key Commitment 2

The Alliance is committed to responding promptly and appropriately to all incidents or concerns of abuse that may occur and to work with statutory agencies in accordance with the procedures that are set down in 'What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused' (HMG 2006).

Responding to Suspicions of Abuse

  1. We acknowledge that abuse of children can take different forms - physical, emotional, and sexual, as well as neglect.
  2. When children are suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or may be experiencing neglect, this may be demonstrated through the things they say (direct or indirect disclosure) or through changes in their appearance, their behaviour, or their play.
  3. Where such evidence is apparent, the child's key person makes a dated record of the details of the concern and discusses what to do with the setting leader or manager who is acting as the 'designated person'. The information is stored on the child's personal file.
  4. We refer concerns to the local authority children’s social care department and co-operate fully in any subsequent investigation.
    NB In some cases this may mean the police or another agency identified by the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board.
  5. We take care not to influence the outcome either through the way we speak to children or by asking questions of children.
  6. We use the detailed procedures and reporting format contained in the Pre-school Learning Alliance’s publication ‘Child Protection Record for use in Early Years Settings’ when making a referral to children’s social care or other appropriate agencies.

Recording Suspicions of Abuse and Disclosures

  1. Where a child makes comments  to a member of staff that gives cause for concern (disclosure), observes signs or signals that gives cause for concern, such as significant changes in behaviour; deterioration in general well-being; unexplained bruising, marks or signs of possible abuse or neglect that member of staff:
  2. listens to the child, offers reassurance and gives assurance that she or he will take action;
  3. does not question the child;
  4. makes a written record that forms an objective record of the observation or disclosure that includes:
  5. the date and time of the observation or the disclosure;
  6. the exact words spoken by the child as far as possible;
  7. the name of the person to whom the concern was reported, with date and time; and
  8. the names of any other person present at the time.
  9. These records are signed and dated and kept in the child's personal file which is kept securely and confidentially.

Making a Referral to the Local Authority Social Care Team

  1. The Pre-school Learning Alliance's publication 'Child Protection Record’ contains detailed procedures for making a referral to the local social care team, as well as a template form for recording concerns and making a referral. This is based on ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ (HMG 2006).
  2. We keep a copy of this document and follow the detailed guidelines given.
  3. All members of staff are familiar with the Alliance’s Child Protection Record and follow the procedures for recording and reporting.

Informing Parents

  1. Parents are normally the first point of contact.
  2. If a suspicion of abuse is recorded, parents are informed at the same time as the report is made, except where the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board does not allow this.
  3. This will usually be the case where the parent is the likely abuser. In these cases the investigating officers will inform parents.

Liaison with Other Agencies

  1. We work within the Local Safeguarding Children Board guidelines.
  2. We have a copy of 'What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused' for parents and staff and all staff are familiar with what to do if they have concerns.
  3. We have procedures for contacting the local authority on child protection issues, including maintaining a list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of social workers, to ensure that it is easy, in any emergency, for the setting and social services to work well together.
  4. We notify the registration authority (Ofsted) of any incident or accident and any changes in our arrangements which may affect the well being of children.
  5. Contact details for the local National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) are also kept.
  6. If a referral is to be made to the local authority social care department, we act within the area’s Safeguarding Children and Child Protection guidance in deciding whether we must inform the child's parents at the same time.

Allegations Against Staff

  1. We ensure that all parents know how to complain about the behaviour or actions of staff or volunteers within the setting, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the setting, which may include an allegation of abuse.
  2. We follow the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Children Board when responding to any complaint that a member of staff, or volunteer within the setting, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the setting, has abused a child.
  3. We respond to any disclosure by children or staff that abuse by a member of staff or volunteer within the setting, or anyone living or working on the premises occupied by the setting, may have taken, or is taking place, by first recording the details of any such alleged incident.
  4. We refer any such complaint immediately to the local authority's social care department to investigate. We also report any such alleged incident to Ofsted and what measures we have taken. We are aware that it is an offence not to do this.
  5. We co-operate entirely with any investigation carried out by children’s social care in conjunction with the police.
  6. Where the management committee and children’s social care agree it is appropriate in the circumstances, the chairperson will suspend the member of staff on full pay, or the volunteer, for the duration of the investigation. This is not an indication of admission that the alleged incident has taken place, but is to protect the staff as well as children and families throughout the process.

Disciplinary Action

Where a member of staff or a volunteer is dismissed from the setting because of misconduct relating to a child, we notify the Independent Barring Board administrators so that the name may be included on the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults Barred List.

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