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Belfast City Council Child Protection Policy

and Procedures for Staff

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 1

Appendices

Appendix 1 Recruitment and Selection Guidelines on

the employment of staff who have

substantial access to children .................................................................... 6

Appendix 2 Code of Behaviour on Child Protection

for Council Staff .............................................................................................. 7

Appendix 3 Indicators and Effects of Abuse ................................................................ 8

Appendix 4 Duties of Designated Officer and

Key Worker for Child Abuse .............................................................. 9-10

Appendix 5 Training for Staff in Child Protection ................................................ 11

Appendix 6 Procedures for dealing with allegations

of child abuse against a member of staff ............................................ 12

Appendix 6.1 Flowchart to take if have concerns

regarding a member of staff .................................................................. 13

Appendix 7 Procedures for dealing with disclosure

of abuse or where a member of staff

suspects or is aware of a case of child abuse. .................................... 14

Appendix 7.1 Flowchart on steps to take if suspect Child Abuse ...................... 15

Appendix 8 Immediate procedures to be taken if

suspected abuse is observed taking

place within the work place .................................................................. 16

Appendix 9 Report Forms .......................................................................................... 17-26

Appendix 10 Guidance on how to deal with disclosure of abuse ...................... 27

Terms of Rererence ................................................................................................................................... 2

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................. 2

Background................................................................................................................................................... 2

Aims of the Policy..................................................................................................................................... 2

Policy Statement ....................................................................................................................................... 2

Definitions of Abuse ............................................................................................................................... 2

Designated Officer And Key Worker ................................................................................................ 3

Training in Child Protection ................................................................................................................ 3

Procedure for Dealing With Complaints of Child Abuse........................................................ 3

contents

APRIL 2003

2 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

1. TERMS OF REFERENCE

1.1 This policy is applicable to staff and

volunteers working with

children/young people aged 16 years

and below.

1.2 Coaches/hirers will be expected to

comply with legislation when

working with children/young

people. For further information,

please refer to the separate Council

guidelines for coaches/hirers.

2. INTRODUCTION

2.1 Belfast City Council is committed

to a delivery of service that

promotes good practice and protects

children from harm.

2.2 Members and staff within the

Council accept and recognise the

Council’s responsibilities to develop

awareness of the issues that may

cause children harm.

2.3 The Council will seek to protect the

safety of children and provide a safe

environment by, employing people

who are suitable for working with

children or to have contact with

children and by vetting the

background of persons who are

recommended for appointment to

posts (in either a paid or a voluntary

capacity), which have substantial

access to children.

See Appendix 1 for Recruitment

and Selection guidelines on the

employment of staff who have

substantial access to children.

2.4 The Council will ensure that

suitable and appropriate training is

provided to all staff, including

volunteers, to raise awareness of

their role in recognising child abuse,

including familiarity with the

Council’s Child Protection policy.

3. BACKGROUND

3.1 The Children (NI) Order

1995,came into force in Northern

Ireland on 4 November 1996 and it

deals with the care, upbringing and

protection of children. It reforms,

consolidates and harmonises most of

the public and private law relating

to children, in a single coherent

statutory framework.

3.2 One of the key principles in the

child care law is Protection. The

principle is that children should be

safe and should be protected by

intervention if they are in danger.

3.3 Under this legislation there are

requirements which set essential

standards, which the Council will

endeavour to follow by way of good

practice.

3.4 Having regard to the above and in

order to deal effectively with the

issue of child abuse, a clear

statement of Council policy and

clear procedures are considered

essential in order to communicate

the Council’s position and to assist

management in dealing with

incidents of this nature.

4. AIMS OF THE POLICY

4.1 To demonstrate the Council’s

commitment to providing and

maintaining a service that protects

children from harm, as well as

protecting the organisation and our

workers from potential allegations.

4.2 To ensure that the Council’s staff

and volunteers are carefully selected,

trained and supervised and are

familiar with the Council’s Child

Protection Policy.

5. POLICY STATEMENT ON

CHILD PROTECTION

5.1 Belfast City Council confirms its

commitment to making sure that

children are protected and kept safe

from harm while they are being

supervised by staff and volunteers

from this organisation. To this end

the Council will endeavour to

safeguard children by:-

• adopting child protection

guidelines through a code

of behaviour for staff.

(see Appendix 3 for guidelines)

• sharing information about child

protection and good practice.

• sharing information about

concerns with agencies who need

to know and involving parents,

carers and children appropriately.

• providing effective management

for staff through supervision,

support and training.

• taking appropriate action to

respond to issues of child

protection which occur on the

Council’s premises or involve its

workforce.

• nominating a Designated Officer

and Key Worker(s) to co-ordinate

the Child Protection Policy. The

Key Workers will be located in

Sections where staff are in contact

with children on a daily basis.

6. DEFINITIONS OF ABUSE

6.1 There are several different categories

of abuse officially defined in

government guidance and these are

central to the statutory child

protection system.

6.2 All staff and volunteers should be

aware that essentially, “child abuse”

occurs when the behaviour of

someone in a position of greater

power than a child causes harm.

See Appendix 4 for Indicators and

Effects of Abuse.

6.3 The common denominator of all

forms of child abuse is that it makes

children feel bad and worthless.

Because children can be abused in a

number of ways the harm caused

cannot always be easily categorised.

The Children (NI) Order 1995

defines 4 categories of abuse:

Neglect - the actual or likely

persistent or significant neglect of a

child, or the failure to protect a

child from exposure to any kind of

danger, including cold and

starvation.

Physical - actual or likely deliberate

physical injury to a child, or wilful

or neglectful failure to prevent

physical injury or suffering to a

child.

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 3

Sexual - actual or likely sexual

exploitation of a child. The

involvement of children and

adolescents in sexual activities they

do not truly comprehend.

Emotional - actual or likely

persistent or significant emotional

ill-treatment or rejection, resulting

in severe adverse effects on the

emotional, physical and/or

behavioural development of a child.

Bullying - Although bullying has

not been defined as abuse within

the Children (NI) Order 1995, a

child who is bullied may be suffering

any type of abuse as defined. It

may take many forms but the main

types are; physical (eg hitting,

kicking, theft); verbal (eg

sectarian/racist remarks, name

calling); indirect (eg spreading

rumours)

6.4 It is not always easy to recognise a

situation where abuse may occur or

where it has already taken place.

It is unlikely that staff will be

experts and it should be stressed

that in accordance with the

Children (N.I.) Order 1995, the

Health and Social Services have a

statutory duty to ensure the welfare

of a child.

7. DESIGNATED OFFICER

AND KEY WORKER

7.1 The Council has nominated a Child

Protection Designated Officer and

Key Worker(s) who have been

specially trained in the area of Child

Protection and are acutely

committed to the principle of

confidentiality. (See Appendix 4 for

Duties of Designated Officer and

Key Worker).

8. TRAINING IN CHILD

PROTECTION

8.1 All staff to which this policy

relates will receive awareness

training in child protection,

including familiarity with the

Council’s Child Protection Policy.

This is to include all volunteers,

paid staff, line managers/supervisors

and policy makers.

8.2 Training provided will be at four

different levels:- customer care,

basic, intermediate and full course.

The content, duration and who

should attend will vary for each

level. Further details of which are

provided at Appendix 5.

8.3 Voluntary groups who work with

children and obtain grant aid

through the Council are required

to have a Child Protection Policy

within their organisation as a

condition of their grant aid.

9. PROCEDURE FOR DEALING

WITH COMPLAINTS OF

CHILD ABUSE

9.1 There are two elements under this

section, those where allegations of

child abuse have been made against

staff and those where staff suspect a

case of child abuse.

9.2 Where staff suspect a case of child

abuse, they must recognise that

they have a legal responsibility to

report this through Council

procedures.

9.3 Confidentiality and sensitivity to

the needs of the child must be

paramount in all situations.

Information must not be passed to

another person other than those

outlined within the Council

procedures.

9.4 Appendix 6 deals with Procedures

relating to allegations made against

staff. (A flow chart illustrating the

reporting processes is contained in

Appendix 6.1.)

9.5 Appendix 7 deals with guidance

on disclosure of abuse or where a

member of staff is aware of or

suspects a case of child abuse.

(A flow chart illustrating the

reporting processes is contained

in Appendix 7.1.)

9.6 Appendix 8 deals with guidance

where a member of staff observes

suspected abuse may be taking

place within the workplace.

4 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 5

appendices

6 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION GUIDELINES ON THE EMPLOYMENT

OF STAFF WHO HAVE SUBSTANTIAL ACCESS TO CHILDREN.

1.6 It is for the recruitment panel to decide as to the

candidate’s suitability for working with children taking

into account only those offences which may be relevant to

the post.

2. AGENCY STAFF

2.1 The Council ensures that any Employment Agency

supplying temporary staff to cover posts with substantial

access to children is required to carry out the necessary

Police and PECS checks on the Council’s behalf to ensure

the suitability of the Agency Staff for working with

children.

3. VOLUNTEERS

3.1 Where individuals volunteer to work in an unpaid capacity

in Council premises eg Community Centres, Leisure

Centres, Parks, Playcentres and where there is substantial

access to children the host Department is responsible for

ensuring that the appropriate consent is obtained from the

volunteers, and the necessary Police and PECS checks are

undertaken.

3.2 Where there are serious concerns regarding a volunteers

behaviour or enquiries pending, the Council reserves the

right to consider the volunteer to be unsuitable to work

with children. In all circumstances, the Council will err on

the side of safety to ensure that the child’s welfare is

paramount.

1 appendix

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Arrangements are in place for Departments to notify the

Human Resources Section of those posts which have

substantial access to children under 16 years and

vulnerable adults as identified in accordance with Section

7 and Appendix 6 of ‘Making the Right Choice’ - A Guide

to using the Pre-Employment Consultancy Service’, issued

by the Department of Health and Social Services.

1.2 The recruitment of all posts in the Council is centralised

in the Human Resources Section which administers

recruitment exercises on a Department’s behalf.

1.3 Applicants for posts with substantial access to children -

whether permanent, temporary (for more than 10 days),

full-time or part-time, are required to complete a special

application form which

• draws attention to the Rehabilitation of Offenders

(Exceptions) (Amendments) Order (NI) 1979 as

amended by the Rehabilitation of Offenders (NI) 1987

which provides that convictions that are spent under the

Terms of the Rehabilitation of Offenders (NI) Order

1978 must be disclosed if the individual will be working

with children or young people, and which allows

employers to take spent convictions into account in

deciding whether to engage the applicant.

• asks applicants to list on the application form any

convictions, cautions or bind overs.

• asks for the applicant’s written consent for checks to be

carried out by Police as to the existence and content of a

criminal record and by the DHSS Pre-Employment

Consultancy Service (PECS) as to the suitability of an

individual to work with children.

• points out that refusal to grant consent for such checks

shall be sufficient grounds to prevent further

consideration of the application.

1.4 On completion of the interviews checks are requested after

applicants have been recommended for appointment but

before they are appointed to the post.

1.5 Checks are requested from the Police and PECS by a

designated officer in Human Resources who is authorised

to request and receive such information, and any results

are returned to them for forwarding to the panel. The

information provided by the Police and PECS is

confidential.

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 7

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Belfast City Council recognises that it is not practical to

provide definitive instructions that would apply to all

situations at all times whereby staff come into contact with

children and to guarantee the protection of children and

staff.

1.2 However, below are the standards of behaviour required of

staff in order to fulfil their roles within the Council. This

code should assist in the protection of both children and

members of staff.

1.3 These guidelines apply to volunteers who work in an

unpaid capacity in Council premises.

1.4 Staff must:

• implement the Child Protection Policy and Procedures

at all times

1.4 Staff must never:

• engage in rough, physical games including horseplay

with children.

• allow or engage in inappropriate touching of any kind.

The main principles of touch are:

touch should always be in response to the child’s need

touch should always be appropriate to the age and

stage of development of the child.

touch should always be with a child’s permission

• do things of a personal nature for children that they can

do for themselves or that their parent can do for them.

• Physically restrain a child/young person unless the

restraint is to:-

prevent physical injury of the child/other

children/visitors or staff/yourself

In all circumstances physical restraint must be

appropriate and reasonable, otherwise the action

can be defined as assault.

• make sexually suggestive comments to or within earshot

of a child

1.5 Staff must not:

• have children/young people on their own in a vehicle.

Where circumstances require the transportation of

children/young people in their vehicle, another

• member of staff/volunteer must travel in the vehicle.

Also it is essential that there is adequate insurance for

the vehicle to cover transporting children/young people

as part of the business of your work

• in extreme emergencies (for medical purposes) where it

is required to transport a child/young person on their

own, it is essential that another leader and the parent is

notified immediately

• take a child to the toilet unless another adult is present

or has been made aware (this may include a parent,

group leader)

• spend time alone with a child on his/her own. If you

find you are in a situation where you are alone with a

child, make sure that you can be clearly observed by

others.

1.6 Implications for staff

Staff who breach any of the above may be subject to the

disciplinary procedure.

If an allegation against a member of staff has occurred then

an investigation will be carried out in accordance with the

procedure for dealing with allegations against staff (See

Appendix 6). The investigating officer will be required to

liaise with the Designated Officer for Child Protection to

clarify if she/he has any relevant records or any other child

protection information in relation to the individual.

1.7 Further Information

Should any member of staff require further information,

the Community and Leisure Services Section have

produced a Playwork Code of Practice. This document

details appropriate codes of behaviour and good practice

guidelines. Copies are available from the Play

Development Officer on extension 3524.

CODE OF BEHAVIOUR ON CHILD PROTECTION FOR COUNCIL STAFF 2 appendix

8 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Even for those experienced in working with child abuse, it

is not always easy to recognise a situation where abuse may

occur or has already taken place. It is unlikely that staff

will be experts and it should be stressed that in accordance

with the Children (NI) Order 1995, the Health and Social

Services have a statutory duty to ensure the welfare of

a child.

1.2 The onus on Belfast City Council is to provide a safe

environment by:

• employing people who are suitable for working with or

to have contact with children

• having effective and clear procedures for reporting any

suspicions through their own structures to the relevant

Health and Social Services Board.

• only allowing hirers to use Council facilities who have

signed conditions of hire agreeing to adhere to the

Council’s Child Protection Policy.

2. INDICATIONS THAT A CHILD MAY

BE ABUSED INCLUDE:

• unexplained or suspicious injuries such as bruising, cuts

or burns, particularly if situated on part of the body not

normally prone to such injuries;

• an injury for which the explanation seems inconsistent;

• the child describes what appears to be an abusive act

involving him/her;

• someone else - a child or adult, expresses concern about

the welfare of another child;

• unexplained changes in behaviour over time e.g.

becoming very quiet, withdrawn or displaying sudden

outbursts of temper;

• inappropriate sexual awareness;

• engagement in sexually explicit behaviour in games;

• distrust of adults, particularly those with whom a close

relationship will normally be expected;

• difficulty in making friends;

• prevented from socialising with other children;

• displays variations in eating patterns including

overeating or loss of appetite;

• loss of weight for no apparent reason

• increasingly dirty or unkempt appearance.

This list is not exhaustive and the presence of one or

more of the indicators is not proof that abuse is

actually taking place. It is stressed, however, that it is

not the responsibility of members of staff to prove

that abuse is taking place but is their responsibility to

act upon any concerns, by reporting these to the Key

Worker or Designated Officer.

3. EFFECTS OF ABUSE

3.1 Abused children can suffer changes in normal behaviour

and can suffer long term damage that may follow them

into later life.

3.2 The main effects of abuse on children are as follows:

• Pain and distress.

• Behavioural difficulties, like becoming angry and

aggressive.

• School related problems.

• Developmental delay - physically, emotionally and

mentally.

• Low self esteem.

• Depression, self-harm - sometimes leading to suicide.

• Difficulty in forming relationships as adults.

• Sometimes, if untreated, abusive relationships with own

(or other) children.

• Permanent or temporary injury.

• Children may die.

3.3 Factors that might increase the likelihood of risk:

• Young children who might have difficulty telling others.

• Disabled children who might have difficulty

communicating or accessing people to tell.

• Children who are already experiencing some form of

discrimination (e.g. racial harassment) as they are more

isolated from other adults / children. They may also

perceive the abuse as a part of the ongoing

discrimination.

• Poor relationship between children and parents/carers.

• High levels of stress.

• History of violence in the family.

3.4 The damage inflicted by bullying can be frequently

underestimated . It can cause considerable distress to

children to the extent that it affects their health and

development or, at the extreme, causes them significant

harm. In these circumstances bullying should be

considered as child abuse and treated as such.

INDICATORS AND EFFECTS OF ABUSE 3 appendix

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 9

The Council will appoint a Designated Officer who will have

overall responsibility in referring incidents to Social Services.

Key Workers will be appointed in those Sections that have most

contact with children. These will act as the first point of

contact and support. They will also assist with gathering the

relevant information from the staff concerned regarding

incidents of alleged abuse. The Key Workers will be

instrumental in the decision to refer the alleged incident to

Social Services. Once a decision has been made, the

information will be passed to the Designated Officer for referral.

In the absence of the Designated Officer, the Key Worker will

pass the information directly to Social Services.

Copies of all reports of incidents will be passed to the

Designated Officer.

DUTIES OF DESIGNATED OFFICER FOR

CHILD PROTECTION

1. To record a disclosure of abuse made by a child to a

member of the Council’s staff. The alleged abuse could

involve either an external person or Council Staff.

2. To record Council staff’s suspicions of a child being

abused.

3. In 1 or 2 above, to seek advice from the relevant agencies

and report, if appropriate. If the disclosure/suspicions

relate to Council Staff, to advise and liaise with the

relevant Head of Service, if appropriate.

If a member of Council staff has concerns about a colleague

not fulfilling the Councils Policy and Procedures on Child

Protection, such concerns are to be taken to the relevant Line

Manager in the first instance. As the matter is examined by

the Line Manager, she/he may need to involve the Designated

Officer/Key Worker, if it becomes apparent there is a Child

Protection issue.

Where the incident relates to a Line Manager not fulfilling the

Councils Policy and Procedures on Child Protection, such

concerns are to be taken to the next relevant Line Manager in

the first instance.

Possible involvement of a member of Council staff must also be

notified to the Head of Service and to the Head of Human

Resources.

4. To record all action taken and where appropriate, advise

the relevant line management. Detail of information

provided will be based on the ‘need to know’ principle.

5. To ensure that if the Designated Officer is not onsite that a

list of Key Worker contacts has been made available.

6. To ensure all written records in relation to Child

Protection issues are securely and confidentially filed.

7. To establish contact with Child Protection Teams within

the relevant Health and Social Services Trust if:-

a) allegations of child abuse have been made against a

member of staff or,

b) a member of staff has been made aware of alleged

child abuse by an external person

8. To liaise with the Key Worker(s) to ensure the ongoing

implementation and review of the Council’s Child

Protection Policy and Procedures.

9. To liaise with the Key Workers through the Key Worker

network.

10. To fulfil any other relevant duties which may become

apparent as the role of Designated Officer develops.

DUTIES OF KEY WORKER FOR

CHILD PROTECTION

1. To act as the first point of contact and support.

2. To record a disclosure of alleged abuse made by a child to

a member of the Council’s staff. The alleged abuse could

involve either an external person or Council Staff.

3. To record Council staff’s suspicions of a child allegedly

being abused.

4. To discuss future action with the member of staff who

made the report. Where appropriate, another member of

staff may be included where he/she has observed possible

signs of abuse or heard a child disclosing details of

potential abuse.

5. To record all action taken and advise the Designated

Officer within 24 hours. Where the Designated Officer is

unavailable and a decision has been made to refer the

incident to Social Services, the Key Worker must seek

advice from the relevant agencies and report directly to

Social Services.

ROLE OF DESIGNATED OFFICER AND KEY WORKER 4 appendix

10 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

If the disclosure/suspicions relate to Council Staff, to

advise and liaise with the relevant Head of Service, if

appropriate.

The possible involvement of a member of Council staff

must also be notified to the Head of Human Resources.

6. To record all action taken and advise the relevant line

management, where appropriate. Detail of information

provided will be based on the ‘need to know’ principle

7. To ensure that if not onsite that a list of Key Worker

contacts has been made available.

8. To ensure all written records in relation to Child

Protection issues are securely and confidentially filed.

9. In the absence of the Designated Officer, to establish

contact with Child Protection Teams within the relevant

Health and Social Services Trust if:-

a) allegations of child abuse have been made against a

member of staff or,

b) a member of staff has been made aware of alleged

child abuse by an external person

10. To keep up to date with relevant Child Protection

legislation, good practice and developments.

11. To liaise with the Designated Officer to ensure the

ongoing implementation and review of the Council’s Child

Protection Policy and Procedures.

12. To deliver training, as appropriate, within the section and

throughout the Council.

13. To fulfil any other relevant duties which may become

apparent as the role of Key Worker develops.

KEY WORKER NETWORK

A Key Worker network will be established to meet a minimum

of three times per year. The function of this Network will be to:

• To liaise with the Designated Officer to ensure the ongoing

implementation and review of the Council’s Child Protection

Policy and Procedures.

• To keep up to date with relevant Child Protection legislation,

good practice and developments.

• To liaise with other Key Workers.

• To review and monitor ongoing training in child protection

awareness.

The Key Worker network will be facilitated by the Play

Development Officer (who will also be a Key Worker).

The role of the Play Development Officer will be to:

• To assist in identifying appropriate training programmes in

conjunction with other key workers and trainers in the

Council and in other relevant agencies.

• Co-ordinate regular meetings.

• Arrange information updates, including speakers to attend

the network meetings.

ROLE OF DESIGNATED OFFICER AND KEY WORKER 4 appendix

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 11

1. The aim of training is to increase the awareness and

explore issues around the protection of children, staff and

Belfast City Council.

2. All staff within the Council who have contact with

children will receive one of the four identified levels of

training.

3. The co-ordination of training and identification of staff to

attend training will be the responsibility of Heads of

Section and Unit Mangers.

4. Training will be provided by the team of accredited child

protection trainers.

5. The content of the training will be regularly reviewed by

the team of accredited trainers and other appropriate

Council Officers.

6. The training will be provided on four different levels

as follows:-

CUSTOMER CARE

For staff who have general contact with the public, an

additional element to the Customer Care Course will be

provided on Codes of Behaviour and familiarisation with the

Council’s Child Protection Policy.

BASIC LEVEL COURSE

Duration: 2/2.5 hours

Who for: Any staff who have regular contact with

children

Content: Awareness of Child Protection issues:

• What is abuse?

• Who abuses?

Signs and Symptoms

Dealing with Disclosure

Code of Behaviour:

• Why a code of behaviour

• Protecting children and workers

• The use of a code of behaviour

Belfast City Council’s Policy and Reporting

procedures

INTERMEDIATE LEVEL COURSE

Duration: 4 hours

Who for: staff who directly work with children and will

potentially be in a position of unsupervised

access

Content: Awareness of Child Protection issues including:

• What is abuse?

• Who abuses?

Signs and Symptoms

Dealing with Disclosure

Code of Behaviour:

• Why a code of behaviour

• Protecting children and workers

• The use of a code of behaviour

Awareness of issues around:

• working with children from ethnic

backgrounds or with disabilities

• dealing with bullying

Belfast City Council’s Policy and

Reporting procedures

FULL LEVEL COURSE

Duration: 6 hours in total - 2 x 3 hour sessions

Who for: Staff who directly work with children and will

potentially be in a position of unsupervised

access. Staff who will be involved in the

selection and recruitment of non-Council staff

and/ or volunteers

Content: Awareness of Child Protection issues:

• What is abuse?

• Who abuses?

• Signs and Symptoms

• Dealing with Disclosure

Recruitment and Selection of Staff and

Volunteers

Supervision, Support and Training

Code of Behaviour:

• Why a code of behaviour

• Protecting children and workers

• The use of a code of behaviour

Awareness of issues around:

• working with children from ethnic

backgrounds or with disabilities

• dealing with bullying

• residential issues

Policy and procedures:

• Belfast City Council’s Policy

• Reporting procedures

• Development of a Policy

• Dealing with concerns

TRAINING FOR STAFF IN CHILD PROTECTION 5 appendix

12 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Allegations of child abuse can potentially be made about

any member of staff (especially those in contact with the

public and especially children).

1.2 Child abuse does occur outside the family setting and

although a very sensitive and difficult issue, child abuse

has occurred within institutions.

1.3 It is critical that all relevant staff are aware of such issues

and how to deal with any allegations appropriately.

1.4 In all circumstances an allegation should be reported to

the relevant line manager and Key Worker. If however,

the allegation involves the line manager a report should be

made to the next level of management.

The Line Manager will inform the Head of Service and

the Head of Human Resources.

The Key Worker will inform the Designated Officer.

2. INVESTIGATION

2.1 As a result of any allegation being received the matter will

immediately be the subject of a preliminary investigation.

2.2 Following a preliminary investigation consideration will be

given to:-

(i) whether or not the employee/s should be suspended

from work while a full investigation is carried out.

(ii) whether or not there is a need to carry out a full

investigation into the allegation/s.

(iii) whether or not the police should be informed.

(iv) whether or not the Department of Health and Social

Services should be informed.

2.3 Should there be no innocent explanation in respect of the

allegation/s, and these constitute possible act/s of gross

misconduct the employee/s will be suspended from work

on full pay.

2.4 The relevant Head of Service will appoint two

independent investigating officers who will carry out a full,

formal investigation in respect of the allegation/s. The

investigating officers will report to the Head of Service on

completion of the investigation, as to whether or not the

allegation/s have been substantiated.

3. DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE

3.1 On the basis of the investigating report, and, in

accordance with the Council’s disciplinary procedure,

disciplinary action may take place, which may include

dismissal.

3.2 In addition to the Council’s disciplinary investigation the

police may be informed of the allegation/s pertaining to

the employee/s concerned immediately following the

alleged incident taking place.

3.3 Should a police investigation, or a social services

investigation take place the Council will seek information

from these parties. This information may well influence

the disciplinary investigation and decision, but the

Council will not necessarily wait for the completion of

such investigations and will not necessarily be influenced

by them as the Council will examine the impact of the

allegations on the employment relationship of the

employee/s concerned.

3.4 Where staff are disciplined or dismissed as a result of

inappropriate behaviour in regard to children or vulnerable

adults, information will be passed on to the Department of

Health and Social Services by the Head of Human

Resources.

PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD

ABUSE AGAINST A MEMBER OF STAFF 6 appendix

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 13

ONCE INFORMED THE LINE MANAGER MUST TAKE ALL NECESSARY

MEASURES TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THE CHILD AND OTHER CHILDREN.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION - PLEASE REFER TO APPENDIX 6.

CONCERNS REGARDING A MEMBER OF STAFF

6.1 appendix

Refer concerns to Line Manager

and Key Worker

Relevant supervision

and training provided. Is abuse involved?

ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT

INAPPROPPRIATE BEHAVIOUR

BY A MEMBER OF STAFF

Report concerns to Head

of Service and

Designated Officer.

Designated Officer to inform

Social Services

Social Services to advise

regarding contact with

parents and police

Designated Officer to

inform Social Services

Social Services to

advise regarding contact

with parents and police

Report concerns to

Head of Service and

Designated Officer.

If incidence relates to Line

Manager Report concerns to

next level of management

and Key Worker.

Report concerns to Head of

Service and Designated

Officer.

Designated Officer informs

Social Services.

Social Services to advise

regarding contact with

parents and police.

YES

Is it poor practice? Is it abuse?

YES

14 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Anyone who suspects that a child has or is being harmed

or is at risk of harm has a duty to record the suspected

incident and to convey this concern immediately to a Key

Worker/Designated Officer within the Council.

1.2 Line Managers will be informed that an alleged incident

has taken place. For reasons of confidentiality, the level of

information passed to the Line Manager will depend on

his/her direct involvement in the workplace and will be at

the discretion of the Designated Officer/Key Worker.

1.3 It is essential that suspicions are reported to a Key Worker.

The consequences of failing to report an allegation or

suspicion should far outweigh the risk of being wrong. It is

essential that the welfare of the child must always be the

first priority.

1.4 There is a legal responsibility to report the allegation or

suspicion as withholding evidence regarding a criminal

action is an offence.

1.5 The Key Worker will advise regarding discussion of the

suspected abuse with parents / carers. In situations where

the parent / carer is potentially responsible for the abuse,

the child might be placed at greater risk were such

suspicions discussed. In certain situations, it is best for the

Health and Social Services to discuss the suspected abuse

with the parents as they have the expertise to deal with

the situation.

1.6 Once a worker becomes aware or suspects a case of child

abuse s/he should ensure in so far as possible that the child

is protected from the situation of danger. The worker has

no power to intervene directly where the alleged abuser is

the parent or carer of the child. In this latter case it is

imperative that the next step is taken as quickly as

possible.

1.7 The worker should discuss the case as early as possible with

a Key Worker. In certain situations, where the Key Worker

is unavailable or is suspected to be the abuser, contact

should be made directly with the Council’s Designated

Officer.

1.8 Sharing in this matter means that the worker has an

opportunity to discuss and assess their concerns in a

responsible way as well as sharing some of the load with

someone outside the situation.

1.9 Once reported, the Key Worker should report the matter

to the Designated Officer, who in return will report

the alleged incident to Social Services. The Key

Worker/Designated Officer will have received relevant

training and have guidelines as to reporting to the

appropriate authorities.

1.10 Where the Designated Officer is unavailable, the Key

Worker will report the alleged incident directly to Social

Services and inform the Designated Officer as soon as possible.

1.11 Discussion should not take place with anyone else

within the line management structure as this impedes

investigation and affects the confidentiality of the

situation. It is up to the discretion of the Designated

Officer/Key Worker, as to who else is to be informed of the

situation, including incidents where a member of staff may

be the alleged abuser.

1.12 Staff should not initiate an investigation, including

discussion of the potential abuse with other professionals

(e.g. schools, health workers), as this is assuming the

responsibility of the Social Services. By doing so s/he could

complicate an already sensitive situation and perhaps

contaminate evidence which could have negative

consequence for subsequent legal proceedings.

A flow chart relating to reporting procedures is included

at Appendix 7.1.

1.13 Once a worker becomes aware of or suspects a case of

abuse it is important that they make a record of

observations, happenings and discussions that are relevant.

This record should be factual and not include opinions or

personal interpretations of the facts presented.

1.14 The record should be made within 24 hours of the

suspicion arising, with each recording dated, signed and

stored in a secure place. Records are to be made on the

relevant form as provided in Appendix 7.2

1.15 To assist members of staff on how to deal with a situation

where a child has made a disclosure of Child Abuse -

Appendix 7.3 provides guidance on some of the Do’s and

Don’ts on how to react.

1.16 Where a member of staff observes possible signs of abuse, it

would only be appropriate to involve another member of

staff to verify the signs or symptoms. Extreme discretion

must be taken when this occurs as the child or other

children must not be alarmed. The name of the other

member of staff must be recorded on the report form.

1.17 Where a child discloses possible abuse, it is unlikely to be

appropriate to include another member of staff in the

conversation as to disclose in the first place will be

traumatic enough for the child. Where another member of

staff observes the disclosure, this should be recorded on the

report form.

1.18 Decisions to refer the incident to Social Services will be

taken by the Key Worker. The information will be passed

to the Designated Officer, who will report the alleged

incident directly to Social Services. Where the Designated

Officer is unavailable, the Key Worker will report the

alleged incident directly to Social Services. Details from

this meeting will be recorded on the relevant form and

passed to the Designated Officer.

GUIDANCE ON DISCLOSURE OF ABUSE OR WHERE A

MEMBER OF STAFF SUSPECTS A CASE OF CHILD ABUSE. 7 appendix

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 15

APPENDIX 7.1

CONCERNS ABOUT ABUSE BY AN EXTERNAL PERSON

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION - PLEASE REFER TO APPENDIX 7.

7.1 appendix

YES

Do not investigate this yourself or

inform parents.

Social Services will advise and act

accordingly.

Key worker and relevant staff

members to meet.

Recommendation referred to

Designated Officer

CONCERNS ABOUT ABUSE BY AN EXTERNAL PERSON

ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT

ABUSE BY A PARENT, CARER OR

ANOTHER PERSON?

Report yourt concerns to Key Worker.

Provide copy of report form

Retain original in a safe place.

Designated Officer makes Referral

to Social Services

Designated Officer / Key Worker informs

Line Manager and Head of Service.

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 These guidelines apply in exceptional circumstances and

only when a member of staff observes suspected abuse

of a child.

The guidelines do not apply if:

• The suspected abuse may have already taken place and

the suspected abuser has left the premises.

• Where the suspected abuser is a parent or legal guardian.

In the circumstances above the member of staff must

follow the guidelines outlined in Appendix 7.

1.2 Line Manager or Duty Officer to be informed immediately

and the Child Protection Branch of the Police Service to

be contacted immediately.

1.3 Staff should ensure in so far as possible that the child is

protected from the situation of danger. A member of staff

has no power to intervene directly where the alleged

abuser is the parent or carer of the child. In these

situations, it is imperative to follow the procedures

outlined in Appendix 7 as soon as possible.

1.4 As soon as it is practical and not less than 4 hours after the

incidence, contact must be made with either a Key Worker

or Designated Officer.

16 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

1.5 It is important for the member of staff who has made the

observation to make a record of observations, happenings

and discussions that are relevant. This record should

be factual and not include opinions or personal

interpretations of the facts presented. The record should be

made within 6 hours of the suspicion arising, with each

recording dated, signed and stored in a secure place.

A copy must be provided to the Key Worker with whom

contact was made. Records are to be made on the relevant

form as provided in Appendix 7.2

1.6 Discussion should not take place with anyone else who was

not involved immediately within the situation as this

impedes investigation and affects the confidentiality of the

situation. It is up to the discretion of the Designated

Officer/Key Worker, as to who else is to be informed of the

situation, including incidents where a member of staff may

be the alleged abuser.

IMMEDIATE PROCEDURES TO BE TAKEN IF SUSPECTED ABUSE

IS OBSERVED TAKING PLACE WITHIN THE WORKPLACE 8 appendix

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 17

9 appendix

Name of child/ young person:

Age:

Parent/ Carer Name(s):

Phone Number:

Home Address:

Please ensure questions are fully answered

This form must be kept in a secure place

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A DISCOVERABLE DOCUMENT.

Department:

Section:

Work Location/Centre:

CHILD PROTECTION REPORT FORM

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

18 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

9 appendix

DISCLOSURE

Please complete the box below if a child has disclosed to you about the alleged abuse.

If the child has not provided any information please state NOT APPLICABLE.

When was the disclosure made? (dates and times)

Where was the disclosure made?

What were the immediate circumstances leading to the disclosure?

Were there others present at the time of disclosure?

YES _ NO _ DON’T KNOW _

If YES, please state who (name and position) and what role did they play?

What feelings were expressed by the young person before, during and immediately after the disclosure?

CHILD PROTECTION REPORT FORM

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 19

9 appendix

SIGNS

Describe any signs of physical injury evident on the child.

Describe any signs of behaviour changes of the child / young person:

Were there others present at that observed the signs/symptoms?

YES _ NO _ DON’T KNOW _

If YES, please state who (name and position) and what role did they play?

Signed: Date:

Referred to Key Worker /

Designated Officer Date:

CHILD PROTECTION REPORT FORM

20 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

9 appendix

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

Please ensure questions are fully answered

This form must be kept in a secure place

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A DISCOVERABLE DOCUMENT.

Date of Meeting(s):

Names of those attending and positions:

Department:

Section:

Work Location/Centre:

Briefly describe incident concerned - including dates:

KEY WORKER REPORT FORM

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 21

9 appendix

KEY WORKER REPORT FORM

Was the incident recorded by the member of staff concerned? YES _ NO _

Date and time report received:

If no - state reasons incident was not recorded:

If more than 24 hours have elapsed following receipt of the report and the initial meeting - please state reasons for delay:

Outline decision taken

Outline key issues discussed:

22 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

9 appendix

KEY WORKER REPORT FORM

Were all in agreement with the decision? YES _ NO _

If not, please state outstanding issues:

Action taken:

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 23

9 appendix

Signed and Dated

Key Worker

Others in Attendance at Meeting

Date passed to Designated Officer:

KEY WORKER REPORT FORM

24 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

9 appendix

PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL

This form must be kept in a secure place

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A DISCOVERABLE DOCUMENT.

Date of Notification:

Name of Key Worker/Staff providing notification:

Department:

Section:

Work Location/Centre:

Action recommended:

DESIGNATED OFFICER REPORT FORM

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 25

Was the incident recorded by the member of staff concerned? YES _ NO _

Date and time report received:

If no - state reasons incident was not recorded:

Did the Key Worker meet with the member of staff concerned? YES _ NO _

Date and time report received of meeting:

If no - state reasons meeting was not held:

9 appendix

DESIGNATED OFFICER REPORT FORM

26 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

Signed

Date

If incident was not referred to Social Services, please state reasons why.

9 appendix

DESIGNATED OFFICER REPORT FORM

Referred to Social Services? YES _ NO _

If yes,

Name of Social Worker

Trust/Office

Date & Time Notified

Additional comments:

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF 27

1. INTRODUCTION

The following information is a guide as to some of the do’s and

don’ts on how to react when a disclosure of abuse has been made.

DO DON’T

Stay calm Promise confidentiality

Recognise your own feelings Probe for more

information/investigate

Receive the information Panic

Reassure Make the child repeat

the story unnecessarily

Listen Use leading questions

Record

Report to Designated Officer

Get support for yourself

(The Designated Officer will be

able to direct staff to suitably

qualified external agencies.)

Remember:- how you react may mean the child/young

person telling or not telling his/her story. It may be the

beginning of the healing journey for the child/young person.

10 appendix

GUIDANCE ON DISCLOSURE OF ABUSE AND HOW TO DEAL WITH IT

28 CHILD PROTECTION POLICY AND PROCEDURES FOR STAFF

notes

The Cecil Ward Building, 4/10 Linen Hall Street, Belfast BT2 8BP

Telephone: 028 9032 0202 Fax: 028 9032 5367

Email: play@belfastcity.gov.uk