PACSO Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. All PACSO staff have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults. This includes direct and indirect contact with children and families and vulnerable adults, and information that is accessed about them.
There is a duty on organisations to make appropriate arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults. Government guidance states that it depends upon effective joint working between agencies and professionals with different roles and expertise.
The statutory inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié and the first joint Chief Inspectors report on safeguarding children highlighted the lack of priority status given to safeguarding. The government response to these findings included the Green Paper Every Child Matters and the provisions in the Children Act 2004. Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a duty on all agencies to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults is not just the province of those working directly with these groups of people.
PACSO aims to ensure that no act or omission on the part of the organisation, or that of its staff or volunteers puts a child, young person or vulnerable adult inadvertently at risk; and that rigorous systems are in place to proactively safeguard and promote the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and support staff in fulfilling their obligations.
This policy applies to anyone employed permanently, contractually or casually by PACSO, and also includes students, volunteers and work placements. It is available to independent contractors (e.g. workshop leaders, entertainers) and is implemented as good practice.
This policy focuses on the workplace responsibilities of staff, although responsibilities to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults extend to an individual’s personal and domestic life.
This document is scheduled for review in line with national and local guidance, and at least bi-annually.
PACSO is an organisation which aims to support parents and carers of a child or young person with a disability. Initially established by professionals from Social Services, Education, Health and several voluntary organisations, it maintains significant links with these bodies.
A copy of this policy is lodged with OFSTED.
PACSO provides playschemes and clubs in response to a need for fun, safe activities that cater for children of all abilities, whilst providing respite for their carers. The PACSO committee (hereafter, “the committee”) takes seriously its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children and young people entrusted to their care, in accordance with The Children’s Act, which came into force on 14 October 1991, and was a landmark in promoting good, safe practice in long-term childcare. It is a sad fact that even children with special needs can be hurt. At PACSO, we do everything possible to protect the children in our care from harm of all kinds.
Finally, this document in and of itself will not protect the children/young people in our care. Child safety depends upon each member of staff actively adopting and following the guidelines set out in this document.
Mission Statement for Safeguarding and Child Protection
PACSO commits to:
- Listening to, relating effectively with, and valuing children and young people whilst ensuring their protection within PACSO activities
- Encouraging and supporting parents/carers
- Supporting and training staff
- Having a system for dealing with concerns about possible abuse
- Maintaining good links with the statutory child care authorities
- Following good practice in addition to the statutory requirements of childcare.
Areas of Policy
The Trustees recognise that many children and young people today are the victims of neglect, and physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Accordingly, the Committee has adopted the policy contained in this document, (hereafter “the policy”). The policy sets out agreed guidelines relating to the following areas:
- Responding to allegations of abuse, including those made against staff or volunteers
- Appointing staff
- Supervision of activities and practice issues
- First Aid Contents List
- Body Chart
PACSO events take place at:
Fordwater School, Summersdale Road, Chichester AND
Chichester Nursery School Children & Family Centre, St James Road, Chichester AND
Any other location as agreed upon by the Trustees.
The children who attend PACSO may live anywhere in West Sussex. The single point of contact for all safeguarding concerns regarding children and young people in West Sussex is the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). This includes front door access for Early Help.
MASH brings together expert professionals, from services that have contact with children, young people and families, and makes the best possible use of their combined knowledge and resources to keep children from harm and promote these and their families wellbeing.
Contact MASH by email: MASH@westsussex.gcsx.gov.uk
Or by phone:
01403 229 900 (office hours)
0330 222 6664 (out of hours)
The content of the policy forms the basis of a seminar for all staff by an appropriate individual with relevant experience. The Trustees commit to an on-going training programme for all staff.
Responding to allegations of abuse, including those made against staff or volunteers
Definitions of Abuse
The definitions of child abuse recommended as criteria for registration by the Department of Health, “Working Together under the Children Act 1989” are as follows:
Actual or likely physical injury to a child, or failure to prevent physical injury (or suffering) to a child, including deliberate poisoning, suffocation and Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy.
Actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child or adolescent. The child may be dependent and/or developmentally immature.*
* Sexual exploitation represents the involvement of dependent, developmentally immature children and adolescents in sexual activities they do not truly comprehend, to which they are unable to give informed consent or that violate social taboos or family roles (Kempe and Kempe 1978). Kempe, T.S. & Kempe, C.H. (1978) Child Abuse. London: Fontana Open Books)
The persistent or severe neglect of a child or the failure to protect a child from exposure to any kind of danger, including cold and starvation or extreme failure to carry out important aspects of care, resulting in the significant impairment of the child’s health or development, including non-organic failure to thrive.
Actual or likely emotional abuse; a severe adverse effect on the emotional and behavioural development of a child caused by persistent or severe emotional ill treatment or rejection. All abuse involves some emotional ill treatment. This category is used where it is the main or sole form of abuse.
Organised abuse is sexual abuse where there is more than a single abuser and the adults concerned appear to act in concert to abuse children and/or where an adult uses an institutional framework or position of authority to recruit children for sexual abuse.
Recognising and Responding to Abuse
The following signs may or may not be indicators that abuse has taken place, but the possibility should be considered.
Physical signs of abuse
- Any injuries not consistent with the explanation given for them
- Bodily injuries in places not normally exposed to falls, rough games, etc.
- Injuries which have not received medical attention
- Neglect – under nourishment, failure to grow, constant hunger, stealing or gorging food, untreated illnesses, inadequate care, etc.
- Reluctance to change for, or participate in, games or swimming
- Repeated urinary infections or unexplained tummy pains
- Bruises, bites, burns, fractures etc. which do not have an accidental explanation
- Cuts/scratches/substance abuse
Indicators of possible sexual abuse
- Any allegations made by a child concerning sexual abuse
- Child with excessive preoccupation with sexual matters and detailed knowledge of adult sexual behaviour, or who regularly engages in age-inappropriate sexual play
- Sexual activity through words, play or drawing
- Child who is sexually provocative or seductive with adults
- Inappropriate bed-sharing arrangements at home
- Severe sleep disturbances with fears, phobias, vivid dreams or nightmares, sometimes with overt or veiled sexual connotations
- Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia
Emotional Signs of Abuse
- Changes or regression in mood or behaviour, particularly where a child withdraws or becomes clinging. Also depression/aggression, extreme anxiety.
- Nervousness, frozen watchfulness
- Obsessions or phobias
- Sudden under-achievement or lack of concentration
- Inappropriate relationships with peers and/or adults
- Attention-seeking behaviour
- Persistent tiredness
- Running away/stealing/lying
What to do if you suspect that abuse may have occurred
The structure that we have adopted is: –
- PACSO Play Manager – Emma Kennedy (07875 601157)
- Chief Executive – Val Evans (07476 232123)
- Staff must report concerns as soon as possible to Emma Kennedy (hereafter the “Play Manager”) who is nominated by the Trustees to act on their behalf. She will refer allegations or suspicions of neglect or abuse to the statutory authorities, and immediately inform PACSO’s Insurance Company.
- In the absence of the Play Manager, the Chief Executive, the Chief Executive is nominated by the Trustees to act on the Play Manager’s behalf.
- If the suspicions in any way involve the Play Manager then the report to the Chief Executive. If the suspicions in any way implicate both the Play Manager and the Chief Executive, then report to the MASH number specified earlier (Page 3).
- Suspicions will not be discussed with anyone other than those nominated above.
- It is, of course, the right of any individual as a citizen to make direct referrals to the child protection agencies or seek advice from, although we hope that members of PACSO will use this procedure. If, however, you feel that the Play Manager or Chief Executive has not responded appropriately to your concerns, then it is open to you to contact the relevant organisation direct.
- In response to these concerns the Play Manager (or Chief Executive) commits to take action as outlined in the following pages within a time frame that is appropriate to the suspected level of abuse or danger to the child(ren).
Allegations of Physical Injury or Neglect
If a child has a physical injury or symptom of neglect, the Play Manager will:
- Contact MASH for advice in cases of deliberate injury or where concerned about the child’s safety. If possible the parents will be informed by the organisation in these circumstances.
- Where emergency medical attention is necessary it will be sought immediately. The Play Manager will inform the doctor of any suspicions of abuse.
- In other circumstances the Play Manager will speak with the parent/carer and suggest that medical help/attention is sought for the child. The doctor, (or health visitor) will then initiate further action, if necessary.
- If appropriate the parent/carer will be encouraged to seek help from MASH.
Where the parent/carer is unwilling to seek help, if appropriate, the Play Manager will offer to go with them.
Allegations of Sexual Abuse
In the event of allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse, the Play Manager will:
- Contact the Social Services duty social worker for children and families or Police Child Protection Team directly. The Play Manager will NOT speak to the parent (or anyone else).
- Under no circumstances will the Play Manager attempt to carry out any investigation into the allegation or suspicions of sexual abuse. The role of the Play Manager is to collect and clarify the precise details of the allegation or suspicion without questioning the child directly and to provide this information to the Social Services Department, whose task it is to investigate the matter under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.
- Whilst allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse will normally be reported to the Play Manager, the absence of the Play Manager or Chief Executive should not delay referral to the Social Services Department.
- Exceptionally, should there be any disagreement between the person in receipt of the allegation or suspicion and the Play Manager or Chief Executive as to the appropriateness of a referral to the Social Services Department, that person retains a responsibility as a member of the public to report serious matters to the Social Services Department, and should do so without hesitation.
- The Trustees will support the Play Manager or Chief Executive in their role, and accept that any information they may have in their possession will be shared in a strictly limited way on a need to know basis.
How to respond to a child wanting to talk about abuse
It is not easy to give precise guidance, but the following may help:
- Show acceptance of what the child says (however unlikely the story may sound)
- Keep calm
- Look at the child directly
- Be honest
- Tell the child you will need to let someone else know – don’t promise confidentiality
- Be aware that the child may have been threatened or bribed not to tell
- Never push for information.
- If the child decides not to tell you after all, accept that but let them know that you are always ready to listen.
HELPFUL THINGS YOU MAY SAY OR SHOW
- I believe you (or showing acceptance of what the child says)
- Thank you for telling me
- It’s not your fault
- I will help you
- Why didn’t you tell anyone before?
- I can’t believe it!
- Are you sure this is true?
- Why? How? When? Who? Where?
- Never make false promises
- Never make statements such as “I am shocked, don’t tell anyone else”
- Again reassure the child that they were right to tell you and show acceptance
- Let the child know what you are going to do next and that you will let them know what happens (you might have to consider referring to Social Services or the Police to prevent a child or young person returning home if you consider them to be seriously at risk of further abuse)
- Contact the person in your organisation responsible for co-ordinating child protection concerns or contact an agency such as Social Services/Police/NSPCC
- Consider your own feelings and seek pastoral support if needed.
What to do once a child has talked to you about abuse
- Make notes as soon as possible (preferably within an hour of being told). Write down exactly what the child said, and what you said in reply to the child. State when he/she said it and what was happening immediately beforehand (e.g. description of activity). Record dates and times of these events, who was present at the time and when you made the record. Keep all hand written notes securely, even if these have been typed subsequently.
- Report your discussion as soon as possible to the Play Manager. If she is implicated report to the Chief Executive. If both are implicated, report to Social Services or MASH.
- You should not discuss your suspicions or allegations with anyone other than those nominated in the above point.
- Once a child has talked about abuse the Play Manager should contact Social Services or MASH for advice on whether or not it is safe for a child to return home to a potentially abusive situation.
Appointment of Staff
PACSO is registered with OFSTED and as such, PACSO must comply with the OFSTED rules. As part of this process, or supplementary to this, when seeking to appoint staff (paid or voluntary) the Play Manager will:
Ask the applicant to complete a form (see attachment) giving information as to their name (and any previous names/aliases) date and place of birth, current and previous addresses, as well as details of a referee.
- Take up an Enhanced DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) check, asking the applicant to provide original documents to prove their identity. A full list of acceptable documents can be see at https://www.gov.uk/disclosure-barring-service-check/documents-the-applicant-must-provide-
- Ask the applicant to declare whether they have ever been convicted, charged or cautioned in relation to any offence and informed of the provision of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, which requires all applicants wishing to work with children to declare all convictions, however old.
- Interview the applicant.
- Take up a formal reference that will be kept on file at the PACSO office.
- Discuss with the applicant PACSO’s guidelines for the behaviour of staff to ensure the children’s welfare and expectations in relation to practice issues. (See guidelines for Staff & Volunteers.)
- Attach the new appointee to a more experienced worker for a period of three months.
- Ensure that the new appointee is trained during this period on issues related to child protection.
- Receive feedback from other staff on the progress of the trainee during and at the end of this probationary period.
- Only then confirm the appointment – with regular reviews and support where there are particular concerns.
The criteria for NOT appointing staff are as follows:
- Where the applicant is a convicted offender who committed acts of violence or sexual offences against children or adults.
- Where the Play Manager has reservations about an applicant’s behaviour, lifestyle & attitudes.
Staff are given opportunities to meet together with the Play Manager to discuss work programmes and areas of concern including issues relating to discipline following all PACSO events where the staff are responsible for the children. (At some events parents accompany their children)
The appointment of staff is reviewed on a regular basis with the Trustees.
Arrangements for Supervision of Children’s Activities
The following policy guidelines govern the practicalities of our work with children:
- Ratio of adults to children. We adhere to the accepted ratio of 1:8 for able children over the age of 5 years, however since many of the children in our care have a special need we recognise that some need 1:1. Therefore we work on a ratio of at least 1:3 adults to children.
- Staff should be within sight of the rest of the team at all times. Staff have no reason to be alone and out of view with a child.
Registration & records
- A register of children attending the club or event is kept, together with a register of staff and volunteers. This includes times of arrival and departure if any individual is not attending the whole session. It also includes any others in the defined area within the building that the club or activity is using at the time (e.g. a maintenance person). The children, staff and other facility users are made aware of this defined activity area. The children are not allowed out of this area.
- A record of the event is kept. Staff and leaders record what they witnessed. This can be very helpful if leaders have to deal with a difficult young person who may subsequently make accusations of assault. A young person who constantly makes throwaway sexual comments about staff may later make an allegation of actual abuse. Records of previous examples of this behaviour enable any allegation to be seen in context. Of course, if a number of young people all make similar comments about one member of staff, this should warn the Play Manager who in turn may decide to inform the Committee that they have a problem with that person. Logbooks can protect both children and staff.
- It is suggested that staff also record in the logbook incidents such as fights and what action they took. As the information in the logbook is likely to be very sensitive, the logbook should be kept separate from the accident book, which is used to record any accidents or injuries. Parents (and older children) should be asked to sign the accident book, (but they would not see what was written in the logbook). Because accusations of abuse may be made many years later, records should be kept for as long as possible. Insurance companies advise that records should be kept indefinitely.
- Keep everything public. A hug in the context of a group is very different from a hug behind closed doors.
- Touch is related to the child’s needs, not the staff member’s.
- Touch is be age-appropriate and generally initiated by the child rather than the member of staff.
- Avoid any physical activity that is, or may be thought to be, sexually stimulating to the adult or the child.
- Children have the right to decide how much physical contact they have with others, except in exceptional circumstances when they need medical attention.
- Staff should monitor one another in the area of physical contact, pointing out anything that could be misunderstood.
- Many of the children need to be touched to help them participate, communicate and to be cared for, staff must be aware that they are touching them and do so appropriately and with respect.
- Workers should treat all children with dignity and respect in attitude, language used and actions.
- Respect the privacy of children; avoid questionable activity, e.g. rough/sexually provocative games and comments.
Toileting & personal care
- When a child needs help to use the toilet, or to be changed, two members of staff must attend.
- Only staff who have been trained to use a hoist may take a child to the toilet using a hoist. However another member of staff may assist.
- No volunteer should take a child to the toilet.
- The level of personal care, e.g. toileting, must be appropriate and related to the age of the child whilst also accepting that some children have special needs.
- Good hygiene should always be practised. Disposable latex gloves should be used when dealing with broken skin, bodily fluids or faeces.
Identification & visitors
- All staff wear a red PACSO uniform shirt and an authorised name badge.
- Volunteers wear a yellow PACSO uniform shirt and an authorised name badge. They are introduced to the children and staff when they join.
- The Play Manager or Chief Executive must ensure that only authorised staff or volunteers work with the children in our care. All visitors are greeted at the entrance and accompanied around the venue at all times. Parents of the children are allowed to attend PACSO activities but must only carry out personal care for their own child(ren).
- All premises are well-lit and well-maintained
- Potentially dangerous activities are adequately supervised
- Equipment and premises are clear of hazardous obstacles and are safe to use
- Where there is an unavoidable hazard, the Play Manager ensures that:
- The children are aware that they should not venture near the hazard
- Access to the hazard is adequately restricted (e.g. with hazard tape or a boundary)
- There are adequate toilets and hand basins
- Food hygiene requirements are observed
- There is at least one qualified First Aider at all events, and an adequate First Aid kit present (see attachment for the contents of a First Aid Kit)
- In the event of transport being organised by PACSO, any driver carries a full driving licence and valid insurance. Seat belt rules, requirements for minibuses etc. are fully complied with.
- Staff members concerned that a colleague is acting in a way that could be misinterpreted, must speak to the individual and/or the Play Manager about their concern.
- Staff must meet regularly to ensure common approach, sharing of concerns and identifying other matters that may need clarification and guidance.
- In situations where guidelines have not been adhered to feedback must be given to the Play Manager & Committee. This provides protection to the individual and draws the Play Manager’s attention to shortcomings and problem areas.
- Staff must keep a written record of issues/decisions discussed at meetings in the PACSO logbook.
Discipline is the education of a person’s character. It includes nurturing, training, instruction, chastisement, verbal rebuke, teaching and encouragement. It brings security, produces character, prepares for life and is evidence of love.
In disciplining children in our care staff will:
- Work on each individual child’s positives, not comparing them with each other, but by encouraging and building them up and giving them responsibility for simple tasks.
- Build healthy relationships with children and be a good role model, setting a good example. Children cannot be expected to observe ground rules if staff break them.
- Take care to give all children equal amounts of attention.
- Be consistent in what they say and ensure that other staff know what has been said to avoid manipulation.
- Look honestly at the programme – if children are bored, they are more likely to misbehave.
- NEVER smack or hit a child and will not shout – change voice tone if necessary.
- Discipline out of controlled decision NEVER anger. Staff can call on support from other staff if they are having difficulty coping with a situation.
- Ensure that children understand the action taken if these rules are not kept, for example: Time out for 2 minutes.
- Be aware of the children’s difficulties and understand how to deal with their behaviours.
- Be pro-active and encourage others to be pro-active and not wait to be told to deal with a situation.
- Take the child aside and talk to them, challenge them to change, whilst encouraging them on their strengths.
- Warn the child and use supervised ‘Time Out’ for broken rules. Parents are always informed of ‘Time Out’ occurrences. PACSO will not issue a total ban unless it is dangerous to the child or other children if s/he continues to attend. It is more likely that PACSO will ask for more staff or parental support to maintain that child’s place at the event.
- Seek advice and guidance from the parents and other carers if a child’s behaviour is challenging.
- Always talk over the events of the session in Team Time at the end of every PACSO event.
Our PACSO rules are:
- I will stand and listen when one of the leaders wants to talk to me.
- I will not break anything on purpose.
- I will not hurt anyone.
- I will not say nasty things to anyone.
- I will not leave the building without permission from an adult.
The PACSO First Aid Kit is accessible to trained staff at all events. Its contents are stored in a waterproof container and the designated member of staff regularly checks its contents. Staff areencouraged to attend First Aid training run by an organisation that provides a recognised certificate.
The contents of the PACSO First Aid Kit are as follows:
- 2 x small wound dressing
- 1 x large wound dressing
- 1 x eye pad
- 4 x triangular bandages
- 2 x non-stick dressing 5cm x 5 cm
- 2 x non-stick dressing 10cm x 10cm
- 1 reel of low allergy adhesive tape
- 4 x safety pins
- 5 x pairs of disposable latex gloves
- 2 x conforming bandages 6cm
- 1 x resuscitation shield
- 20 x wrapped adhesive dressings (plasters)
- 2 x crepe bandages 5cm
- 1 x disposable apron
- 1 x sealed eyewash
- 4 x individually wrapped cleaning wipes (non alcoholic)
- 10 x sachets of sterile water
- 1 pair scissors
- Pack of cotton wool
- Ice or ice crystal pack
- First Aid water bowl
- 1 x emergency aid book
An accident report book with forms:
- Copies of First Aider’s Certificates
- Emergency Procedures
- Accident Record
- Letter to parents following an incident
- Medication Record Sheet
- Infectious Diseases Procedures
- Child Protection Policy
- Letter to parents regarding child protection
- Staff Medical Forms