Child Protection Policy

Purpose of the policySafeguarding statementDuty to share informationScope of this policyRoles and responsibilitiesPractical adviceSigns and symptoms of abuse and neglectInformation about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)Information about Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)Information about preventing radicalisationHow to report concerns including names and points of contactDealing with disclosuresNature of Nipperbout workStay and Play SessionsReporting to the relevant bodiesStaff behaviour policyPersonal care and intimate carePosition of trustOnline safetyOther relevant policiesOne-to-one workingRecord-keepingConfidentialityProcedure for dealing with complaints and allegations about staffProcedures for dealing with safeguarding allegations about another childSafer recruitment proceduresDisclosure and Barring Service checksWhistle-blowingStaff code of conductInduction for staffChild protection training for staffReview of this policy

Purpose of the policy

Nipperbout is fully committed to safeguarding and protecting children. This means keeping children safe from harm either through illness, injury, abuse, neglect, cyber or peer group bullying and includes exposure to or pressure from extremist groups and organisations. Children have the right to be safe, should be protected from all forms of abuse and neglect, and should be treated with respect.

Nipperbout is committed to safeguarding the children placed within its care and also any child that its employees may come into contact with.

Nipperbout also has a duty to protect its staff from false allegations. Policies are there to protect both the child and adult. If policies are followed it will reduce the opportunities for abuse to occur within the setting.

Safeguarding statement

Safeguarding is the action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.  

Safeguarding covers all elements that support a child to thrive and achieve their potential.

Safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone who comes into contact with children and families.  

Child protection is the action that is taken to protect children who are at risk or suffering significant harm. Everyone has a responsibility to report any allegations, concerns or disclosures to the relevant authorities.

Nipperbout promotes an environment that

  • Has a Positive ethos
  • Supports children to feel safe, secure and listened to
  • Staff/volunteers are encouraged to talk about concerns
  • Staff understand that they may report concerns directly to children’s social care
  • Children who have been abused or are at risk of abuse are supported
  • Safeguarding issues are explored as part of the activities undertaken with children

Nipperbout adheres to key statutory and non-statutory guidance including

  • EYFS Guidance
  • Children Act (1989 and 2004)
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006)
  • Children and Families Act (2014)
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2015)
  • ‘What to do if you think a child is being abused’ (2015)
  • ‘Information Sharing’ Guidance (2015)
  • Keeping Children Safe (September 2016)

Nipperbout has a legal responsibility and a duty of care to children. Nipperbout also accept that there is a moral and personal duty to protect children.

Nipperbout has a statutory responsibility to pass on any concerns regarding the welfare of children to the relevant authorities. All staff understand that they must make a referral if necessary.

Nipperbout has produced a Safeguarding Information Leaflet for parents, visitors and entertainers, to ensure that everyone is aware of the action that will be followed following a safeguarding concern being identified.

Duty to share information  

Nipperbout are committed to share relevant information, in a timely fashion with the right people, in order to keep a child safe. This is done in accordance with Information sharing guidance 2015. Nipperbout will document the reasons every time that information is shared or not shared.

Scope of this policy

This policy applies to all staff – paid or voluntary, parents, visitors and entertainers. A copy of this policy will be available at all times, in all venues and include relevant local contact details.

Roles and responsibilities

Nipperbout’s Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO) is Janthea Brigden, 07976 430598.

The deputy officers (DDSO) are Rheya Brigden, 07816790622 and Julia Roberts, 07774 553 152.

A Designated Safeguarding Officer will be present at all times, that there are children present on site, staff are encouraged to discuss concerns with the Designated Safeguarding Officer. In the event of the Designated Safeguarding Officer or Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer being unavailable, all staff are aware and confident of the procedure to report a concern through to the relevant body.

In the event of a safeguarding concern involving a staff member, concerns will be raised with the Designated Safeguarding Officer, if the allegation is against the Designated Safeguarding Officer then staff members will raise the concern directly with the relevant Local Authority Designated Officer (or equivalent in Scotland and Wales).

Practical advice

All staff and volunteers will receive the following:

  • Induction that covers safeguarding procedures
  • Staff Code of Conduct (Behaviour Policy)
  • Handout on what to do if you are concerned about a child
  • Contact no and names of Designated Safeguarding Officer and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer
  • Training on Basic Safeguarding Children including signs and symptoms and how to report a concern (Updated annually)

In addition, at each venue staff will have available:

  • Contact details for the local Children Social Care Referral hub or MASH
  • Contact details for the area Local Authority Designated Officer or equivalent
  • Regulatory Body contact details (OFSTED, Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales, Care Inspectorate Scotland)
  • Flow chart detailing what to do if there is a concern

Signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect

There are four main forms of child abuse: physical, emotional, sexual and neglect.  

Physical abuse – that is a form of abuse that may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Emotional abuse – is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.

Sexual abuse – Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

Neglect – The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:

  • provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
  • protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
  • ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or
  • ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment

It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

Staff are aware that children with disabilities or special education needs are considered more vulnerable. Additional care will be taken to monitor the safety of these children as they may not be able to communicate effectively or understand what is happening to them.

Concerns may arise because of something a child says or because a child displays physical or behavioural signs of abuse. If a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm in terms of the abuse outlined above; this justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of the child.

Child protection concerns may also arise because of information provided to Nipperbout personnel by a third party, such as a neighbour, relative, and friend of the family or another child. Staff must respond to all allegations, whether from the child or a third party, by following the child protection procedures.

Recognising abuse is not easy or straightforward and it is not the responsibility of Nipperbout personnel to decide whether a child is being abused. This responsibility lies with the child protection agency to which the referral is made. Any indication of the issues described above should raise child protection concerns. When these concerns are raised, Nipperbout staff must address these concerns by following the Child Protection procedures.

Information about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed. There is no medical reason for this to be done.It's also known as "female circumcision" or "cutting", and by other terms such as sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan, among others.

FGM is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts. It is illegal in the UK and is child abuse.

Nipperbout has a zero tolerance policy around FGM and all staff are trained to identify FGM and understand the mandatory reporting process.

Information about Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. Children or young people may be tricked into believing they're in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol.

Young people are commonly between the ages of 10 and 18 years, although younger children may be targeted.

A child under the age of 13 engaged in sexual activity is unable to give consent. This is statutory rape and should be reported immediately to Children Social Care and the Police.

Children between the ages of 13 and 18 years who disclose they are in a sexual relationship may be being exploited. The age difference between partners should be considered and the power balance. Staff should talk to the DSO as soon as possible who will advise further.

Nipperbout is committed to identify and support young people who have been sexually exploited. Staff are trained to identify the signs that a young person is being exploited and to refer appropriately.

Information about preventing radicalisation

Radicalisation is a process by which an individual or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that reject or undermine the status quo or undermine contemporary ideas and expressions of freedom of choice.

Nipperbout is committed to preventing young people being drawn into extremism. Staff are trained to identify the signs and indicators that a young person is being radicalise and report concerns to the DSO who will contact the Channel representative in that area.

How to report concerns including names and points of contact

Nipperbout has a Safeguarding Book. Staff must record any concerns, disclosures and physical marks within this book.

Nipperbout are unlikely to have regular contact with children. Nipperbout management monitor all concerns recorded. Child protection concerns are reported immediately to the relevant authorities, minor concerns are recorded and monitored for patterns, the Designated Safeguarding Officer monitors the Safeguarding book if more than one entry is made for the same child in the Safeguarding Book/Folder, a risk assessment will be made and consideration will be made for a referral.

All marks observed on a child entering the crèche, MUST be noted in the Safeguarding Book with the date, time and two staff signatures. The parent should be asked about the marks and his or her comments recorded. Where possible, a parent’s signature should be obtained. If the child is able to communicate staff are encouraged to ask the child what happened. Any explanation given must be recorded in the Safeguarding Book. Any discrepancies between parent and child’s stories will be followed up and considered for referral.

Staff should inform police or site security if they are concerned for the safety of a child in the care of an adult who is clearly under the influence of alcohol. Where there is a concern for a child over 7 years it is useful to ask the parent or guardian if they are with anyone else and how they are travelling home. If the concern is drink driving then this MUST be reported to the police. Incidents should be recorded in the Safeguarding Book. Staff should try to delay pick up until the police arrive.

If a staff member has a concern about a child or in the event that a child makes a disclosure to a member of staff, the staff member must immediately report the concern/disclosure to their Event Manager. The Event Manager should organise staffing ratios to enable the reporting staff member to immediately write up the concern/disclosure in the Safeguarding Book.

When recording a disclosure or concern please follow the recording notes in the Safeguarding Book. Staff must ensure factual information is recorded only. Document exactly what was said by the child and the exact questions the staff member asked. It is necessary to document the name of the child involved, however it may not be necessary to document the name of other children. Staff should use their professional judgement in this instance and can choose to refer to a child by their Registration Card number. When reporting injuries, bruising or marks, do not take photographs, instead record the type of mark, shape, colour and any other useful descriptions in the Safeguarding Book, using the body diagram to help.

Records in the Safeguarding Book must be signed by two members of staff and shared with the parent/carer of the child. Parent/carer must be asked to sign the report, UNLESS this would put the child at further risk of significant harm.

The Event Manager must report the concern/disclosure directly to the Designated Safeguarding Officer.

The Designated Safeguarding Officer, with the crèche manager will make the referral through to the relevant Children Social Care referral hub.

Clear details on where the child lives and where the crèche is being held are key information. The concern should be reported in both the area the child lives and the area the crèche is running from.

Staff must ensure they record clearly who the referral has been made to.

All referrals should be made by telephone in the first instance and followed up by written referral as soon as possible (within 48 hours).

In the event of immediate risk to a child, the police should be informed as they have the ability to place the child in a place of safety.

All staff are aware that they may also make a referral directly if they are concerned about a child. They must inform the DSO if they are making a referral.

Dealing with disclosures

If a child alleges abuse, it is important to respond appropriately. This means giving the child the opportunity to talk without asking probing questions.

Staff must stay calm and listen to what the child is saying. Tell the child that they will need to pass the information on and record what has been said as soon as possible after the disclosure. Reassure the child and pass on the information to the Designated Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible, who will make a referral to the relevant body.

Nature of Nipperbout work

Nipperbout operates crèche activities across the UK. The nature of the work means that they may only see a child one occasion or at one event. Staff need to be particularly vigilant and aware to any signs of abuse, as they are unable to build a relationship with a child over a long period of time.

Stay and Play sessions

These sessions involve the parent and the child within a session. The parent retains responsibility for their children. Information is available to parents on reporting concerns, but staff retain the duty to report any concerns identified.

Reporting to the relevant bodies

Nipperbout operates all across the UK. This means that contact details for the local Children’s Social Care and Police need to be available at each crèche. Staff need to be confident on how to make a referral in the area they are working in. OFSTED (or the relevant inspectorate) must also be informed of any child protection concerns.

Staff behaviour policy

Staff are made aware that they are representing Nipperbout whenever they are employed by the company, or wearing the staff uniform. Nipperbout has high expectations of all it’s staff and expects them to behave in a way that does not bring disrepute on the organisation.

All staff are expected to behave in a manner that adheres to the values and ethos of Nipperbout.

All staff are expected to sign the staff code of conduct to say that they agree and understand the requirements for conduct.

Personal care and intimate care

This is an area where staff members’ actions need to be governed by sensitivity, maturity and a high degree of self-awareness. Another person can construe unintentional contact as purposeful.

Children and young people are tactile and will often seek cuddles from staff members. Children should not feel rejected but staff should ensure that any cuddles are instigated by the child and take place in full view of other staff.

Staff must never kiss a child and should avoid letting children kiss them. Staff should be aware of and avoid children becoming emotionally attached to individual staff members.

Position of trust

All staff are made aware that any intimate relationship between themselves and a child in their care, is not appropriate and is a misuse of a position of trust.

Any concerns around a relationship between staff and a child must immediately be reported to the Designated Safeguarding Officer who will remove the staff member from contact with children and refer to the LADO (or equivalent).

Online safety

Nipperbout may at times have computer activities available for children. Any internet use is monitored and relevant filters and safeguards have been put in place in order to protect children from unsafe websites. Staff, parents and children will sign up to an appropriate use policy.

Other relevant policies

Manual Handling policy sets out the guidance for carrying and lifting children.

Swimming Pool policy sets out guidance for contact in the pool.

Toilet Procedure policy sets out for instruction on safe nappy changing and toilet assistance.

Trips and Visits policy sets out guidance for taking children out on trips and visits.

One-to-one working

There may be occasions where staff are required to work on a one-to-one basis with an individual child. Staff will ensure that this work is undertaken in an open area where all work can be seen by other members of staff. This is to protect the child from harm but also to protect the staff member from false allegations.

Record-keeping

All safeguarding and Child Protection concerns are recorded in the safeguarding book.

All reports written in the Safeguarding Book are stored securely at Nipperbout Headquarters alphabetically by child’s name. These records are kept for 21 years where the report is minor (for example a bump to the knee) and 24 years were there is a more serious concern and/or the child involved has an Education Health plan (EHCP) or is a looked after child.

Access to the safeguarding book is limited to the Designated Safeguarding Officer and the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer, information is shared with staff when it is necessary to keep a child safe.

Information is shared with other agencies when it is relevant to help that agency to keep a child safe or to support a referral.

Confidentiality

The principal of confidentiality is fundamental in Nipperbout’s delivery of service. The legal principal that ‘the welfare of the child is paramount’ means that considerations of confidentiality should not be allowed to override the right of children to be protected from harm.

In a situation where there is suspicion or allegation of abuse, only those who need to know should be given relevant information.

Parent/carer should be notified of a referral unless it puts the child at additional risk.

Consultation with a statutory child protection agency should take place if there is any doubt that it may place the child at further risk of harm.

Procedure for dealing with complaints and allegations about staff

Staff members should be aware of their own vulnerability in terms of laying themselves open to allegations of child abuse particularly in a temporary setting where they are not known to parents or children.

Nipperbout encourages staff, whether new or experienced, to challenge any staff member, regardless of position, if they believe policies and procedures are not being followed.

This may involve an allegation that a staff member has

  • behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed a child
  • possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child
  • behaved in a way to a child/ren, which indicates they pose a risk of harm to a child.
  • put a child at risk either deliberately or inadvertently

In the event of an allegation being made (by either a staff member, child, parent or member of the public) The Event Manager should alert the Designated Safeguarding Officer.

The Designated Safeguarding Officer will record details of the nature, content and context or the allegation. This should include additional information, such as the staff members contact with the child, whether the child/family have made allegations before, and any statements from witnesses.

Designated Safeguarding Officer will inform the accused staff member about any allegation as soon as possible and give an explanation of the likely course of action.

Nipperbout will offer independent support to the staff member and advise them to contact their union and/or a colleague for support.

Designated Safeguarding Officer will contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) within 24 hours for independent advice and guidance on how to proceed.

Parents/Carers will be made aware of the allegation and asked to maintain confidentiality during the investigations. Nipperbout will ensure parents/carers are kept up to date with the likely course of action and/or any outcomes of the investigation.

LADO will advise on whether the circumstances of a case, warrant the suspension of the staff member. All other options will be considered prior to taking this step. If the decision is to suspend the staff member while an investigation takes place, Nipperbout will provide them with a named contact.

The LADO may call a strategy meeting and will advise on whether an internal or external investigation is required

All decisions should be notified in writing to the individuals concerned and whether any further action is required regarding the staff member and/or the person who made the allegation.

If a staff member suspects the Event Manager of abuse, this must be reported to the Company Directors.

If a staff member suspects the Nipperbout Directors of abuse or collusion they must report to the police and inform Ofsted (England)/ Care Inspectorate (Scotland)/Care and Social Services Inspectorate(Wales).

If the Designated Safeguarding Officer cannot be reached and the Event Manager is unsure how to proceed with an allegation against a staff member (by child/parent or another staff member) or unsure of the allegation warrants suspension, contact the local Childrens Social Care Referral hub who will be able to advise.

The NSPCC can also be contacted for advice if staff are still unsure on 0808 800 5000 (remember to tell them that Nipperbout is an Ofsted Registered provider).

If a criminal prosecution or a serious disciplinary action is required, a referral may need to be made to the individual’s professional body (e.g. the General Social Care Council, the General Teaching Council or the General Medical Council).

Allegations against a staff member who is no longer working for Nipperbout should be referred to the police, as should any historical allegations

Procedures for dealing with safeguarding allegations about another child (Peer on Peer)

Occasionally, allegations may be made against another child, which are of a safeguarding nature. Safeguarding issues raised in this way may include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.

It is likely that to be considered a safeguarding allegation against a child, some of the following features will be found.

The allegation

  • is made against an older child and refers to their behaviour towards a younger child or a more vulnerable child
  • is of a serious nature, possibly including a criminal offence
  • raises risk factors for other children•

In the event of an allegation being made, the child must not be left unsupervised with other children. The Designated Safeguarding Officer needs to be informed immediately, who will notify parents and make a referral to the appropriate authorities.

The safety of the victim and the perpetrator must be paramount at all times.

Safer recruitment procedures

Nipperbout has a full policy to cover safer recruitment.

The Company Directors are responsible for ensuring that safe recruitment processes are followed, including

  • ensuring the manager and other staff responsible for recruitment completes safer recruitment training.
  • ensure that any recruitment panel involves at least one person who has had safer recruitment training.
  • ensuring the upkeep of a Record of all staff and regular volunteers.
  • ensuring written recruitment and selection policies and procedures are in place.
  • adhering to statutory responsibilities to check staff who work with children.
  • taking proportionate decisions on whether to ask for any checks beyond what is required.
  • ensuring that volunteers are appropriately supervised

Disclosure and barring service checks

All employees are asked to supply an original Enhanced DBS check, which must contain a barred list check and be dated within the last three years.

Nipperbout will check the DBS against other ID documents to ensure it belongs to the holder.

Whenever possible, Nipperbout will use the Update Service to check potential employees.

Whistle-blowing

Whistleblowing is when a person discloses information in the public interest, which relates to suspect wrong-doing or malpractice by any persons at Nipperbout.

This may include:

  • Safeguarding issues
  • Criminal activity
  • Miscarriages of justice
  • Danger to health and safety
  • Damage to the environment
  • Failure to comply with any legal or professional obligation or regulatory requirements (including the Bribery Act 2011 which is covered in 6.31 Anti-Bribery Policy)
  • Concealment of any of the above
  • Any other unethical conduct
  • The belief that an employee is being, has been, or is likely to be, committed
  • Breach of Nipperbout internal policies or procedures
  • Conduct likely to damage Nipperbout’s reputation
  • Unauthorised disclosure of confidential matters

Staff are fully protected by legislation if they whistleblow in order to protect the public including children and young people.

Staff code of conduct

In addition to the Safeguarding and Child Protection policy, Nipperbout has a staff Code of Conduct that outlines an acceptable level of staff behaviour which they are required to sign, to show they have agreed to adhere to the Code of Conduct.

Induction for staff

All new staff are required to attend induction. The safeguarding Induction includes the following elements:

  • Staff code of conduct
  • Details of the Designated Safeguarding Officer and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Officer
  • Summary of the referral process
  • What to do if they are worried about a child
  • Recording information
  • Whistleblowing procedure
  • Procedures around allegations against staff

This information will be shared with the employee within the first week of employment.

Child protection training for staff

Nipperbout are committed to safeguarding training. All staff will receive as a minimum, the following safeguarding training within their probationary period:

  • Basic Safeguarding Children, updated annually
  • Basic awareness of Female Genital Mutilation
  • Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness
  • PREVENT – Radicalisation briefing

In addition, managers and crèche leaders will also receive:

  • Designated Safeguarding Lead Training every year
  • Interagency training
  • Managing Allegations
  • And any other training deemed appropriate by Nipperbout management

Review of this policy

This policy will be reviewed on an annual basis and updated if any new guidance or legislation becomes relevant.