What is safeguarding?
Child protection is specifically about protecting children and young people from suspected abuse and neglect. However, Safeguarding has a much wider purview as it includes everything an organisation can do to keep children and young people safe; including minimising the risk of harm and accidents and taking action to tackle safety concerns.
Safeguarding is also about services being able to respond quickly and appropriately to concerns or allegations brought to an organisation, which means having the right policies and procedures in place to deal with difficult situations if they arise.
Are the staff and volunteers suitable to work with children?
All staff and volunteers should go through a proper recruitment process which includes interviews, references and DBS Check.
The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). CRB checks are now called DBS checks.
Is there a written code of behaviour?
All organisations should have a written code of behaviour which outlines good practice when working with children. Bullying, shouting, racism and sexism are not acceptable.
How can concerns be voiced?
Organisations should tell you where to go and what to do if you, or your child, have any worries.
If you are unhappy about the way your concern is dealt with, contact the Southend Safeguarding Partnership.
Does the organisation have a health and safety policy?
Find out if there is a leader qualified in first aid, if there is a first aid box, and if the premises have passed fire regulations.
What are the arrangements when children go on outings?
You should be informed of arrangements - including the transport there and back - for every outing, no matter how long or short and your consent should be requested.
Does the organisation have an internet safety policy?
If the organisation allows children to access the internet, find out what guidelines or filtering software they have in place for safe surfing.
What should you be wary of?
- Activities where parents are discouraged from staying to watch or becoming involved.
- Behaviour or activities that encourage rough play, sexual innuendo or humiliating punishments.
- Individuals who take charge and operate independently of organisational guidelines.
- Individuals who show favouritism or personally rewards specific children.
- Encouragement of inappropriate physical contact.
- Poor communication and lack of parental involvement, leaving you feel uneasy.
- Children who drop out or stop going for no apparent reason.
- Invitations for children to spend time alone with staff or volunteers (or even visit their homes).