Safeguarding Policy.

1.Introduction

‘We all share a responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people, whether as a parent, or family member, a friend or neighbour, an employer or as a paid or volunteer worker. All members of the community can help to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people and should do so if they have any concerns about a child’s welfare’, Safeguarding Children: Working Together under the Children Act 2004.

2.Overview

Safeguarding is pivotal to what we do and fundamental to our success in providing first class teaching and support to all individuals through Acti-Fit’s services to children. 

Acti-Fit is strongly committed to practices that protect children, young people and adults at risk from abuse, neglect, significant harm or radicalisation

The purpose of this policy is to set out Acti-Fit’s approach to safeguarding children.   It applies to everyone working for Acti-Fit or acting on their behalf and provides the framework to help us safeguard our key stakeholders with commitment and confidence.

Acti-Fit is committed to working with existing local safeguarding partners, health and social care partnerships, police, and the Channel Programme to ensure the safeguarding of its students.

This policy has been developed in accordance with the Department for Education’s statutory guidance:

  • Keeping Children Safe in Education (2020)and
  • Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018), and the Governance Handbook.

3. The statutory Framework and Legislative Duties

In order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, Acti-Fit will act in accordance with the following legislation and guidance:

  • The Children Act 1989
  • The Children Act 2004 – Education and Schools*
  • The Education Act 2002 (section 175/157)
  • Local Authority Safeguarding Partners
  • The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005
  • Dealing with Allegations of Abuse Against Teachers and Other Staff (DfE 2011)
  • Children and Social Work Act 2017

*All people working in education and schools contribute to the safeguarding and promoting of children’s welfare.  All schools and other educational institutions have a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.   Consequently, staff in these establishments play an important part in safeguarding children from abuse and neglect by early identification of children who may be vulnerable or at risk of harm and by educating children, about managing risks and improving their resilience through the curriculum.   All schools and educational institutions should create and maintain a safe environment for children and young people and should be able to manage situations where there are child welfare concerns.

4. Definitions

Safeguarding Children

In relation to children and young people, Acti-Fit adopts the definition used in The Children Act 2004, Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 and the Department of Education (DfE) guidance document:  Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 which defines safeguarding and promoting children and young people’s welfare as:

  • Protecting children from maltreatment
  • Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

5. Our Ethos

At Acti-Fit we promote and encourage pupils to respect the fundamental British Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.  Acti-fit ensures that partisan political views are not promoted in the teaching of any subject within our provision, and where political issues are brought to the attention of the pupils; reasonably practicable steps are taken to offer a balanced presentation of opposing views to pupils.   At Acti-Fit diversity is promoted through pupils being encouraged to accept another person’s point of view (we agree to disagree) and everyone has the right to their own opinion

6. Our Approach to Safeguarding

Our approach to safeguarding is driven by a number of principles which are informed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, The Governments Prevent Duty Guidance, relevant legislation and guidance, and by Acti-Fit’s values and understanding of best practice and in line with our core principles:

Principle 1 All children and adults considered to be at risk have a right to protection from harm and abuse, regardless of age, ability, gender, racial heritage, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, identity or additional vulnerabilities

Principle 2 The best interests of the child are paramount in all considerations about their welfare and protection, including when to maintain confidentiality and when to share information about them

Principle 3 Children have the right to participate in decisions about their lives.  Their views, wishes, feelings and experiences are evident in our work with them.

Principle 4 Concerns or allegations that Acti-Fit Staff or anyone acting on our behalf, have abused or neglected a child or adult will be managed sensitively and fairly in accordance with these policies, relevant legislation and local procedures

Principle 5 Working together with children, their parents/carers and other agencies is essential to promoting children’s welfare/wellbeing and ensuring their protection.  In some limited circumstances, it will not be appropriate to engage with parents/carers to protect the child.

Principle 6 As part of working together we expect professionals to act on our concerns, and we will escalate our concerns in our efforts to be satisfied that the child has been protected, taking a stand in cases where we consider the protection of the child has not been taken seriously either within Acti-Fit or those investigating child protection.

Principle 7 Acti-Fit staff should understand what radicalisation means and why people may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism as a consequence of it.  Know what measures are available to prevent and protect people from being drawn into it.

7. Our safeguarding foundations

7.1 Safe recruitment: We apply a fair and consistent approach to recruitment to attract and recruit the best people.  We have a robust value-based recruitment process to minimise the risk of engaging anyone who may pose a risk to children and vulnerable adults.

7.2 DBS Checks

Portability

Portability refers to the re-use of a DBS disclosure, obtained for a position in one organisation and later used for a position in a new organisation.   Acti-Fit will exercise its discretion to accept such DBS disclosures on a case by case and risk assessed basis – for example, in conjunction with other evidence presented, pending when the results of the DBS was obtained

7.3 Validity of DBS Disclosures

There is no period of validity for a DBS disclosure.  Technically, it is out of date on the day that it is issued as a new or further criminal conviction, caution, etc, may be recorded against an individual at any time after the issue date.  Acti-Fit requires and enhanced DBS check that is less than 3 years old and applies for new staff DBS disclosures on recruiting a new member of staff

In addition, Acti-Fit requires all staff to make an annual declaration of their suitability to work with under 18 year olds, and service providers to provide written evidence that their staff have undergone satisfactory DBS disclosure within the last 3 years.

7.4 Usage and storage of DBS disclosure information

Acti-Fit complies fully with the DBS Code of Practice regarding the correct handling, use, storage, retention and disposal of DBS disclosures and disclosure information.  DBS disclosure information is passed only to those who are authorised to receive it in the course of their duties, i.e., those whose jobs deem it essential.  Information disclosed as part of a DBS check will be treated as confidential.  It is an offence for information in a disclosure to be passed to anyone who does not need it in the course of his/her duties.

Acti-Fit maintains a record of those to whom disclosures or disclosure information has been revealed.  The photocopying of any DBS Disclosure is strictly forbidden by the DBS.  Acti-Fit will keep a record of the date of issue of a disclosure, the name of the subject, the type requested, the reason for which it has been requested, the unique reference number and the details of the recruitment decision taken.

7.5 Effective policies procedures and practices: We have a suite of robust policies and procedures which we require all our staff and those working on our behalf to read and understand.  These are listed at the bottom of this document

7.6 Competent and confident workforce: We provide mandatory safeguarding induction and training as well as annual refresher courses.  These incorporate all relevant professional regulatory requirements.

7.7 Actively managing safeguarding risk: We practice regular risk assessments and react swiftly to any concerns.  Escalating our robust safeguarding procedures when required

7.8 Culture and values: Safeguarding is at the heart of our culture and work with young people.  Our culture supports, enables and mandates our approach to safeguarding – embodying our business and what we stand for.

8. Prevent Duty

The Government published the Prevent Strategy in 2010, to raise an awareness of the specific need to safeguard children, young people and families from violent extremism.

Extremist groups attempt to radicalise vulnerable children and young people to hold extreme views including views justifying political, religious, sexist or racist violence, or to steer them into a rigid and narrow ideology that is intolerant of diversity and leaves them vulnerable to future radicalisation.

Prevent is about safeguarding our pupils to keep them both safe and within the law.  The Prevent Duty is not about preventing pupils from having political and religious views and concerns, but it is about supporting them to use those views and concerns or act on them, in non-extremist ways.

The Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty on certain bodies to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’

Responding to suspicions of Radicalisation and Extremism

We are alert to changes in a pupil’s behaviour or attitude which could indicate that they need help or protection:

1.When any colleague has concerns that a pupil may be at risk of radicalisation or involvement in terrorism, they should speak with the Designated Safeguarding Lead/Head of Safeguarding for investigation and action

2.Disclosure records are held by the DSL/Head of Safeguarding and stored on a secure server

3.Colleagues take care not to influence the outcome either through the way they speak to or question children at risk

4.We will continue to welcome the pupil whilst investigations are being made.  The pupil may choose to withdraw from learning activities whilst investigations take place.

5.All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared under the guidance of the Local BIS Prevent Coordinator.

Please refer to Acti-Fit’s Prevent Duty Policy and Procedures and its associated appendices for more information

9. Designated Safeguarding Lead Role

The DSL takes the lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection (including online safety). The DSL or a deputy should always be available to discuss safeguarding concerns.   If in exceptional circumstances, the DSL and a deputy is not available, this should not delay appropriate action being taken.   You should inform a member of the senior leadership team and/or take advice from local children’s services.   In these circumstances, any action taken should be recorded and shared with the DSL or deputy as soon as is practically possible.

The DSL is responsible for:

1. referral of suspected cases of abuse to the Local Authority Children’s Social Care

2. Making sure children, young people, parents and carers know who they can talk to if they have a welfare concern and understand what action Acti-Fit will take in response

3. Receiving and recording information from anyone who has concerns about a child

4. Taking the lead on responding to information they may constitute a safeguarding concern, including a concern that an adult involved with Acti-Fit may present a risk to children

This includes:

A)Assessing and clarifying the information

B) Making referrals to statutory organisations

C) Consulting with and informing the relevant members of Acti-Fit’s Management

D) Following Acti-Fit’s Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

5. Liaise with, pass on information to and receive information from statutory safeguarding agencies such as:

            A) The Local Authority Safeguarding Board

            B) The Police – this includes making formal referrals to agencies where necessary

6. If the concern relates to a child or young person, consult the NSPCC Helpline when support is needed by calling 0808 800 5000 or emailing help@nspcc.org.uk

7. Store and retain safeguarding records according to legal requirements and Acti-Fit’s safeguarding policy and procedures

8. Work closely with management and the Head of Safeguarding to ensure they are kept up to date with safeguarding issues and are fully informed of any concerns about organisational safeguarding practice

9. Report and document regularly to the management board on issues relating to safeguarding, to ensure that safeguarding is seen as an ongoing priority issue and that safeguarding requirements are being followed at all levels of the company

10. Be familiar with and work within inter-agency safeguarding procedures developed by local safeguarding agencies

11. Be familiar with issues relating to safeguarding, child protection and abuse, and keep up to date with new developments in this area

12. Subscribe to the NSPCC’s weekly email “CASPAR” to keep up to date with developments in child protection policy, research, practice and guidance.   https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/newsletter/caspar/

13. Attend regular training in issues relevant to safeguarding and share knowledge from that training with everyone who works with children

10. The Role of the DSL for Looked After Children

The most common reason for children being “Looked After” is as a result of abuse or neglect.  The Head of Safeguarding will ensure that staff have the skills, knowledge to keep “Looked After” children safe.    A previously “looked After” child potentially remains vulnerable, and all staff should have the skills, knowledge and understanding to keep previously looked after children safe

The DSL will have details of the child’s social worker and the name of the child’s permanent School’s Head Teacher.

Acti-Fit promotes the educational achievement of children who are looked after or previously looked after and ensures that staff have the appropriate training

11. Alternative Provision Safety

The Board of Directors are responsible and accountable for ensuring the safety of Acti-Fit’s Alternative Provision.   Along with the Head of Safeguarding they are responsible for ensuring there are appropriate policies and procedures in place, in order for appropriate action to be taken in a timely manner to safeguard and promote children’s welfare.

This includes:

1. An effective Child Protection, Safeguarding and Prevent Policy

2. A staff Safeguarding Code of Conduct

3. Appropriate safeguarding responses to children who go missing from education, particularly on repeat occasions, to help identify the risk of abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse or exploitation, and to help prevent the risk of them going missing again in the future

4. The Board of Directors and Head of Safeguarding will ensure that Acti-Fit contributes to inter-agency working in line with statutory guidance “Working Together To Safeguard Children 2018”   Acti-Fit will work with social care, the police, health services and other services to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.  This includes providing a co-ordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified and contributing to inter-agency plans to provide additional support to children subject to child protection plans

12. Safe Recruitment

Acti-Fit pays full regard to ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (September 2019) and our safer recruitment practice includes scrutinising applicants, verifying identity and academic or vocational qualifications, obtaining professional and character references, checking previous employment history and ensuring that a candidate has the health and physical capacity for the job.   It also includes undertaking interviews and appropriate checks through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and other checks as detailed in Keeping Children Safe in Education Sept 2019, and subsequent recording on our Single Central Register.

All recruitment materials include reference to Acti-Fit’s commitment to safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of pupils.   All staff/volunteers’ interviews incorporate ‘value based interviewing techniques’ and explore candidate’s commitment, understanding and knowledge of safeguarding children and young people.

13. Whistleblowing

Acti-Fit has a detailed and robust Whistleblowing Policy which provides guidance to staff and volunteers on how to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practices and potential failures in the delivery of our provision’s safeguarding regime.  Concerns are taken seriously be the Senior Management Team.

Where a staff member feels unable to raise an issue or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels are open to them

The NSPCC Whistleblowing helpline is available for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally.   They can call 0800 028 0285 – available from 0800 hours to 2000 hours Monday to Friday.  Email help@nspcc.org.uk  or https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/report-abuse/dedicated-helplines/whistleblowing-advice-line

Alternatively:-

The Independent Charity: Protect, Speak up, Stop Harm; is a Free, Confidential Whistleblowing Advice Line, who gives free confidential advice

Their contact details are:

Protect, Speak Up, Stop Harm

The Green House

244-254 Cambridge Heath Road

London, EC2 9DA

https://www.pcaw.org.uk/

Protect Advice Line: 020 3117 2520 (*option 1)

Business Support Line: 020 3117 2520 (*option 2)

Protect Advice Line: whistle@protect-advice.org.uk

Media Enquiries: press@protect-advice.org.uk

Business Support Services: business@protect-advice.org.uk

The office is open, and the helpline is staffed from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. There is an answering machine out of hours. If you need to speak to them outside office hours, leave your contact details and they will arrange a convenient time to contact you

14. Training

Acti-Fit ensures that all staff hold appropriate qualifications in Safeguarding Children and Young people and ensure that all staff and volunteers receive level 1 Safeguarding Children and Young People training at least every year delivered by outsourced trainers.  Staff training is not only crucial in protecting children and young people, but also makes them aware of how they can protect themselves against allegations.   In addition, all staff members receive regular safeguarding and child protection updates (e.g., via email, e-bulletins and staff meetings)

15. Curriculum

Acti-Fit’s curriculum includes teaching and learning opportunities for children to learn how to keep themselves safe including online, as a part of a broad and balanced curriculum.   This includes relevant issues such as

British Values

PSHCE – Personal, social, health and citizenship education

SRE – Sex and relationships education

SEAL – Social and Emotional aspects of Learning

SMSC – Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural

Providing opportunities for pupils to develop skills, concepts, attitudes and knowledge that promotes their safety and well-being.  

Relevant issues will be addressed through the PHSCE curriculum, for example, self-esteem, emotional literacy, assertiveness, power, exploitation, sex and relationship education, consent, e-safety, British Values, bullying and sexting.   Issues are addressed through other areas of the curriculum, for example, Functional skills and tutorials.  These include covering issues through Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education delivered through personal, social and health education.

Our safeguarding policy underpins our Values and Behaviours and the general ethos of the provision, which should ensure that pupils are treated with respect and dignity, taught to treat each other with respect, feel safe, have a voice and are listened to.

Acti-Fit’s Senior Management Team:

Managing Director:        Ellis Bailey                     ellis.bailey@acti-fit.net

Executive Director:        Alex White                    alex.white@acti-fit.net

Head of Safeguarding:   Deborah Chandos-Hall   debs.chandoshall@acti-fit.net