Jill Webb and Ann Van Dyke working in partnership to support a local charity
Ann had been working with a local charity. Over the years the success of the charity meant that the work had grown, and different funding streams had been used to support this. The trustees were aware that they needed to get some of the paperwork and procedures up to date, but being knocked back for a funding bid due to the safeguarding policy needing updating was the catalyst for this work.
What did we do?
We worked with the organisation on both a strategic and operational level. The joint approach meant that the approaches ran simultaneously.
Ann worked with the trustees on the strategic level to facilitate ownership of any changes through the process. We support the agreement of a strategic direction for the charity and the principles of formalising operations, all with the aim of supporting long term sustainability. This included our adopting a business planning approach, structure for the charity trustees, and an organisational framework for employees.
Jill worked at an operational level and scoped the policies and procedures that a charity with the remit to work with children with additional needs should have. We then looked at the policies in place and reviewed these. We developed new policies and procedures as needed, to reflect the growth and development of the charity.
All this work was done virtually and in close collaboration with staff and trustees, to make sure that the policies were all workable for this charity and not ‘off the shelf’.
We spent a day with trustees and volunteers bringing together all of our findings and to support an immediate need around safeguarding as one of the high risk areas. We worked together to consider what safeguarding meant for this charity. We then worked separately with volunteers and trustees to look at their responsibilities around safeguarding.
The final piece of work was to support all staff and trustees to gain a Level 2 certificate in Safeguarding.
During the day we also presented ideas and recommendations for discussion, and agreed actions for the trustees and coordinator moving forwards.
What was the outcome?
The outcomes were:
- The charity now has a full set of policies and procedures fit for purpose and which reflects, formalises and protects the work of the charity
- All staff are trained in safeguarding
- The charity meets the requirements of the charity commission in relation to key policies and processes and particularly safeguarding
- The charity has an organisational structure fit for purpose which supports the distinct roles of trustees, employees and volunteers
- All trustees and staff felt heard and engaged in the review process
- Staff roles were reviewed and a new job description created for the coordinator
- A set of actions were created for the charity to continue the work and support sustainability moving forwards
What was the feedback?
“Ann and Jill brought objectivity and a fresh pair of eyes to a close knit charity which had been successfully run on good will, but needed formalising. They created structure, processes and extensive set of policies, all whilst bringing key personnel with them. They both made a serious and necessary process engaging, enlightening and fun! We are keen to maintain our relationship with both Ann and Jill and will commission both further safeguarding training as needed and business reviews annually” Sandy Lawrence CAAP Director
Reflections on a busy 2 weeks
With the business offering, I have, it is interesting that I seem to go through phases of training different topics. So, the last couple of weeks has certainly been First Aid time… and I am very grateful to a couple of fellow tutors who have helped me out so that we could put on some extra courses for a client. It has been great to meet those who work with children, adults and indeed in emergency situations. Some common themes have emerged across these courses, and I thought it would be useful to reflect on these.
One of the discussions as come up quite a lot is that things change and when considering First Aid how important it is to keep your knowledge up to date. Indeed, the same is true of many of the courses I run - particularly safeguarding.
On my First Aid courses, I talk about the work of the Resuscitation Council and suggest you regularly check for updates from there. I often say in my first aid courses that I hope that most of what you learn, you will not need to use… because you will not find yourself in a situation where – for example - someone stops breathing. However, if you do come across an emergency, it could be two years and six months after your certificate has been issued… so I would encourage anyone with a First Aid certificate to keep up to date. As well as the websites mentioned on the course, I also have a suite of videos you can use to review your learning on my YouTube channel, Jill Webb Training. I'm planning to add to these over the summer, so keep visiting it!
Another common theme that comes up - particularly for my clients that work in schools or early years settings – is that in an emergency there can be too many people around rather than too few… I really encourage settings to look at their emergency plan… have you thought so what would happen if there was an accident in one classroom or one room within your setting? How would you manage the children that are not directly involved how do you make sure that they are safely, looked after while caring for the casualty? We often have good discussions about this and I'm always happy to give advice.
Particularly when thinking about first aid for children. There are also good discussions around the role of the first aid for children and the role of the first aid for staff.
Someone really usefully explained this to me as - your Paediatric First Aid covers the requirement for children under OFSTED – your First Aid at Work covers the requirements under the Health and Safety Executive to have a safe work place. These decisions are, of course, based on your first aid risk assessment which looks at the number of First Aiders needed and the sort of First Aid equipment you should have. If I can be of any help with this, please
A final reminder – please make sure you book to renew your first aid certificate in plenty of time.
Enjoying working again with the Early Years sector
Regular readers of my blog will know - from my blogs and also social media - how much I enjoy the variety of my work. In the last few months, I have been ‘back to my roots’ working directly with a couple of early years settings, as well as with two Early Years Teams in Local Authorities. We have undertaken different sorts of work including work with staff on boundaries and how to work effectively with parents. The Working with Parents certification has been useful in this work.
With Early Years Teams we have been focussing on the need for the importance of those early years to be recognised at all levels in the Local Authority.
A couple of reports have helped with this work.
The first is: ‘Casting Long Shadows’. This is a follow-on report looking at the impact of the pandemic on children and families. Some of the areas which really struck me were the references to:
- Increased parental mental health problems
- Increased risk of harm and abuse to young children
- Reduced social networks for parents and children
- Increased numbers of children living in poverty
- Impact on communication skills.
It was sobering to see how this report reflected the experiences within the two local authorities which I have been working with.
At about the same time, a useful update came out from Ofsted. This reiterates the importance of early years and the importance of high-quality early years education.
‘A high-quality early years education is vitally important. Children attend early years provision at a crucial developmental point in their lives. The education and care that they receive affects not only future educational attainment but also their future health and happiness.’
This report is one of a series of subject-based curriculum research reviews whose aim is support early years practitioners to raise the quality of early years education.
This review considers:
- The early years context for children aged from birth to 4 years
- Staffing in the early years sector
- The principles behind the early years research review series
- Early years curriculum and pedagogy.
If you have not read it yet, I would commend it to you. Alongside theory there are practical ideas and examples of ‘what works’.
In summary I am reminded of the words of Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order: ‘Give me a child until he is 7, and I will give you the adult.’