Safeguarding – are we doing it right?

Safeguarding review

When I am training on safeguarding I often get asked by organisations:

‘How can we check what we’re doing is okay… can we carry out some kind of audit?’

There are many audit tools available but a very simple way to check out what you want doing might be to use some learning from the NSPCC.

The NSPCC have produced a briefing identifying learning from Serious Case Reviews.  This can be found here.

Although the information in this was drawn from serious case reviews involving early years settings, I could see that the information and the suggestions would be really useful for anybody involved in safeguarding.

Some key points/suggestions from my reading of this:

  • Organisations need to have appropriate safeguarding policies and procedures in place, so people know what they need to do with any concerns
  • Organisations need to make sure that staff and volunteers can recognise and identify indicators of child abuse – or indeed abuse of adults at risk – and that if someone is concerned it is very clear who they report to.

Those of you who have been on training with me will know how I often advocate the use of a flowchart – a simple way to make sure that staff or volunteers can see visually what they should do if they are concerned.

The report picks up the theme of professional curiosity – finding out a bit more about children’s home environment and the experience outside the setting.  Again, this is something many of you will have heard me talk about before – think round the situation a bit and ask yourself questions like…what if?...What about?

  • The importance of training and regular supervision is highlighted.  One of my recent blogs found here highlights good practice round safeguarding training.  However busy you are, supervision is key and time must be allowed to discuss safeguarding issues.

The final theme is information sharing information – both in a setting and between agencies.  It includes some really good learning about what to do if concerns which have been escalated are not picked up. 

So I would really recommend taking a few moments to read this report and using it as a tool to audit your practice.  As always, I am happy to help in any way I can. 

A useful resource

My regular clients know that I’m always on the lookout for useful resources. I was recently on the Social Care Institute for Excellence website (www.scie.org.uk) and they have worked with NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) to publish an excellent guide about good practice in safeguarding training. Although this is targeted at registered managers of care homes… I could seethe use for  for any client group I worked with I work with.

It talks about the role of the registered manager and different training opportunities for staff, including when eLearning might and might not be suitable.   There is an incredibly helpful section on what should be covered in mandatory training… this focuses on the adult sector but again could so easily be adapted for children -  it also gives examples of further training that could be useful.

If you’ve been on one of my training sessions, you’ll know that one of my key questions is always what are you going to do with this training? I was really pleased to see a section on impact. We can do all the training in the world but if it doesn’t change what we do and impact our practice the time is wasted.

Thinking about the impact of training can be quite straightforward – when I’m on Zoom I ask people to put in the chat one thing they going to do as a result of the training and write in their diary now. Face-to-face I may well ask them to write that on a post-it note and stick the post-it note somewhere it will be found in a week or so.. a useful reminder.   It can be a simple as chatting through with colleagues what you’ve learnt how this can be applied to the situation you’re in… Or it can be by spending time reflecting on the material sometime later.

So I would wholeheartedly recommend this resource to you and suggest anybody with responsibility for arranging safeguarding training has a look at it. It is free to download and can be found at: https://www.scie.org.uk/safeguarding/adults/practice/care-homes/training

As always if I can be of any help please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Updated Safeguarding Guidance

As the new term starts it’s a great opportunity to highlight that Keeping Children Safe in Education has been updated.  The new document can be found here.

This document not only makes ways of working clear, but it is always full of good advice and suggestions.  The NSPCC have published a really useful summary of changes which can be found here.

Based on support I’ve given clients over the last year or so with different issues I have pulled out a few key areas to highlight.

  • I’m sure we will all welcome the increased focus on online abuse with support for identifying this and managing it. With the possibility that more learning may move virtual again this winter due to Covid rates rising, this will no doubt be of increasing importance
  • Many of my client groups use school premises for their activities and - along with schools - I am sure they will welcome the clarity around safeguarding responsibilities. In practice most people work in the way suggested but it’s useful to have this written down.  Of course, even if you have your own safeguarding policy when you’re using somebody else’s premises you always need to be aware of their safeguarding policies as well as health and safety… and at the moment Covid risk assessments!
  • Over the last year I’ve seen  increased demand for my ‘managing allegations’ training, and have enjoyed delivering this to foster carers, social workers  and charities who work with young people and adults at risk. We talk about the legal processes that kick in when an allegation is made against somebody working with children or adults at risk. We think about the difference between an allegation complaint and concern, and the role of the local authority. Having an allegation made against you is very difficult and we talk about how to manage the situation to keep yourself and others in the process safe. With this level of demand for the training I was particularly pleased to see that the revised Keeping Children Safe in Education has a new section which deals with the slightly grey area of what to do when an allegation is made which does not make that meet the threshold for local authority involvement. I know I have recommended before as good practice that note should be kept,  but again it is good to see this written down .

I hope this quick taster would encourage you to have a look at the new publication and think about how the recommendations apply to your practice in whatever capacity you work with children or young people.

As always if I can be of any help please do let me know!

Final reminder: Don’t forget to check whether your safeguarding policy needs updating now!

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