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Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards' Procedures Manual

Organisational Roles and Responsibilities

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This chapter outlines the roles and responsibilities of individual partner agencies and of the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards and their staff.

AMENDMENT

In July 2017, Section 12, Early Years and Childcare, was updated to reflect the safeguarding requirements placed on Early Years and Childcare Providers in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and the Ofsted Inspection Framework for Early Years.

Please Note: Working Together to Safeguard Children – Following publication in July of the revised statutory guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018), the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards’ Procedures will be reviewed by local partner agencies, and updated as required to reflect the new guidance. In the meantime these procedures continue to reflect practice locally and must be followed when responding to safeguarding concerns about a child. Under the Children and Social Work Act 2017, Serious Case Reviews will be replaced by new national and local arrangements for reviewing serious cases. LSCBs must continue to carry out all their statutory functions, including commissioning SCRs, until the point at which safeguarding partner arrangements begin to operate in a local area.

This chapter is currently under review.

Contents

  1. Adult Mental Health
  2. Adult Social Care
  3. Ambulance Services
  4. Armed Services
    1. Movement of Children Between the United Kingdom and Overseas
    2. United States Forces Stationed in the United Kingdom
    3. Enquiries about Children of Ex-service Families
  5. British Transport Police
  6. Children's Social Care
  7. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
  8. Public Health 0-19 Nursing Services, including Health Visitors and School Nursing Teams
  9. Multi Agency Teams
  10. Dentists
  11. Drug and Alcohol Services
  12. Early Years and Childcare
  13. Education
  14. Faith Communities
  15. General Practitioners
  16. Hospital Staff
  17. Housing Services
  18. Derbyshire Health United - GP Out of Hours Service and NHS 111
  19. Other Health Professionals
  20. Police
  21. National Probation Service / Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs)
  22. Sport, Culture and Leisure
  23. Fire and Rescue Service
  24. Voluntary and Private Sector
  25. Youth Offending Service

1. Adult Mental Health

Adult Mental Health Services, including forensic, psychotherapy, alcohol and substance misuse, learning disability and old age psychiatry services, have a responsibility for safeguarding children when they become aware of a child at risk of harm. This may be as a result of a service's direct work with those who may have mental health issues, (such as a parent, a parent-to-be, or a non-related abuser), or in response to a request for the assessment of an adult perceived to represent a potential or actual risk to a child or young person. Staff working in Adult Mental Health Services need to be especially aware of the risk of NeglectEmotional Abuse and domestic abuse.

Adult Mental Health Practitioners should follow the Safeguarding Children procedures laid down for their services within their area. Consultation, supervision and training resources should be available and accessible in each service. Staff should ensure that they complete the mandatory training on safe guarding children provided by their trust.

To safeguard children of patients, Mental Health Practitioners should routinely record details of patients' responsibilities in relation to children. Practitioners should, in all aspects of their work, consider the support needs of patients who are parents and of their children using the Think Family Approach. A holistic assessment of the family's needs should be completed and a family care/action plan developed.

Close collaboration and liaison between Adult Mental Health Services and Children's Social Care are essential in the interests of children. This may require sharing information to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children or to protect a child from Significant Harm.

If there is to be a Child Protection Conference where a parent or carer is a patient of the Adult Mental Health Team, the relevant professional will be invited to attend and is urged to attend if at all possible. If they are unable to attend, then another team member could represent. It is essential that a report should be provided in advance to the conference chair which will be made available for other professionals attending. If attendance is not possible the report should be made available outlining involvement and clinical findings and shared with the parents prior to the conference.

There is a duty on hospital managers to ensure that, if a child or a young person is admitted to hospital for mental health treatment, the environment in the hospital is suitable having regard to their age. Managers of adult services must consult with an appropriate person in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in decisions about accommodation, care and facilities for education of a child or young person who is in hospital.

Further advice and guidance is available from the relevant Named Nurse/Doctor for safeguarding.

2. Adult Social Care

Local authorities provide services to adults who are responsible for children who may be in need. These services are subject to duties set out in Section 11 of the Children Act 2004. When staff are providing services to adults they should ask whether there are children in the family and consider whether the children need help or protection from harm. Children may be at greater risk of harm or be in need of additional help in families where the adults have mental health problems, misuse substances or alcohol, are in a violent relationship or have complex needs or have learning difficulties.

Adults with parental responsibilities for disabled children have a right to a separate parent carer's needs assessment under Section 17ZD of the Children Act 1989. Adults that do not have Parental Responsibility, but are caring for a disabled child, are entitled to an assessment on their ability to provide, or to continue to provide, care for that disabled child under the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995. That assessment must also consider whether the carer works or wishes to work, or whether they wish to engage in any education, training or recreation activities.

Adult social care services should liaise with children's social care services to ensure that there is a joined-up approach when carrying out such assessments.

3. Ambulance Services

Staff working in Ambulance Trusts will have access to family homes and be involved with individuals in a time of crisis. They may therefore be in position to identify initial concerns regarding a child's welfare and should know how to alert Children's Social Care, the GP or other appropriate health professional in line with local procedures. Ambulance Trusts should have a named professional for safeguarding children and all staff should be aware of local procedures and be appropriately trained.

4. Armed Services

Young people under 18 may be in the armed services as recruits or trainees or may be dependants of a service family. The life of a service family differs in many respects from that of a family in civilian life, particularly for those stationed overseas, or on bases and garrisons in the UK. The services support the movement of the family in response to service commitments. The frequency and location of such moves make it essential that the service authorities are aware of any concerns regarding Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of a Child from a military family.

The armed services are fully committed to co-operating with statutory and other agencies in supporting families in this situation and have procedures to help safeguard and promote the welfare of children. In areas of high concentration of service families the armed services seek particularly to work alongside local authority children's social care, including through representation on Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB) and at Child Protection Conferences and reviews.

Looking after under-18s in the armed services comes under the MoD's comprehensive welfare arrangements which apply to all members of the armed services. Commanding Officers are well aware of the particular welfare needs of younger recruits and trainees and, as stated above, are fully committed to co-operating with statutory and other agencies in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of under-18s. Children's Social Care already has a responsibility to monitor the wellbeing of care leavers and those joining the armed services should have unrestricted access to local authority social care workers.

Local authorities have the statutory responsibility for Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of the Children of service families in the UK. All three services provide professional welfare support, including 'special to type' social work services to augment those provided by local authorities. In the Royal Navy (RN) this is provided by the Naval Personal and Family Service (NPFS) and the Royal Marines Welfare Service; within the army this is provided by the Army Welfare Service (AWS); in the Royal Air Force by the Soldiers Sailors Airmen and Families Association - Forces Help (SSAFA-FH).

When service families or civilians working with the armed services are based overseas, the responsibility for Safeguarding and Promoting the Welfare of their Children is vested with the MoD, which funds the British Forces Social Work Service (Overseas). This service is contracted to the SSAFA-FH who provide a fully qualified Social Work and Community Health service in major overseas locations (for example in Germany and Cyprus). Instructions for the protection of children overseas, which reflect the principles of the Children Act 2004 and the philosophy of inter-agency cooperation, are issued by the MoD as a Joint Service Publication (JSP) 834 Safeguarding Children. Larger overseas commands issue local child protection procedures, hold a Command list of children who are the subject of a Child Protection Plan and have a Command Safeguarding Children Board which operates in a similar way to those set up under this guidance, in upholding standards and making sure that best practice is reflected in procedures and observed in practice.

4.1 Movement of Children Between the United Kingdom and Overseas

Local authorities should ensure that SSAFA-FH, the British Forces Social Work Service (Overseas), or the NPFS for RN families are made aware of any service child who is the subject of a Child Protection Plan and whose family is about to move overseas. In the interests of the child, SSAFA-FH, the British Forces Social Work Service (Overseas) or NPFS can confirm that appropriate resources exist in the proposed location to meet identified needs. Full documentation should be provided and forwarded to the relevant overseas command. All referrals should be made to the Director of Social Work, HQ SSAFA-FH or Area Officer, NPFS (East) as appropriate. Comprehensive reciprocal arrangements exist for the referral of child protection cases to appropriate UK authorities relating to the temporary or permanent relocation of such children to the UK from overseas.

4.2 United States Forces Stationed in the United Kingdom

Each local authority with a United States (US) base in its area should establish liaison arrangements with the base commander and relevant staff. The requirements of English child welfare legislation should be explained clearly to the US authorities so that local authorities can fulfil their statutory duties.

4.3 Enquiries about Children of Ex-service Families

Where a local authority believes that a child who is the subject of current Child Protection Processes is from an ex-service family, NPFS, AWS or SSAFA-FH can be contacted to establish whether there is existing information that might help with enquiries. Such enquiries should be addressed to Navy Personal and Family Service (NPFS)Army Welfare Service (AWS) or the Director of Social Work, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA-FH) Forces Help.

5. British Transport Police

The British Transport Police (BTP) is subject to duties set out in Section 11 of the Children Act 2004. In its role as the national police for the railways, the BTP can play an important role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, especially in identifying and supporting children who have run away or who are truanting from school.

The BTP should carry out its duties in accordance with its legislative powers. This includes removing a child to a suitable place using their Police Protection powers under the Children Act 1989 and the protection of children who are truanting from school using powers under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. This involves, for example, the appointment of a designated independent officer in the instance of a child taken into police protection.

6. Children's Social Care

Local authorities have specific duties in respect of children under the Children Acts 1989 and 2004. They have a general duty to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children in need in their area and, provided that this is consistent with the child's safety and welfare, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families through providing services appropriate to the child's needs. They should do this in partnership with parents in a way that is sensitive to the child's race, religion, culture and language and that takes account of the child's wishes and feelings.

Within Derbyshire County Council Children's Services (DCCCS) and Derby Children & Young People Department (CYPD), Children's Social Care staff act as the principal point of contact for children about whom there are welfare concerns and Multi-Agency teams for children who have emerging needs. They may be contacted directly by children, parents or family members seeking help, by concerned friends and neighbours or by professionals and others from statutory and voluntary organisations. Contact details need to be clearly signposted on the local authority and LSCB websites, as well as in a range of materials.

DCCCS and CYPD, with the help of other organisations as appropriate, also have a duty to make enquiries if they have reason to suspect that a child in Derby or Derbyshire is suffering, or is likely to suffer, Significant Harm, to enable them to decide whether they should take any action to safeguard and promote the child's welfare.

Staff in DCCCS and CYPD should follow these procedures and also refer to internal procedures for guidance.

7. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

Standard 9 of the National Service Framework is devoted to the Mental Health and Psychological Well-being of Children and Young People. The importance of effective partnership working is emphasised and this is especially applicable to children who have mental health problems as a result of abuse and/or neglect.

In the course of their work, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Professionals will therefore want to identify, as part of assessment and care planning, whether child abuse, neglect or domestic abuse are factors in a child's mental health problems and to ensure this is addressed appropriately in their treatment and care. If they think a child is currently affected they should follow the Child Protection Procedures laid down for their services within their area.

Consultation, supervision and training resources should be available and accessible in each service.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Professionals have a role in the Early Help Assessment and Single Assessment processes in circumstances where their specific skills and knowledge are helpful. Examples include; children and young people with severe behavioural and emotional disturbance, eating disorders or self-harming behaviour, families where there is a perceived high risk of danger, very young children, or where the abused child or abuser has severe communication problems, where the parent or carer fabricate or induce illness and where multiple victims are involved. The role of CAMHS professionals includes providing reports and attending meetings i.e. Child Protection Conferences.

In addition, assessment and treatment services may need to be provided to young people with mental health problems who offend. The assessment of children with significant learning difficulties, a disability or sensory and communication difficulties, may require the expertise of a specialist learning disability or child and adolescent mental health service.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services also have a role in the provision of a range of psychiatric and psychological assessment and treatment services for children and families. Services that may be provided, in liaison with social services, include the provision of reports for Court and direct work with children, parents and families. Services may be provided either within general or specialist multidisciplinary teams depending upon the severity and complexity of the problem.

In addition, consultation and training may be offered to services in the community including, for example social services, schools, primary health care teams, and nurseries.

8. Public Health 0-19 Nursing Services, including Health Visitors and School Nursing Teams

When Public Health – health visiting and school nurses services -have concerns giving rise to suspicion of abuse they will:

  • Take appropriate action to ensure the safety of the child and siblings in the household;
  • Discuss concerns with their line manager, named or designated nurse or child protection supervisor;
  • In the case of a school nurse employed by the school all concerns must be discussed with the Head Teacher or Designated Safeguarding Lead for the school. The school nurse should also inform their line manager, named nurse or child protection supervisor;
  • The Health Visitor or School Health Team Nurse remains accountable to follow up a referral or a concern even when it has been shared with their Line Manager, Head teacher or Safeguarding Lead;
  • Establish whether an Early Help Assessment has been completed and if there is a team around the family;
  • Establish whether the child or siblings is subject to a Child Protection Plan;
  • If appropriate make referral to Children's Social Care. A verbal referral may be made in the first instance, but this must always be followed up in writing/electronically within 48 hours. In Derby referrals should be followed up using the Child Referral Form (Derby Child Referral Form to Children's Social Care (see Documents Library, Report Forms and Templates)). In Derbyshire, the online Starting Point Referral Form should be used;
  • The Children's Social Care should respond in writing within 24 hours of receiving your written/electronic referral. If there is no response within 3 days, the referrer should contact them again;
  • Work in partnership with families and be open with parents and carers re the need for referral and where possible obtain parental consent for referral to Children's Social Care unless this would place the child at increased risk of abuse. The interests of the child are paramount and initiating child protection procedures should not be prevented by failure to obtain consent;
  • A joint visit may be necessary. The visit should be pre planned, structured with mutually agreed actions / outcomes. This should be conducted prior to arrival at the client's address;
  • If appropriate, arrangements should be made to have the child medically examined by a Paediatrician. This should be arranged by the Social Worker. In exceptional circumstances it may be necessary for the community Health Visitor or School Nurse to organise such a medical. In such cases advice should be sought from a Named Professional and if required a Designated Professional;
  • Ensure that a comprehensive detailed entry has been made on all relevant child health records within 24 hours of the incident. Detail/illustrate any wounds/marks/bruises including shape, size, colour on a body map. When case notes are not available, a contemporaneous record must be made and added to the records at the earliest opportunity;
  • The entries must also include details of all discussions, decisions, actions agreed and responsibility for carrying out the actions;
  • Attend Strategy Meeting and Child Protection Conference with prepared detailed report of professional involvement and the findings of the reported incident;
  • Ensure GP is informed of all actions in respect of the incident.

The Designated Nurse/Named Nurse for the area can be contacted for advice and support at any point in the process.

9. Multi Agency Teams

Children, young people and their families experience a range of needs at different times in their lives. However, while all children and young people require access to high-quality universal services, some of them also benefit from targeted support to address additional emerging needs which may relate to education, health, social welfare or other issues.

The Multi-Agency Team will work with children, young people and families where there is an emerging need. The team will proactively work to intervene early and take preventative approaches to potential concerns locally.

Each team will have members employed by the Local Authority and members who will be from partner agencies that operate as part of a wider community of services. Staff from the following groups will work closely as part of a team in the local community:

  • Family Resource Workers;
  • Youth Workers;
  • Children's Centre Co-ordinators and Children's Centre staff;
  • Education Welfare Officers;
  • Connexions Targeted Personal Advisors;
  • School Nurses;
  • Safer Neighbourhood Teams;
  • Members of the Voluntary and Community sector;
  • Health Visitors;
  • Schools.

Managing requests for support and raising concerns

The MAT will receive requests for support and have concerns raised about individual children, young people and families from many sources, including:

  • Self referral by a young person, parent or carer;
  • Notification of a concern or a request for support from a partner agency or specialist service, such as a school, Starting Point or local Job Centre Plus.

Following a request for support and, if after an assessment, concerns exist that may indicate that the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, all practitioners should make an immediate referral into Children's Social Care via Starting Point in Derbyshire or the First Contact Team in Derby.

10. Dentists

Where a child appears to be the subject of suspected harm it is the duty of the Dental Practitioner to:

  • Provide essential emergency treatment and arrange further treatment as indicated;
  • Make careful notes and appropriate diagrams of suspicious or actual lesion;
  • Be honest with parents and carers about the concern and the need for investigation.

Where possible obtain parental consent for referral to Children's Social Care unless this would place the child at increased risk of abuse.

The interests of the child are paramount and initiating safeguarding procedures is not conditional on obtaining consent.

  • Refer the matter by telephone immediately to Children's Social Care (or the Emergency Duty Team if out of hours);
  • Verbal referrals must be confirmed in writing within 48 hours. In Derby referrals should be followed up using the Child Referral Form (Derby Child Referral Form to Children's Social Care (see Documents Library, Referral Forms and Templates)). In Derbyshire, the online Starting Point Referral Form should be used.

If there is a difference of opinion a recorded discussion must take place between the persons holding the different views. This should be discussed with the Designated/Named Doctor or Consultant on call for safeguarding.

Record all discussions, decisions, actions agreed and responsibilities for carrying out those actions. Date and time any entries made.

11. Drug and Alcohol Services

Substance misuse services are provided by health and voluntary organisations and respond to the needs of any individual misusing drugs (including new psychoactive substances) or alcohol. Professionals working in these organisations need to be able to recognise, assess risk and provide interventions for the following:

  • Children and young adults who misuse substances, and/or are suffering harm due to parental or familial substance misuse (including unborn babies);
  • Adults who are using substances problematically;
  • Support for others, including parents and carers, affected by someone else's substance misuse.

Where children may be suffering Significant Harm because of their own substance misuse, and/or where parental substance misuse may be causing such harm, referrals need to be made to the appropriate substance misuse service in accordance with Making a Referral to Social Care. Where children are not suffering significant harm, referral arrangements also need to be in place to enable children's broader needs to be assessed and responded to by children's services. Consideration also needs to be given to young people who use substances and also have mental health issues.

Where parents are using substances referrals can be made to the adult substance misuse service.

Further information can be found in Supporting Information for the Development of Joint Local Protocols between Drug and Alcohol Partnerships, Children and Family Services (NTA, 2011) (now archived).

12. Early Years and Childcare

Early years and childcare services (children's centres, nurseries, childminders, preschools, playgroups, holiday and out-of-school schemes) all play an important part in the lives of large numbers of children. Many childcare providers have considerable experience of working with families where a child needs to be safeguarded from harm and many local authorities provide, commission or sponsor specific services, including childminders, to work with Children in Need and their families.

All early years and childcare providers, regardless of type, size or funding of the setting, must:

  • Take necessary steps to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children;
  • Promote the good health of children, take necessary steps to prevent the spread of infection and take appropriate action when they are ill;
  • Manage children's behaviour effectively and in a manner appropriately for their stage of development and particular individual needs; and
  • Ensure that adults looking after children, or having unsupervised access to them, are suitable to do so.

These general welfare requirements are set out in detail in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Section 3 The Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements.

It is expected that every person working in the Early Years and Childcare Sector should have an up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding children issues and be able to implement their setting's safeguarding children policy and procedures appropriately. These policies should be in line with procedures. Early years providers have a duty under Section 40 of the Childcare Act 2006 to comply with the welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage. Early years providers should ensure that:

  • A practitioner must be designated to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children in every setting. Childminders must take the lead responsibility themselves. The lead practitioner is responsible for liaison with local statutory children's services agencies, and with the LSCB. They must provide support, advice and guidance to any other staff on an ongoing basis, and on any specific safeguarding issue as required. The lead practitioner must attend a child protection training course that enables them to identify, understand and respond appropriately to signs of possible abuse and neglect;
  • Providers must train all staff to understand their safeguarding policy and procedures, and ensure that all staff have up to date knowledge of safeguarding issues.

See also Ofsted Guidance: Inspecting Safeguarding in Early Years, Education and Skills Settings (2016), Section 5.2, Inspecting how leaders and governors create a safeguarding culture which requires that during term time, or when the setting is in operation, the designated safeguarding lead or an appropriately trained deputy should be available during opening hours for staff to discuss safeguarding concerns.

The EYFS also makes clear that registered early years providers must notify local child protection agencies of any suspected child abuse or neglect, and where there is a concern or allegation against a member of their staff, including volunteers. Early years providers must also inform Ofsted of any serious incidents or where an allegation against a member of staff or volunteer has been made.

13. Education

Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places a duty on local authorities (in relation to their education functions and governing bodies of maintained schools and further education institutions, which include sixth-form colleges) to exercise their functions with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children who are pupils at a school, or who are students under 18 years of age attending further education institutions. The same duty applies to independent schools (which include Academies and free schools) by virtue of regulations made under Section 157 of the same Act.

In order to fulfil their duty under Sections 157 and 175 of the Education Act 2002, all educational settings to whom the duty applies should have in place the arrangements that are complaint with Section 11 of the Children Act 1989 to ensure their functions, and any services that they contract out to others, are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. In addition, schools must have regard to Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE) when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. This statutory guidance is issued under Section 175, Education Act 2002, the Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010 as amended by SI 2012/2962 and the Education (Non-Maintained Special Schools) (England) Regulations 2011.

All school and college staff have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn. They should consider how children may be taught about safeguarding, including online, through teaching and learning opportunities, as part of providing a broad and balanced curriculum. This may include covering relevant issues through personal, social health and economic education (PSHE), and/or - for maintained schools and colleges - through sex and relationship education (SRE).

All schools and colleges have a crucial role to play in safeguarding children. Staff are in a position to identify concerns early and provide help for children, to prevent concerns from escalating. Schools and colleges and their staff form part of the wider safeguarding system for children. Schools and colleges should work with social care, the police, health services and other services to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.

All schools and colleges should ensure that their safeguarding arrangements take into account the procedures and practice of the local authority as part of the inter-agency safeguarding procedures set up by the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards'. There should be an effective up to date child protection policy in place together with a staff behaviour policy (code of conduct) which should be available publicly. Schools and colleges should also put in place appropriate responses to children going missing from education settings to identify risks of abuse or neglect and help prevent further missing episodes in the future.

Each school and college should have a designated safeguarding lead (DSL) who will provide support to staff members to carry out their safeguarding duties and who will liaise closely with other services such as children's social care. There must also be a designated teacher to promote educational achievement of looked after children who should work closely with the DSL to keep the looked after children safe. A member of the governing body should also liaise with the local authorities and partner agencies on child protection issues and allegations against staff.

All school and college staff members should be aware of the signs of abuse and neglect and have a responsibility to identify children who may be in need of extra help or who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm. Staff should maintain an attitude of 'it could happen here' where safeguarding is concerned. All staff have a responsibility to take appropriate action, working with other services as needed. If staff members are unsure they should always speak to children's social care.

If, at any point, there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child a referral should be made to children's social care immediately. Anybody can make a referral. If the child's situation does not appear to be improving the staff member with concerns should press for re-consideration.

All staff members should also receive appropriate child protection training which is regularly updated. Advice on this and other safeguarding matters can be obtained from the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards.

Schools and collage must adhere to safer recruitment processes and ensure that procedures are in place to handle allegations against members of staff and volunteers. Such allegations should be referred to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).

14. Faith Communities

Churches, other places of worship and faith based organisations, provide a wide range of activities for children and young people. They are some of the largest providers of children and youth work, and have an important role in safeguarding children and supporting families. Religious leaders, staff and volunteers who provide services in places of worship and in faith based organisations will have various degrees of contact with children.

Like other organisations that work with children, churches, other places of worship and faith based organisations, need to have appropriate arrangements in place for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. These arrangements should include:

  • Procedures for staff and others to report concerns that they have about the children they meet that in accordance with these procedures for protecting children;
  • Appropriate codes of practice for staff, particularly those working directly with children such as those issued by the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) or their denomination or faith group;
  • Recruitment procedures in accordance with these procedures, alongside training and supervision of staff (paid or voluntary).

Churches and faith organisations can seek advice on child protection issues from CCPAS and their Local Safeguarding Children Board, who can help with policies and procedures.

CCPAS operates a national 24 hour telephone helpline for churches, other places of worship and faith based groups and individuals, providing advice and support on safeguarding issues.

As appropriate, churches, other places of worship and faith organisations, should report all allegations against people who work with children to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and notify the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) of any relevant information so that those who pose a risk to vulnerable groups can be identified and barred. In addition where they are a charity all serious incidents need reporting to the Charity Commission.

It is essential that faith communities have in place effective arrangements for working with sexual and violent offenders who wish to worship and be part of their religious community. This should include a contract of behaviour stipulating the boundaries an offender would be expected to keep.

15. General Practitioners

A General Practitioner who suspects child abuse should:

  • Take a thorough history and record the explanation given of the child's condition verbatim;
  • If there is a concern about the immediate medical wellbeing of the child, then he / she should be referred for secondary care as appropriate, in addition to the steps below;
  • Record all discussions, decisions, actions agreed and responsibilities for carrying out the actions;
  • Be honest with parents and carers about the concern and the need for investigation. Where possible obtain parental consent for referral to children's social care unless this would place the child at increased risk of abuse. The interests of the child are paramount and initiating safeguarding procedures is not conditional on obtaining consent, but it is good practice to inform the parent of the need to make a referral;
  • Refer by telephone to Children's Social Care. In Derbyshire - Call (01629 533190); in Derby call 01332 641172;
  • Confirm a telephone referral in writing within 48 hours. In Derby referrals should be followed up using the Child Referral Form (Derby Child Referral Form to Children's Social Care (see Documents Library, Report Forms and Templates)). In Derbyshire, the online Starting Point Referral Form.

If the GP is uncertain about what to do when presented with an injured child/baby then they must at the very least share their concern immediately, either with a colleague, an experienced paediatrician, the local safeguarding team or Children's Social Care. If the GP remain concerned following these discussions then they should follow the steps outlined above. In situations of uncertainty, the decision should always be to investigate a possible safeguarding concern.

The GP should be notified of the outcome of the referral within 3 working days, and should follow up the outcome of the referral if Social Care have not already been in contact. If there is any concern about the outcome of the referral, then the GP must follow the escalation policy.

Further advice and guidance is available from the relevant Designated/Named Doctor for safeguarding.

If there is to be a Child Protection Conference the GP will be invited to attend and is urged to attend if at all possible. It is essential that a report should be provided in advance to the conference chair which will be read to the conference, but not circulated. This should contain information about the clinical history and observations about the child/ren in addition to any health information about carers that might impact on their parenting capacity.

N.B. The conference report can be used for court proceedings.

It is considered good practice to share the referral details with members of the primary care team, particularly the Health Visitor and School Nurse.

16. Hospital Staff

The Healthy Child Programme starts in pregnancy. Midwives are the primary health professionals likely to be working with and supporting women and their families throughout pregnancy. However, other health professionals - including maternity support workers, health visitors and, where applicable, specialist key workers - may also be directly engaged in providing support. The close relationship they foster with their clients provides an opportunity to observe attitudes towards the developing baby and identify potential problems during pregnancy, birth and the child's early care.

It is estimated that a third of domestic abuse starts or escalates during pregnancy. All health professionals working with pregnant women should understand that vulnerable women are more likely to delay seeking care, to fail to attend antenatal clinics regularly and to deny and minimise abuse. It is important to provide a supportive and enabling environment, where the issue of abuse is raised with every pregnant woman, with the provision of information about specialist agencies thus enabling disclosure should a woman so choose.

If a woman requires referral to Children's Social Care the community midwife will make a referral as soon as practically possible, or from 12 weeks to ensure that there is on-going pregnancy support. Depending on the levels of concern a Strategy Meeting may be convened or the case may go straight to a Child Protection Conference. Pre-birth Assessments may be required and, if the conference decides on a Child Protection Plan, a Birth Plan will be agreed either at the Conference or at the Core Group. Please see Derby and Derbyshire Multi Agency Protocol for Pre-Birth Assessments and Interventions (in the Document Library, Protocols).

If the woman is a vulnerable young person herself a referral may be made earlier. Additionally the substance misuse midwife may also need to make urgent referrals at any stage of the pregnancy.

Within the hospital, midwives may make a referral to Children's Social Care, usually following a discussion with the community midwife, Named Midwife for Safeguarding or co-ordinator on for the shift, but such a discussion should not result in a delay.

The Trust Named Midwife for Safeguarding should act as a central point of contact for all safeguarding concerns ante-natally and post-natally both for employees and those external to the trust.

Safeguarding children is the responsibility of all hospital staff working with children or their adult parents and carers. If staff suspect that an unborn baby or child may be at risk of abuse or neglect then the basis of their concerns need to be fully documented in a factual manner and appropriate action needs to be taken. In some cases this may involve making a referral to Children's Social Care or the Police following discussion of their concerns with an appropriate senior colleague and/or the Trust internal Safeguarding Team. Such discussions should not cause a delay in taking action. Staff are aware that in an emergency situation when a child is at immediate risk then the Police need to be contacted.

To work in partnership with families it is good practice to advise the parents or carers of a child/child themselves if they are of appropriate maturity that a referral is being made and why. Exceptions to this would be if this would put the child at greater risk of harm, if the member of staff considers that they would be at risk or in situations where the safeguarding concern is about induced or fabricated illness, forced marriage, honour based violence or sexual abuse.

Information Sharing via NHS CP-IS - When a child is known to Children’s Social Care and is a Looked After Child or on a Child Protection Plan, basic information about that plan will be shared securely with the NHS via CP-IS. This means that if that child then attends an NHS unscheduled care setting, such as a hospital emergency department or a minor injury unit:

  • The health team will be alerted that the child is on a plan and will be provided with contact details for the social care team;
  • The social care team will be automatically notified that the child has attended; and
  • Both parties can see details of the child's previous 25 visits to unscheduled care settings in England.

All staff within the organisation have a duty to co-operate with Children's Social Care and the Police when they are undertaking a Child Protection Enquiry or investigating a serious crime. This includes the sharing of information about relevant past contact and involvement as well as the outcome of formal Child Protection assessments. Consultant Paediatricians will undertake formal Child Protection assessments when they are requested to do so by the Police or Children's Social Care. Consent needs to be obtained for such elective assessments from a person with Parental Responsibility or by court order. Information from the outcome of such assessments needs to be shared in a timely manner.

Staff will attend strategy meetings and Child Protection ConferencesCore Group meetings, when appropriate (where there will be on-going involvement), contributing to inter agency working. Staff will attend family and criminal court proceedings to give evidence when requested to do so.

The organisation will appoint a Trust Board member to lead on safeguarding. The Health Organisation (Foundation Trust / NHS Trust) will appoint a Named Doctor, a Named Nurse and a Named Midwife to oversee operational matters within the Trust. These operational matters will include case management, supervision and training. The Clinical Commissioning Group will also appoint a Designated Doctor and a Designated Nurse to oversee strategic matters relating to Safeguarding in Derby and Derbyshire. The executive lead (Trust Board member), the Designated Doctor and the Designated Nurse will all sit on the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards. The named professionals will attend sub committees of the DSCBs and will participate in Serious Case Reviews / Child Practice Reviews / Serious Incident Learning Review Processes as requested to do so by the LSCBs and any other Local Safeguarding Children Board. Lessons from these reviews, new national guidance and lessons from other enquires will be disseminated throughout the organisation as and when required.

17. Housing Services

Housing and homelessness staff in local authorities and others, with a front line role such as environmental health officers, can play an important role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children as part of their day-to-day work - recognising child welfare issues, sharing information, making referrals and subsequently managing or reducing risks of harm.

In many areas, local authorities do not directly own and manage housing, having transferred these responsibilities to one or more Registered Social Landlords (RSLs). Housing authorities remain responsible for assessing the needs of families under homelessness legislation and for managing nominations to RSLs who provide housing in their area. They continue to have an important role in safeguarding children because of their contact with families as part of the assessment of need and, because of the influence they have designing and managing prioritisation, assessment and allocation of housing.

A number of RSLs across the country provide specialist supported housing schemes specifically for young people at risk and/or young people leaving care and pregnant teenagers. These schemes cater for 16- and 17-year-olds. Housing authorities and Children's Social Care should refer to the joint DCSF and CLG guidance about their duties under Part III of the Children Act 1989 and Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 to secure or provide accommodation for homeless 16 and 17-year-old children.

18. Derbyshire Health United - GP Out of hours service and NHS 111

The staff working in Derbyshire Health United - GP out of hours service and NHS 111 have access (by phone) to family homes and be involved with individuals in a time of ill-health/crisis. They may therefore be in a position to identify initial concerns regarding a child's welfare and be able to alert Children's Social Care, the GP or other appropriate health professional in line with locally agreed procedures. Derbyshire Health United- GP out of hours service and NHS 111 sites should have a named professional for safeguarding children. All staff should be aware of local procedures in line with LSCB policies and be appropriately trained.

If you have concerns about the safety of a child you should follow Derbyshire Health United -GP out of hours service and NHS111 Safeguarding Children and Young People policy and inform the Clinical Supervisor providing clinical support for the call centre. You should also inform the Regional Children's Service Lead. Information about the referral and the outside agency details are recorded on the Derbyshire Health United-GP out of hours service and NHS 111 Computer Assessment System and on a Child Concern Form. The person who takes the call where the concern is identified makes the decision to refer to Children's Social Care. Once the referral has been made staff have no further responsibility, this is handed to the Safeguarding Lead for Derbyshire Health United -GP out of hours service and NHS 111. NHS Staff should also be aware of the following guidelines and policies:

  • Direct Clinical Procedures;
  • Data Protection;
  • Information Sharing Guidance.

19. Other Health Professionals

This section of the guidance relates specifically to professionals such as:

  • Clinical Psychologists;
  • Speech and Language Therapists;
  • Orthodontists;
  • Dieticians;
  • Physiotherapists;
  • Occupational Therapists;
  • Podiatrists;
  • Counselling Professionals;
  • Hospital based Pharmacists.

This procedure should be read in conjunction with the relevant Trust safeguarding procedure and followed in all cases of child abuse and suspected child abuse:

  • Take appropriate action to ensure the safety of the child and other siblings in the household;
  • Discuss with Named or Designated Nurse or Team Manager;
  • Establish whether a Child Protection Plan is in place, via Children's Social Care for the child and siblings;
  • Refer, by telephone, to the Children's Social Care or the out of hours service; referrals should be followed up in writing within 48 hours. In Derby referrals should be followed up using the Child Referral Form (Derby Child Referral Form to Children's Social Care (see Documents Library, Report Forms and Templates)). In Derbyshire, the online Starting Point Referral Form should be used;
  • Be open with parents/carers about the need for referral and where possible obtain parental consent for referral to children's social care unless this would place the child at increased risk of abuse. The interests of the child are paramount and initiating child protection procedures should not be prevented by failure to obtain consent.

In all cases of suspected deliberate harm immediate referral should be made to Children;s Social Care or their out of hours service.

  • Ensure that all relevant professional records are completed within 24 hours to include dates, times, full signature and designation;
  • The entries must also include details of all discussions, decisions, actions agreed and responsibility for carrying out the actions. Any difference of opinion should be clearly stated and recorded;
  • The Line Manager should be informed of the factual information relating to the case and the action taken;
  • Attend Child Protection Conference as required and submit a report outlining your involvement with the child/family to the chair of the conference.

The Designated or Named Nurse or Team Manager can be contacted for further advice and support.

20. Police

The primary role of the Police Child Abuse Investigation Officer is to investigate crimes against children that:

  • Occur within the household (as opposed to incidents involving strangers);
  • Are committed by a carer or family member against a child where the victim is under 18 years of age;
  • Concern children in care where the abuser is alleged to be the carer or an employee of the care organisation (e.g. foster carer, or children's home employee).

A carer includes:

  • Any person visiting the household regularly (e.g. neighbour or family friends);
  • Any person having care responsibility at the time of the alleged offence (e.g. teacher, health or youth worker, prison staff or babysitter).

The Child Abuse Investigation Unit (CAIU) should also provide advice to investigators in child homicide cases as well as any other investigation as directed by the Detective Inspector, Public Protection Unit. They should work in partnership with Children's Social Care.

Partnership working in child protection means working closely with partner agencies whilst retaining the specific role of the individual agency. Information exchanged at recognised stages is the key to an effective joint investigation. The Derbyshire Police City or County Referral Unit ensures that information sharing to relevant agencies takes place. The Police will share information in the following cases:

  • Any case where an officer has a concern for the child's well-being, or on the instruction of the CAIU Detective Sergeant;
  • Children who are taken into Police Protection;
  • Children who have suffered assault;
  • Children who have been sexually abused or sexually exploited or who sexually abuse others;
  • Children who are reported missing;
  • Children who are present or residing with any party when an incident of domestic abuse occurs;
  • Children who abuse class A drugs, or whose parents/carers abuse class A drugs;
  • Children who abuse alcohol to the degree that they require medical intervention;
  • Children who reside or associate with a sex offender; 
  • Children who suffer neglect- i.e. who are not provided adequate food, warmth or medical treatment by parent/carer; 
  • Children who have died, attempted suicide or have self-harmed;
  • Unborn baby in any of the above circumstances.

Immediate Action when dealing with the initial call

The immediate duty of all first response officers called to an incident where there are concerns for a child is to:

  • Protect the child from harm;
  • Seek medical assistance if required (consider medical assessment);
  • Arrest and detain any suspect(s) where lawful and proportionate;
  • Preserve evidence;
  • Speak to the child alone to determine the child's view and record verbatim the child's account. A child has the right to be heard and should not be intimidated or threatened by any person present. Climbié Recommendation 18 - If the child's first language is not English, an appropriate interpreter MUST be used;
  • Consider that the parent may be an abuser and therefore consent to an interview is not essential;
  • Identify any concerns or abuse that give cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer Significant Harm;
  • Check if there are other children in the household;
  • Establish the risk/occupation of the suspect and assess the potential impact on the community and other children;
  • Where necessary contact relevant Children's Social Care or out of hours service in cases requiring emergency intervention out of hours;
  • Ensure the incident is flagged for the attention of the Police City or County Referral Unit for assessment / action.

The police also have the power to secure a child under the power of Police Protection without application to a court. Where possible the police will consult with social care when securing a child's safety via Police Protection. In addition the police have powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to enter premises without a warrant in certain circumstances.

Strategy Discussions/Meetings

Whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm there should be a strategy discussion or meeting. Where there is any uncertainty and in all cases in the County, advice should be sought from a Child Protection Manager.

The Police, Health and Social Care are all active participants in the strategy meeting process, which might take the form of a multi-agency meeting or phone calls and more than one discussion may be necessary. A strategy discussion can take place following a referral or at any time, including during the assessment process.

Urgent strategy discussions

In urgent situations, an initial strategy discussion by telephone will usually be adequate to plan an enquiry. The Police, Health and Social Care are all required to be part of such urgent discussions.

Case conferences

The Police will provide a report with relevant information to all case conferences to which they are invited. Initial conferences will be attended by CAIU, unless there are extenuating circumstances which prevent this, and an update will be given regarding any criminal investigation.

Further information regarding Police Roles and Responsibilities can be obtained in the Derbyshire Constabulary CHILD ABUSE INVESTIGATIONS & SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN POLICY (access to which is via the Police City or County Referral Unit).

21. National Probation Service / Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs)

The National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) supervise offenders with the aim of reducing re-offending and protecting the public. As part of their main responsibility to supervise offenders in the community, offender managers are in contact with, or supervising, a number of offenders who have been identified as presenting a risk, or potential risk, of harm to children. They also supervise offenders who are parents or carers of children and these children may be at heightened risk of involvement in (or exposure to) criminal or anti-social behaviour and of other poor outcomes. By working with these offenders to change their lifestyles and to enable them to change their behaviour, offender managers safeguard and promote the welfare of offenders' children. In addition, Probation Providers provide a direct service to children by:

  • Providing a statutory victim contact scheme to the victims of violent and sexual offences, including children and young people (where the victim is aged under 17, their parent or guardian is also entitled to services);
  • Fulfilling their role as statutory partner of YOTs; and
  • Ensuring support for victims, and indirectly children in the family of convicted perpetrators, of domestic abuse participating in accredited domestic abuse programmes.

Offender managers should also ensure that there is clarity and communication between MAPPA and other risk management processes - for example, in the case of safeguarding children, procedures covering registered sex offenders, domestic abuse management meetings, child protection procedures and procedures for the assessment of people identified as presenting a risk or potential risk of harm to children.

22. Sport, Culture and Leisure

Sport and cultural services designed for children and families such as libraries, play schemes and play facilities, parks and gardens, sport and leisure centres, events and attractions, museums and arts centres - are directly provided, purchased or grant aided by local authorities, the commercial sector, and by community and voluntary organisations. Staff, volunteers and contractors who provide these services have various degrees of contact with children who use them, and appropriate arrangements need to be in place. These should include:

  • Procedures for staff and others to report concerns they may have, about the children they meet, which are in line with these procedures, as well as arrangements such as those described above; and
  • Appropriate codes of practice for staff, particularly sports coaches, such as the codes of practice issued by national governing bodies of sport, the Health and Safety Executive or the local authority.

Sports organisations can seek advice on child protection issues from the Child Protection in Sport Unit (NSPCC) while third sector organisations and faith groups can also seek advice from NSPCC.

23. Fire and Rescue Service

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) delivers a broad range of successful initiatives relating to fire safety and education, including programmes for children and young people.

DFRS recognises that the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people is everyone's responsibility. DFRS have an agreed Child Protection Policy and associated procedures which are endorsed by our Fire Brigades Union (FBU) representatives.

Enshrined in the policy are two key principles:

  1. Safeguarding, promoting and protecting children from Significant Harm is the paramount consideration;
  2. All children regardless of age, disability, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, or sexual orientation have a right to protection from harm.

It is the responsibility of Department Heads/Group Managers within the Service to make sure that all staff for whom they are responsible are aware of and understand the importance of the policy and procedures and are given suitable training to a level appropriate to their role and contact with children. They must also make sure that any contractors, agents or other representatives whom they engage to undertake duties on their behalf, which may involve contact with children, understand and comply with the policy and procedures and any other related documents as appropriate.

Staff must follow the procedures if they know or suspect that a child may be or has been abused or is likely to suffer Significant Harm by either:

  • A member of staff (DFRS staff or any other);
  • A member of their family (including a guardian or carer);
  • Any other person, including another child;
  • Themselves - self-abuse;
  • You are told by a child that they are being, or have previously been, abused;
  • Or a child/parent/carer discloses they are the perpetrator of abuse.

24. Voluntary and Private Sector

Voluntary organisations and private sector providers play an important role in delivering services for children and young people including in early-years and day care provision, family support services, youth work and children's social care and healthcare.

Many voluntary organisations are skilled in preventative work and may be well placed to reach the most vulnerable children, young people and families. Voluntary organisations also deliver advocacy for looked after children and young people and for parents and children who attend Child Protection Conferences. They offer, for example:

  • Therapeutic work with children, young people and families, particularly in relation to child sexual abuse;
  • Specialist support and services for children and young people with disabilities or health problems;
  • Services for children abused through sexual exploitation and for children who abuse other children.

Some voluntary organisations operate free 24-hour national helplines. ChildLine is a national service for all children and young people who need advice about abuse, bullying and other concerns. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is a specialist child protection agency that operates helplines and other services throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Its national child protection helpline provides advice to adults and children about child protection concerns. Family Lives offers support to anyone parenting a child. These services, along with many other smaller helplines, provide important routes into statutory and voluntary services.

Voluntary organisations also play a key role in providing information and resources to the wider public about the needs of children and young people and resources to help families. Many campaign on behalf of groups on specific issues.

The NSPCC is the only voluntary organisation authorised to initiate proceedings to protect children under the terms of the Children Act 1989, but other voluntary organisations often play a key role in implementing Child Protection Plans.

The voluntary sector is active in working to safeguard the children and young people with whom it works. A range of umbrella and specialist organisations, including the national governing bodies for sports, offer standards, guidance, training and advice for voluntary organisations on keeping children and young people safe from harm. For example, the Child Protection in Sport Unit (NSPCC) established in partnership with the NSPCC and Sport England, provides advice and assistance on developing codes of practice and child protection procedures to sporting organisations.

Organisations in the voluntary and private sectors that work with children need to have the arrangements described in Paragraph 43 of Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) in place in the same way as organisations in the public sector and need to work effectively with Local Safeguarding Children Boards.

Paid and volunteer staff need to be aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and how they should respond to child protection concerns in line with these procedures.

25. Youth Offending Team

The principal aim of the Youth Justice System is to prevent offending by children and young people. The Youth Offending Service (YOS)) plays a key role. The YOS is made up of multi-agency teams that must include a Probation Officer, a Police Officer, a representative of the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) someone with experience in education and someone with experience of social work relating to children. YOTs are responsible for the supervision of children and young people subject to pre-court interventions and statutory court disposals.

YOTs are well placed to identify those children and young people known to relevant organisations as being most at risk of offending and to undertake work to prevent them offending. A significant number of the children who are supervised by the YOTs will also be Children in Need and some of their needs will require safeguarding. It is necessary, therefore, for there to be clear links between youth justice and local authority children's social care, both at a strategic level and at an operational level for individual children and young people. YOS Management Boards are made up of statutory and other YOS partners at a senior level and provide strategic direction and oversight the YOS at a local level.

The YOS, in partnership with these wider statutory partners, have a mutual duty to make effective local arrangements to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children known to the youth justice system.