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Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Procedures Manual

Introduction to these Procedures

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

All professionals and volunteers working with children and families in Derby and Derbyshire should read this introduction which provides information on the roles and responsibilities of practitioners in keeping children safe and describes the key features of effective safeguarding practice.

AMENDEMENT

In January 2019, Section 2, Child Centred Approach to Safeguarding was updated to reinforce the importance of keeping the child in focus when making decisions about their life. Additional information was also added on the types of neglect, abuse or exploitation which young people can experience –both from within their family and from individuals they come across in their day-to-day lives.

Contents

  1. Context
  2. Child Centred Approach to Safeguarding
  3. Equality and Diversity Statement
  4. How to use the Procedures

1. Context

The Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership procedures reflect current legislation, accepted best practice and comply with the government guidance: Working Together to Safeguard Children.

Safeguarding children is the action we take to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm. It is everyone's responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and families has a role to play.

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:

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

(Working Together to Safeguard Children, DfE)

Effective safeguarding arrangements are underpinned by two key principles:

  • Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility; for services to be effective each professional and organisation should play their full part; and
  • A child centred approach; for services to be effective they should be based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of children.

A co-ordinated approach - safeguarding is everyone's responsibility

Everyone who works with children - including Teachers, GP's, Midwifes, Health Visitors, Nursery workers, Youth Workers, Police, hospital Emergency Department staff, Paediatricians, voluntary and community workers and Social Workers - has a responsibility for keeping them safe.

No single practitioner can have a full picture of a child's needs and circumstances and, if children and families are able to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.

In order that organisations and practitioners collaborate effectively, it is vital that every individual working with children and families, including those who work with parents/carers, understands the role that they have to play and the role of other practitioners. In addition, they should be aware of, and comply with, arrangements for collaboration between practitioners and agencies.

The Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership procedures set out clear roles for individual organisations and our local arrangements for effective safeguarding.

Children, young people and their families will have different levels of need, and these may change over time. The majority of children and young people have low level needs that can be supported through a range of universal services. These services include education, early years, health, housing, youth services, leisure facilities and services provided by community organisations.

Some children may have additional emerging needs which can be co-ordinated through an Early Help Assessment. Other children have more serious or complex needs including child protection concerns, and may require access to specialist services, such as those provided by local authority (LA) Children's Social Care, to support them.

The Derby City and Derbyshire Thresholds Document sets out the local criteria for action. It is designed to help professionals identify when a threshold - or trigger - has been reached which means a child, young person or family might need support.

Key Local and National Documents

Derby City and Derbyshire Thresholds Document (see Documents Library, Guidance Documents).

What to do if you are worried a child is being abused – Advice for Practitioners (DfE, 2015).

Information sharing Advice for Practitioners Providing Safeguarding Services to Children, Young People, Parents and Carers (DfE, 2018)

Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership Information Sharing Agreement and Guidance for Practitioners (see Documents Library, Guidance Documents)

In addition to the above the Derby City and Derbyshire Escalation Policy and Process (see Documents Library, Guidance Documents) should always be used by agencies and practitioners when there are concerns that a professional difference of opinion may be getting in the way of keeping a child safe. Where there are concerns about the outcome of a Child Protection Conference, the Derby or Derbyshire Child Protection Conference Professional Dissent Process (see Documents Library, Guidance Documents) should be used.

2. Child Centred Approach to Safeguarding

A child centred approach is fundamental to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of every child. It means keeping the child in focus when making decisions about their lives and working in partnership with them and their families. 

All practitioners should follow the principles of the Children Acts 1989 and 2004 which state that the welfare of the child is paramount, and that children are best looked after within their families, with their parents playing a full part in their lives, unless compulsory intervention in family life is necessary.

Children may be vulnerable to neglect or abuse or exploitation from within their family and from individuals they come across in their day-to-day lives. These threats can take a variety of forms including:

  • Sexual, physical and emotional abuse or neglect;
  • Exploitation by criminal gangs and organised crime groups;
  • Trafficking;
  • Online abuse;
  • Sexual exploitation; and
  • Influences of extremism leading to radicalisation.
Whatever the form of abuse or neglect, practitioners should put the needs of children first when determining what action to take.

Effective safeguarding systems are child focused. Failings in safeguarding are too often the result of losing sight of the needs and views of the children.

Children and young people have told us what they want from an effective safeguarding system (Working Together to Safeguard Children DfE):

  • Vigilance: to have adults notice when things are troubling them;
  • Understanding and action: to understand what is happening; to be heard and understood; and to have that understanding acted upon;
  • Stability: to be able to develop an on-going stable relationship of trust with those helping them;
  • Respect: to be treated with the expectation that they are competent rather than not;
  • Information and engagement: to be informed about and involved in procedures, decisions, concerns and plans;
  • Explanation: to be informed of the outcome of assessments and decisions and reasons when their views have not met with a positive response;
  • Support: to be provided with support in their own right as well as a member of their family;
  • Advocacy: to be provided with advocacy to assist them in putting forward their views;
  • Protection: to be protected against all forms of abuse and discrimination and the right to special protection and help if a refugee.

We have, and will continue, to listen to the voices of children and young people, take their views seriously and work with them and their families collaboratively when deciding how to support their needs. Special provision will be put in place to support dialogue with children who have communication difficulties, unaccompanied children, refugees and those children who are victims of modern slavery and or trafficking.

These procedures will enable and support all professionals and volunteers to safeguard and protect the children and young people across Derby and Derbyshire.

3. Equality and Diversity Statement

All members of the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership will actively ensure an appropriate response with regard to safeguarding all children and young people, whilst recognising and supporting issues of equality and diversity.

Discrimination on the grounds of race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, pregnancy or any other unjustifiable criterion will not be tolerated.

We are opposed to all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination (including harassment of any kind) and will take appropriate action wherever instances of discrimination and harassment occur.

We will work with our partners to develop effective procedures and policies to combat intentional and unintentional discrimination and to share good practice.

4. How to use the Procedures

If you have not used these procedures before please see Using this Manual for further information.

These procedures need to be used in conjunction with the guidance and protocols of individual organisations. When in doubt regarding issues relating to safeguarding, consult with the safeguarding specialists within your own organisation in addition to consulting these procedures. Procedures indicate what must be done in specified circumstances and define the limits of professional discretion. The procedures have the status of instructions to practitioners in member organisations of the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership, and any inability or failure to comply with them should be accompanied by a recorded explanation.

The contents of this manual are for application by those working, whether paid or unpaid, in Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership member agencies and in private or voluntary sector organisations with responsibilities for children living or present in the Derby and Derbyshire area. Any supplementary internal procedures developed by organisations should also refer to, and comply with, these procedures.

These Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership procedures will be updated bi-annually.