City of Liverpool College Child Protection Policy
This policy provides guidance to all adults working within the College whether paid or voluntary or directly employed by the College or by a third party.
‘Our College is committed to safeguarding children and promoting children’s welfare and expects all staff, governors, volunteers and visitors to share this commitment and maintain a vigilant and safe environment. Everyone has a responsibility to act, without delay, to protect children by reporting anything that might suggest a child is being abused or neglected. It is our willingness to work safely and challenge inappropriate behaviours that underpins this commitment. The College seeks to work in partnership with families and other agencies to improve the outcomes for children who are vulnerable or in need.’
‘Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children and their families and carers has a role to play in safeguarding children. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all professionals should make sure their approach is child-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interests of the child.’ (DFE 2018)
A child includes anyone under the age of 18.
Child protection: ‘Where a child is suffering significant harm, or is likely to do so, action should be taken to protect that child.’
Safeguarding Children: ‘Action should also be taken to promote the welfare of a child in need of additional support, even if they are not suffering harm or are at immediate risk.
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 2018)
The definitions of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect are set out in the DFE guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education.
Colleges must have regard for the DfE statutory guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2018). This child protection policy should be read alongside this statutory guidance and all staff must read and understand part 1 and annex A of this guidance.
Local authorities have a duty to make enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child 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. There may be a need for immediate protection whilst the assessment is carried out.
A ‘child in need’ is defined under the Children Act 1989 as a child who is unlikely to achieve or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development, or their health and development will be significantly impaired, without the provision of services; or a child who is disabled. A social worker will lead and co-ordinate any assessment under section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 places a duty on local authorities (in relation to their education functions, and governing bodies of further education institutions, to exercise their functions with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children who are students under 18 years of age.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2018) provides additional guidance which makes it clear that protecting children from harm and promoting their welfare depends upon a shared responsibility and effective joint working between different agencies:
‘Everyone who works with children 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 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 addition, Working Together to Safeguard Children also reinforces the need to take action to provide early help before statutory services are required:
‘Providing early help is more effective in promoting the welfare of children than reacting later. Early Help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges, at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years.’ DFE 2018
The College therefore understands its responsibility to engage with other professionals in Early Help Assessments when a child’s needs according to the Local Safeguarding Children Board’s Responding to Need and Level of Needs framework sit below the requirement for a statutory assessment.
The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty upon local authorities and educational providers to ‘have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. The DfE has provided statutory guidance for colleges and child care providers: ‘The Prevent Duty’ (June 2015). The guidance summarises the requirements of colleges in terms of four general themes: risk assessment, working in partnership, staff training and IT policies. Our College will ensure that staff are aware of the indicators of extremism and radicalisation and know how to respond in keeping with local and national guidance. Staff will use their judgement in identifying children who might be at risk of radicalisation and act proportionately which may include making a referral via Children’s Services to the Channel programme. Equally, children will be made aware of the risks and support available to them. We will ensure that children are safe from terrorist and extremist material when accessing the internet in College. The Government has developed an ‘educate against hate’ website providing information and resources for colleges and parents to support them to recognise and address extremism and radicalisation in young people.
‘Section 5B of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (as inserted by section 74 of the Serious Crime Act 2015) places a statutory duty upon tutors along with regulated health and social care professionals in England and Wales, to report to the police where they discover (either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18. Those failing to report such cases will face disciplinary sanctions. It will be rare for tutors to see visual evidence, and they should not be examining students, but the same definition of what is meant by “to discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out” is used for all professionals to whom this mandatory reporting duty applies. Information on when and how to make a report can be found at:
Tutors must personally report to the police cases where they discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out. Unless the tutor has a good reason not to, they should also still consider and discuss any such case with the College’s Designated Safeguarding Lead and involve children’s social care as appropriate. The duty does not apply in relation to at risk or suspected cases (i.e. where the tutor does not discover that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out, either through disclosure by the victim or visual evidence) or in cases where the woman is 18 or over. In these cases, tutors should follow local safeguarding procedures.’ DFE 2018
The College will also consult the government guidance Multi-agency statutory guidance on female genital mutilation (FGM) (revised 2016). In addition, the College recognises the important role colleges have in safeguarding children from Forced Marriage. (The Forced Marriage Unit has published Multi-agency guidelines, with pages 32-36 focusing on the role of colleges. College staff can contact the Forced Marriage Unit if they need advice or information. Contact: 020 7008 0151 or email: email@example.com.)
The Teaching Standards (DfE 2013) also requires all tutors to ‘uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside College, including:
In addition, the Sexual Offences Act 2003 makes it clear that all members of staff are in a position of trust and would therefore be committing a criminal offence to have a sexual relationship with a young person below the age of 18, even if that student is over the age of consent. In addition, it would be a breach of trust to have a relationship with any College student over the age of 18. This would result in the issue being addressed under the formal disciplinary procedure and may constitute gross misconduct.
The College will also take account of additional DFE guidance including:
The College is committed to the principles of Working Together to Safeguard Children which states that a ‘child centred approach is fundamental to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of every child. A child centred approach means keeping the child in focus when making decisions about their lives and working in partnership with them and their families.’
The following statement is available to parents/carers through the College’s website so they are aware of the College’s responsibilities:
‘The College ensures children learn in a safe, caring and enriching environment. Children are taught how to keep themselves safe, to develop positive and healthy relationships, how to avoid situations where they might be at risk including by being exploited.
The College also has a statutory responsibility to share any concerns it might have about a child in need of protection with other agencies and in particular police, health and children’s services. Colleges are not able to investigate child protection concerns but have a legal duty to refer them. In most instances the College will be able to inform the parents/carers of its need to make a referral. However, sometimes the College can in certain circumstances share information without the consent of the family and may be advised by children’s services or police that the parent/carer cannot be informed whilst they investigate the matter or make enquires. We understand the anxiety parents/carers understandably feel when they are not told about any concerns from the outset. The College follows legislation that aims to act in the interests of the child.
The College will always seek to work in partnership with parents and other agencies to ensure the best possible outcomes for the child and family.’
The following notice is made available to all visitors in reception. In addition, all visitors are provided with additional safeguarding guidance.
‘Our College is committed to safeguarding children and promoting children’s welfare and expects all staff, governors, volunteers and visitors to share this commitment and maintain a vigilant and safe environment. Everyone has a responsibility to act without delay to protect children by reporting anything that might suggest a child is being abused or neglected. We would expect you to also report to the Designated Safeguarding Lead or Principal any behaviours of any adults working in the College that may concern you. By signing our visitors’ book you are agreeing to follow the College’s safeguarding advice to visitors and where appropriate the code of conduct for staff and volunteers.’
The names and photographs of the Designated Safeguarding Lead, Safeguarding Operational Lead, U16s Safeguarding Lead and Safeguarding Officer are displayed in staffrooms and the reception.
The Principal is: Elaine Bowker
The Chair of Governors is: Tony Cobain
The Designated Safeguarding Lead for Child Protection is: Aamir Butt
Those trained to provide cover for the role of Designated Safeguarding Lead are:
Members of the Safeguarding Team and Duty Managers
The nominated Safeguarding / Child Protection Governor is: Louise Barry
The nominated governor for dealing with allegations against the Principal is: Tony Cobain
The Governing body should ensure that:
Governing bodies are accountable for ensuring the College has effective policies and procedures in place in line with local and national guidance, and for monitoring the College’s compliance with them. Neither the Governing Body nor individual governors have a role in dealing with individual child protection cases or the right to know the detail of cases (except when exercising their disciplinary functions in respect of allegations against a member of staff or investigating a complaint brought to their attention).
The Principal will ensure that:
Designated Safeguarding Lead
The Designated Safeguarding Lead will quality assure the College’s child protection practices including the auditing of safeguarding records and the supervision of the Safeguarding Operational Lead, Safeguarding Officer and other members of the safeguarding team to ensure that actions and decisions are reviewed appropriately and that staff’s emotional needs are met.
Keeping Children Safe in Education DfE 2018 sets out the broad areas of responsibility for the Designated Safeguarding Lead:
The Designated Safeguarding Lead is expected to:
Work with Others
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (and any deputies) should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. This training should be updated at least every two years.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead should undertake Prevent awareness training.
In addition to the formal training set out above, their knowledge and skills should be refreshed (this might be via e-bulletins, meeting other Designated Safeguarding Leads, or simply taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments) at regular intervals, as required, but at least annually, to allow them to understand and keep up with any developments relevant to their role so they:
Child protection file
During term time the Designated Safeguarding Lead (or a deputy) will be available (during College hours) for staff in the College to discuss any safeguarding concerns.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead will arrange adequate and appropriate cover arrangements for any out of hours/out of term activities.
The Principal will normally be informed of any allegations against staff and will ensure appropriate referrals to the Disclosure and Barring Service or Teaching Regulation Agency are made.
In addition to the role outlined in Keeping Children Safe the Designated Safeguarding Lead is also expected to ensure that:
All staff (and volunteers) should:
In addition to this child protection policy the College has procedures or policies in relation to other areas for safeguarding children including as examples:
Liverpool Carelinehub 0151 233 3700
Knowsley MASH 0151 443 2600
Wirral Integrated Front Door 0151 606 2008
(Out of hours 0151 677 6557)
Halton Social Care Contact Centre 0151 907 8305
(Out of hours 0345 050 0148)
St Helens Contact Centre 01744 676 600
Sefton 0345 140 0845
(Out of hours 0151 934 3555)
Wigan Duty Team 01942 828300
Part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education (DFE 2018) provides key flowcharts and guidance to support staff and volunteers’ understanding and decision making. This will support staff to make a referral themselves should that become necessary. The Safeguarding Team should be informed, as soon as possible, following the need for another member of staff to make a referral. Guidance is also available on the NSPCC website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/
Concerns that a child is being radicalised should follow the normal safeguarding referral mechanism with an additional Channel referral being made to the Local Authority’s Prevent and Channel team.
All staff and volunteers must report any concerns about a member of staff’s behaviour towards children to the Principal. Concerns can also be discussed with the Designated Safeguarding Lead. Concerns about the Principal should be raised with Chair of Governors or nominated governor.
The College’s policy and procedures will support everyone to take action.
Concerns can also be taken directly to the Local Authority Designated Officer (L.A.D.O.), if needed, via Children’s Services.
Section 4 of the DFE guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education provides further guidance.
All concerns must be reported and discussed with the Safeguarding Team (or Designated Safeguarding Lead or Duty Manager). This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), gender-based violence/sexual assaults and sexting (youth produced sexual imagery). Staff should recognise that children are capable of abusing their peers. Staff must challenge any form of derogatory and sexualised language or behaviour. Staff should be vigilant to sexualised/aggressive touching/grabbing particularly towards girls. Behaviours by children should never be passed off as ‘banter’ or ‘part of growing up’. The DFE states ‘peer on peer abuse should be taken as seriously as abuse by adults and should be subject to the same child protection procedures. Professionals should not dismiss abusive behaviour as normal between young people and should not develop high thresholds before taking action.’
Children with special educational needs and disabilities are more vulnerable to sexual violence and harassment and staff should be aware that additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse in these children. Children who are LGBT or perceived to be, may also be targeted by their peers and harassed or assaulted.
Victims of peer on peer harm will be supported by the College’s pastoral system and referred to specialist agencies including, as examples, ‘CAMHs’, ‘Brook’ and ‘Barnardo’s’. A risk assessment may need to be in place. The College curriculum will support young people to become more resilient to inappropriate behaviours towards them, risk taking behaviours and behaviours that children may be coerced into including ‘sexting’ or ‘initiation/hazing’ behaviours.
Additional guidance is available on the NSPCC website:
Staff should also report any concerns about sexting (youth produced sexual imagery) to the Safeguarding Team, Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead or senior member of staff who will follow the guidance in: Sexting in schools and colleges: Responding to incidents and safeguarding young people (UK Council for Child Internet Safety) (https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/uk-council-for-child-internet-safety-ukccis provides clarity as to how staff should respond to these incidents).
The College’s on-line/E-safety/ Acceptable User policy clearly outlines the way in which the College uses technology and the measures in place to ensure safe and responsible use by all. There is a clear code of conduct for staff and volunteers which sets out the use of new technologies, mobile phones and personal photographic equipment around children. The College will consider, in particular, Looked After Children (Children in Care) who might be put at risk by being included in publicity materials or College photographs.
The DFE highlights the risks of new technologies:
‘The use of technology has become a significant component of many safeguarding issues. Child sexual exploitation; radicalisation; sexual predation- technology often provides the platform that facilitates harm. The breadth of issues classified within online safety is considerable, but can be categorised into three areas of risk:
Staff should bring immediately to the attention of the Safeguarding Team any behaviours by adults or children themselves that may be risky or harmful.
A child missing from an education setting is a potential indicator of abuse or neglect including exploitation. Local Authority guidance and procedures will be followed for dealing with a child who is missing from education, particularly on repeated occasions. The College will follow the pan-Merseyside missing children protocol. Unauthorised attendance will be closely monitored. The attendance of children with known welfare and attendance concerns will be monitored closely, particularly those with chronic poor attendance or persistent absentees. Colleges should also scrutinise the attendance of off-site provision to ensure children are attending and are safe. Similarly, the attendance of children who are vulnerable or with known welfare and safeguarding concerns such as children who have a child protection plan, a child in need, are Children Looked After and/or SEN will be monitored on a regular basis.
The College will seek to ensure it has at least two emergency contacts for each family and consider what urgent action it may need to take when a vulnerable child and family are not contactable and the child has not attended College.
It is essential that all staff are alert to signs to look out for and the individual triggers to be aware of when considering the risks of potential safeguarding concerns such as travelling to conflict zones, Female Genital Mutilation and forced marriage.
Our College has a mandatory duty to report to the local authority if they believe a child is subject to a private fostering arrangement. (This does not include close family relatives e.g. grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or auntie.) A private fostering arrangement is made without the knowledge of the local authority for the care of a child under the age of 16 years (under 18 for children with disabilities) whereby the child is in the care of someone other than their parent or close relative. Further guidance is available in Keeping Children Safe in Education (DFE, 2018). When a child is privately fostered a social worker must carry out an assessment to ensure the placement is appropriate and consider any support needed.
The College will ensure that all appointments follow its recruitment policy and the guidance set out in Keeping Children Safe in Education (DFE 2018). At least one member of the appointments panel will have undertaken safer recruitment. The College will undertake all the required DFE pre-employments checks and where appropriate record these checks on the single central record and retain evidence in personnel files. The College will seek written confirmation that third-party organisations including contractor and alternative education providers have undertaken appropriate checks.
The College is required to investigate relevant staff who fall within the scope of Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disqualification-under-the-childcare-act-2006) and establish they are not disqualified. The criteria for disqualification under the 2006 Act and the 2018 Regulations includes inclusion on the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Children’s Barred List or committing a relevant offence.
The College will ensure it has a curriculum map which sets out how to help children keep themselves safe from harm. Children will be supported to develop their understanding, at the appropriate age, of risks including: when using technology, the internet, and risks associated with grooming and radicalisation, gang and criminal exploitation and misusing drugs and alcohol. Children will also learn about the wider safeguarding curriculum which for children would include road safety, anti-bullying and know how to seek support when needed. The College will ensure the curriculum promotes British Values as set out in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015.
Staff will be told of concerns about a child on a ‘need to know basis’.
The College understands the need to keep child protection and safeguarding records securely.
Where requested by a new provider, College will transfer records securely to the next setting and discuss the child’s needs.
The College will retain records in keeping with Local Authority guidance and NSPCC guidelines:
https://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/information-service/child-protection-records-retention-and-storage.pdf . This in turn references the Information and Records Management Society (IRMS) 2018 Information management toolkit for colleges version 5.
Staff cannot promise children confidentiality but must always act in the best interests of the child and share disclosures made by the child or others with the Safeguarding Team.
The College will aim to seek consent of parents before sharing information with other agencies, however legislation states that colleges and other agencies can share information without the consent of a parent/carer in particular circumstances.
Complaints about safeguarding should follow the College’s complaints policy.
The College and Local Authority also have whistleblowing procedures.
(The NSPCC whistleblowing helpline is available for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally. Staff can call: 0800 028 0285)
Policy author: Designated Safeguarding Lead
Last Reviewed: October 2018
Next review date October 2019