SAFEGUARDING AND CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

AMBIT Youth is firmly committed to the belief that all children and young people have a fundamental right to be protected from harm, and fully recognises its responsibility for safeguarding and child protection. The safety and protection of all children and young people that AMBIT Youth supports is paramount and has priority over all other interests.

The purpose and scope of this policy statement

 

The purpose of this Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy is to ensure, always, the maximum protection from any kind of harm for all children, young people, sessional workers and volunteers involved in any way with AMBIT Youth to protect children and young people who receive AMBIT Youth’s services from harm.

For the purposes of this policy AMBIT Youth has defined harm as:

  • Abandonment – leaving a child alone and unattended in circumstances that are inappropriate for their age/level of ability.

  • Emotional/Psychological abuse – persistent emotional ill treatment that has a severe adverse effect on the emotional development of a young person. It may involve conveying to them that they are not wanted, not loved, useless, worthless. It may involve inappropriate expectations (such as taking on the responsibilities of an adult within the family) being placed on the young person leaving them feeling frightened and unable to cope. It may also involve the exploitation or corruption of young people.

  • Neglect – the persistent failure to meet the basic physical and physiological needs of a young person that results in the serious impairment of their health and development, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter and failure to respond to basic emotional needs, such as being cared for when sick.

  • Physical abuse – hitting, kicking, shaking, slapping, throwing, burning, scalding, poisoning, drowning, suffocating or any other action intended to cause physical harm or ill-health to a young person.

  • Financial or Material abuse – Theft or exploitation in financial matters or transactions, and the misuse or misappropriation of possessions or benefits.

  • Discriminatory abuse – This may involve racist, sexist and religious abuse; abuse that is based on a person’s disability, size, gender, age or marital status.

  • Domestic abuse - This includes psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour’ based violence.

  • Modern slavery –This encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude.

  • Self-neglect – This covers a wide range of behaviours including neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings, and includes behaviours such as hoarding.

  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – This includes procedures that intentionally alter or injure the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.

  • Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation – forcing or enticing a young person to participate in sexual activities, whether or not the young person is aware of what is happening. It includes child prostitution, encouraging young people to watch or participate in the production of pornographic material and encouraging young people to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Sexual acts include penetrative and non-penetrative acts such as touching or stroking.

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 defines ‘consent’ as ‘if he/she agrees by choice and has the capacity to make that choice’. The Act removes the element of consent for many sexual offences for:

  • Children under 16 (including under 13)

  • Children under 18 having sexual relations with a person in a position of trust (E.g. teachers, police officers; youth workers, foster carers)

  • Children under 18 involved with family members over 18

  • Persons with a mental disorder impeding choice or who are induced, threatened or deceived

  • Persons with a mental disorder who have sexual relations with care workers

In relation to young people under the age of 13, consent is irrelevant. The law says, ‘a child under the age of 13 does not, under any circumstances, have the legal capacity to consent to any form of sexual activity’.The Police must be informed immediately of any sexual activity involving a child under 13.

  • Peer abuse - Young people are vulnerable to abuse from their peers, particularly when they are away from home. Teenagers and younger children commit a significant proportion of sex offences. Any such abuse must be taken as seriously as abuse perpetrated by an adult and the same procedures must be followed.

  • Exposure to drug/alcohol misuse - encouraging or permitting young people who are under the legal age to use alcohol and drugs in a way that is harmful to their health.

Legal framework

This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that

seeks to protect children in England. A summary of the key legislation is available from

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/working-together-to-safeguard-children--2

 

Supporting documents

This policy statement should be read alongside our organisational policies, procedures,

guidance and other related documents.

• Safer recruitment

• Health and safety 

• Risk Assessments

 

POLICY PROCEDURES

Personnel/Recruitment

AMBIT Youth Ltd practices robust recruitment procedures in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with children and young people, this includes:

  • All employees will complete an application form and will be interviewed.

  • All employees are required to provide references, which are always verified.

  • All employees are required to provide evidence of their identity and qualifications.

  • All potential employees are expected to disclose any convictions, cautions, court orders or reprimands and warnings which may affect their suitability to work with children or young people.

  • All employees have DBS checks at a level appropriate to their role. In the event of employment, any failure to disclose convictions will result in disciplinary action or dismissal.

  • Staff will not have unsupervised contact with children or young people until their suitability has been checked.

All new employees are required to sign up to the DBS online update service. Existing employees will be required to sign up when their DBS is next renewed. Sign up to the update service must be completed within 14 days of DBS check having been completed.

Status checks through the update service will be completed for all employees.

No person disqualified under the Childcare Act 2006 will be employed in AMBIT Youth Ltd’ childcare or early years settings. All staff in these settings are required to declare (using the Disqualification Declaration Form) if they live in the same household as someone who is disqualified, and therefore, may be disqualified by association.

All employees will receive Safeguarding and Child Protection Training as part of their induction and throughout their employment at a level and frequency suitable for their role (detailed in AMBIT Youth Ltd’ Staff Handbook)

 

RESPONSIBILITIES (ORGANISATION)

AMBIT Youth Ltd will ensure a minimum of one senior member of staff are Designated Safeguarding Leads with responsibility for safeguarding and child protection and the implementation of this policy. It is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Leads to take appropriate action following any expression of concern and to make, or support other members of staff to make, referrals to the appropriate agency.

All employees will be made aware of the named Safeguarding Leads and how to contact them. AMBIT Youth Ltd will ensure that all staff members receive training to update them on Child Protection and Safeguarding at a level and frequency suitable for their role. The Designated Safeguarding Leads will ensure that advice is sought from relevant child protection agencies when dealing with more complex issues.

AMBIT Youth Ltd will ensure that all employees receive regular monitoring and supervision in their work with children and young people.  AMBIT Youth Ltd will ensure that all employees have access to and understand the Prevent agenda in combating radicalisation.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES (EMPLOYEES)

All employees, whether paid or unpaid, working on behalf of AMBIT Youth Ltd have a duty of care and a responsibility for the welfare of the children and young people that they work with in relation to their employment.

A duty of care is defined as the duty which rests upon an individual or organisation to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure the safety of a child or young person involved in any activity or interaction for which that individual or organisation is responsible. Any person in charge of or working with children and young people in any capacity is considered, both legally and morally to owe them a duty of care.

AMBIT Youth Ltd has a code of conduct in place which all staff must adhere to.

All employees, whether paid or unpaid, have a duty to ensure that any suspected incident, allegation or other manifestation relating to child protection or radicalisation is reported using the reporting procedures detailed in this policy.

If in any doubt about what action to take, employees must seek advice from one of the named safeguarding leads.

 

Primary contact for safeguarding and child protection:

 

Name: ELIZABETH EGBE

 

Email: liz@ambityouth.com

 

Phone: 07938581550

 

MEDIA

AMBIT Youth Ltd frequently takes photographs of children and young people participating in activities and events. At all times written permission from parents will be obtained before any photographic material of young people under the age of 18 is used in the public domain.

 

MOBILE PHONES

When working within a AMBIT Youth Ltd centre or base, all staff must ensure that their personal mobile phones are kept in a suitable area or in staff bags when there are children/young people on site; they may have work mobile phones with them but only to be used in an emergency.

When working in schools, all staff should follow the mobile phone policy of the individual school. If there is no such policy in place, staff must ensure that they leave their phones (personal and work) in a safe place within the school, or, if this is not possible, that their phones remain in their bags.

It is recognised that it is necessary for staff to take their AMBIT Youth Ltd mobile phones on offsite activities; when working with young people, phones are only permitted to be used for emergency situations or to communicate with your base contact.

Staff are not permitted to use personal mobiles, at any time, when working with young people; if staff have personal mobiles with them, they must be switched off and remain in bags. Staff are encouraged to give their work mobile and office numbers to family members in case of emergency.

Under no circumstances should a member of staff take photographs of young people with any mobile phone (personal or work), unless specifically authorised to do so.

Photographs of young people may only be taken with AMBIT Youth Ltd’ cameras unless specifically authorised to use a personal camera or phone. Photographs should be uploaded to a computer as soon as possible, and then deleted immediately from the camera.

All AMBIT Youth Ltd’ cameras and mobile telephones can be checked at any time by the Service Manager.

Any staff member or volunteer found to be non-compliant with this policy will face disciplinary action.

 

REPORTING PROCEDURES

Any suspicion, allegation or disclosure must be reported immediately (as soon as practicably possible on the day of the occurrence) to one of the Designated Safeguarding Leads. Disclosure or evidence for concern may occur in a number of ways including a comment made by a child, physical evidence such as bruising, a change in behaviour or inappropriate behaviour or knowledge.

The employee must record the concern using the Safeguarding Form, which they must hand deliver to one of the Designated Safeguarding Leads immediately. The Designated Safeguarding Lead must take the Safeguarding Form to Head Office (it must not be posted). It must not be saved on any computer. This form must be kept strictly confidential and stored securely following the Data Protection Procedures.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead is responsible for making the decision as to whether further referral is necessary. This will either be to Children’s Services, the MASH (Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub), the Child Protection Unit of the police or Barnardo’s (in cases of CSE). If the immediate safety of the child is in any doubt, then the Child Protection Unit must be informed.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead will decide who the most appropriate person is to make the referral (depending on the case/circumstances) and ensure that the referral is made.

The Service Manager (DSL) will be informed of all referrals made.

It is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) to inform the employee who reported the concern of any action taken and any outcome. It is the responsibility of the Designated Safeguarding Lead to ensure that any partner agencies involved with the young person are made aware of the disclosure and the action taken.

All stages of the reporting procedure must be documented, marked CONFIDENTIAL and stored securely following the procedures laid out in the Data Protection Policy.

 

ALLEGATIONS AGAINST EMPLOYEES

When any form of complaint is made against an employee, it must be taken seriously, and the complaint should initially be dealt with by the most senior staff member on site at the time the complaint is made. If the complaint is against the most senior member of staff on site, then the Service Manager must be informed.

The senior staff member must report the complaint immediately to the Service Manager or in his/her absence a senior member of the team giving details of the circumstances.

The Service Manager or in his/her absence a senior team member will attend the site of the allegation to gain an initial account of what has occurred from all relevant parties, including the person against whom the allegation has been made. If this is not possible, contact will be made by telephone.

The Service Manager or in his/her absence a member of the Senior Leadership Team will have the right to suspend from duty and /or the premises, any person who is a party to the allegation until a full investigation has been made.

This action does not imply in any way that the person suspended is responsible for, or is to blame for any action leading up to the complaint. The purpose of any such suspension is to enable a full and proper investigation to be carried out in a totally professional manner.

It is the responsibility of the Service Manager to make the decision as to whether to inform Children’s Services and/or the Child Protection Unit of the Police, depending on the nature of the allegation. AMBIT Youth will co-operate fully with the Police, Social Services and all other parties involved.

The Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) will be alerted to all cases in which it is alleged that a person who works with children has:

  • behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, a child

  • possibly committed a criminal offence against children, or related to a child

  • behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children

 

The LADO will be informed prior to any internal investigation taking place.

LADO Contacts:

Sutton – 020 8770 5000

Croydon – 020 8255 2889

Merton – 020 8545 4226

Wandsworth - 020 8871 5846

Lambeth – 020 7926 4679

Lewisham – 020 8314 7280

 

The Service Manager, or in his/her absence a member of the Senior Team Leader is fully briefed. An agreed statement will be prepared for the purpose of accurate communication with external sources and for the protection of the legal position of all parties involved.

The Service Manager, or i the Senior Team Leader will make a full written report of the incident and the actions taken. This report will be stored securely following the procedures detailed in the Data Protection Policy. If there is a complaint against the Service Manager, the complaint must be reported immediately to the Senior Team Leader.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY

AMBIT Youth operates under a policy of confidentiality; however, under no circumstances will any individual in the employ of AMBIT Youth keep confidential any information that raises concerns about the safety and/or welfare of a child or young person.

This statement relating to confidentiality must be made known to all who access any provision of AMBIT Youth.

All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children and young people.

All staff must be aware that they cannot promise a child that they will keep secrets.

 

REVIEW AND MAINTENANCE OF POLICY

The Service Manager shall undertake to review this policy, its implementation and effectiveness annually.

Any new legislation or developments in existing legislation will be considered as and when required and the policy will be updated to reflect these developments.

 

 

Last review date: 11 JULY 2022