Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy for Chiltern Music Therapy
Approved by Natasha Larkin, DSL (June 2022)
Policy to be reviewed (June 2023)
Designated Safeguarding Lead: Natasha Larkin
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead: Kasia Sikora-Black
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children(/vulnerable adults) is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone who comes into contact with children(/vulnerable adults) and their families has a role to play. In order to fulfil this responsibility effectively, all practitioners should make sure their approach is child(/VA)-centred. This means that they should consider, at all times, what is in the best interest of the child(/vulnerable adult).
(Keeping Children Safe in Education – DfE, September 2021)
This Safeguarding Policy is for all staff, parents/referees and volunteers. It forms part of the safeguarding arrangements for our organisation. It should be read in conjunction with the Safer Recruitment Policy, Chiltern Policy Handbook, Health and Safety Policy and Social Media Policy. It should also be read in conjunction with Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 Part 1 (DfE, 2021).
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children (and VAs) is defined in Keeping Children Safe in Education as:
Chiltern Music Therapy works in accordance with the following legislation and guidance:
Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, September 2021)
Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021 - Part 1 (DfE, September 2021)
Working Together (HMG, 2018)
Education Bill (2019)
Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act (HMG, 2021)
Serious Crime Act 2015 (Home Office, 2015)
Sexual Offences Act (2003)
Searching, screening and confiscation (DfE, 2018)
Preventing and Tackling Bullying (DfE, 2017)
Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (S.74 - Serious Crime Act 2015)
All adults working with or on behalf of children/vulnerable adults have a responsibility to protect them and to provide a safe environment in which they can learn and achieve their full potential. However, there are key people within schools, care settings and the Local Authority who have specific responsibilities under child and VA protection procedures. The names of those at Chiltern Music Therapy with these specific responsibilities (the designated safeguarding lead and deputy designated safeguarding lead) are shown on the cover sheet of this document.
The Life Circle are responsible for ensuring that Chiltern Music Therapy follows recruitment procedures that help to deter, reject or identify people who might abuse children/vulnerable adults. It adheres to statutory responsibilities to check adults working with children and vulnerable adults. Life Support has recruitment and selection procedures in place (see Chiltern’s ‘Safer Recruitment’ policy for further information). It ensures that volunteers are appropriately supervised during sessions by a paid member of the Chiltern team.
The Compliance Coordinator must ensure that the policies and procedures in our organisation are effective and comply with the law at all times. The Designated Safeguarding Lead ensures that all required policies relating to safeguarding are in place and that the child/VA protection policy reflects statutory and local guidance and is reviewed at least annually.
The Training Coordinator ensures that all staff members undergo safeguarding and child/VA protection training at induction and that it is then regularly updated. All staff members receive regular safeguarding and child/VA protection updates, at least annually, to provide them with the relevant skills and knowledge to keep our children/vulnerable adults safe.
The Life Circle ensures there is a named designated safeguarding lead and deputy safeguarding lead in place.
The designated safeguarding lead at Chiltern takes lead responsibility for managing child/VA protection concerns and incidents, safeguarding training and raising awareness of all child/VA protection policies and procedures. They ensure that everyone in the organisation (including temporary staff, volunteers and contractors) is aware of these procedures and that they are followed at all times. They act as a source of advice and support for other staff (on child/VA protection matters) and ensure that timely referrals to the relevant county’s safeguarding bodies are made in accordance with current procedures.
If for any reason the designated safeguarding lead is unavailable, the deputy designated safeguarding lead will act in their absence.
Everyone in Chiltern has a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which our children/vulnerable adults can learn. All staff members are prepared to identify individuals who may benefit from early help and understand their role within this process. This includes identifying any emerging problems so appropriate support may be provided and liaising with the designated safeguarding lead to report any concerns. All staff members are aware of and follow Chiltern processes (as set out in this policy).
Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, 2021) defines abuse as the maltreatment of a child.
“Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. Abuse may take wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.”
The four main types of abuse referred to in Keeping Children Safe in Education are:
Chiltern Music Therapy is aware of the signs of abuse and neglect so we are able to identify children who may be in need of help or protection.
Chiltern Music Therapy may be the only stable, secure and safe element in the lives of children/VA at risk of, or who have suffered harm. Nevertheless, during a session, their behaviour may be challenging and defiant, or they may instead be withdrawn, or display abusive behaviours towards other children/VA. Chiltern recognises that some children/VA may abuse their peers and any incidents of peer on peer abuse will be managed in the same way as any other child/VA protection concern and will follow the same procedures.
Peer on peer abuse can manifest itself in many ways. This may include bullying (including cyber bullying), on-line abuse, gender-based abuse, ‘sexting’ or sexually harmful behaviour. We do not tolerate any harmful behaviour in sessions and will take swift action to intervene where this occurs.
Chiltern understands the different gender issues that can be prevalent when dealing with peer on peer abuse.
Chiltern understands that children/VAs with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. Additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children/VA. This can include:
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE) are forms of abuse, which can happen to boys and girls from any background or community. This definition of CSE is used by the Department of Education in their Definition and Guide for Practitioners:
"Child Sexual Exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs when an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology".
It is understood that a significant number of children who are victims of CSE and CCE go missing from home, care and education at some point. Chiltern is alert to the signs and indicators of a child becoming at risk of, or subject to, CSE and CCE and will take appropriate action to respond to any concerns. The designated safeguarding lead will lead on these issues and work with other agencies as appropriate.
FGM comprises all procedures involving partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to female genital organs. It is illegal in the UK and a form of child abuse.
As of October 2015, the Serious Crime Act 2015 (Home Office, 2015) introduced a duty on teachers (and other professionals) to notify the police of known cases of female genital mutilation where it appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18. Our organisation will operate in accordance with the statutory requirements relating to this issue, and in line with existing local safeguarding procedures.
A forced marriage is one entered into without the full consent of one or both parties. It is where violence, threats or other forms of coercion is used and is a crime. Our staff understand how to report concerns where this may be an issue.
As of 2021, the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act (HMG, 2021) placed a new duty on schools and other education providers. Under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (HMG, 2015), schools are required, in the exercise of their functions, to have “due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This duty is known as the Prevent duty.
It requires any organisation working with children or VA to:
CHANNEL is a national programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people identified as vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. All staff members understand how to identify those who may benefit from this support and the vulnerability assessment framework as outlined in Section 5 of the HM Government Channel Duty Guidance.
All staff members have a duty to identify and respond to suspected / actual abuse or disclosures of abuse. Any member of staff, volunteer or visitor of Chiltern who receives a disclosure or allegation of abuse, or suspects that abuse may have occurred must report it immediately to the designated safeguarding lead (or, in their absence, the deputy designated safeguarding lead).
All staff are aware of the safeguarding incident process and management of concerns in accordance with the latest guidelines from the Children’s Advice and Duty Services (CADS 2018). Appendix A outlines CADS guidance in relation to significant harm to a child. Under the Duty to Refer revisions in 2018 the Chiltern DSL and DDSL are aware of the need to contact CADS if it is believed or suspected that:
All action is taken in accordance with the following guidance;
Any staff member or visitor of Chiltern will refer concerns to the designated safeguarding lead or deputy designated safeguarding lead. Where there is risk of immediate harm, concerns will be referred by telephone to the Children and Families Hub and / or the Police. Less urgent concerns or requests for support will be referred to the Children and Families Hub (search for your county’s MASH details online). Wherever possible, Chiltern will share any safeguarding concerns, or an intention to refer a child to Children’s Social Care, with parents or carers. However, we will not do so where it is felt that to do so could place the child at greater risk of harm or impede a criminal investigation. On occasions, it may be necessary to consult with the Children and Families Hub and / or the Police for advice on when to share information with parents / carers / referrers.
If a member of staff continues to have concerns about a child and feels the situation is not being addressed or does not appear to be improving, the staff member concerned should press for reconsideration of the case with the designated safeguarding lead.
If, for any reason, the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) is not available, this should not delay appropriate action being taken.
When new staff, volunteers or regular visitors join Chiltern they are informed of the safeguarding arrangements in place, the name of the designated safeguarding lead (and deputy) and how to share concerns with them.
The designated safeguarding lead (and deputy) undertake the Designated Safeguarding Lead training. The directors and all staff members receive appropriate child/VA protection training which is regularly updated. In addition, all staff members receive safeguarding and child/VA protection updates as required, at least annually, to provide them with relevant skills and knowledge to safeguard children effectively. Records of any child protection training undertaken is kept for all staff.
Confidentiality is an issue which needs to be discussed and fully understood by all those working with children and vulnerable adults, particularly in the context of child/VA protection. A member of staff must never guarantee confidentiality to anyone about a safeguarding concern (including parents / carers or affected individuals), or promise to keep a secret. In accordance with statutory requirements, where there is a child/VA protection concern, this must be reported to the designated safeguarding lead and may require further referral to and subsequent investigation by appropriate authorities.
Information on individual child/VA protection cases may be shared by the designated lead (or deputy) with other relevant staff members. This will be on a ‘need to know’ basis only and where it is in the child/VA’s best interests to do so.
Well-kept records are essential to good child/VA protection practice. Chiltern is clear about the need to record any concern held about an individual, the status of such records and when these records should be shared with other agencies if and when applicable to our organisation.
Where there are concerns about the safety of a child/VA, the sharing of information in a timely and effective manner between organisations can reduce the risk of harm. Whilst the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK-GDPR places duties on organisations and individuals to process personal information fairly and lawfully, it is not a barrier to sharing information where the failure to do so would result in a child or vulnerable adult being placed at risk of harm. Similarly, human rights concerns, such as respecting the right to a private and family life would not prevent sharing where there are real safeguarding concerns. Fears about sharing information cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children/VA at risk of abuse or neglect. Generic data flows related to safeguarding are recorded in a secure database and regularly reviewed.
Any member of staff receiving a disclosure of abuse or noticing signs or indicators of abuse, will record it as soon as possible, noting what was said or seen (if appropriate, using a body map to record), giving the date, time and location. All records will be dated and signed and will include the action taken. This is then presented to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy), who will decide on appropriate action and record this accordingly.
Any records related to safeguarding are kept online, on Chiltern’s database which is password protected.
All staff members are made aware of the boundaries of appropriate behaviour and conduct. These matters form part of the staff induction and are outlined in the Chiltern Policy Handbook. Chiltern works in accordance with statutory guidance and the SET procedures (ESCB, 2019) as well as other relevant county’s procedures in respect of allegations against an adult working with children (in a paid or voluntary capacity). As an example, Section 7 of the current SET procedures provides detailed information on this.
Chiltern has processes in place for reporting any concerns about a member of staff (or any adult working with children). Any concerns about the conduct of a member of staff will be referred to the Life Circle Guardian and can be escalated to the Board of Directors if necessary. These roles are distinct from the designated safeguarding lead as the named person should have sufficient status and authority to manage employment procedures. Staffing matters are confidential and Chiltern operates within statutory guidance around Data Protection.
Chiltern will ensure that where an allegation against a member of staff is received, a senior named person must inform the duty Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) in the Children’s Workforce Allegations Management Team of their county within one working day. However, wherever possible, contact with the LADO will be made immediately as they will then advise on how to proceed and whether the matter requires Police involvement.
Whistleblowing is ‘making a disclosure in the public interest’ and occurs when a worker (or member of the wider community) raises a concern about danger or illegality that affects others, for example pupils in the school or members of the public.
All staff members are made aware of the duty to raise concerns about the attitude or actions of staff in line with Chiltern’s Code of Conduct / Whistleblowing policy.
We want everyone to feel able to report any child protection / safeguarding concerns. However, for members of staff who feel unable to raise these concerns internally, they can call the NSPCC whistleblowing helpline on: 0800 028 0285 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The above policy focuses on children’s services at times, however, similar procedures are applied and followed for reporting safeguarding concerns about vulnerable adults with the support and guidance of the safeguarding team.
A “What do I do” document is internally shared with the staff for the immediate actions that need to be taken when reporting a safeguarding concern at Chiltern. Members of staff are encouraged to contact the DSL (or DDSL in their absence) whenever unsure.
Flowchart obtained from: https://www.norfolklscb.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/CADS-flowchart-FINAL.pdf