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2.3 Agencies' Roles and Responsibilities

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Statutory Duties
  3. Voluntary and Private Sectors
  4. Faith Communities
  5. Common Features
  6. Solihull LSCP Safeguarding Standards


1. Introduction

1.1 An awareness and appreciation of the role of others is essential for effective collaboration between organisations and their practitioners.
1.2 This chapter outlines the main responsibilities in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children of all statutory organisations, private voluntary agencies and those who work with children.
1.3 It should be read in conjunction with the details set out in Chapter 2 of Working Together to Safeguard Children.
1.4 It is important to emphasise that we all share a responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. All members of the community can help to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people, if they have concerns about a child’s welfare.


2. Statutory Duties

2.1 All organisations that work with children share a commitment to safeguard and promote their welfare. For many organisations, this is underpinned by statutory duties. 
2.2 Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, as a Children’s Services Authority, has a number of specific duties to organise and plan services for children.
2.3 As well as the local authority, NHS organisations, Police, British Transport Police, Probation and Prison Services, Youth Offending Teams and Secure Training Centres   all have duties under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
2.4 Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council also has duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in relation to its functions as a Children's Services Authority under section 175 of the Education Act 2002. 
2.5 As well as the local authority, schools (both maintained and independent) and Further Education institutions, including 6th form colleges, have duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of their pupils who are under 18. Guidance about these education duties is contained in Keeping Children Safe in Education.
2.6

In addition, boarding schools, residential special schools and FE Institutions that provide accommodation for pupils under 18 must have regard to the relevant National Minimum Standards for their establishment, which can be found at the Ofsted Website.

2.7

All Children’s Homes, fostering agencies and adoption agencies, whether managed by the local authority or by voluntary/private agencies, have to comply with the relevant Regulations and National Minimum Standards. Similarly, providers of day care for children under 8 and childminders must comply with the requirements of the OFSTED. All have an important role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.

Early Year Settings must have a practitioner on the premises at all times during opening hours, who is designated to take lead responsibility for safeguarding children within each early years setting and who should liaise with local statutory children's services agencies as appropriate. A ‘deputy’ safeguarding lead should be present and is required to be responsible if the safeguarding lead is not available. This lead should also complete child protection training.

See also Guidance for inspectors undertaking inspection under the common inspection framework (GOV.UK).

2.8 CAFCASS also has a duty under section 12(1) of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children involved in family proceedings in which their welfare is, or may be, in question.


3. Voluntary and Private Sectors

3.1 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 health care. Many voluntary organisations are skilled in preventive work, and may be well placed to reach the most vulnerable children, young people and families.
3.2 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.
3.3 Organisations in the voluntary and private sectors that work with children need to have the arrangements described in Section 5, Common Features in place in the same way as organisations in the public sector, and need to work effectively with the LSCP. Paid and volunteer staff members need to be aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, and of how they should respond to child welfare concerns in line with the procedures in this Manual.


4. Faith Communities

4.1 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 services for children and young people, 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.
4.2

Like other settings 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. In particular, these arrangements should include:

  • Procedures for staff and others to report concerns that they may have about the children they meet in line with “What to do if you're worried a child is being abused” and the procedures contained in this Manual, as well as arrangements such as those described in Section 5, Common Features
  • Procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against members of staff and volunteers
  • 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 of faith group
  • Recruitment procedures in accordance with “Safe from Harm” (Home Office, 1993) principles and the Safe Recruitment, Induction and Employment Procedure contained in this Manual, alongside training and supervision of staff (paid or voluntary).
4.3 Churches and faith organisations can seek advice on child protection issues from the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS). CCPAS can help with policies and procedures; its “Guidance to Churches” Manual can assist churches, and its “Safeguarding Children and Young People” can assist other places of worship and faith-based groups.
4.4 CCPAS operates a national (24-hour) telephone help-line for churches, other places of worship and faith-based groups and individuals, providing advice and support on safeguarding issues.


5. Common Features

Under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004, local authorities, NHS organisations, police, British Transport Police, Probation Provider, Prisons and Young Offender Institutions, Secure Training Centres an Youth Offending Teams/Services should have in place arrangements that reflect the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including:

  • A clear line of accountability for the commissioning and/or provision of services designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • A senior board level lead to take leadership responsibility for the organisation's safeguarding arrangements;
  • A culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, both in individual decisions and the development of services;
  • Arrangements which set out clearly the processes for sharing information, with other professionals and with the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCP);
  • A designated professional lead (or, for health provider organisations, named professionals) for safeguarding. Their role is to support other professionals in their agencies to recognise the needs of children, including rescue from possible abuse or neglect. Designated professional roles should always be explicitly defined in job descriptions. Professionals should be given sufficient time, funding, supervision and support to fulfil their child welfare and safeguarding responsibilities effectively;
  • Safe recruitment practices for individuals whom the organisation will permit to work regularly with children, including policies on when to obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service check;
  • Appropriate supervision and support for staff, including undertaking safeguarding training:
    • Employers are responsible for ensuring that their staff are competent to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and creating an environment where staff feel able to raise concerns and feel supported in their safeguarding role;
    • Staff should be given a mandatory induction, which includes familiarisation with child protection responsibilities and procedures to be followed if anyone has any concerns about a child's safety or welfare; and
    • All professionals should have regular reviews of their own practice to ensure they improve over time.
  • Clear policies in line with those from the LSCP for dealing with allegations against people who work with children. An allegation may relate to a person who works with children who has:
    • Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child;
    • Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child; or
    • Behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.

In addition:

  • County level and unitary local authorities should have a Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) to be involved in the management and oversight of individual cases. The LADO should provide advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations, liaising with the police and other agencies and monitoring the progress of cases to ensure that they are dealt with as quickly as possible, consistent with a thorough and fair process;
  • Any allegation should be reported immediately to a senior manager within the organisation. The LADO should also be informed within one working day of all allegations that come to an employer's attention or that are made directly to the police; and
  • If an organisation removes an individual (paid worker or unpaid volunteer) from work such as looking after children (or would have, had the person not left first) because the person poses a risk of harm to children, the organisation must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). It is an offence to fail to make a referral without good reason.


6. Solihull LSCP Safeguarding Standards

6.1 Within Solihull, these common features have been reflected as a set of safeguarding standards with which all organisations that work with children and young people need to ensure compliance. This will ensure that organisational measures are in place to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.
6.2 The standards are:
Standard 1 - All partner organisations/services have a senior manager/individual responsible for safeguarding and promoting welfare activities
Standard 2 - All partner organisations/services have a clear statement of their responsibilities towards children and young people available to all
Standard 3 - All partner organisations/services have an accountability structure for work to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people
Standard 4 - All partner organisations/services ensure service development takes account of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people
Standard 5 - All partner organisations/services ensure personnel are trained in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people
Standard 6 - All partner organisations/services ensure that all staff with access to children and young people are properly selected and vetted to ensure inappropriate individuals do not gain access to children or young people
Standard 7 - Partner organisations/services contribute to effective inter agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people
Standard 8 - Partner organisations/agencies have arrangements in place for effective information sharing
Standard 9 - All partner organisations/services address issues of diversity in their work to safeguard and promote children and young people
Standard 10 - All partner organisations/services work closely and effectively with Solihull LSCP through agreed mechanisms to monitor their performance in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and evaluate the effectiveness of these standards
Standard 11 - All partner organisations/services have in place written procedures for handling complaints and allegations against staff
Standard 12 - All partner organisations/services have processes and procedures in place so a safe working environment is created and maintained
6.3 All agencies will be audited against their compliance with these standards over a period of time.

End