Policies

1.1  INTRODUCTION

1.1.1  Berkeley Guardians policies include the safeguarding policy which is mandatory for all staff to read and recommended for parents. This policy relates to all children under our care regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion or disability. All children have the right to protection from any kind of abuse and the right to exist in a safe and friendly environment whilst in the care of Berkeley Guardians.

1.1.2  Berkeley Guardians is committed to the ongoing promise of safeguarding children. To ensure that all staff receive the most up to date information, this policy is reviewed and redistributed annually as standard. Should a significant change take place, the policy is immediately redistributed thereafter.

1.2 DEFINITIONS

  • U18/young person/child/children=all people under the age of 18 who use our services
  • safeguarding = “The process of protecting children from abuse or neglect, preventing impairment of their health and development, and ensuring they are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care that enables children to have optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully”
  • DDSL = Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead, the member of staff who deals with day to day safeguarding matters for Berkeley Guardians
  • DSL = Designated Safeguarding Lead = the senior manager who deals with the day to day safeguarding matters and has overall responsibility for safeguarding for Berkeley Guardians
  • Berkeley Guardians adults= staff, visitors, volunteers, group leaders, accommodation providers and any other adult who comes into professional contact with Berkeley Guardians children
  • Single Central Record = a central repository of safeguarding related information for Berkeley Guardians adults
  • Children’s Social Care = social services for children; will include social workers who specialise in safeguarding/child protection

1.3  STATEMENT

  •  Berkeley Guardians endeavours to provide a secure and friendly environment where all members of the community are respected by others. The organisation is fully committed to safeguarding the welfare of all children, regardless of gender, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or religion. It recognizes its responsibility to take all reasonable steps to promote safe practice and to protect children from harm and abuse. Berkeley Guardians also acknowledges its duty to act appropriately to any allegations, reports or suspicions of abuse.

1.3.2     We implement our safeguarding policy as follows:

  • By following safer recruitment procedures to check the suitability of Berkeley Guardians adults;
  • Ensuring that all Berkeley Guardians adults understand their legal and moral responsibility to safeguard the welfare of children at Berkeley Guardians;
  • Having a clear code of conduct in place for all Berkeley Guardians adults;
  • By providing children and parents/carers with codes of conduct and ensuring they understand what those are;
  • By adopting child protection guidelines and accepted procedures;
  • By providing appropriate training, guidance and procedures for Berkeley Guardians adults to meet the needs of children;
  • Ensuring children’s health and safety whilst in our care taking part in activities;
  • By sharing information about any concerns about children’s welfare;
  • To continually develop awareness of any issues which might harm these children
  • Not to make Berkeley Guardians adults unnecessarily vulnerable to suspicion of any form of abuse;
  • Ensuring that this policy is available to all on our website.

1.4  POLICY REVIEW

1.4.1  Berkeley Guardians is also committed to reviewing this policy and good practice every 12 months.

1.4.2  Staff will be invited to contribute towards this review. The reviewed policy will then be signed off by the Designated Manager.

  • LAST REVIEW: November 2019
  • NEXT REVIEW: November 2020

2.1.1 The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is Karen Pickles, a Berkeley Guardians Director. Karen can be contacted in office hours on 07501528370 or outside office hours via the emergency phone: 07501528370. Her email is karen@berkeleyguardians.com

Her role includes:

  • day to day safeguarding matters, e.g. fielding safeguarding questions from staff
  • having overall responsibility for safeguarding within Berkeley Guardians
  • being involved in safeguarding policy decisions
  • maintaining employee records related to safeguarding
  • taking on the DDSL’s role in the DDSL’s absence
  • policy updates and changes in legislation

2.1.2 The Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL) is Jo Clark, a Berkeley Guardians Director. Jo can be contacted in office hours on 07956870011 or outside office hours via the emergency phone: 07956870011. Her email is jo@berkeleyguardians.com.

She is responsible for the following:

  • day to day safeguarding matters, e.g. fielding safeguarding questions from staff
  • safeguarding training for staff
  • being the first point of contact for any member of Berkeley Guardians adults with safeguarding concerns or information about a child’s disclosure
  • policy updates and changes in legislation
  • PREVENT Lead for Berkeley Guardians

3.1    AIMS

3.1.1 Following a Code of Conduct is important for helping to create a safe culture within Berkeley Guardians, building trust between U18s and adults and for protecting both children and adults from behaviour/actions which might be misconstrued.

3.1.2  Berkeley Guardians promotes inclusivity and values diversity. It also seeks to ensure that the work environment for its employees is supportive, and one where individual respect is shown to all. All members of staff and children, regardless of their gender, race, ethnic background, culture, (dis)ability, sexual orientation, age, religion, socio-economic status or any other factor will be supported.

3.2    KEY PRINCIPLES AND STANDARDS

3.2.1   The welfare of the child is paramount (Children Act 1989). All Berkeley Guardians adult have a duty to keep U18s safe and protect them from physical and emotional harm.

  • Berkeley Guardians adults are responsible for their own actions and behaviour and should avoid any conduct which would lead any reasonable person to question their motivation and intentions.
  • Berkeley Guardians adults should work, and be seen to work, with U18s in an open and transparent way.
  • Berkeley Guardians adults should discuss and/or take advice promptly from their line manager or another senior member of staff over any incident which may give rise to concern.
  • Records should be made of any such incident and of decisions made/further actions agreed.
  • Berkeley Guardians adults should apply the same professional standards to children regardless of gender, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
  • All Berkeley Guardians adults should know the name of their designated person for child protection and understand their responsibilities to safeguard and protect children. This will be explained in inductions.

3.3    CODE OF CONDUCT

General points

  • Berkeley Guardians adults are in a position of trust and must not use this to intimidate, threaten, coerce or undermine children. Corporal punishment and degrading treatment, e.g. through words or actions, is not acceptable.
  • All personal information about children must be treated in a confidential manner and must never be used for a Berkeley Guardians adult’s advantage.
  • All Berkeley Guardians adults are in a position of trust with U18s, so any sexual activity with or in front of U18s, or encouraging U18s to engage in or watch sexual activity, is a criminal offence.
  • Berkeley Guardians adults should ensure they are dressed decently and appropriately and bear in mind that offensive, revealing or provocative clothing could leave them open to criticism or allegation.
  • Giving or receiving gifts can be misinterpreted as a bribe or grooming, so caution should be exercised. Rewards for children should be part of an agreed award system and Berkeley Guardians adults should avoid favouritism, which could be construed as grooming.
  • Infatuations of children towards Berkeley Guardians adults should be handled sensitively and discussed with a senior colleague as soon as possible.
  • Staff should not establish or seek to establish social contact outside the classroom with pupils for the purpose of securing a friendship. Staff should not give personal details to children. Staff should not have contact with U18s online, except through formats which are sanctioned and scrutinised by Berkeley Guardians, e.g. responding to a message from an U18 on Berkeley Guardians Facebook page.
  • Any physical contact with U18s should be in response to their age-appropriate needs, appropriate to circumstances and the minimum necessary to meet these needs. This contact is open to scrutiny and justification and must never be secretive.
  • When entering rooms where children may be in a state of undress (e.g. bedrooms), Berkeley Guardians adults should announce their intention to enter (e.g. with a knock, pause and a second knock) and wait to be invited in, except in an emergency.
  • Berkeley Guardians adults should only physically intervene to prevent an U18 from committing a criminal offence, injuring themselves or others or causing damage to property. Excessive force is likely to be a criminal offence.
  • One-to-one situations with U18s may make Berkeley Guardians adults more vulnerable to allegations. Berkeley Guardians adults should therefore avoid unnecessary one-to-one situations. Homestay families should ensure their interactions are appropriate and can be justified.
  • Before transporting children in their own vehicles, all Berkeley Guardians adults must ensure that they have informed their motor insurance company. U18s should wear seatbelts at all times.
  • For out of social activities, Berkeley Guardians staff must assess the risks to U18s before an activity takes place and also ensure that their behaviour remains professional despite the more informal setting.
  • If U18s need to take regular medication, they should ensure the medical form is completed and have a care plan agreed between child, parent/carer and Berkeley Guardians.
  • If a Berkeley Guardians adult is concerned about the medication a child is taking, this should be discussed with the DSL and the School as soon as possible.
  • Berkeley Guardians adults should be aware that images of U18s have the potential to be misused for pornographic or grooming purposes. Adults should be clear about the purpose of images taken, be able to justify any images in their possession and ensure that all images are available for scrutiny. Berkeley Guardians adults must ensure that the parent/carer consent form has been signed prior to any images/recordings being taken.
  • Care should be taken when engaging children with sensitive topics. If in doubt, seek the advice of a senior member of staff.
  • Accessing indecent images of children on the internet will, if proven, invariably lead to any Berkeley Guardians adult being barred from work with children and young people.
  • Where the welfare of U18s may be at risk, Berkeley Guardians adults should bring matters of concern to the attention of senior management and if necessary, relevant external agencies. Concerns may include the behaviour of other Berkeley Guardians adults.
  • All Berkeley Guardians adults have a duty to record and report any child protection concerns to the Designated Safeguarding Person.
  • If an incident occurs which may result in an action being misinterpreted and/or an allegation being made against a member of staff, the relevant information should be promptly reported to senior staff.
  • Berkeley Guardians adults should feel able to discuss with senior staff any difficulties or problems in relation to U18 students, so that support can be provided or action taken.
  • Berkeley Guardians adults must not supply alcohol or cigarettes to U18s and must ensure that alcohol/drugs do not compromise their ability to safeguard and care for U18s.

DOWNLOAD CODE OF CONDUCT

4.1    DEFINITION

4.1.2  Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).

4.1.3  Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders. Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.

4.2    IDENTIFYING BULLYING

4.2.1  Bullying can take many different forms: for example, physical, emotional, name-calling, showing a lack of respect for another’s property or excluding somebody from a social group. One person ‘having a joke’ is another person suffering bullying.

4.2.2  Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes it is done subtly and in such a way that children and young persons will be worried about telling adults what is happening. Therefore, it is vital that adults are vigilant in noticing changes in behaviour of children and young persons, particularly if they become withdrawn.

4.3    HOW TO REACT IF YOU SUSPECT BULLYING

  • Investigate all reports, however seemingly trivial.
  • Ensure that all reports of suspected bullying are logged and that the follow-up is also logged, fully recorded and signed off by the DDSL.
  • Once it has been established that bullying has taken/is taking place, explain to the person acting unkindly that their actions have been precisely that and tell them the effect it has had on another / others.
  • Ask them to consider an appropriate way of putting things right and, if necessary support them in making an apology.
  • Ensure that any apology / reconciliation is done with staff present so that it can be accurately recorded.
  • Should the incident be more serious, staff should, where possible, speak to the DDSL or DSL about the situation and then conduct no-blame meetings with both parties (bully and bullied).
  • The aim is to clarify the situation through discussion and allow both sides to work out a solution that is satisfactory to them both. This will be recorded by the child’s guardian who will inform the DDSL or DSL and agents / parent/carer / School what has happened and how it has been resolved.
  • If, after this meeting, the bullying continues, then it must be seen as deliberate and require a more serious response. The guardian will take immediate action to protect the bullied person and begin procedures to restrict the activities of the bully. The DDSL/DSL must be informed and decisions will be made which could involve the bully being removed from the host family, perhaps to another one. The DSL will also keep agents / parent/carer / School fully informed.
  • Any further/extreme incidents of bullying by the same person would result in them having to leave the care of Berkeley Guardians. This will be managed by the DSL.

5.1    RATIONALE

5.1.1 Because we have a legal and moral duty to protect U18s from harm or abuse, all Berkeley Guardians adults should know about the different forms of abuse, how they can be recognised and how to report any concerns or allegations about safeguarding children.

5.2    TYPES OF ABUSE

5.2.1  The four main categories of abuse are as follows:

Abuse

Brief Description

Signs / things to be aware of

Physical Abuse

Where the victim is caused physical harm

Bruising (especially symmetric) Burns

Sexual abuse

Forcing or enticing a young person to take part in sexual activities. Can

happen over the internet.

Inappropriate sexualised play

Inappropriate needy attention seeking behaviour High incidence of teen abuse of other teens

Social abuse

Making someone feel bad about themselves, often persistently (e.g. bullying)

Lying and spreading rumours

Negative facial or physical gestures, menacing or contemptuous looks

Playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate

mimicking unkindly

Encouraging others to socially exclude someone

Damaging someone’s social reputation or social acceptance.

Neglect

Leaving a child unattended or depriving them of basic needs

Most common away from home Unused to supervision

Physical / medical needs ignored

5.2.2. Two more specific forms of abuse, which are now being discussed more openly in the UK, are described below:

Child Sex Exploitation

Exploitation of under 18s where they receive something (gifts, money,

drugs, attention) as a result of sexual activity

Unexplained gifts

Older boyfriends or girlfriends Missing school

Associating with bad company

 

The non-medical partial or

Disclosure of this happening to the student or a

Female Genital

total removal of external

friend

Mutilation (FGM)

female genital organs,

It is illegal if done in the UK.

 

typically done to young

It is a legal duty for the professional adult to

 

girls from African

notify police if FGM has happened in the UK

 

countries.

 
   

5.3 OTHER FORMS OF ABUSE

5.3.1. Berkeley Guardians adults should be aware of the possibility, however unlikely, that U18s who come to Berkeley Guardians may be experiencing specific issues, such as:

  • bullying/cyberbullying
  • grooming online
  • domestic or gang violence
  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • forced marriage
  • gender based violence
  • mental health issues
  • prostitution
  • radicalisation/extremism
  • teenage relationship abuse/sexting
  • trafficking

5.3.2  Please note: further information on any of the above topics (including child sex exploitation and FGM) can be found on page 9 of ‘Keeping children safe in education Part 1 July 2015’ available online here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447596/KCSIE_Part_1_Jul y_2015.pdf

5.4    WHEN DO YOU NEED TO RESPOND?

5.4.1  In any of the following situations you need to tell the DDSL / DSL:

Situation 1: if you become aware of anything that concerns you or if someone else tells you about a concern, go to SECTION 1 below.

Situation 2: if a child tells you directly about their actual abuse or the abuse of someone they know – this is an allegation. Go to SECTION 2 below.

5.5    SECTION 1: CONCERN ABOUT A CHILD

5.5.1 Recognising and raising a concern:

5.5.1.1  It may be that you or someone else has concerns about a child’s well-being, but they have not actually said anything to you. If such a situation arises, you should speak to the DDSL or DSL.

5.5.1.2  Abuse or neglect can have a damaging effect on a child’s health, educational attainment and emotional well-being. If you have been in contact with a child or group of children over many weeks, you may see changes in behaviour. Such changes may not necessarily indicate that a child is suffering abuse or neglect. In some cases those changes may be as a result of homesickness, bereavement or symptoms of a hidden disability or undiagnosed medical condition, and the need to distinguish those cases reinforces the need for a careful and thorough assessment of the child and his/her needs when concerns are passed on.

5.5.1.3  It is important that you do not feel afraid about passing on your concerns. The information may be a small piece in a bigger jigsaw and help to get a better understanding of the child’s predicament. Any concerns, however seemingly trivial, should be passed on to the DDSL/DSL.

5.5.1.4  It may be that you have a concern which feels very vague and would simply like to discuss your concerns with the DDSL/DSL. Please feel free to do so.

5.5.2 Reporting a concern:

  • Fill out a Concern / Allegation Form in Appendix 1.
  • Report your concern as soon as possible to a DDSL.
  • The DDSL will consider what further action to take but will always report it to the DSL.
  • The concern will be recorded by the DDSL / DSL, who will decide how to respond and communicate this to you.

5.6 SECTION 2: ALLEGATION OF ABUSE

5.6.1  An allegation is where someone tells you directly that some kind of abuse has happened (sometimes called a ‘disclosure’).

5.6.1.2  You may be approached by a child who wants to talk to you about something that has or is happening to them or someone they know. They will tend to choose someone that they trust or know well and this will not always be their personal guardian. It may be any member of staff or other adult with whom they have formed a good relationship.

5.6.2 .Procedure for receiving an allegation

When you are approached by a child who wants to talk to you, you should:

  • Listen positively, take their allegation seriously and reassure them. If you can, try and ensure a degree of privacy, but this may not always be possible. Whilst this might be an alarming situation to find yourself in, it is important not to let the moment pass – for every child that does finally disclose information, evidence shows that they have usually tried up to 12 times before.
  • 2. Receive:
    • Accept what is said without judgement.
    • Stay calm and do not show shock, disbelief or distress.
  1. Reassure:
  • Reassure the child that they did nothing wrong and that you take what they say seriously.
  • Do not make false promises, e.g. that you will keep the abuse a secret or that the police will not be involved.
  • Tell the child that you will take action to keep them safe and that you may need to tell some people to do this, but only those whose job it is to protect children.
  • Acknowledge how difficult it must have been to talk.
  1. React:
  • Listen quietly, carefully and patiently. Don’t jump to conclusions.
  • Don’t investigate, interrogate or ask leading questions. These might compromise a future criminal investigation. You can ask, “Is there anything else that you want to tell me?”
  • Do not ask the child to repeat what they have told you to another Berkeley Guardians adult.
  • Explain to the child what you have to do next and who you have to talk to.
  • Contact the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead or Designated Safeguarding Lead immediately, even out of hours to tell them about the allegation.
  • Do not discuss the case with other staff or share the identity of the child or alleged abuser.
  1. Record:
  • Make some very brief notes at the time if you can, but do not stop the child from talking just so you can take notes. Write them up as soon as you can after the disclosure and use the concern/allegation form in Appendix 1.
  • Do not destroy your original notes in case they are required by the Court.
  • Try to record the words used by the child and how the child appeared to you – be specific and do not use different words.
  • Record statements and observable things, not your interpretations or assumptions.

5.7    What happens next

5.7.1  The DDSL/DSL will decide whether to refer the allegation to the Local Safeguarding Board. If you are unable to contact the DDSL/DSL or Berkeley Guardians’ directors, you may need to refer the allegation to the Local Safeguarding Board yourself. See section on ‘Making a referral to children’s social care’.

5.7.2. Be aware of your own feelings about abuse and find someone you can share those feelings with once the procedures have been completed (while at the same time maintaining appropriate confidentiality). Dealing with issues of child abuse can be distressing for the adult to whom the abuse is disclosed.

5.8    Allegations against Berkeley Guardians adults

5.8.1. The DDSL/DSL will discuss the allegation and refer the allegation to the Local Safeguarding Board and follow their guidance. They should also refer to Keeping Children Safe in Education (Full version) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file

/435939/Keeping_children_safe_in_education.pdf, pp.40-50.

5.8.2. If they advise that Berkeley Guardians should investigate the allegation, the Berkeley Guardians grievance and disciplinary procedure will be followed.

5.8.3  Depending on the situation, the staff member may be suspended during the investigation in line with the Berkeley Guardians grievance and disciplinary procedure.

5.9    Allegations against another student under 18

5.9.1. If an allegation is made against another U18 Berkeley Guardians child:

  • the Berkeley Guardians DDSL/DSL will appoint a suitable member of staff to support the person who has been accused.
  • The U18 person’s parent/carer (also the school & agent if appropriate) will be informed of the allegation and kept informed at every stage of the developing situation
  • the DDSL/DSL will follow guidance provided by children’s social care
  • If other agencies become involved, e.g. police, the U18 will be accompanied throughout the process by a suitable member of staff

If other agencies are not involved and Berkeley Guardians need to carry out an internal investigation, the U18 accused will be supported by a suitable member of staff and accompanied by them to any interviews

6.1 If, at any time, a Berkeley Guardians adult believes that a child is in immediate danger they should call the police immediately on 999.

6.2 If a Berkeley Guardians  adult believes that a child is suffering significant harm or is at risk of this, a referral should be made to local authority children’s social care. This will normally be made by the DDSL or DSL but can be made by anyone.

6.3 The procedure for referral by the Berkeley Guardians DDSL or DSL to children’s social care

  • The DDSL/DSL will gather all available information and fill in the safeguarding referral form in Appendix 2.
  • The DDSL/DSL will, if possible, discuss the situation to decide on the actions necessary.
  • During office hours (9.00-5.00 Mon-Fri), The DDSL/DSL will contact First Response on 0117 903 6444. First Response is Bristol City Council’s child social care advice service, which will give safeguarding/child protection advice and, if necessary, refer the case on to a child social worker.
  • Outside office hours and on bank holidays and weekends, the DDSL/DSL will contact the Emergency Duty Team on 01454 615 165. This team consists of child social workers experienced in child protection.

7.1  Berkeley Guardians requires all staff to uphold the law and place the safety of others at the forefront of their duties. For this reason, we encourage whistleblowing in the following instances:

  • someone’s health or safety is in danger
  • actions that negatively affect the welfare of children.
  • (not only Berkeley Guardians children)
  • damage to the environment
  • a criminal offence
  • not obeying the law
  • covering up wrongdoing

7.2  Where staff have concerns they should aim to report it internally first before using an external ‘prescribed person or body’. Making a report to an external person may only be undertaken where the staff member thinks Berkeley Guardians will cover the matter up, would treat them unfairly if they complained or have raised the matter before, but the concern hasn’t been dealt with.

7.3  Similarly, if you have concerns about the safety or welfare of a child and feel they are not being acted upon appropriately by Berkeley Guardians, you can seek advice at any time from the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or by email to help@nspcc.org.uk .

8.1  Children under the care of Berkeley Guardians are encouraged to look after each other and to pass on concerns to our staff. Children are made aware of this through their first day induction, the Pupil Handbook and reminded through WhatsApp messaging service.

8.1.1  Berkeley Guardians staff members are in daily contact with each other through telephone and within a shared office to discuss concerns about individuals informally. More formal discussions about welfare and safeguarding take place at weekly meetings. Berkeley Guardians are also in regular contact with the School for updates on the child’s wellbeing.

8.1.2  Berkeley Guardians staff members who work in outreach (as area managers etc) are known as Guardian Angels to those children they care for.

8.2  HOST FAMILY ALLOCATION

8.2.1  Children of the opposite sex are not permitted to share a room and suitable safeguarding measure to be put in place to ensure the child has sufficient privacy from other children within the home.  Parent/carer must also be made aware of this arrangement and give their consent

8.2.3  Children of the same sex are permitted to share a room, but adequate measures should be in place to ensure their privacy and Risk Assess them sharing. Their parent/carer must consent to this.

8.2.4  Children must have their own bed and not share with another child.

8.2.5  Children must have access to a bathroom which has a locked door.

8.2 6  No more than 3 children from Berkeley Guardians or any other Guardian Agency can be placed in a host family at any one time unless in emergency circumstances.

8.2.7  Berkeley Guardians will ensure that as far as reasonably practicable that the Host Family will not host any other children from any non-Aegis registered organisation or independent paying guests whilst they have one of our children staying with them.

8.2.8  Berkeley Guardians will ensure as far as reasonably practicable that when our children under the age of 16 are within the homestay, no young person over the age of 20 will be hosted either from any other Guardian Agency/organisation or independent person.

8.2.9  We accept the DBS online facility and encourage our host families to take this on as it enables BG to check their DBS annually.

8.3    ACCOMMODATION

8.3.1  Host Family accommodation for U18s is managed by Berkeley Guardians.  Detailed guidance on the following areas is given in other documents:

Health and safety checks on all new host families, including fire alarm/evacuation

checks

Host Family Handbook

Health and safety checks on existing host

families, including annual fire risk assessments and gas safety checks

Host Family Handbook

Appropriate conduct for homestay families hosting U18s

Host Family Handbook

Unsupervised activities for U18s

Parental/Carer Agreement on conduct and rules for U18s, Pupil Handbook, parent/carer consent form for unsupervised activities

Conduct and rules for U18 children

Parent/Carer Agreement on conduct and rules for U18 children, Pupil Handbook

PREVENT guidance

PREVENT guidance sent to all host families

Fostering regulations

Host Family Handbook

8.3.2 PRIVATE FOSTERING AGREEMENTS

If a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) is cared for 28 days or more by someone who is not their parent or a close relative this is deemed a private fostering arrangement and Children’s Social Care for the relevant area has to be notified. If this is the case for a host family, Berkeley Guardians will liaise with them to ensure that Social Care are informed and that all necessary procedures are followed.

8.4  E-SAFETY

  • U18 children sign an IT Agreement during induction. This includes guidance about not accessing inappropriate material, not sharing personal information or images online and not bullying other members of the Berkeley Guardians. This agreement is available on our website.
  • Berkeley Guardians use web filter software to prevent child access to inappropriate material. Attempts to access proscribed sites are monitored after a child may use Berkeley Guardians computers/laptops.

8.5 RISK ASSESSMENTS

8.5.1  Risk assessments are carried out for general Health and Safety on all social activities by Berkeley Guardians or host families.

8.6 FIRE SAFETY

8.6.1. All host families are inspected annually to ensure the fire evacuation plan is appropriate, enforced and that all fire prevention is in working order.

8.7  SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

8.7.1. To maintain a safe supervision ratio for social activities, we consider each activity and each group of children individually, taking into account the nature of the activity and the age, gender, language level and needs of the child, in line with the level of risk identified in the risk assessment. Whilst age-based guidelines can be helpful, the specific needs of each group are constantly assessed and considered.

8.7.2  For social activities, Berkeley Guardians observes the following ratios:

  • 1 adult for every 15-20 children aged 11 to 17
  • 1 adult for every 10-15 children aged 8 to 10

8.7.3  Berkeley Guardians are aware that dangerous activities such as climbing may require more adults in order to supervise U18s safely and these are risk-assessed individually.

8.7.4  Only children aged 16+ are allowed to have unsupervised time on social programme events; younger children may have continual/partial adult supervision, depending on individual circumstances, which are evaluated in risk assessments. At the start of an outing, U18 children are made aware of key contact phone numbers they can use if necessary.

8.8  UNSUPERVISED OUTINGS FOR U18S

8.8.1  U18s are not allowed to go on unsupervised outings outside the town/city of their host family without the permission of both Berkeley Guardians and parent/carer.

8.8.2  The procedure for obtaining permission is as follows:

  • Parent/carer email the completed ‘consent form for activities/trip’ to Berkeley Guardians.
  • Berkeley Guardians carries out a risk assessment of the activity’s suitability.
  • Berkeley Guardians advises the child, the host family and parent/carer about whether we think the activity is appropriate/safe.

8.9 TRAVELLING AS UNACCOMPANIED MINORS

8.9.1  If students are travelling as unaccompanied minors, the parents have to supply the name and ID/contact details of the person meeting the child at the airport to the airline company. As soon as this is known by the School (typically supplied by our taxi company) a few days beforehand, it is passed on to the parents/agent.

8.9.2 Taxi drivers going to the airport to meet a minor are given an unaccompanied minor letter of authorisation, which includes their name, and will have an appropriate ID card as a means of identification.

8.9.3 The taxi company will inform the School via the emergency phone at the time about any minor who fails to arrive as expected and the School will then confirm that the student is safe and being supervised appropriately.

8.9.4  If there are any serious issues, contact is made with a senior member of staff to decide on  further action.

8.10  ONE-TO-ONE LESSONS IN THE CHILD’S HOST FAMILY

8.10.1 Very occasionally, a child may have private tutoring in their homestay. In these cases, an adult that has passed Berkeley Guardians checks are required to be present in the home and available for the duration of the visit.

Refer to the Missing Child Policy for more detailed information

9.1  ABSENCE FROM HOST FAMILY

9.1.1  Host families are instructed to phone the child and then Berkeley Guardians during working hours and the emergency phone outside office hours if the child is not present when expected, especially after evening curfew. If a child cannot be located, the Missing Child Absence Procedure is followed.

9.2  ABSENCE FROM SOCIAL ACTIVITY

9.2.1  Children on activities are given clear information about who to phone if they are lost and any child on an activity normally will carry Berkeley Guardians ID lanyards. If a child cannot be located, the Missing Child Absence Procedure is followed.

9.3  ABSENCE FROM WORK EXPERIENCE

9.3.1  Work experience providers are instructed to phone the child and then Berkeley Guardians during working hours and the emergency phone outside office hours if the child is not present when expected. If a child cannot be located, the Missing Child Absence Procedure is followed.

10.1 Berkeley Guardians requires all contracted transport companies to confirm in writing that their drivers are DBS checked.  Any Berkeley Guardians staff drivers or host families are also DBS checked.

10.2 Berkeley Guardians ensures that any vehicle used for the purpose of transporting children is insured, taxed, regularly serviced and MOT checked.

10.3 Procedures for transporting children in staff and host family vehicles are detailed in the Parent and Host Family handbooks. 

11.1 All children/parents/carers are required to give Berkeley Guardians information about medical conditions and/or disabilities on the application form. This information is passed on to Berkeley Guardians Directors, who will draw up an appropriate care plan for the child with their parent/carer and, where appropriate, the family’s own medical practitioners. This plan is agreed upon with the relevant host family, relevant staff and the child’s parents/carer before the child’s arrival.

11.2 Untrained Berkeley Guardians adults are not allowed to administer any prescribed medicine to any child without the prior agreement of parent/carer and, where necessary, medical professionals. Any prescribed medicines kept by Berkeley Guardians or Host Family for the child will be kept in a secure place.

11.3 Any child needing medical attention will be accompanied by a responsible Berkeley Guardians adult.

11.4 First aid is available by Berkeley Guardians staff and host families. An accident book is also kept at Berkeley Guardians Head Office and will be completed where necessary and appropriate action taken. One director is currently first aid trained.

12.1 Before an application is approved for a child, the following information is provided to parent/carers: Pupil and Parent Handbook – standards of acceptable behaviour, a summary of UK law and rules for children in order to stay safe. Once an application is made, parent/carer are required to sign a Parent/Carer Agreement to show that both they and their child accept the rules stated.
12.2 In the induction for all children on their first day with Berkeley Guardians, the child is reminded of the acceptable behaviour as laid out in their Pupil Handbook, which also specifies what behaviour is inappropriate and possible consequences for them.
12.3 Berkeley Guardians staff receive guidelines on child management and the rewards/sanctions systems in place in their induction. DDSL/DSL usually do early observations of staff on summer programmes in order to give them early feedback and support on child management.
12.4 Positive reinforcement of good behaviour works well to control the child in most cases and staff encourage children to co-operate and be responsible.
12.5 An observation/incident book is used to record any notable behaviour issues or incidents and each entry is read and discussed with the staff member by the DDSL/DSL. The DDSL/DSL may report/discuss serious or persistent problems with a child/school/agents/parent/carer as appropriate and suitable sanctions agreed upon and implemented. Removal from the care of Berkeley Guardians is a rare and last resort, but children are made aware that this possibility exists. Any decision to remove a child is only taken after discussion with the Berkeley Guardians Directors.

Berkeley Guardians is aware of its responsibilities for safer recruitment and training. We will ensure the following:

13.1 All job advertisements/interview invitations will notify prospective candidates that we only employ people who have an enhanced DBS check either done online or by Berkeley Guardians and 2 satisfactory references. All candidates will be sent an email copy of Berkeley Guardians safeguarding children policy document as part of their contract offer, which they must reply to say they have read and understood.

13.2 We will ask appropriate safeguarding-related questions at the interview stage. This applies to new host family interviews as well as those for staff.

13.3 We ask referees to comment on any disciplinary issues or allegations made against the candidate in relation to the safety and welfare of children.

13.4 In the event of a prospective employee having a criminal record that is disclosed on the DBS check, this will be discussed with the prospective employee. Verification must be made that the information contained does indeed relate to the person concerned. The discussion will also aid the decision making process and should focus on the seriousness and nature of the offences, the nature of the appointment, age of offence and any concealment of offences at the application process. Based upon the findings of this discussion, a decision and rationale will be formed by the DSL and DDSL and the Directors on the suitability of the prospective employee with the DSL having the final say. The rationale and decision will be recorded.

13.5 For applicants where a DBS check has not been possible e.g. for overseas employees, and for applicants who have lived abroad for three months or more in one country in the last five years, we will endeavour to obtain a police check. If we cannot obtain a DBS or equivalent then the applicant will not be offered the position. We will refer to the following government advice on these:
a) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/criminal-records-checks-for-overseas- applicants
b) and the British Council spreadsheet for applicants obtaining checks:
https://www.britishcouncil.org/education/accreditation/information-centres/care-children

13.6 Disqualification by association will not apply to us as we will not accept children under the age of eight.

13.7 All pre-appointment checks of newly appointed staff will be kept on a single Central Register.

13.8 We run all new permanent members of staff through an enhanced DBS check if they have substantial access to children. These staff members will have their DBS checks annually.

13.9 DBS requirements for new temporary staff will be considered on a case-by-case basis and dependent on access to children but, typically, staff with DBS checks more than one year old will be required to update them, either online or by Berkeley Guardians.

13.10 If a new member of staff commences employment prior to the DBS check being received, they must have a signed self-declaration of suitability and their access, where possible, will be supervised at all times; they will not be left alone with children. We will also check the Barred list.

13.11 If a new staff member has QTS status, they will also be checked against the prohibited list.

13.12 We will train up all members of staff to Basic Awareness Safeguarding Training in safeguarding and child protection and Prevent training during their induction period and will ensure that this training is renewed periodically.

13.13 We will ensure that Designated Safeguarding Staff are trained in Advanced Safeguarding for Designated Staff and that this training is renewed periodically.

13.14 We accept the DBS online facility for staff (outreach and office based) as it enables BG to check their DBS annually.

13.15 All staff will be listed on the Single Central Register and the SCR and will be fully checked and completed.

13.16 TRAINING PROVISION AT BERKELEY GUARDIANS

Training event

Recipients

How often

Basic safeguarding online

All staff in the office and any staff appointed in future working with pupils/students in outreach

Annual

Basic safeguarding face-to-face

course (in-house)

This is also updated every six months with a newsletter about BG and includes updates on safeguarding/achievements etc in other areas too

Permanent staff with regular access

to children. Offered to all host families but this is backed up with safeguarding face to face when accepting the families onto our books. 

Annual

Safeguarding course face-to-face in the office

All staff working in the office plus offered to all outreach workers

Annual

DSL and DDSL training – Advanced Stage 3 safeguarding courses

 

DDSL and DSL

 

 

Every three years plus 6 hours of safeguarding training in the years between

Safer Recruitment online and face-to-face training

Directors

As required

Read, confirm understanding of Safeguarding Policy,

Parent, Pupil, Host Family Handbook and any other documents sent (with follow-up quiz for staff)

All staff and host families

Annual – host families

Monthly – staff

Prevent training

All staff and host families

Annual

Impending training:

·        Health Awareness

·        Mental Health 3 day course

·        Cultural Awareness

All staff and host families

As required

13.17 Staff members

Staff are expected to comply with the principles given in the Berkeley Guardians safeguarding policy.

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