The Warren of Hull Ltd Safeguarding
Children's Policy and Procedures
“Processes and procedures are never ends in themselves, but should always be used as a means of bringing about better outcomes for children. No guidance can, or should attempt to offer a detailed prescription for working with each child and family. Working with children and families where there are concerns about a child’s welfare is sensitive and difficult. Good practice calls for effective cooperation between different agencies and professionals: sensitive work with parents and carers in the best interests of the child; and the careful exercise of professional judgement and critical analysis of the available information”. (Working Together to Safeguard Children – A Guide To Inter-Agency Working To Safeguard And Promote The Welfare Of Children-HM Government 1999).
2. Statement of Intent
Everyone is responsible for keeping children and young people safe. This policy outlines how The Warren is working with all of its partners to safeguard children and young people.
All children and young people have the right to be safe and protected from harm. Every organisation has a responsibility to ensure that all children and young people are protected from abuse. Some children or young people, for example, disabled children, are particularly vulnerable. Organisations should take steps to combat discrimination and actively include all children and young people in their safeguarding measures. Individual children and young people, especially some of the most vulnerable are at greatest risk, and as such will need coordinated help from health, education and children’s social care services. The voluntary sector and other agencies, also have an important role in protecting and safeguarding children and young people.
We all have a duty to
Safeguard the welfare of children and young people,
Protect children and young people,
Take appropriate action when anyone becomes aware that a child or young person might be at risk or suffering from abuse or neglect.
The Warren works with young people aged between 16-25 years, and under clear guidelines does, on occasion, work with 14-16 year olds under supervision (Working with under 16’s Policy –located in the Planning Office). We have an open access policy and offer a wide variety of services and activities to young people, including a counselling service. The Warren has a responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of children and young people with whom they come in to contact with. To ensure the safety of all young people who use the project we have various safeguards in place. For example, we have a named member of staff on duty as contact worker throughout all opening times. We have regular checks on communal areas such as toilets and corridors, and no areas/rooms are accessible without the presence of a member of staff. It is critical that our guidelines and procedures are clear and understood by all. It is of vital importance to ensure the safety and protection of all children and young people.
The Warren will aim to protect and safeguard children and young people by:
Ensuring that all staff and volunteers are carefully selected, trained and supervised. All staff will be subject to DBS checks prior to confirmation of employment.
Ensuring that the Child Protection Policy and Procedures are regularly reviewed and updated in line with national and local policy developments, and in accordance with the Local Safeguarding Children Board.
Ensuring that all staff and volunteers are given a copy of the child protection policy and procedures at induction, and any updates or amendments will be communicated throughout the staff team immediately, at meetings and in training.
Ensuring that staff and volunteers attend appropriate Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) Child Protection Training.
Letting staff, volunteers, carers, children and young people know how to report concerns about a child, young person, staff member or volunteer, or complain about anything that they are not happy about This will be done via the agencies complaints procedure (see appendix 2).
The Warren has designated child protection co-ordinators and all staff, volunteers and service users should report any concerns about a child or young person to them. Their role is to follow the agencies Risk Assessment Procedure to minimise and manage the risks that children or young people may encounter (please see Appendix 1, Risk Assessment Procedure).
The Warren’s Designated Child Protection Co-ordinators are;
Janet Leonard – Deputy Co-ordinator
JJ Tatten – Co-ordinator
3. National and Local Guidance
This Child Protection Policy and Procedure should be read in conjunction with the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) Guidelines and Procedures. In accordance with the Children Act 2004 it is a statutory responsibility for key agencies coming in to contact with children and young people to make arrangements to ensure that in discharging their functions, they have regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (Section 11, Children Act 2004). Where private or voluntary organisations come in to contact with or offer services to children they should as a matter of good practice take account of this guidance and follow it as far as possible.
The following national guidance should also be referred to
The Children Act (1989)
The Children Act (2004).
Every Child Matters.
Working Together To Safeguard Children: A Guide to Inter-Agency Working To Safeguard and Promote The Welfare Of Children (HM Government 2006).
Human Rights Act (1998).
Criminal Justice & Court Services Act (2000).
The Protection of Children Act (1999).
The Sexual Offences Act (2003).
What To Do If You’re Worried A Child Is Being Abused (Department of Health, Home Office, Department for Education & Skills, the Lord Chancellor’s Department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister & the Department for Culture, Media & Sport 2003).
The Warren also has a number of policies to safeguard and support the organisation, staff, volunteers and service users. These can be found in the Planning Office and include:
Health and Safety Policy,
Risk Assessment Policy,
Recruitment and Selection Policy,
Complaints and Disciplinary Policies,
Diversity and Equality Policy,
The Warren Empowerment Policy,
Staff Supervision Policy,
Confidentiality and Information Sharing Policy,
Working with under 16’s Policy,
Vulnerable Adults Policy,
(This list is not exhaustive).
4. Safeguarding & Promoting Welfare & Child Protection
4.1 Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:
Protecting children from maltreatment.
Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;
Undertaking that role so as to enable those children to have optimum life chances and to enter adulthood successfully.
4.2 Child Protection
Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to the activity which is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm. Effective child protection is essential to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. However all agencies should aim to proactively safeguard and promote the welfare of children so that the need for action to protect from harm is reduced.
4.3 Children in Need
Children who are defined as ‘in need’, under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, are those whose vulnerability is such that they are unlikely to reach or maintain a satisfactory level of health or development, or their health or development will be significantly impaired, without the provision of services. This includes children with a disability.
4.4 Significant Harm
Some children are in need because they are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. The concept of significant harm is the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of the child, and gives the Local Authority a duty to make enquiries to decide whether they should take action to safeguard or promote the welfare of a child who is suffering, or likely to suffer, significant harm.
5. Who Abuses Children?
Children may be abused in a family, in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them, or more rarely, by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children (Working Together to Safeguard Children – A Guide To Inter – Agency Working To Safeguard and Promote The Welfare of Children (HM Government 2006).
6. What are Abuse and Neglect?
Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child or young person. Child refers to anyone under the age of 18. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm.
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.
Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may also occur alone.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, regardless of if the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape, buggery or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts.
They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food and clothing, shelter including exclusion from home or abandonment, failing to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger, failure to ensure adequate supervision including the use of inadequate care-takers, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
This is not an exhaustive list and it must be recognised that it is not the role of staff/volunteers to make an assessment of whether children or young people have suffered harm. Staff/volunteers/child protection co-ordinator do have a duty to report any concerns about harm in accordance with the Local Safeguarding Children Board, Guidelines & Procedures.
7. Recognition of harm
The harm or possible harm of a child may come to your attention in a number of possible ways;
1. Information or disclosures given by the child, his/ her friends, a family member or close associate.
2. The child or young person’s behaviour may become different from the usual, be significantly different from the behaviour of their peers, be bizarre or unusual or may involve ‘acting out’ a harmful situation in play.
3. An injury which arouses suspicion because;
It does not make sense when compared with the explanation given.
The explanations differ depending on who is giving them (e.g. differing explanations from the parent / carer and child).
The child appears anxious and evasive when asked about the injury.
Suspicion being raised when a number of factors occur over time, for example, the child fails to progress and thrive in contrast to his/her peers.
4. Contact with individuals who pose a ‘risk to children’ (‘Guidance on Offences Against Children’, Home Office Circular 16/2005). This replaces the term ‘Schedule One Offender’ and relates to an individual that that has been identified as presenting a risk or potential risk of harm to children. This can be someone who has been convicted of an offence listed in Schedule One of the Children and Young Person’s Act 1933 (Sexual Offences Act 2003), or someone who has been identified as continuing to present a risk to children.
5. The parent’s behaviour before the birth of a child may indicate the likelihood of significant harm to an unborn child, for example substance misuse, previous children removed from their carers.
6. Substance misuse – the potential for a child to be harmed as a result of the excessive use of alcohol, illegal and controlled drugs, solvents or related substances may occur during a young person’s life. The use of drugs or other substances by parents or carers does not in itself indicate child neglect or abuse, and there is no assumption that a child living in such circumstances will automatically be considered under the child protection procedures. It is important to assess how parental substance use impacts upon the children or young people in the family.
7. Mental Health – Mental illness in a parent or carer does not necessarily have an adverse effect on the child or young person but it is important to assess its implications for any children involved in the family. The adverse effects of parental mental illness on the child are less likely when parental problems are mild, last for a short period of time, are not associated with family disharmony, and where there is another parent or family member who can respond to the child’s needs and offer protection. Where mental illness is accompanied by alcohol misuse, domestic violence or associated with poverty and social isolation, children are particularly vulnerable.
8. Domestic Violence – Children and young people can suffer directly and indirectly if they live in a household where there is domestic violence. It is likely to have a damaging effect on the health and development of children. The amendment made in section 120 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002 to the Children Act 1989 clarifies the meaning of harm to include, for example, impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. This can include children witnessing violence in the home. Domestic violence has an impact in a number of ways:
It can pose a threat to the physical well-being of an unborn child, if a mother is kicked or punched, or physically harmed.
Children may suffer injuries as a result of being caught up in violent episodes.
Children become distressed by witnessing the physical and emotional suffering of a parent.
The physical and psychological abuse suffered by the adult victim can have a negative impact upon their ability to look after their children.
The impact of domestic violence is exacerbated when the violence is combined with problematic alcohol or drug use.
People working with children should also be alert to the frequent inter-relationship between domestic violence and the abuse and neglect of children.
9. Bullying – This can be defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. It can take many forms, but the three main types are physical (e.g. hitting, kicking, theft), verbal (e.g. racist or homophobic remarks, threats, name calling) and emotional (e.g. isolating an individual from activities and social acceptance of their peer group). The damage inflicted by bullying can be underestimated. It can cause considerable distress, to the extent that it can affect health and development and at the extreme significant harm.
8. Managing Disclosures of Abuse
If a child discloses abuse it is important that, as far as possible, the following basic principles are adhered to;
Listen to what the child has to say with an open mind,
Do not ask probing or leading questions designed to get the child to reveal more,
Never stop a child who is freely recalling significant events,
Make note of the discussion, taking care to record the timing, setting and people present, as well as what was said,
Never promise the child that what they have told you can be kept secret. Explain that you have the responsibility to report what the child has said to someone else.
THE CHILD PROTECTION CO-ORDINATOR MUST BE INFORMED IMMEDIATELY.
9. The Role of the Child Protection Co-ordinator
The child protection coordinators at The Warren are;
Janet Leonard, Deputy Co-ordinator, and
JJ Tatten, Co-ordinator.
Where there are concerns about the welfare of any child or young person all staff/volunteers have a duty to share those concerns with the designated Child Protection Co-ordinator.
The Child Protection Co-ordinator is responsible for:
Monitoring and recording concerns about the well-being of a child or young person;
Making a referral to the Local Authority Children’s Services;
Liaising with other agencies;
Arranging training for staff/volunteers.
The Child Protection Co-ordinator, after receiving a referral, will act on behalf of the agency in referring concerns or allegations of harm to Local Authority Children’s Social Care or the Police Public Protection Unit.
If the Child Protection Co-ordinator is in any doubt about making a referral it is important to note that advice and guidance can be sought from Local Authority Children’s Social Care. The name of the child and family should be kept confidential at this stage and will be requested if the enquiry proceeds to a referral.
The Child Protection Co-ordinator may share limited information on a need-to-know basis amongst the staff/management but respecting the need for confidentiality.
It is not the role of the Child Protection Co-ordinator to undertake an investigation into the concerns or allegation of harm. It is the role of the Child Protection Co-ordinator to collate and clarify details of the concern or allegation and to provide this information to the Local Authority Central Duty Team, or Family Resource Centre if Children’s Social Care is already involved, whose duty it is to make enquiries in accordance with Section 47 of the Children Act 1989.
10. Seeking Consent for a Referral
Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government 2006) states that professionals should seek in general to discuss any concerns with the family (including the child where appropriate) and where possible seek their agreement to making referrals to the Local Authority Central Duty Team. This should only be done where such discussion and agreement seeking will not place the child at an increased risk of significant harm.
So in general where concerns about a child relate to Section 17 children ‘in need’ (Children Act 1989) consent should be sought from the parents, carer or children where appropriate prior to a referral being made to the Local Authority Child Care Team.
It should be noted that parents, carers or child may not agree to information being shared, but this should not prevent referrals where child protection concerns persist. The reasons for dispensing with consent from the parents, carer, child or young person should be clearly recorded.
In cases where an allegation has been made against a family member living in the same household as the child or young person, and it is your view that discussing the matter with the parent would place the child at risk of harm, or where discussing it may place a member of staff / volunteer at risk, consent does not have to be sought prior to the referral being made.
If you are unsure about whether to seek parental consent prior to a referral being made then seek advice from the Local Authority Central Duty Team.
11. Reporting Concerns or Allegations of Abuse
A member of staff or volunteer must report any concerns or allegations of harm immediately to the designated Child Protection Co-ordinator. In the event of none of these individuals being available, the matter should be reported through your line management. In the unlikely event of management not being available the matter should be reported directly to the appropriate Local Authority Child Care Team or Police Public Protection Unit. In the case of it being out of hours, the Emergency Duty Team should be contacted at
Central Duty Team,
Brunswick House, Strand Close, Beverley Road, HULL, HU2 9DB
Tel; 01482 448879
12. Making a Referral
Referrals of all children in need, including those where there are child protection concerns will be made to;
Hull - To Children’s Social Care – Central Duty Team or Police Public Protection Unit,
East Riding – By telephoning the Call Centre/Children’s Social Care or Police Family Protection Team,
Out of Hours – To the relevant Emergency Duty Team
All referrals made by telephone need to be followed up in writing within 48 hours.
If a referral was made through the crèche, all allegations of serious harm or abuse need to be reported to Ofsted on 0300 1231123.
The Child Protection Co-ordinator should make the referral as appropriate. The referrer should be prepared, where possible, to give the following information;
The nature of your concerns / allegation.
Whether the child will need immediate action to ensure their safety.
Are the parents aware of the concerns? Has consent for the referral been sought? If not, the reasons for this?
Factual information about the child and family, including other siblings.
The nature of your involvement with the family.
Other professionals involved with the family.
The source of your referral, is it based on your own assessment of the needs of the child, a reported allegation or disclosure, or has the concern been reported to you by another person, if so who?
Child’s current whereabouts and when they were last seen?
If you consider the child suffering or at risk of suffering significant harm, who is the source of that harm and their current whereabouts?
13. Allegations against Staff Members / Volunteers
If there are concerns or allegations against a staff member or volunteer the Designated Officer must be informed.
There are separate procedures for allegations against professionals to:
Ensure we provide a safe workforce for children and young people;
Maintain consistency in handling allegations;
Apply the learning from local and national enquires, eg. Serious Case Reviews and Public Enquiries;
Protect staff from false allegations and supporting them during investigations.
What is an allegation?
An allegation is defined where:
It is alleged that a person who works with children and young people has, whether in work or elsewhere:
Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child or young person;
Possibly committed a criminal offence against a child or young person; or
Behaved in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with children.
Most allegations are sexual or physical and how they are handled very different due to the nature of the alleged abuse and the intent of the alleged abuser. It is important that if the allegations are of a sexual nature the individual is not informed about the allegations, as they may destroy valuable evidence.
The Designated Officer has overall responsibility for ensuring that allegations are handled properly, and this includes;
Providing advice, information and guidance to staff;
Being the reporting point to whom all allegations or concerns are reported;
Liaising with the LADO and making DBS referrals; and
Ensuring the subject of the allegation is provided with information and support.
Types of investigation may include:
Internal conduct matter only – informal or formal investigation;
Child protection enquiries;
The Warren’s Designated Officers are:
Janet Leonard – Deputy Co-ordinator (Lead)
JJ Tatten – Co-ordinator
DBS – Disclosure and Barring Service
The DBS may Barr people from working with children and young people or vulnerable adults. Referrals must be made when a member of staff has been dismissed or removed from their role because of their behaviour and when an employer or organisation has concerns that a person has caused harm or poses a future risk of harm.
The LADO will help and advise whether a referral should be made.
Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)
The LADO for each local authority area has the lead responsibility for co-ordinating the response to allegations against staff and volunteers, with respect to safeguarding concerns.
The LADO is responsible for:
Ensuring effective inter-agency procedures are in place;
Monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of those procedures through the Designated Officer Network;
Liaising with the Police and other agencies;
Providing advice and guidance to employers and voluntary organisations; monitoring the progress of cases ensuring they are dealt with as quickly as possible and with a thorough and fair process.
Local Authority Designated Officer , Hull City Council – Jacqueline Edhouse - 01482 606112/790933
In cases where there is an immediate risk to any child or young person, the information must be passed to Local Authority Children’s Social Care or the Police, as soon as possible.
14. Seeking Medical Attention
If a child has a physical injury and there are concerns about abuse;
If Emergency medical attention is required then this should be sought immediately by phoning for an ambulance. You should then follow the procedures for referring a child protection concern to Local Authority Children’s Social Care.
15. Staff & Volunteer Self Protection
Adherence to guidelines on self-protection for staff and volunteers working with children and young people can avoid vulnerable situations where false allegations can be made.
To avoid situations where a staff member or volunteer is on their own with a child.
In the event of an injury to a child, accidental or not, ensure that it is recorded clearly and witnessed by another adult in the organisations accident book which is held in the planning office.
Keep written records of any allegations a child makes against staff and volunteers and report in line with the Child Protection Policy.
If a child or young person touches a staff member or volunteer inappropriately, record what happened immediately and inform the child protection coordinator.
16. Code of Practice
At The Warren we expect staff, volunteers and service users to always;
Take all allegations, suspicions or concerns about abuse that a young person makes seriously (including those made against staff) and report them through the procedures.
Provide an opportunity and environment for children to talk to others about concerns they may have.
Provide an environment that encourages children and adults to feel comfortable and confident in challenging attitudes and behaviours that may discriminate others.
Risk assess situations and activities to ensure all potential dangers have been identified.
Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
Staff, volunteers, service users or children should not;
Permit or accept abusive or discriminatory behaviour.
Engage in inappropriate behaviour or contact.
Use inappropriate or insulting language.
Show favouritism to anyone.
Undermine or criticise others.
Give personal money.
These are suggestions; there may be other factors that you consider more appropriate to the group or organisation. When drawing up the codes of practice, it is important to involve staff, volunteers, service users and children in the process.
17. Recruitment & Selection
It is important when recruiting paid staff and volunteers to adhere to the organisations recruitment policy. This will ensure potential staff and volunteers are screened for their suitability to work with children and young people.
All paid staff and volunteers with access to children and young people or sensitive information relating to children will be required to undertake a DBS check. The Warren has adopted a system of re-checking DBS’s of all staff every 3 years.
Staff and volunteers working directly with children or with access to sensitive information are required to complete LSCB Child Protection Training. Their training will be reviewed in supervision.
All staff and volunteers will be required to read the Child Protection Policy. This will be reviewed to ensure up to date knowledge.
All staff and volunteers to complete an application form, including details of previous employment, agreement for an enhanced DBS check, and permission to contact two referees, including their current or most recent employer (which should be taken up).
The potential staff member or volunteer will be interviewed for their suitability for the post. Staff and volunteers may be subject to a probationary period (6 months) during which they will be supervised and monthly meetings will take place with their manager / supervisor to identify any concerns, training and support needs.
Staff and volunteers will have a period of induction where they will complete any induction training and access internal policies.
18. Prevent Duty
From July 1st 2015 and as part of the Safeguarding and Prevent Duty all staff, contract providers and colleagues have a duty to demonstrate and help develop values which underpin an awareness of social and moral responsibility in modern Britain.
The Prevent Strategy published by the Government in 2011, as part of the overall counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST, places a duty on certain bodies to give “due regard to reducing the threat to the UK by preventing people from being drawn into terrorism”.
The Prevent Strategy has three specific objectives:
Respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism
Prevent people from being drawn into terrorism by ensuring they are giving
appropriate advice and support; and
Work in partnership where there are risks of radicalisation and extremism that
need to be addressed
The inclusion of sector-specific guidance sets out three themes:
Leadership – ensure staff and contract delivery partners implement the duty
Working in partnership- prevent depends of effective collaboration of all concerned
parties to demonstrate effective compliance
Capabilities- ensure staff are provided with appropriate training for the
implementation of the duty to exemplify British values in their general behaviours,
supporting opportunities to learn, educate and challenge extremist ideas
What is extremism?
Extremism is defined as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including
democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different
faiths and beliefs.”
British values – therefore are defined as “democracy” and refer to everyone being expected
to encourage respect to other people, taking particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.
Further details can be found at:
Prevent support for Education & Training providers can also be found at:
Robust policies and procedures to identify risk must be in place to ensure that all sub-
contractors are made aware of the Prevent Duty and are not inadvertently funding extremist organisations.
“Channel” and the Referral Guidance
Compliance with the duty requires all the concerned parties to undertake Prevent awareness training and any other training to be able to recognise vulnerability of those being potentially drawn into terrorism, and be aware of what action to take in response. This will include an understanding of when to make referrals to the “Channel” programme and where to access additional advice and support.
Details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/channel-guidance
Humberside Channel Information
Humberside Channel Referral Form
Children’s Social Care (Local Authority)
EHASH (01482) 448879
Emergency Duty Team (01482) 788080/300304
Local Authority Designated Officer (01482) 790933
Police Public Protection Unit (01482) 307220
East Riding of Yorkshire
Children’s Social Care (Local Authority)
Call Centre (01482) 393939
Children’s Services (01482) 396840
Emergency Duty Team (01482) 880826
Child Protection Administrator (01482) 396472
East Riding Safeguarding Children Board (01482)396998/9
Local Authority Designated Officer (01482) 612800
Police Family Protection Team 0845 6060222 ext 2407
Seven Golden rules of information sharing
'Information Sharing: Guidance for practitioners and managers' (2008) is aimed at supporting good practice in information sharing by offering clarity on when and how information can be shared legally and professionally in order to achieve improved outcomes. It can be especially useful in supporting early intervention and preventative work where decisions about information sharing may be less clear than in safeguarding or child protection situations. Below are the 7 golden rules of information sharing that this guidance recommends.
1. Remember that the Data Protection Act is not a barrier to sharing information but provides a framework to ensure that personal information about living persons is shared appropriately.
2. From the outset be open and honest with the person (and/or their family where appropriate) from the outset about why, what, how and with whom information will, or could be shared, and seek their agreement, unless it is unsafe or inappropriate to do so.
3. Seek advice if you are in any doubt, without disclosing the identity of the person where possible.
4. Share with consent where appropriate and, where possible, respect the wishes of those who do not consent to share confidential information. You may still share information without consent if, in your judgement, that lack of consent can be overridden in the public interest. You will need to base your judgements on the facts of the case.
5. Consider safety and well being: Base your information sharing decisions on considerations of the safety and well being of the person and others who may be affected by their actions.
6. Necessary, proportionate, relevant, accurate, timely and secure: Ensure that the information you share is necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, is shared only with those people who need to have it, is accurate and up to date, is shared in a timely fashion, and is shared securely.
7. Keep a record of your decision and the reason for it – whether it is to share information or not. If you decide to share, then record what you have shared, with whom and for what purpose.
1) Effective Communication between Agencies
Effective communication requires a culture of listening to and engaging in, dialogue within and across agencies. It is essential that all communication is as accurate and complete as possible and clearly recorded.
Accuracy is key, for without it effective decisions cannot be made and equally, inaccurate accounts can lead to children remaining unsafe, or to the possibility of wrongful actions being taken that effect children and adults
Before contacting another agency, think about why you are doing it, is it to:
To share information is the term used to describe the situation where practitioners use their professional judgement and experience on a case by case basis to decide whether and what personal information to share with other practitioners in order to meet the needs of a child or young person (CWDC 2009)
Signpost to Another Service
The definition to signpost is to indicate direction towards. It is an informal process whereby a professional or a family is shown in the direction of a service.
If someone is signposted to a service it is because accessing the service may enhance the family’s quality of life, but there would be no increased risk to the child or young person should the service not be accessed.
No agency is responsible for the monitoring or recording of signposting.
Get Advice and Guidance
Seeking advice and guidance at any time, making a general query or perhaps consulting with a specialist colleague within your own organisation (or from another agency) may enhance the work that you are doing with a child, young person or family at any stage. It could be that you want further information about services available or that you want some specialist advice or perhaps need to consult about a particular issue or query for instance to ask if making a referral is appropriate.
The name of the child and family should be anonymised at this stage unless agreement to share the information has already been obtained.
It is vital that you record that you have sought information and advice in your own records. The agency you are contacting may not record this information, particularly if the case is not open or active with them. It should be agreed between agencies in this situation as to who records what information.
Facilitate Access to a Service
If you think that a family may benefit from a service then directing, signposting or facilitating is appropriate. For example, a family approaches your service and asks for some advice about leisure activities in the local area. You give them the information and directions to the nearest open access leisure centre.
Refer a Child or Family
If you think that by not accessing a particular service, a child’s situation could deteriorate then a referral is appropriate. However, a referral is only the start of the process. You as the referrer have a responsibility to monitor that the service has been taken up and the child’s situation has improved.
Sometimes you may need to draw on other support services, for example when an intervention has not achieved the desired outcomes and the child/young person requires more specialist or sustained support.
A specific gap in services to meet a need or any level of concern warrants follow up and monitoring to ensure there is no risk to children.
At the end of the conversation both parties must be clear about the outcome and the next course of action.
2) Professional Differences
Where there are any professional differences about a particular decision, course of action or lack of action you should consult with a Senior Manager within your own organisation about next steps.
Well-kept records about work with a child and his or her family provide an essential underpinning to good professional practice. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children requires information to be brought together from a number of sources and careful professional judgements to be made on the basis of this information. These records should be clear, accessible and comprehensive, with judgements made and decisions and interventions carefully recorded. Where decisions have been taken jointly across agencies, or endorsed by a manager, this should be made clear. (Working Together 2010)
You should record your decision and the reasons for it, whether or not you decide to share information. If the decision is to share, you should record what information was shared and with whom.
You should work within your agency’s arrangements for recording information and within any local information-sharing procedures in place. These arrangements and procedures must be in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (Information Sharing Guidance for Practitioners and Managers 2008)