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Section 2: Agency Roles and Responsibilities

2.1 Shared Responsibilities

All members of the community can help to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Everyone who works with children or families has a responsibility to ensure that procedures for safeguarding children are adhered to. This section highlights the responsibilities of all agencies that have contact with children in the North Yorkshire area.

Statutory organisations that work with children have a duty under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 to ensure their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

North Yorkshire Local Authority has a general duty under the Children Act 1989 and Children Act 2004 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children who are in need and, so far as it is consistent with that duty, to promote the upbringing of such children by their families. In addition, the Local Authority is obliged to ensure that Children in Need of Protection in its area are protected from significant harm.

Those agencies and professionals whose primary responsibility is to provide services to adults should always consider the safety and welfare of any children in the household or any children (including unborn) who are in contact with those adults.

It is the responsibility of all constituent agencies of North Yorkshire LSCB to ensure that appropriate single agency procedures and training are available to all staff with a responsibility towards safeguarding children's well-being.

All specified agencies must:

  • Comply with these procedures;
  • Ensure that any additional internal procedures or inter-agency protocols are consistent with these procedures;
  • Set clear priorities for safeguarding children, explicitly stated in strategic policy documents;
  • Ensure senior management commitment to the importance of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children;
  • Have a clear line of accountability within the organisation for work on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children;
  • Ensure safe staff, carer and volunteer recruitment practices;
  • Maintain accurate records of decision-making and actions;
  • Ensure sensitivity to needs arising from race, culture, religion or linguistic background, disability, sexual orientation, gender or age;
  • Ensure effective intra and inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children, including effective arrangements for sharing information.
  • Provide and monitor uptake and effectiveness of regular mandatory child protection training for staff, carers and volunteers.
  • Promote a culture of participation by children and families and include their views when developing services;
  • Have whistle blowing procedures and a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children to be addressed.

Members of the community who are alert to children's needs and able to act if they have concerns about a child's welfare, can to play a significant role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.

2.2 Children and Young People's Service: Social Care

Children's Social Care

The agency with lead responsibility for child protection within North Yorkshire is the Local Authority Children and Young People's Service, Children's Social Care.

Children's Social Care has the following responsibilities:

  • Assess, plan and provide support to children in need, particularly those suffering or likely to suffer significant harm;
  • Make enquiries under Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 wherever there is reason to suspect that a child in its area is at risk of significant harm;
  • Convene and chair Child Protection Conferences under LSCB procedures;
  • Maintain the Electronic Social Care Record (ESCR) known as ICS;
  • Provide a Key Worker for every child subject to a Child Protection Plan;
  • Ensure that the agencies who are party to the protection plan coordinate their activities to protect the child;
  • Undertake a Core Assessment where required ensuring they comply with the standards set out in LSCB Procedures, Appendix 4;
  • Convene regular reviews of the progress of any child subject to a Child Protection Plan through both Core Group and Child Protection Conference Review meetings;
  • Instigate legal proceedings where required.

Additionally Children's Social Care are a responsible authority in North Yorkshire within the Licensing Act (2003) and Gambling Act (2005) for the protection of children criterion.

The primary duty of all staff, whatever their nominated role, is to protect children from significant harm.

Emergency Duty Team (EDT)

Staff working in EDTs must distinguish carefully, often on the basis of inadequate and/or incomplete information:

  • What immediate action may be required to ensure the immediate and longer term safety of a child; and
  • What further responses may be best left to day time services.

EDT staff should ensure that all relevant information obtained and actions taken out of office hours are transmitted without delay to the relevant sections within Adult & Community Services and Children's Social Care and other agencies as appropriate.

2.3 Children and Young People's Service : Education

The duty of local authorities, schools of all kinds and FE colleges to have arrangements for carrying out their functions with a view to safeguarding & promoting the welfare of children is under sections 175 & 157 of the Education Act 2002.

Education staff have a crucial role to play in helping identify welfare concerns and indicators of possible abuse or neglect at an early stage.

The local authority has a nominated a lead officer with responsibly for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children at three levels. These responsibilities are:

  • Strategic - coordinating and planning service delivery;
  • Support - ensuring schools are aware of their responsibilities, monitoring their performance and ensuring training, model policies and procedures and advice and support is available;
  • Operational - taking responsibility for safeguarding children who are excluded from school or who have not obtained a school place, for example children and pupil referral units or being educated by the authority's home tutor service; involvement in dealing with allegations against staff and volunteers; and ensuring arrangements are in place to prevent unsuitable staff and volunteers from working with children.

Schools and Governing Bodies

Governing Body should ensure that:

  • the school has a child protection policy and procedures in place that are in accordance with local authority guidance and locally agreed inter-agency procedures, and the policy is made available to parents on request;
  • the school operates safe recruitment procedures and makes sure that all appropriate checks are carried out on staff and volunteers who work with children;
  • the school has procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against staff and volunteers that comply with guidance from the local authority and locally agreed inter-agency procedures;
  • a senior member of the school's leadership team is designated to take lead responsibility for child protection (and deputy);
  • staff undertake appropriate child protection training;
  • they remedy, without delay, any deficiencies or weaknesses regarding child protection arrangements;
  • a governor is nominated to be responsible for liaising with the local authority and /or partner agencies in the event of allegations of abuse being made against the head teacher;
  • where services or activities are provided on the school premises by another body, the body concerned has appropriate policies and procedures in place in regard to safeguarding children and child protection and liaises with the school on these matters where appropriate;
  • they review their policies and procedures annually and provide information to the local authority about them and about how the above duties have been discharged

The Headteacher should ensure that:

  • the policies and procedures adopted by the Governing Body or Proprietor are fully implemented, and followed by all staff;
  • sufficient resources and time are allocated to enable the designated person and other staff to discharge their responsibilities; and
  • all staff and volunteers feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice in regard to children, and such concerns are addressed sensitively and effectively in a timely manner in accordance with agreed whistle blowing policies.

Senior Member of Staff with Designated Responsibility for Child Protection should ensure the following:

  Referrals

  • Refer cases of suspected abuse or allegations to the relevant investigating agencies;
  • Act as a source of support , advice and expertise within the educational establishment;
  • Liaise with head teacher to inform him/her of any issues and ongoing investigations and ensure there is always cover for this role.

Training

  • To recognise how to identify signs of abuse and when it is appropriate to make a referral;
  • Have a working knowledge of how LSCBs operate, the conduct of a child protection case conference and be able to attend and contribute to these;
  • Ensure that all staff have access to and understand the school's child protection policy;
  • Ensure that all staff have induction training;
  • Keep detailed accurate secure written records and/or concerns;
  • Obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses at least every two years.

 Raising Awareness

  • Ensure the child protection policy is updated and reviewed annually and work with the governing body regarding this;
  • Ensure parents are made aware of the child protection policy which alerts them to the fact that referrals may be made and the role of the establishment in this to avoid conflict later;
  • Where a child leaves the establishment, ensure the child protection file is copied for the new establishment as soon as possible and transferred  to the new school separately from the main pupil file. If a child goes missing or leaves to be educated at home, then the child protection file should be copied and the copy forwarded to the Principal Education Social Worker, County Hall, Northallerton, DL7 8AE

All staff and volunteers

  • fully comply with the school's policies and procedures;
  • attend appropriate training;
  • inform the designated person of any concerns.

Further Education Institutions and Governing Bodies

Further education institutions and governing bodies have a responsibility to ensure that appropriate child protection arrangements (see arrangements above for schools) are in place for all students under the age of 18 years.

Prevention of bullying in schools

All schools (and colleges) must have an effective policy in place to combat bullying incidents, including cyber bullying.

Parents and pupils must be consulted regarding the development of such policies.

There may be incidents of bullying which need to be considered within the child protection procedures where a pupil has suffered significant harm and action is required to promote and safeguard their welfare.

Use of physical intervention in educational establishments

All schools/colleges must have a policy and procedure in place regarding the use of physical intervention.

The use of physical intervention must always be a last resort. All other strategies must be used to avoid physical intervention being implemented.

Any use of physical intervention must be recorded in line with the school's policy.

The parent (person with parental responsibility) must be informed at the earliest opportunity.

Racism and homophobic abuse

All schools (colleges) must have a system in place to deal with and try to prevent incidents of racism and homophobic abuse.

There may be occasions when the impact of racist incidents is so severe that it constitutes significant harm for the victim. In those instances consideration must be given as to whether it is appropriate to make a referral within the child protection system.

Extended Schools

Where the governing body provides the services or activities directly under the supervision or management of school staff, the school's arrangement for child protection will apply.

Where these services are provided separately or by another body the governing body should seek assurance and evidence that appropriate policies and procedures are in place to promote and safeguard the welfare of children.

2.4 Early years development and child care partnership

Each Local Authority has responsibility for the provision of:

  • Information and advice about child minding and day care primarily through the Children's Information Service;
  • Training should include child protection training for persons who provide or assist in providing child minding or day care.

The above responsibilities should be discharged in cooperation with the Early Years Development and Child Care Partnership on which relevant services within the county will be represented.

2.5 Integrated Working in Localities

Each service working with children and young people has a statutory duty to cooperate to improve the well-being of children and young people. To deliver this duty, each organisation commits to:

  • Ensuring all relevant staff use or have involvement in the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) where appropriate, including access to training and maintaining the quality standards set for the CAF;
  • Ensuring all relevant staff understand the role of the lead professional and provide sufficient support where a member of staff is fulfilling this role;
  • Engaging with the Integrated Services Managers' Teams (and/or their representatives) and enabling staff to attend relevant multi-agency meetings in respect of individual children, young people and/or families.

The Integrated Services Manager (ISM) is responsible for the management, monitoring and quality assurance of the Common Assessment Framework process within their Integrated Services areas. Where a common assessment has been completed across two or more Integrated Service areas, the ISM covering the child's address where they are ordinarily resident will take the lead. In addition the ISM is responsible for facilitating even better coordination of services in their respective area and agencies can, through the ISM, seek to improve services for particularly the most vulnerable children. 

2.6 Youth Services

 Youth and community workers have close contact with children and young people and should be alert to signs of abuse and neglect and how to act upon concerns about a child's welfare. Local Authority youth services should follow procedures which are consistent with ‘What to Do If You're Worried a Child Is Being Abused' and these procedures. Youth and community workers should consult his/her line manager about concerns they may have about a child or young person.

Where Children's Services fund local voluntary youth organisations or other providers through grant or contract arrangement, they will ensure that proper arrangements to safeguard children and young people are in place. This should form part of the agreement for the grant or contract. The organisations may seek advice on how to do so from their national bodies.

2.7 District Councils

Leisure Services

Children are intensive users of the leisure services, including parks, swimming pools, leisure centres and theatres. Leisure services also organise courses for young children, e.g. cycling proficiency.

In addition to their shared responsibility to provide staff with child protection training, leisure services must ensure that managers take responsibility for briefing casual and temporary members of staff of the need to be aware of child protection issues.

All instances of unobserved contact with children should be minimised.

Leisure services must ensure that any organisations contracting to use leisure premises have adequate safeguarding procedures.

Each service is encouraged to identify a member of staff who can take a lead role for child protection.

Housing

Housing authorities/associations often hold significant information about families which contain a child at risk. In the case of mobile children and families they may have more information than most other agencies.

Housing authorities/associations have an obligation to share information relevant to safeguarding children with Children's Social Care.

Housing authorities/associations can help reduce risk to children by:

  • Providing alternative accommodation to a parent and children if they have experienced domestic abuse;
  • Ensuring that dangerous offenders are not offered tenancies in locations offering high levels of access to children;
  • Ensuring that wherever possible homeless families are provided with temporary accommodation within their home area;
  • Sharing with relevant agencies the address of a family which is transferred outside of the district;
  • Ensuring that all homeless families with children subject to Section 47 Enquiries and/or subject to a Child Protection Plan are offered temporary accommodation within their home area, unless alternative arrangements are consistent with the protection plan;
  • Providing references to OFSTED about potential child minders.

Housing staff should be alert to safeguarding children when dealing with reports of anti-social behaviour by young people which might reflect parental neglect or abuse.

Housing Authorities and Registered Social Landlords

Housing and homelessness staff in Local Authorities play an important role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children as part of their day to day work. Staff should have appropriate training and support to ensure they can contribute to recognising child welfare issues, sharing information; making referrals and subsequently managing or reducing risks. Housing managers, whether working in a Local Authority or for a registered social landlord (RSL) and others with a front line role such as environmental health officers, also have an important role.

For instance:

  • Housing staff, in their day to day contact with families and tenants, may become aware of needs or welfare issues which they can either tackle directly (for instance by making repairs or adaptations to homes) or by assisting the family in accessing help through other organisations;
  • Housing authorities work with Health and Social Care services following their assessment of the needs of families with disabled children who may require housing adaptations in order to participate fully in family life and reach their maximum potential;
  • Housing authorities have a front line emergency role, for instance managing re-housing or repossession when adults and children become homeless or at risk of homelessness as a result of domestic abuse;
  • Housing authorities work to safeguard young people aged 16/17 who become homeless.
  • Housing staff through their day to day contact with members of the public and with families may become aware of concerns about the welfare of particular children. Housing authorities and RSLs may hold important information that could assist Children's Social Care to carry out assessments under Section 17 or Section 47 of the Children Act 1989. Conversely, Children's Social Care and other organisations working with children can have information which will make assessments of the need for certain types of housing more effective. Authorities and RSLs should follow joint protocols with other relevant North Yorkshire LSCB agencies in respect of sharing information;
  • Environmental health officers inspecting conditions in private rented housing may become aware of conditions that impact adversely on children. Under part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 authorities will take account of the impact of health and safety hazards in housing on vulnerable occupants including children when deciding the action to be taken by landlords to improve conditions;
  • Whilst in the main District Councils have transferred these responsibilities to manage property to one or more RSL, they remain responsible for assessing the needs of families under homelessness legislation and managing nominations to registered social landlords who provide housing in their area. They continue to have an important role in safeguarding children because of their contact with families as part of assessment of need, and because of the influence they have designing and managing prioritisation, assessment and allocation of housing;
  • RSLs are not under the same duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children as are District Councils. However, the principle of RSLs working in partnership with a range of organisations to promote social inclusion is supported strongly. Its regulatory code states that housing associations must work with Local Authorities to enable the latter to fulfil their duties to the vulnerable and those covered by the government's supporting people policy.

2.8 Adult and Community Services

Adult Social Care

Those who work in Adult & Community Services must consider the implications of service users' behaviour for the safety and well-being of any dependent children and/or children with whom those adults are in contact.

In particular, child protection issues may arise amongst parents, carers or pregnant women who are in receipt of the following:

  • Community mental health support;
  • Substance misuse services;
  • Learning disability services;
  • Support services for victims of domestic abuse.

Adult & Community Services must establish and maintain systems so that:

  • Managers within Adult & Community Services can monitor those cases which involve dependent children;
  • There is regular, formal and recorded consideration of such cases between managers in both Adult & Community Services and Children's Social Care;
  • Where both Adult & Community Services and Children's Social Care are providing services to a family, staff communicate with each other and agree interventions.

Adult & Community Services staff who receive referrals about adults who are also parents should consider if there is a need to alert Children's Social Care to a child who may be ‘in need' or ‘at risk of significant harm'. Similarly children may be in need of additional services and as such Adult and Community Services staff should check to see if the child/ren have a common assessment.

Once action is taken under safeguarding procedures (and regardless of whether the work is undertaken jointly or separately) Children's Social Care becomes responsible for its coordination.

Library Services

Library staff have a great deal of informal contact with children and parents using their services, which provide opportunities for recognising those who are experiencing difficulties.

If young children are left unattended within the library for lengthy periods of time, staff should intervene with parents and inform Children's Social Care if concerns are not allayed.

Through the facility for homework helpers and holiday groups, some library staff have direct unsupervised contact with children. These staff must be subject to CRB checks, receive appropriate child protection training and comply with safeguarding procedures.

Libraries provide opportunities for anonymous access to the internet. Staff must be aware and take reasonable precautions to prevent access to pornography and chat rooms in which children may be drawn into risky relationships.

2.9 North Yorkshire Police

The Police have a general responsibility for the protection of life and limb as well as the prevention and detection of crime. The Police's involvement in cases of child protection stems from these responsibilities.

The Police focus is to determine whether a criminal offence has been committed, to identify the offender/s and to secure the best possible evidence for criminal proceedings.

The priorities of the North Yorkshire Police (NYP) in relation to safeguarding children are:

  • To protect the lives of children and ensure that in the policing of child abuse the welfare of the child is paramount;
  • To investigate all reports of child abuse and neglect and to protect the rights of child victims of crime;
  • To establish investigating child abuse and safeguarding children as a mainstream policing activity;
  • To take effective action against offenders so that they can be held accountable through the criminal justice system, whilst safeguarding the welfare of the child;
  • To adopt a proactive multi agency approach to safeguarding and in preventing and reducing child abuse and neglect.

All Police Officers and Staff (including response officers, Safer Neighbourhood Teams and CID) must, if they conclude a child may be at risk of significant harm, take immediate action to ensure the safety and welfare of the child. Where required, they must take emergency protective action which may include taking the child into Police Protection under S.46 The Children Act 1989.

NYP's new integrated Protecting Vulnerable Persons Units (PVP) now deliver specialist child abuse, domestic abuse, vulnerable persons and public protection services thereby ensuring effective communication and appropriate sharing and management of the information and intelligence obtained by these similar vulnerable disciplines.

The PVP units undertake child abuse related inquires when:

  • Occurring within the household (as opposed to a stranger attack;
  • Committed by a carer or family member against a child where the victim is under 18;
  • Children in care where the abuser is alleged to be the carer or an employee of the care organisation (e.g., foster carer or children's home employee). A carer includes:
    • Any person visiting the household regularly; and
    • Any person having caring responsibility at the time of the alleged offence e.g., teacher or youth worker, prison staff or babysitter.

Investigations falling within the above terms of reference will be conducted by the PVP Unit covering the area where the child lives.

Investigations, outside the PVP Unit's terms of reference, will be dealt with (to the same standard) by CID Officers from the area in which the offence occurred with assistance from the PVP Unit, were necessary.

Criminal Proceedings

The Police must be informed at the earliest opportunity when any criminal offence has been, or is suspected of having been committed against a child.

The decision concerning the instigation of criminal proceedings is made by Police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), whenever possible after consultation with other agencies and the decision is primarily based upon:

  • Sufficiency of evidence;
  • Interests of the child; and
  • Public interest.

Missing Persons and Linked Indices

On receiving a report of a missing child or young person, NYP's Niche and CATS ( Child abuse systems) should be checked for information about the child and family. Where concerns are identified enquiries will be undertaken in accordance with the NPIA Guidance on the Management, Recording and Investigation of Missing Persons.

Risk Management of Known Offenders

Section 12 provides procedures of the Police contribution to the risk management of known offenders and the MAPPA.

Crown Prosecution Service

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the government department responsible for prosecuting people in England and Wales who have been charged by the Police with a criminal offence. Created by the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985, the CPS is an independent body that works closely with the Police.

The CPS is the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales. They are responsible for advising the Police on cases of possible prosecution, reviewing cases submitted by the Police, preparing cases for court and the presentation of cases at court. The role of the service is to prosecute firmly, fairly and effectively when there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and when it is in the public interest to do so.

Staff within the Crown Prosecution Service have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all children. If in the course of their work they become concerned that a child is a Child in Need or a Child in Need of Protection and they believe that the appropriate action has not been taken, the CPS should discuss their concerns with North Yorkshire Police Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit.

2.10 Health Services

The Strategic Health Authority, Primary Care Trust, NHS Trusts (including Mental Health NHS Trusts), all other NHS Providers and NHS Foundation Trusts have a duty under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Other Health staff, such as those working in Ambulance Trusts, NHS Direct sites and within the independent sector, have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. All Health staff who commission or provide services to the population of North Yorkshire should have knowledge of North Yorkshire LSCB procedures.

Staff providing health services to children/families/adults with children in the family include (note that this list is not exhaustive):

  • NHS North Yorkshire and York Community and Mental Health Services Staff e.g. Health Visitors, School Nurses, District Nurses, Speech and Language Therapists, Emergency Care Practitioners, Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nursing Staff, CAMHS staff, Psychologists, Psychotherapists  and Alcohol and Drug Services staff;
  • NHS Hospital Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts staff, e.g. Paediatricians, Accident and Emergency staff, staff in Genito-urinary medicine, Midwives, other Obstetric staff, Gynaecological staff, Family Planning staff, Occupational Therapists and staff in Sexual Health services;
  • NHS Mental Health Trusts, e.g. Child and Adolescent Mental Health professionals such as Child Psychiatrists, Community Psychiatric Nurses, Clinical Psychologists and Adult Mental Health Services staff, such as Psychiatrists, Nurses and Psychologists;
  • Independent health sector staff, e.g. non-NHS hospitals, General Practitioner staff, such as GPs, Practice Nurses, Ancillary staff, out of hours Doctor Services, Dentists and Dental Care professionals, Optometrists and Pharmacists;

Health staff contribute to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children through:

  • Contributing to enquiries from other professionals about a child and their family or carers;
  • Liaising closely and referring with other agencies including other health professionals;
  • Assessing the health and development needs of children and the capacity of parents/carers to meet their children's needs including the needs of children who display sexually harmful behaviours;
  • Addressing risks posed by adults including those adults who are misusing drugs or alcohol, those with mental health problems and those with learning difficulties;
  • Planning and responding to the needs of children and their families;
  • Contributing to Child Protection Conferences, Family Group Conferences and Strategy Meetings;
  • Contributing to planning support for children at risk of significant harm, e.g. children living in households with domestic abuse, parental substances misuse;
  • Helping to ensure that children who have been abused and parents under stress (e.g. who have emotional health problems) have access to services to support them;
  • Participating in Child Protection Conferences and playing an active part, through the Child Protection Plan, in safeguarding children from significant harm;
  • As part of generally safeguarding children and young people, providing ongoing promotional and preventative support through proactive work with children, families and expectant parents;
  • Contributing to Serious Case Reviews and their implementation; and
  • Participating in the LSCB and constituent sub groups and forums.

The above should all be undertaken with reference to the core process set out in Working Together to Safeguard Children (summarised in ‘What To Do If You're Worried A Child Is Being Abused', DH 2003), Responding to Domestic Abuse: A Handbook for Health Professionals, DH 2005, Safeguarding Children involved in Prostitution (2000) and Safeguarding Children in Whom Illness is Fabricated or Induced, DH 2002. Dentists and the dental team should refer to Child Protection and the Dental Team – an introduction to safeguarding children in dental practices, DH 2006. All health staff should have access to advice and support from a Named and Designated Professional for Child Protection/ Safeguarding Children (Appendix 2) and undertake regular safeguarding training and updating. For those working directly with children and families, there should be regular child protection supervision.

Responsibility of PCT

The PCT is accountable for its own child protection structures and processes as well as for those in agencies from whom it commissions services. The PCT responsibilities are detailed within Working Together, section 2.44-2.51, 2006 and the Care Quality Commission “Review of Safeguarding Children – A Review of arrangements in the NHS for safeguarding children”(July 2006).

Designated Health Professionals

The responsibilities of Designated Professionals (i.e., Designated Nurse and Designated Doctor for Child Protection/ Safeguarding Children) can be summarised as follows:

  • Providing the strategic professional lead on all aspects of the Health service contribution to safeguarding children across the PCT area, which includes all providers;
  • Providing advice and support to the Named Professionals ( Named Nurse and Named Doctor for Safeguarding Children or Named Professional Safeguarding Children) in each provider unit;
  • Providing professional advice on safeguarding children matters to other professionals, the PCT, Children's Social Care, Police, Probation etc. and the North Yorkshire LSCB;
  • Promoting, influencing and developing relevant training;
  • Providing expert advice on all matters relating to child protection/ safeguarding children;
  • Working with providers and commissioners to achieve assurance of effectiveness and appropriateness of services relating to child protection/ safeguarding children.
  • Advising on the need for ( and delivering to the Named Professionals/ Nurses) appropriate child protection reflective supervision;
  • Providing skilled, professional involvement in child safeguarding processes in line with North Yorkshire LSCB procedures;
  • Coordinating and leading health input to Serious Case Reviews;
  • Developing, monitoring and reviewing health service specifications and standards for child protection practice;
  • Ensuring there are effective systems of audit to monitor the application of agreed child protection standards;
  • Promote effective and safe practice within provider organisations and commissioned services in relation to safeguarding children;
  • Collaborating with the North Yorkshire LSCB and the Named Professionals in each trust.

Named Health Professionals

The responsibilities of Named Health professionals can be summarised as follows:

  • Being a source of advice and expertise on all child protection matters to all staff at the point of need;
  • Promoting good practice and effective communication within and between trusts and all agencies on all matters relating to the protection of children;
  • Ensuring that arrangements are in place for child protection supervision and training of all staff involved in providing services to children and families and vulnerable adults who are parents or carers and/or who may pose a risk to children;
  • Ensuring that child protection is an integral part of the provider's risk management strategy and that key staff are aware of the thresholds for triggering child protection enquiries and an assessment of risk;
  • Authorising the providers Individual Management Reviews to contribute to Serious Case Reviews;
  • Take a professional lead within their provider organisation(s) on all child protection matters;
  • Promote good, effective and safe practice within their provider organisation(s) in relation to safeguarding children;
  • Work in partnership with all other statutory and voluntary agencies providing services to children & young people.

Adult Integrated Mental Health Services

All Mental Health professionals have a duty to seek to discover whether any patient/client has responsibility or cares for a child and to consider the impact her/his condition may have on that child and whether this requires a referral to Children's Services. All Mental Health staff and GPs must be aware of the possibility of child abuse in parent/carers with personality disorder, mental illness, problems with aggression or violent behaviour and substance misuse or through misuse of drugs or alcohol.

The needs and protection of the child (including the unborn child) are a priority in the assessment of parents and should be undertaken in partnership with the Health Service providers, Adult & Community Services and Children's Social Care.

Adult Psychiatrists and Psychologists treat both victims of past abuse and perpetrators.

Care programme meetings must include consideration of any needs or risk factors in respect of children including contact and discharge. Information should always be sought from Children's Social Care who should be included in these meeting arrangements.

Guidance on children visiting psychiatric patients including those detained under the Mental Health Act must be adhered to. All visits by children should be assessed to be in their best interests.

Adult Mental Health Services, including those providing general adult and community forensic, psychotherapy, alcohol and substance misuse and learning disability services, have a responsibility in safeguarding children when they become aware of or identify a child at risk of harm. This may be as a result of direct work with those who may be mentally ill, a parent, a parent-to-be, or a non-related abuser or in response to a request for the assessment of an adult perceived to be a potential or actual risk to a child or young person.

Close collaboration and liaison between Adult Mental Health Services and Children's Social Care are essential in the interests of the children. This may require the sharing of information to safeguard and promote the welfare of children or to protect the child from significant harm. CAMHS can promote communication between Adult Mental Health Services and Children's Social Care.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

Standard 9 of the National Service Framework is devoted to the Mental Health and Psychological Well-Being of Children and Young People. The importance of effective partnership working is emphasised and this is especially applicable to children and young people who have mental health problems as a result of abuse and/or neglect.

In the course of their work, Child and Adolescent Mental Health professionals will inevitably identify or suspect instances where a child may have been abused and/or neglected. These procedures should be adhered to. Consultation, supervision and training resources should be available and accessible in each service.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health professionals may have a role in the Initial Assessment process in circumstances where their specific skills and knowledge are helpful. Examples include:

  • Children and young people with severe behavioural difficulties;
  • Emotional disturbance;
  • Eating disorders;
  • Self-harming behaviour;
  • Families where there is a perceived high risk of danger;
  • Very young children;
  • Abused child or abuser has severe communication problems;
  • Situations where parent and carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes ill-health to a child;
  • Where multiple victims are involved.

In addition, assessment and treatment services may need to be provided to young mentally disordered offenders. The assessment of children and adults with significant learning difficulties, a disability, or sensory and communication difficulties, may require the expertise of a specialist Psychiatrist or Clinical Psychologist from a learning disability or Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services also have a role in the provision of a range of psychiatric and psychological assessment and treatment services for children & families. Services that may be provided, in liaison with Children's Social Care, include the provision of reports for court, and direct work with children, parents and families. Services may be provided either within general or specialist multi-disciplinary teams, depending upon the severity and complexity of the problem. In addition, consultation and training may be offered to services in the community including, for example:

  • Children's Integrated Services;
  • Schools;
  • Primary Health Care teams; and
  • Nurseries.

Adult Mental Health Services, including those providing general adult and community, forensic, psychotherapy, alcohol and substance misuse and learning disability services, have a responsibility in safeguarding children when they become aware of or identify a child at risk of harm. This may be as a result of services direct work with those who may be mentally ill, a parent, a parent-to-be, or a non-related abuser, or in response to a request for the assessment of an adult perceived to represent a potential or actual risk to a child or young person.

Close collaboration and liaison between the Adult Mental Health Services and Children's Social Care are essential in the interests of children. This may require the sharing of information to safeguard and promote the welfare of children or protect a child from significant harm. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services can help in facilitating communication between Adult Mental Health Services and Children's Social Care.

National guidance in relation to the accommodation of any person under the age of 18 years on an adult mental health unit must be adhered to.

Visiting of Psychiatric Patients by Children

There are two specific areas regarding children visiting parents and other family members in psychiatric settings where Local Authority Children's Social Care may be asked to assess whether it is in the best interests of a child to visit a named patient.

  • Special Hospitals

The directions and associated guidance to Ashworth, Broadmoor and Rampton Hospital Authorities (HSC 1999/160) sets out the assessment process to be followed when deciding whether a child can visit a named patient in these hospitals. When a Local Authority considers it has powers under the Children Act 1989 to undertake the necessary assessment, it should assist the hospital by assessing whether it is in the interests of a particular child to visit a named patient (LAC(99)23).

  • Other Psychiatric Provisions

The Guidance on the Visiting of Psychiatric Patients by Children (HSC 1999/222: LAC (99)32) to NHS trusts, Health Authorities and Local Authorities, on the implementation of the guidance at paragraph 26.3 of the revised Mental Health Act 1983 Code of Practice, published in April 1999 states that hospitals should have written policies on the arrangements about the visiting of patients by children, which should be drawn up in consultation with LSCBs. A visit by a child should only take place following a decision that such a visit would be in the child's best interests. Decisions to allow such visits should be regularly reviewed.

The guidance also sets out principles to underpin child visiting policies in respect of children visiting patients detained under the Mental Health Act, 1983. This emphasises the importance of facilitating a child's contact with their parents or other key family members, wherever possible. Where there are child welfare concerns, the Trust may ask the Local Authority to assess whether it is in the best interest of a child to visit a named patient.

Dental Practitioners

Community Dental Services see vulnerable children both within health care settings and by undertaking domiciliary visits. They are likely to identify injuries to the head, face mouth and teeth, as well as potentially identifying other child welfare concerns.

They should therefore be included within all the child protection systems and training within the Trust.

All Dentists should have knowledge and skills to identify concerns regarding a child's welfare, know how to refer to Children's Social Care, and who the Named and Designated Professionals within the local NHS are.

Ambulance Trusts, NHS Direct sites and NHS Walk-in Centres

The staff working in these Health facilities will have access to family homes or be involved in a time of crisis and may therefore be in a position to identify initial concerns regarding a child's welfare. Each of these bodies should have access to a Named Professional for Child Protection. All staff should be aware of local procedures in line with LSCB policies.

2.11 Office for standard in education (Ofsted) Children's Directorate

Registered childminders and group day care providers must satisfy explicit criteria in order to meet the national standard with respect to child protection (standard 13, of day care standards issued by Ofsted). Ensuring that they do so is the responsibility of the Children's Directorate of Ofsted.

Ofsted requires that:

  • All childminders and group day care staff have knowledge of child protection, including the signs and symptoms of abuse and what to do if abuse or neglect is suspected;
  • Those who are entrusted with the day care of children or who child mind have the personal capacity and skills to ensure children are looked after in a nurturing and safe manner.

Ofsted will seek to ensure that day care providers:

  • Ensure the environment in which children are cared for is safe;
  • Have child safeguarding children policies and procedures in place, which are consistent with these procedures;
  • Be able to demonstrate that their procedures have been followed when an allegation is made.

Ofsted must contact Children's Social Care about any child protection issues and, in consultation with them, consider whether any action needs to be taken to protect children attending the provision.

Ofsted must be informed when a child protection referral is made to Children's Social Care about:

  • A person who works as a child minder; or
  • A person who works in day care for children; or
  • Allegations regarding any person residing in the home of a registered childminder; or
  • Any service regulated by Ofsted's Children's Directorate.

Ofsted must be invited to any Strategy Meeting where an allegation might have implications for other users of the day care service and/or the registration of the provider.

Ofsted must seek to cancel registration if children are at risk of significant harm by being looked after in childminding or group day care settings.

Where warranted, Ofsted will bring civil proceedings or criminal proceedings against registered or unregistered day care providers.

Additionally, Ofsted's Children's Directorate:

  • Registers private and voluntary care services which are required to meet national standards;
  • Inspects, assesses and reviews all care services;
  • Inspects boarding schools, residential special schools and further education colleges with residential students under 18 years;
  • Publishes an inspection report;
  • Provides details of the number and quality or private and voluntary care services;
  • Deals with complaints about care service providers;
  • Takes enforcement action when services do not meet minimum standards.

Providers will also be expected to have knowledge of child protection, including signs and symptoms and what to do if abuse or neglect is suspected and an up to date child protection policy.

2.12 National Probation Service – North Yorkshire Area

The National Probation Service – North Yorkshire Area : The key aims of the probation service are:

  • Protecting the public;
  • Reducing re-offending;
  • Proper punishment of offenders in the community;
  • Ensuring offenders' awareness of the affects of crime on victims and the public;
  • Rehabilitation of offenders.

Probation staff work predominantly with offenders aged 18 years and over.

The service also provides information and consultation to the victims (including child victims) of serious sexual and violent offences.

Probation staff may become involved with cases relevant to child protection:

  • In the course of preparing reports to the criminal courts;
  • As a result of their responsibility for the supervision of offenders (including those convicted of offences against children);
  • Where an offender had been subjected to abuse as a child;
  • Where a court requests a bail hostel placement for a single carer;
  • When a single carer is remanded or sentenced to custody.

Probation staff must refer a child to Children's Social Care if concerned that s/he may be in need or at risk of significant harm.

All offenders who are subject to statutory intervention by the Probation Service are assessed in terms of their risk of serious harm level and criminogenic needs by use of a standard offender assessment tool (OASys). Those assessed as capable of causing high or very high risk of serious harm, together with those within certain categories laid down by the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) 2003, are referred to multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA). For further information on MAPPA, referral and management processes see Section 12.

 The Probation Service Victim Liaison Officer should consult with the Children's Social Care in cases where the victim is a child.

Probation staff have both statutory and non-statutory contact with sex offenders following release from prison and work with a range of offenders with less serious convictions against children.

When working with any member of a family where child abuse is known, or thought to have occurred and where the child remains in the care of, or has contact with the abuser, the Probation Officer must liaise closely with the Key Worker and any other relevant agencies. (The exception is where child has been removed and has no planned contact).

2.13 Young Offender Institutions

As a result of a judicial review, it has been found that the Children Act 1989 does apply to young offenders aged 15–17 inclusive detained in young offender institutions (YOIs) managed by HM Prison Service.

A contractual requirement imposed by the Youth Justice Board (which commissions all places used within YOIs), is that each must maintain and follow a comprehensive child protection policy.

2.14 Prisons

Governors of prisons have a duty to make arrangements to ensure that their functions are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

Prisons must have in place arrangements to ensure prisoners are not able to cause harm to the public and particularly to children. Restriction on communications will reflect the degree of risk posed to children and their families.

Any contact arrangements with children for prisoners who pose a risk to children must be subject to the procedures as detailed in Section 12.

2.15 Youth Justice Service

Each local authority acting in cooperation with Police, Health and Probation must provide a Youth Justice Service. The duties of the service are to coordinate provision of youth justice services for all those in the Local Authority's area who need them and carry out other duties under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Because the Youth Justice Service has contact with both victims and perpetrators of abuse, staff may identify circumstances in which action by Children's Social Care are required.

It may be helpful to identify a YJS officer who can take a lead role for child protection.

2.16 Children and family courts advisory and support service (Cafcass)

Cafcass advises the courts on the needs and interests of children who are the subject of family court proceedings. This can be in both public and private matters and encompasses, for example, care proceedings and contact issues.

Staff employed by Cafcass can operate in both public and private matters. Two key roles are that of children's guardian – in public law applications, usually issued by local authorities and children & family reporter – in private law matters usually associated with separating parents.

Amongst the functions of Cafcass in respect of family proceedings are:

  • To safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
  • To give advice to any court about any application made in family proceedings, including making provision for the legal representation of children were required;
  • To advise Children's Services of any domestic abuse incidents which have occurred in the past.

Cafcass practitioners will refer any child protection concerns without delay to the local authority.

The local authority will inform Cafcass of Section 47 enquiries or domestic abuse incidents in cases were Cafcass have a current involvement. The local authority should also keep Cafcass informed of any further information and developments and, where necessary, invite Cafcass practitioners to Strategy Meetings, Child Protection Conferences and reviews related to the incident(s).

Requests for information from Cafcass where they are seeking information in private law matters should be responded to promptly and where necessary a summary report indicating the extent of local authority involvement and any ongoing welfare concerns abut a child and or adults should be provided.

2.17 North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service provides a range of youth engagement programmes aimed at providing life skills and fire safe behaviour whilst eradicating fire dangerous behaviour.

The North Yorkshire fire service recognises that the protection and safety of children and young people is everyone's responsibility. There is an agreed policy and good practice guide which establishes the roles and responsibilities of staff in relation to the protection of children, with whom they come into contact through their work. Enshrined in this policy are two key principles:

  • The welfare of the child is of paramount consideration;
  • All children regardless of age, disability, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religious belief or sexual identity.

Staff must follow safeguarding children procedures if they suspect or believe that a child may be at risk of abuse, is being or has been abused. The designated person for child protection in the service can provide advice. Out of office hours, the ‘duty officer' fulfils this function.

2.18 The Armed Services

The life of a service family differs in many respects from that of a family in civilian life, particularly for those stationed overseas or on bases and garrisons in the UK. The services support the movement of the family in response to service commitments. The frequency and location of such moves makes it essential that the service authorities are aware of any concerns regarding safeguarding and promoting the welfare of a child from a military family. The Armed Forces are fully committed to cooperating with statutory and other agencies in supporting families in this situation, and have in place procedures to help in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. In North Yorkshire where there is a concentration of services families, the Armed Forces seek to work alongside Children's Social Care, including through representation on the LSCB and at Child Protection Conferences and reviews.

Local authorities have the statutory responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the protection of the children of the service families in the UK. All three services provide professional welfare support including ‘special to type' social work services to augment those provided by local authorities. In the Royal Navy (RN) this is provided by the Naval Personal and Family Service (NPFS) and the Royal Marines Welfare Service; within the Army this is provided by the Army Welfare Service (AWS); and in the Royal Air Force by the Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association-Forces Help (SSAFA-FH). Further details of these services and contact numbers are given at Appendix 2.

When Service families or civilians working with the Armed Forces are based overseas, the responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of their children is vested with the MoD, who fund the British Forces Social Work Service (Overseas). This service is contracted to SSAFA-FH who provide a fully qualified Social Work and Community Health service in major overseas locations (for example in Germany and Cyprus). Instructions for the protection of children overseas, which reflect the principles of the Children Act 2004 and philosophy of inter-agency cooperation are issued by the MoD as a ‘Defence Council Instruction (Joint Service)' (DCI(JS)). Larger overseas Commands issue local Child Protection procedures, hold a list of children with Child Protection Plans and have a Command Safeguarding Children Board which operates in a similar way to the UK in upholding standards and making sure that best practice is reflected in procedures and observed in practice.

Movement of Children between the United Kingdom and Overseas

Local Authorities should ensure that SSAFA-FH, the British Forces Social Work Service (Overseas), for the NPFS for RN families, is made aware of any service child who is the subject of a Child Protection Plan whose family is about to move overseas. In the interests of the child, SSAFA-FH, the British Forces Social Work Service (Overseas) or NPFS can confirm appropriate resources exist in the proposed location to meet identified needs. Full documentation should be provided which will be forwarded to the relevant overseas Command. All referrals should be made to the Director of Social Work, HQ SSAFA-FH or Area Officer, NPFS (East) as appropriate at the addresses given at Appendix 2. Comprehensive reciprocal arrangements exist for the referral of registered child protection cases to appropriate UK authorities on the temporary or permanent relocation of such children to the UK from overseas.

Enquires about Children of Ex-Service Families

Where a local authority believes that a child who is subject of current child protection processes is from an ex-service family, NPFS, AWS or SSAFA-FH can be contacted to establish whether there is existing information which might help with enquiries. Such enquiries should be addressed to NPFS, AWS or the Director of Social Work, SSAFA-FH at the address given in Appendix 2.

2.19 Border and Immigration Services

Border and Immigration Officers who have contact with children on arrival in the country and staff at the asylum screening unit (ASU) in Croydon to whom ‘post entry' applications for asylum are made, must refer to the relevant Local Authority Duty Team if they have concerns about the future safety of any child. In particular, all unaccompanied asylum seeking children must be referred to the relevant Local Authority Children's Social Care service.

Refugee Council

The Refugee Council assists families into the National Asylum Support Service through the provision of advice about available options and help with paperwork.

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children are provided with support and advice through the Refugee Council's Children's Panel.

The support provided may be through individual allocation to a casework adviser or via the service in Middlesbrough or in Leeds, and will focus on:

  • Asylum procedures and processes;
  • The need for legal representation and processes;
  • Facilitating access to other agencies to meet health and welfare needs;
  • Provision of advocacy services.

Referrals may be self-referrals, from the Borders Agency, legal representatives or from Local Authorities and community groups.

The Refugee Council has its own child protection policy and procedures and all staff receive basic induction training, with further input for those directly working with children.

If a child is identified as in need of support or in need of protection a referral will be made to the relevant Children's Services Department.

2.20 NSPCC

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is a charity with a duty to protect children from abuse and neglect and has the statutory power to bring care proceedings in its own right.

The NSPCC operates a national 24 hour child protection line (see Appendix 2), which accepts referrals and passes the information to the relevant Children's Services.

Children's Social Care may commission the NSPCC to undertake specific child protection related work, including Section 47 Enquiries and ‘special investigations' (details in Appendix 2).

The NSPCC also provides services for children and families and has the same responsibilities in this respect as other voluntary agencies (see below).

2.21 The Voluntary Sector

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 service, youth work and Children's Social Care and Health Care. Many voluntary organisations are skilled in preventative work and may be well placed to reach the most vulnerable children, young people and families.

Voluntary organisations also deliver advocacy for looked after children and young people, children in local authority residential schools and for children who are the subject of Section 47 Enquiries and Child Protection Conferences. In North Yorkshire NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) is commissioned to provide this service.

Examples of services offered by other voluntary organisations include therapeutic work with children, young people and families, particularly in relation to child sexual abuse; specialist support services for children and young people with disabilities or health problems; and services for children abused through prostitution and for children who abuse other children.

The NSPCC national child protection help line provides advice to adults and children about child protection concerns. Parentline Plus offers support to anyone parenting a child. These services, along with many other smaller help lines, provide important routes into statutory and voluntary services.

Voluntary organisations also play a key role in providing information and resources to the wider public about the needs of children and young people.

The voluntary sector is active in working to safeguard the children and young people with whom they work. A range of umbrella and specialist organisations, including the national governing bodies for sports, offer standards, guidance, training and advice for voluntary organisations on keeping children and young people safe from harm.

Organisations in the voluntary and private sectors that work with children need to have the arrangements in place in the same way as organisations in the public sector, and need to work effectively with LSCBs. Paid and volunteer staff need to be aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and how they should respond to child protection concerns in line with ‘What To Do If You're Worried A Child Is Being Abused'.

Sports clubs

Many children regularly attend sports clubs and all such organisations should have their own child protection procedures and training for relevant staff and volunteers.

The NSPCC Child Protection in Sport (CPSU) works in partnership with Sport England and other major sports organisations to develop safeguards for children in sport.

The Independent Football Association (FA), for example, has its own child protection policy and procedures and provides training for coaches, referees and volunteers involved in local football clubs.

The child protection procedures instruct individuals to seek advice or make referrals to Children's Social Care or the Police.

Where suspected abuse occurs within a football setting, the FA head of education and child protection should be informed of the concerns and will provide information for any relevant child protection enquiries and Strategy Meetings.

2.22 Faith Communities

Faith communities have an important role to play in child protection which reflects children's:

  • Attendance at religious services and ceremonies;
  • Participation in study groups/lessons;
  • Involvement in crèches;
  • Attendance of youth clubs;
  • Use, either alone or with parent/s of available counselling, mentoring and confessional services;
  • Involvement in groups using faith community premises, e.g. halls.

All faith communities should maintain their own child protection procedures, consistent with those in this manual.

Faith communities should ensure that all religious leaders, staff and volunteers who have regular contact with children:

  • Have been checked for suitability in working with children and understand the extent and limits of the volunteer's role;
  • Are sensitive to the possibility of child abuse and neglect;
  • Have access to training opportunities to promote their knowledge;
  • Know how to report any concerns about possible abuse or neglect;
  • Are vigilant about their own actions so they cannot be misinterpreted.

The faith communities should:

  • Nominate an individual to take responsibility for drawing up and maintaining policy for child protection;
  • Have guidelines about the care of children in the absence of parents, which respect the rights of the child and the responsibilities of the adults towards them;
  • Have guidelines about safe caring practices, e.g. not being alone with children without alerting others to the reason, ensuring all allegations, however minor, are reported to the agency/group manager/leader;
  • Ensure that any organisations who hire premises, e.g. playgroups have child protection procedures in place;
  • Promote and maintain links with the statutory agencies in relation to both general and specific child protection matters.

Whenever there is concern that a child has been abused or neglected the concern should be referred, without delay, to Children's Social Care (see Appendix 2).

2.23 Members of the Community

It is important that all members of the community understand that safeguarding children is a concern for everyone and that effectiveness of professional agencies will depend on the awareness and support of the public.

If any member of the public is concerned that a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect they should either telephone:

  • North Yorkshire Children's Social Care;
  • North Yorkshire Police;
  • NSPCC national child protection line;
  • NSPCC Asian child protection helpline which provides advice in Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, Bengali and Sylheti).

Contact numbers for the above and other national and local agencies are provided in Appendix 2.

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