First Take School of Acting, Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy, January 2020

The purpose

The purpose of this policy is to enable First Take School of Acting to demonstrate how it meets its accountability for safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults, demonstrating that it follows national guidance, promotes best practice and reflects just how well First Take School of Acting works effectively with its partner agencies.

Who this Policy applies to

The scope of this policy therefore includes ALL STAFF employed by First Take School of Acting who work with children, young people, vulnerable adults and families, either directly or indirectly. The policy is also applicable to sessional staff and volunteers working within the organisation.

This policy applies to all children up to 19 years of age regardless of nationality, culture or religion.  If the child has a learning difficulty or disabilities the support may extend to their 25th birthday. The term ‘children’ will be used throughout this policy to refer to children and young people within this age bracket.

Principles

  • First Take School of Acting takes seriously its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of the children, young people and vulnerable adults entrusted to its care. The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration.
  • As part of the ethos of the organisation, the staff and volunteers are committed to:
  • Listening to, relating effectively with, and valuing each individual child, young person or vulnerable adult in our care and meet their identified needs.
  • Ensuring that all members of staff, full-time, part-time, both paid and unpaid are trained and supported effectively.
  • Being appropriate to the child’s race, culture, religion and language.
  • Draw upon effective partnership between the local authority and other agencies, including voluntary agencies.
  • We recognise that some children, young people and vulnerable adults today are the victims of neglect and/or physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Staff of the organisation, by virtue of their day-to-day contact with and knowledge are well placed to identify such abuse and to offer support to those in need.

 

The role of the Designated Child Protection Officer

  • The Designated Child Protection Officer shall ensure that they are fully conversant with Manchester Safeguarding Children’s Board (MSCB) and First Take School of Acting’s Safeguarding procedures, and will co-ordinate any actions regarding cases of concern of child abuse within the organisation ensuring that all staff are aware of their own responsibility in relation to safeguarding.
  • The Designated Child Protection Officer is appropriately trained, with updates every two years.
  • The Designated Child Protection Officer is responsible for supervising the referral process of individual cases of suspected abuse to Children’s Social Care, and for liaising with them and other agencies on these and other general issues relating to Safeguarding.
  • The Designated Child Protection Officer keeps detailed written records of all concerns, ensuring that such records are stored securely and flagged on, but kept separate from, the child / young person’s general file.
  • The Designated Child Protection Officer has responsibility for organising training on all aspects of Safeguarding within the organisation and act as a point of reference on Safeguarding issues for other staff.
  • The Designated Child Protection Officer will ensure cases of suspected abuse are referred to children’s social care or the police as appropriate.
  • The Designated Child Protection Officer will ensure that the organisation is represented at Safeguarding conferences, child concern meetings, and other appropriate forums, or failing that, that a report is submitted from the organisation.
  • The Designated Child Protection Officer will also ensure that any recommendations made by the conference which involve staff of First Take School of Acting are carried out.
  • Should the alleged perpetrator of abuse be a member of staff, the Designated Child Protection Officer will work closely with the Chief Executive and follow Manchester Safeguarding Children Board and First Take School of Acting Child Protection and Safeguarding policy and report the matter to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).

 

Responding to Concerns, Disclosures, or Allegations of abuse, including those made against members of staff

  • All action taken are in line with Manchester Safeguarding Children’s Board procedures.
  • Any member of staff who receives a disclosure of abuse or has a concern that abuse may have occurred must report it as soon as possible to First Take School of Acting Designated Child Protection Officer.
  • Disclosures when the child is in immediate danger must be reported within the hour and concerns within 24 hours.
  • If the concern in any way involves the Designated Child Protection Officer, then the report should be made in the first instance to the Chief Executive.
  • It is, of course, the right of any individual as a citizen to make direct referrals to Children’s Social Care or Greater Manchester Police. However, we strongly advise members of staff to use the guidelines contained in this policy.

 

Safe Recruitment and Employment

First Take School of Acting undertakes its recruitment procedures and practices in accordance with current employment legislation and guidance, which includes the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006) http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/47/contents and adheres to Safer Recruitment.

  • First Take School of Acting will carry out thorough checks on all new employees and volunteers working with children or families or acting in a safeguarding role. This will include:
  • Disclosure and Barring checks which includes an enhanced check if required.
  • Recognise and discuss gaps in work history.
  • Obtain references prior to employment.
  • All interview panels involving the appointment of staff who will work with children will include at least one member who has undergone Safer Recruitment Training and understand their responsibility to safeguard children through the safer recruitment process.
  • All staff employed or subcontracted to work for the organisation, any volunteers, guest speakers and visitors should conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and adhere to their own professional codes of conduct, which includes being polite, consistent, honest, and trustworthy.
  • Staff working with children in community venues should think about their own personal safety and be able to undertake risk assessments as required.

 

Managing Allegations of Abuse made against Staff

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 highlights the statutory guidance placed on the Manchester Safeguarding Children’s Board to manage allegations of abuse made against staff.  First Take School of Acting staff must follow these guidelines if a report is received about an allegation or a concern that a professional has:

  • Behaved in a way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child, or possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child, or behaved in an inappropriate way towards a child, which may indicate that he or she is unsuitable to work with children.
  • Additionally these procedures may be used if there are concerns about the person’s behaviour towards their own children or children unrelated to their employment or voluntary work, and there has been a recommendation from a strategy discussion that consideration should be given to the risk posed to children they work with.

 

What action must be taken:

  • Report to the Designated Child Protection Officer as soon as possible.
  • Make a signed and dated record of concerns, observations or the information they have received.
  • Maintain confidentiality whilst an investigation is being conducted. The investigation must include a Human Resources representative.

 

You must not:

  • Attempt to deal with the situation themselves in isolation.
  • Make assumptions or diminish the seriousness of the allegations or behaviour.
  • Keep the information to themselves or promise confidentiality.
  • Take any action which might undermine any future investigation or disciplinary procedure, such as interviewing the alleged victim or witnesses, or informing the alleged perpetrator or parents/carers.

 

Access to Advice and Support for Staff 

Staff can access advice and support from a range of sources.  Staff who are working frequently with children and parents must access regular supervision to help them reflect on their working practice and ensure they remain objective to the child’s needs for support and protection. This support can be group supervision or individual supervision.

If staff are unable to access their line manager or the Designated Child Protection Officer they can discuss cases prior to making a referral with a duty social worker at children services.

 

Working with other agencies

  • First Take School of Acting recognises that it is an agent of referral and not of investigation. It fully accepts that the investigation of child abuse is the responsibility of Children’s Social Care and Greater Manchester Police and will do everything possible to support and assist them in their duties.
  • We will endeavour to build relationships with other agencies so that understanding, trust and confidence can be built which will help to secure effective co-operation in cases of actual or suspected abuse or concerns for the welfare of children and young people.
  • In the case of a disclosure or allegation related to abuse, Children’s Social Care and the Police will be informed within 24 hours of a member of staff being informed, this will be within 1 hour if the young person or another young person is in immediate harm or danger.
  • In the case of a concern towards a child or young person that does not put him/her in immediate danger or harm, the concern will be logged by the staff member with the concern and coordinated by the Designated Child Protection Officer. The young person and/or family will be signposted to relevant agencies such as family support service, counselling services, self-harm advice services, alcohol and drugs services. Liaison will also happen between the staff member and any current agencies/services the young person/family is involved with including school/college pastoral support.  The purpose of this is to share information so that the best possible support is given.

 

Record keeping

  • Any member of staff receiving a disclosure of abuse from a child, young person or vulnerable adult, or noticing signs or symptoms of possible abuse, will make notes as soon as possible (e.g. within an hour), writing down exactly, what was said or seen, putting the scene into context, and giving the time and location. Dates and times of events will be recorded as accurately as possible, together with a note of when the record was made.
  • All hand-written notes will be kept, even if they are subsequently typed up in a more formal report.
  • All records of a safeguarding nature should be handed to the Designated Child Protection Officer and will be kept securely. Access to these records is on a ‘need to know’ basis and decisions about access will be made by the Designated Child Protection Officer and Chief Executive.
  • A Safeguarding Form will be completed by the member of staff receiving the disclosure within 24 hours and taken to the Designated Child Protection Officer for action setting. The Designated Child Protection Officer will set actions for the member of staff who received the disclosure of abuse to carryout.  Once actioned the Safeguarding Form will be returned to the Designated Child Protection Officer to be audited and signed off.  If the form has not been returned within 7 days, the Designated Child Protection Officer will contact the member of staff and request this as a matter of urgency.

 

Support

  • For any child, young person or vulnerable adult undergoing a Safeguarding referral and investigation, the need for support will be great and quite often such support will be limited in what the organisation can offer. We aim to meet the need for support whenever possible, but we aim at least to provide a secure environment in which all feel valued and protected.
  • The Designated Child Protection Officer will, whenever possible, make themselves available to discuss individual situations with concerned members of staff.

 

Telephone numbers for advice or referrals

Reporting Abuse or Neglect: Manchester City Council Children’s Social Care – 0161 234 5001 – mcsreply@manchester.gov.uk

Safeguarding Information and Advice: Manchester Safeguarding Children’s Board – www.manchestersafeguardingboards.co.uk/children-young-people/

Reporting Allegations against staff or adults who work with Children: Manchester MCC (LADO) – 0161 234 1214

Police Non-Emergency 101 / Emergency 999

First Take School of Acting – Designated Child Protection Officer – Anthony Crank ac@firsttakeschoolofacting.com – 07854 866492

First Take School of Acting – Chief Executive – Simone Clark sc@jlatalentgroup.com – 07539 208556