The Department for Education have published the new statutory guidance for schools and colleges on safeguarding, ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (KCSIE) which replaces ‘Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education’.
The new guidance is in force with effect from 3 April 2014 although full compliance is not expected until September 2014.
The new guidance is separated into four main parts with annexes and this note is a guide on the main changes and what practical steps you need to take to ensure compliance.
Part One: Safeguarding Information
Part One of the guidance is essential reading for all staff in schools. It sets out in some detail what schools should know and do to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Part One is also available in a separate document titled ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education: Information for all school and college staff.’
The statutory guidance is clear that all staff must read at least Part One of the new guidance (or the separate stand alone document which is identical). Schools must take steps to implement this requirement and record that all staff have been given a copy of Part One. In an ideal world, schools should have a record that all staff have signed to acknowledge that they have read Part One and this should be retained on their personal file. Alternatively, a ‘read receipt’ following email distribution may suffice.
Part One defines how schools should deal with concerns about a child and makes it clear that anybody can make a referral to children’s social care if there is a risk of immediate serious harm to a child.
Part One also sets out the responsibilities and role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) in a school in some detail and further comments about who this person should be are set out in Part Two of the new guidance. Many schools will already have a DSL. The appointment of the DSL is a matter for the governing body or proprietors of a school and it is their responsibility to appoint a member of staff to this role. Annex B of the new guidance describes the broad areas of responsibility of the DSL and is a good starting point for ensuring that the DSL job description covers all of the essential duties.
The DSL must be a senior member of staff who has the appropriate authority and the time, funding, training, resources and support to provide advice and support to staff on child welfare and child protection matters. The DSL will also need to take part in strategy discussions and inter-agency meetings.
The guidance is clear that there should always be cover for this role and therefore the appointment of a deputy DSL is essential.
Part One states that new staff on induction must receive training on:
1. the school’s child protection policy;
2. the staff behaviour policy (or code of conduct);
3. be given a copy of Part One of the statutory guidance;
4. guidance on the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead
The DSL requires safeguarding training every two years.
The requirement for all other staff to receive training on a three-yearly basis has been removed from the new guidance and is replaced with a requirement that all staff are to receive appropriate child protection training which must be ‘regularly’ updated. A school may take advice from the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LCSB) on this matter. In reality, it is likely that many schools will keep to three-yearly training, although there is no obligation to do so.
Part Two: The Management of Safeguarding
Part Two of the new guidance sets out the role of the governing body and proprietors to ensure that they comply with their duties and to ensure that the policies, procedures and training of the school are effective and compliant.
The governing body has to ensure one of its members, usually the chair, is nominated to liaise with the local authority on issues of child protection and in the event of allegations of abuse made against the head.
It is the governing body’s responsibility to appoint a member of staff to the role of DSL as outlined above.
Part Two also confirms that in terms of an appointment panel, the requirement that at least one person has undertaken the safer recruitment training provided by a person approved by the Secretary of State is removed with effect from September 2014.
From September 2014, schools may choose appropriate training and may take advice from the LCSB in doing so. This training should cover, as a minimum, the content of the new statutory guidance. It is still a requirement that one person on the appointment panel has undertaken safer recruitment training, however, this no longer has to be provided by an approved person.
Part Three: Safer Recruitment
Broadly speaking, this reflects the previous guidance. One change is that from April 2014, for new members of staff, schools must check that a candidate to be employed as a teacher is not subject to a prohibition order using the Employer Access Online Service. We are aware there have been difficulties accessing this service. The fact that the check has been carried out needs to be recorded on the school’s single central register.
Part Four: Allegations of Abuse made Against Teachers and Other Staff
The new guidance incorporates the statutory guidance which was last updated in October 2012 for dealing with allegations of abuse made against teachers and other staff. This is certainly helpful and is a way of ensuring that the new guidance covers the ‘what do I do next’ question if an allegation arises.
Practical steps to ensure compliance with the new statutory guidance include:
1. All staff must read at least Part One of the new statutory guidance.
2. Ensure the school has a Designated Safeguarding Lead (with the appropriate skills and job description as set out above). The DSL needs safeguarding training every two years. The school will need to ensure there is an appointed deputy to provide cover in respect of any absence of the DSL.
3. All staff must receive appropriate child protection training which must be regularly updated.
4. From 3rd April 2014, new staff on induction must receive training on :
– the school’s child protection policy
– the staff behaviour policy (or code of conduct)
– training on the Designated Safeguarding Lead i.e. who this is and their role
– must be given and have read a copy of Part One of the guidance.
Clarity is being sought on the requirements with regard to exchange visits and the checking of host families. This is currently set out in Annex C of the guidance and appears to conflict with previous recognised best practice. We are aware that the further clarification of this matter is being sought from the DfE and any changes which a school needs to take with regard to this issue will be publicised in due course.
The above is a general summary of the new guidance, but if you have specific queries, please seek specific advice.