Unfortunately child abuse does occasionally take place within pre-school settings, so we have introduced this separate policy to remind staff of the measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of any allegations being made against them or another member of staff. It also contains the procedure, which will be undertaken if an allegation is made against a member of staff. This complies with both OFSTED and Social Services recommendations.
HOW WE CAN PROTECT OURSELVES?
- If a child sustains an accident whilst in our care, we will record it in the accident book as soon as possible. When the child is collected, we will inform whoever collects the child about the injury and ensure they sign the accident book in acknowledgement of this information being shared.
- If a child arrives to the nursery with an injury that has been sustained elsewhere, we will ask for an explanation and again we will record this in an incident book and ask whoever has brought the child into the nursery to sign the record.
- We will ensure that all staff undertake regular child protection training.
- We will ensure that all parents/guardians/carers understand our role and responsibility regarding child protection issues. This will be made clear on the visit day (or induction) to the nursery.
- Our behaviour management policy states that no physical sanctions will be used and we ensure that everyone complies with this.
- We endeavour to avoid situations where an adult is left alone in a room with a child. If this does occur, we will ensure that the door is left open and there are other adults around.
- We will avoid in engaging in rough physical play with the children, as this may be misconstrued and cause accidental injury to a child.
- We will avoid doing things of a personal nature for the children that they can do for themselves.
- We will always have a witness (generally within the area) when a child needs assistance of a personal nature, i.e. changing of clothing, if a child is unable to carry out this task for themselves.
- Helpers/parents/guardians who have not received a DBS check are prohibited from the toilet area or are left unattended with any child/children for any period.
- We will take up references, including one from the candidate’s last employer and will always question any gaps in employment.
- We encourage an open door ethos, to enable the staff to talk to the Supervisor or Committee Chair of any concerns about the conduct of any of their colleagues.
- All employed staff will have a DBS check before any type of employment is started.
- Staff will not carry around mobile telephones, these will be kept within staff lockers (that are provided), whilst the children are within the premises.
- Staff are to be sensitive to all children and that any allegations made against another child will be taken seriously.
WHAT HAPPENS IF AN ALLEGATION OF ABUSE IS MADE AGAINST A MEMBER OF STAFF?
- If anyone makes an allegation against a member of the nursery’s staff, the designated person for child protection, Sue Melvin, will be informed immediately and she will contact the LSCB designated person. They will then assess whether the allegation reaches the threshold for referral to the Police/Social Services and take the advice accordingly regarding further action to be taken in respect of the child and staff member. OFSTED will also be informed of any allegations, at the same time as the Area Children’s Officer.
- Sue Melvin will then complete the form for recording allegations or complaints against a member of staff.
- Sue Melvin will not discuss the allegation with the member of staff concerned, unless advised to do so by Social Services.
- All staff are made aware that it is a disciplinary offence not to report concerns about the conduct of a colleague that could place a child at risk. When in doubt, consult.
- If Social Services or the Police decide to carry out an investigation, it may be possible that OFSTED will advise the nursery to suspend the member of staff concerned, whilst enquiries are carried out. The nursery will also invoke their disciplinary procedure.
- We will not carry out an investigation ourselves, unless Social Services and the Police decide it is not appropriate for them to do so. We understand that OFSTED may wish to undertake further investigations.
WE ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT THE CHILD’S WELFARE IS PARAMOUNT.
GUIDANCE FOR COMPLETING CHECKLISTS FOR HANDLING AND RECORDING ALLEGATIONS OR COMPLAINTS OF ABUSE MADE AGAINST A MEMBER OF STAFF, REGARDING A CHILD/CHILDREN IN THE NURSERY’S CARE
- Record the name and position of the member of staff against whom the allegation or complaint has been made.
- Verbal complaints should be backed up in writing by the complainant if appropriate, some may require immediate action that does not allow time for this to happen.
- It is important to recognise who made the complaint and whether it was received first hand or if the concern was passed on from someone else. If this is the case it is better that the information is received first hand. If a parent/guardian/carer or staff member at the nursery makes a complaint against the Supervisor it must be passed on immediately to the Committee Chair.
- A record of the child’s full name, age and date of birth must be made.
- The address recorded should be the address at which the child lives with the main carer.
- If there are one or more incidents, as much as possible specific dates that they are alleged to have happened must be recorded.
- The attendance register must be checked to see if the child was present on that day and that the staff member involved was working at that time. This will confirm the likelihood of the incident having taken place.
- If the complaint has been received in writing it must be attached to the checklist. It must then be summarized on the complaints form.
- Any other information should then be factual. The level of conduct that the staff member has had with the child should be noted and any other minor concerns that may have been raised previously. The complaint will not be investigated ourselves.
- Remember that if an allegation of abuse is made against a member of the nursery staff, the designated Child Protection Officer must be informed – Sue Melvin, who will then contact the children’s safeguarding unit for further advice.
- OFSTED must be informed if an allegation is made against a member of the nursery staff, even if the children’s safeguarding unit decide that no further action is required. OFSTED may then do their own investigation to ensure that the registration requirements are being met.
- Any action that the safeguarding unit or OFSTED advise the nursery will be noted and that the date and times at which the action/s were implemented.
- If the allegation is against the designated person, Sue Melvin, then the lead Trustee will follow these procedures.