The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) is a charity that provides support to high-achieving, less privileged students. We focus on Year 12 students and offer support in the form of providing internships in their chosen careers, e-mentoring, as well as assistance in the university application process (including trips to universities and workshops) and workshops to develop their skills. Due to the nature of the SMF’s work and our interaction with young people it is important that we have a safeguarding and child protection policy specific to the type of work we do, in order to ensure the best possible protection of the students. The main areas that the policy is tailored to are internships, e-mentoring, university application assistance, and various workshops. These give an idea of the type of interaction between the young person and the adult and also an idea of how best to prevent problems from occurring.
All the staff of the SMF are aware of the important role we play in ensuring the safety of our participants. This policy outlines the systems and procedures that are necessary to protect, and promote the welfare of the students. In developing our safeguarding and child protection policy the SMF makes use of the guidance from Working Together to Safeguard Children (Department for Children, Schools and Families, March 2010), the relevant Local Authority (LA), the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB), and The London Child Protection Procedures.
This policy applies to adults working in any capacity with the SMF (which includes, but is not limited to, SMF employees, volunteers, mentors, and individuals working with SMF students on internships). However, some parts of the policy are expressly stated to only apply to particular groups. All adults working with the SMF will be informed about this policy and where a copy can be obtained.
The aims of this policy are to:
It is important to clearly define key terms so that all staff and those involved with the SMF are aware of exactly what each term means. This is essential as this information may help in detecting whether there has been any form of child abuse, and what form it is. Knowing the type of abuse one may be dealing with is crucial as it may dictate the way in which the situation needs to be dealt with. Each case is unique and therefore sensitivity to each case and its details is necessary in order to ensure the child is protected in the best way possible. We are aware that some of the forms of abuse below may not be applicable to the work the SMF carries out, it is however important to have a good understanding of all of them.
For the avoidance of doubt, “SMF student” means any student participating in the SMF programme, in whatever capacity and for any period of time. “Child” and “Young Person” are used interchangeably to mean any person under the age of 18.
The SMF uses the definition for safeguarding given by the UK Government in the Department for Children, Schools and Families guidance: Working Together to Safeguard Children (2010)(“Government Guidance”).
This document defines safeguarding as:
The Government Guidance defines the types of child abuse that may occur:
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child or failing to protect a child from that harm. It may be done deliberately or recklessly, or be the result of a deliberate failure to prevent injury.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to watch or take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The abuse does not need to involve physical contact.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve
conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
Emotional abuse will include bullying (and cyber-bullying), which may be defined as deliberately hurtful behaviour, usually repeated over a period of time, where it is difficult for those bullied to defend themselves. All settings in which children are provided with services or are living away from home should have in place rigorously enforced anti-bullying strategies.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food and clothing; shelter, or failing to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger.
All adults working with the SMF, in whatever capacity, should demonstrate exemplary behaviour. The following are common sense examples of how to create a positive culture and environment. Following these guidelines will serve as a protection for adults working with the SMF as it will help to prevent inappropriate situations from occurring.
If you witness or are a party to any of the following you, as an adult working with the SMF, should report this immediately to the Designated Contact and record the incident.
You should always feel confident to voice concerns about the attitude or actions of colleagues.
Where the SMF student is on an internship, the Internship Provider is expected to notify the SMF immediately upon becoming aware of any safeguarding/child protection issues.
Due to the fact that all adults involved with the SMF have some level of interaction with young people, it is critical that safe recruitment is practised. All staff, volunteers and mentors are to have Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. These need to be up-to-date and clear. Should there be any information revealed by the DBS check which was not previously disclosed, this will be followed up by a member of the SMF staff; if any criminal record is found, the SMF will deal with this on a case by case basis and if it is found that it is not suitable for the individual to be on the programme, the individual will be excluded from the programme and other SMF events.
Employees and mentors will be trained so they know how to deal with any safeguarding concerns and will be in possession of the SMF’s Safeguarding Policy. Volunteers, internship providers and student participants will be informed about the safeguarding policy and the procedures that are to be followed should any issues arise. All adults working with the SMF are expected to follow the good practice guidelines as set out in this Policy.
Systems and procedures
With regards to the e-Mentoring a level of supervision is included due to the automatic checks by the computer system. Inappropriate words are automatically flagged for the e-mentoring coordinator (and are also replaced by stars which hide the word for the recipient), and reports are monitored daily by a member of the SMF staff to ensure the content is appropriate. If content contained in the message is inappropriate a member of the SMF staff will meet with the individual in question, and action will be taken which may result in termination of the mentor or mentee’s participation in the programme.
This procedure for responding to safeguarding and child protections concerns and allegations is in line with the Government Guidance. If you, as an adult working with the SMF, are informed about a concern, you should:
The Designated Contact and the LADO will consider whether the Police or any external agency should be contacted. Every possible assistance, should be provided to any external investigator in the carrying out of the investigation.
Provided that it is possible to do so without impeding the investigation or posing any risk to the young person’s safety:
If external investigators are not required, or if the external investigation has been completed, the Designated Contact should carry out an internal investigation and consider whether to take any disciplinary action (see below).
Due to the type of work the SMF is involved in, the way in which concerns and allegations are dealt with may vary depending on who the subject of allegation is and what their role and interaction with the child involves. When concerns are reported, all adults working with the SMF should follow the response procedure as set out above. However, the subsequent steps may differ depending on the individual’s role:
The SMF will make every effort to maintain confidentiality and guard against publicity while an allegation is being investigated or considered. Apart from keeping the young person, parents and accused person (where this would not place the young person at further risk) up to date with progress of the case, information should be restricted to those who have a need to know in order to protect young people, facilitate enquiries, or manage related disciplinary or suitability processes.
Where disciplinary action is taken against SMF employees, it should be done so in accordance with the SMF’s disciplinary policy. It may be necessary to suspend the individual against whom allegations have been made if, for example:
The SMF will keep a clear and comprehensive summary of any allegations made, details of how the allegation was followed up and resolved, and details of any action taken and decisions reached, on a person’s confidential personnel file and give a copy to the individual.
It is in everyone’s interest to resolve cases as quickly as possible consistent with a fair and thorough investigation. The SMF will make every effort to manage cases to avoid any unnecessary delay. However, the time taken to investigate and resolve individual cases depends on a variety of factors including the nature, seriousness, and complexity of the allegation.
If the allegation is substantiated, the individual may be dismissed from the SMF, or their participation in the SMF programme may be terminated. Further action may be pursued by the relevant authorities. The SMF will make any notifications that it is required to by law.
If it is decided on the conclusion of the case that a person who has been suspended can return to work the SMF will consider how best to facilitate that.
If an allegation is determined to be unfounded or malicious, the SMF will alert the relevant people or external bodies if there is a concern that the young person is in need of assistance. In the rare event that an allegation is shown to have been deliberately invented or malicious, the SMF will ask the police to consider whether any action might be appropriate against the person responsible.
The SMF is aware of the importance of balancing the welfare of the young person against the potential damage that can be caused to an individual’s career and reputation. All cases will be dealt with by the SMF in a sensitive manner and in a carefully measured way. In cases of abuse the SMF will ensure that the young person is put in contact with social services and/or other relevant bodies so that the necessary support is provided.
Designated Officer:David Johnston firstname.lastname@example.org 0207 953 4007
Grosvenor Gardens House
35-37 Grosvenor Gardens
The Independent Safeguarding Authority may be contacted via one of the following channels:
By telephone on 01325 953 795
By email to: email@example.com
By post to:
Independent Safeguarding Authority
Post Office Box 181
Darlington DL1 9FA
NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)
0808 800 5000
0800 056 0566
020 7825 2750 – marked for the attention of the duty manager
42 Curtain Road
To find the relevant central/local government service for your area, please visit: www.direct.gov.uk
Every Child matters
Ofsted Safeguarding Policy
Working together to safeguard children (every child matters)
London Child Protection Procedures