Safeguarding Policy

Registered CIO No:  1166157
Policy statement and principles
Hexham Youth Initiative (HYI including HYI as an alternative education provider) fully recognises its responsibility for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
This policy is one of a series in the charity’s safeguarding portfolio which includes for example:
● Staff behaviour/code of conduct
● Physical intervention and the use of reasonable force*
● Behaviour *
● Complaints procedure 
● Tackling bullying 
● Physical contact 
● Safe working practice
● Whistleblowing 
● Missing children 
● Recruitment and selection (this document will reference your single central record which is statutory*)
● Managing allegations 
● Staff discipline, grievance and disciplinary*
● Staff/pupil online communication
● Confidentiality and information sharing
● Children Missing Education 
● Relationships & Sex education*
● Visits policy*
* Statutory policies
Trustees, and for our Alternative Education Project, NCC inspectors will consider how well leaders and managers have created a culture of vigilance where children’s and learners’ welfare are promoted and where timely and appropriate safeguarding action is taken for children or learners who need extra help or who may be suffering or likely to suffer harm. Trustees will evaluate how well statutory and other responsibilities are met and how well staff exercise their professional judgement in keeping children and learners safe. This policy contributes to the setting’s commitment to all local and national requirements. 
This policy is available on the HYI website and is available to the staff/volunteers electronically and made available to all visitors
All relevant polices, e.g. e-safety have been updated to reflect the increased use of remote learning and all necessary risk assessments have been completed and make reference to safeguarding procedures
Our core safeguarding principles are: 
● The safety and care of children and young people is core
● the charity’s responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children is of paramount importance 
● to maintain an attitude of “it could happen here”
● safer children make more successful learners
● this policy will be reviewed at least annually unless an incident or new legislation or guidance suggests the need for an interim review
Child protection statement 
We recognise our moral and statutory responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all young people. We endeavour to provide a safe and welcoming environment where children/young people are respected and valued. We are alert to the signs of abuse and neglect and follow our procedures to ensure that young people receive effective support and protection. 
At HYI young people are taught about safeguarding, including online, through various teaching and informal learning opportunities and HYI is fully committed to this as part of the delivery of a broad and balanced youth work curriculum. Young people are taught to recognise when they are at risk and how to get help when they need it. 
Hexham Youth Initiative including the alternative education provision is a listening organisation/alternative education provider and all children and young people are encouraged to speak to a member of staff when they are worried about any issues.  Young people at HYI are encouraged to report anything they are concerned about to any member of staff they work with.  All Hexham Youth Initiative staff have child protection training. 
The procedures contained in this policy apply to all staff, volunteers, visitors, and trustees and are consistent with those of the local safeguarding partnership (NSSP)
Policy principles 
● The welfare of the young people is paramount 
● All children and young people, regardless of age, gender, ability, culture, race, language, religion or sexual identity, have equal rights to protection 
● All staff have an equal responsibility to act on any suspicion or disclosure that may suggest a young person is at risk of harm 
● Children, young people and staff involved in child protection issues will receive appropriate support 
Policy aims 
● To demonstrate the organisation’s commitment with regard to safeguarding and child protection to young people, parents and other partners 
● To contribute to the organisation’s safeguarding portfolio 
● To provide all staff with the necessary information to enable them to meet their child protection responsibilities 
● To ensure consistent good practice 
The following terminology is used throughout this document  - 
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined for the purposes of this policy as: • protecting children from maltreatment; • preventing the impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development; • ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcome
Child Protection is a term used to describe the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering or likely to suffer from significant harm 
Staff refers to all those working for on behalf of Hexham Youth Initiative, full time or part time, temporary or permanent, in either a paid or voluntary capacity
Child includes everyone under the age of 18
Parent refers to birth parents and other adults who are in a parenting role, for example step-parents, foster carers and adoptive parents
Safeguarding legislation and guidance
NB:  As an alternative provider of education we follow school’s guidance.  Any reference to school is a reference to HYI in this context e.g. we employ teachers as tutors.
● Section 175 of the Education Act 2002 requires local education authorities and the governors of maintained schools and further education (FE) colleges to make arrangements to ensure that their functions are carried out with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children
● The Teacher Standards 2012 state that teachers, including head teachers should safeguard children’s wellbeing and maintain public trust in the teaching profession as part of their professional duties.
● The statutory guidance, Working Together to Safeguarding Children 2018, covers the legislative requirements and expectations on individual services (including schools and colleges) to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. It also provides the framework for safeguarding to monitor the effectiveness of local services, including safeguarding arrangements in schools. As stated in this guidance schools are relevant agencies in the new safeguarding arrangements established by the three key safeguarding partners (the Local Authority, the Clinical Commissioning Group and the police) 
● The statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021, is issued under Section 175 of the Education Act 2002, the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 and the Education (Non-Maintained Special Schools) (England) Regulations 2011. Schools and colleges must have regard to this guidance when carrying out their duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Unless otherwise stated, ‘school’ in this guidance means all schools, whether maintained, non-maintained or independent, including academies and free schools, alternative provision academies and pupil referral units. 
● The Trustees of HYI will ensure that all staff have read the appropriate sections of this guidance and will ensure the necessary mechanisms are in place to assist staff to understand and discharge their roles and responsibilities.
● What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused 2015 - Advice for practitioners is non statutory advice which helps practitioners (everyone who works with children) to identify abuse and neglect and take appropriate action. Follow this link
Due to their day-to-day contact with young people, HYI staff are uniquely placed to observe changes in young people’s behaviour and the outward signs of abuse. Young people may also turn to a trusted adult in youth projects and alternative education provision when they are in distress or at risk. It is vital that all HYI staff are alert to the signs of abuse and understand the procedures for reporting their concerns. HYI will always act on identified concerns.
Roles and responsibilities
Key Personnel
The named designated safeguarding leads (DSL) are:  
Keda Norman and Diane Harris 
Contact details:
07795 110330
The nominated child protection trustee is Diane Harris. 
Contact details:
The project co-ordinator is Keda Norman.
Contact details:
07795 110330  
The Designated Safeguarding Lead: 
● has the status and authority within HYI to carry out the duties of the post, including committing resources and supporting and directing other staff
● is appropriately trained, receiving annual updates and face to face training provided by the safeguarding board every two years. In Northumberland the expectation is that the DSL attends a half day refresher, facilitated by the LA every two years and on the alternate year they attend safeguarding training relevant to their organisation and local context, supporting their professional development and delivered by suitably qualified providers
● acts as a source of support and expertise to the HYI community 
● encourages a culture of listening to young people and taking account of their wishes and feelings
● is alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and young carers
● has a working knowledge of Northumberland Strategic Safeguarding Partnership(NSSP) procedures
● makes staff aware of NSSP training courses (all available through Learning Together )and the latest policies and procedures on safeguarding
● understands locally agreed processes for providing early help and intervention
● keeps detailed written records of all concerns, ensuring that such records are stored securely but kept separate from, the young people’s general file
● refers cases of suspected abuse to children’s social care or police as appropriate
● In the case of the Alternative Education provision notifies children’s social care if a child with a child protection plan has unexplained absences
● ensures that when a young person leaves the Alternative Education provision within the organisation, their child protection file is sent securely to the new Alternative Education Provider separately from the main young person’s file and ensuring secure transit) and confirmation of receipt is obtained. The young person’s social worker should also be informed of the change in school/setting
● attends and/or contributes to child protection conferences
● coordinates HYI’s contribution to child protection plans
● ensures that all appropriate staff members have a working knowledge and understanding of their role in case conferences, core groups and other multi-agency planning meetings, to ensure that they attend and are able to effectively contribute when required to do so
● develops effective links with relevant statutory and voluntary agencies including the NSSP
● ensures that all staff sign to indicate that they have read and understood the child protection policy
● ensures that the child protection policy and procedures are regularly reviewed and updated annually, working with the trustees
● liaises with the nominated trustee and project co-ordinator as appropriate
● ensures a record of staff attendance at child protection and safeguarding training is maintained
● ensures staff are kept up to date with key priorities within the LA, including learning from serious practice reviews
● makes the child protection & safeguarding policy available publicly, on the HYI’s website or by other means
● ensures parents are aware of HYI’s role in safeguarding and that referrals about suspected abuse and neglect may be made
● has the lead role for Operation Encompass and Operation Endeavour in the organisation and ensures the organisation meets all requirements set out in the LA procedures
● reports concerns that a young person may be at risk of radicalisation or involvement in terrorism, following the Prevent referral process and refer cases by e-mail to One Call. If the matter is urgent then Police must be contacted by dialling 999. In cases where further advice from the Police is sought dial 101. The Department of Education has also set up a dedicated telephone helpline for staff and governors to raise concerns around Prevent (020 7340 7264)
● With regard to the Alternative Education provision, will meet all other responsibilities as set out for DSLs in Keeping Children Safe in Education 2021.
● whilst the activities of the designated safeguarding lead can be delegated to appropriately trained deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for child protection, as set out above, remains with the designated safeguarding lead; this lead responsibility should not be delegated.
The deputy designated person(s):
At HYI, Keda Norman and Diane Harris both act as leads due to the organisation set up. 
If the DSLs are not available, staff should contact a member Karren Spowart in the case of the Alternative Education provision or Amber Proctor in the case of the youth project to seek advice. Advice can also be sought from colleagues in One Call, the Local Authority’s single point of access on 01670 536400.
The Trustee Committee:
Ensures that the organisation: 
● appoints a DSL for child protection who is a member of the trustee committee and who has undertaken training in inter-agency working, in addition to basic child protection training 
● ensures that the DSL role is explicit in the role holder’s job description
● has a child protection policy and procedures
● has a staff behaviour policy/code of conduct, which is reviewed annually and made available publicly on the HYI website or by other means 
● has procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse made against members of staff including allegations made against the project co-ordinator and allegations against other children
● follows safer recruitment procedures that include statutory checks on staff suitability to work with children and disqualification by association regulations
● develops a training strategy that ensures all staff, including the project co-ordinator, receive information about the organisation’s safeguarding arrangements, staff behaviour policy or code of conduct and the role of the DSL on induction, and appropriate child protection training, which is updated at least annually and will receive regular updates. The DSL receives face to face refresher training at two-yearly intervals and accesses an annual update in line with the Local Safeguarding Board requirements 
● ensures that all staff, including temporary staff and volunteers are provided with HYI’s child protection policy and staff behaviour policy
● ensures that HYI contributes to early help arrangements and inter agency working and plans
● provides a coordinated offer of early help when additional needs of children are identified
● considers how young people may learn about safeguarding, including online as part of a broad and balanced youth work curriculum.
The Trustee committee nominates a member (normally the chair) to be responsible for liaising with the local authority designated officer and other agencies in the event of an allegation being made against the project co-ordinator. 
It is the responsibility of the trustee committee to ensure that HYI’s safeguarding, recruitment and managing allegations procedures take into account the procedures and practice of the local authority and NSSP and national guidance.
In the case of the Alternative Education Project, an annual audit (s175) will be submitted, as required, to the local authority, including an action plan. Any weaknesses will be rectified without delay. 
The Project Co-ordinator: 
● ensures that the safeguarding and child protection policy and procedures are implemented and followed by all staff 
● allocates sufficient time, training, support and resources, including cover arrangements when necessary, to enable the DSL and deputy to carry out their roles effectively, including the assessment of pupils and attendance at strategy discussions and other necessary meetings 
● ensures that all staff feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and that such concerns are handled sensitively and in accordance with the whistle blowing procedures 
● ensures that young people are provided with opportunities in youth work sessions and throughout the Alternative Education curriculum to learn about safeguarding, including keeping themselves safe online
● Trustees and lead staff ensure that the young person’s wishes are taken into account when determining action to be taken or services to be provided 
● In the case of the Alternative Education Provision, contacts the LADO immediately an allegation is made against a member of staff, seeking advice and then works with the LADO to follow the advice received
● ensures that anyone who has harmed or may pose a risk to a child is referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service. 
Good practice guidelines and staff code of conduct
To meet and maintain our responsibilities towards children and young people we need to agree standards of good practice which form a code of conduct for all staff. Good practice includes: 
● treating all children and young people with respect 
● setting a good example by conducting ourselves appropriately 
● involving children and young people in decisions that affect them 
● encouraging positive, respectful and safe behaviour among children and young people
● being an active listener 
● being alert to changes in children and young people’s behaviour and to signs of abuse, neglect and exploitation
● recognising that challenging behaviour may be an indicator of abuse 
● reading and understanding HYI’s safeguarding and child protection policy, staff behaviour policy and guidance documents on wider safeguarding issues, for example bullying, behaviour, physical contact, sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation, extremism, e-safety and information-sharing 
● asking the child or young person’s permission before initiating physical contact, such as assisting with dressing, physical support during PE or administering first aid 
● maintaining appropriate standards of conversation and interaction with and between children and young people and avoiding the use of sexualised or derogatory language 
● being aware that the personal and family circumstances and lifestyles of some young people lead to an increased risk of abuse
● applying the use of reasonable force only as a last resort and in compliance with HYI and NSSP procedures
● referring all concerns about a young person’s safety and welfare to the DSL, or, if necessary, directly to police or children’s social care
● following HYI’s rules with regard to relationships with young people and communication with young people, including on social media. 
Abuse of position of trust 
All HYI staff are aware that inappropriate behaviour towards children and young people is unacceptable and that their conduct towards children and young people must be beyond reproach. 
In addition, staff should understand that, under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, it is an offence for a person over the age of 18 to have a sexual relationship with a person under the age of 18, where that person is in a position of trust, even if the relationship is consensual. This means that any sexual activity between a member of HYI staff and a young person under 18 may be a criminal offence, even if that pupil is over the age of consent. 
HYI’s Staff Behaviour Policy/Code of Conduct sets out our expectations of staff and is signed by/available to all staff members.
Children and Young People who may be particularly vulnerable 
Some children and young people may have an increased risk of abuse. It is important to understand that this increase in risk is due more to societal attitudes and assumptions or child protection procedures that fail to acknowledge young people’s diverse circumstances, rather than the individual young person’s personality, impairment or circumstances. Many factors can contribute to an increase in risk, including prejudice and discrimination, isolation, social exclusion, communication issues and a reluctance on the part of some adults to accept that abuse can occur. 
To ensure that all of our children and young people receive equal protection, we will give special consideration to children who are: 
● displaying early signs of abuse and/or neglect
● looked after or returned home after a period of care
● disabled or have special educational needs 
● young carers
● affected by parental substance misuse, domestic violence or parental mental health needs or misusing substances themselves
● asylum seekers 
● living away from home or in temporary accommodation
● vulnerable to being bullied, or engaging in bullying
● live transient lifestyles 
● living in chaotic and unsupportive home situations 
● vulnerable to discrimination and maltreatment on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexuality 
● at risk of sexual exploitation 
● do not have English as a first language
● at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM)
● at risk of forced marriage
● at risk of being drawn into extremism or being radicalised
● showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups 
● frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home
● at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation (inc County Lines)
● privately fostered
This updated list provides examples of additionally vulnerable groups and is not exhaustive. 
Helping children and young people to keep themselves safe
We recognise that high self-esteem, confidence, supportive friends and good lines of communication with a trusted adult helps prevention. We will therefore raise awareness of child protection issues and equip children with the skills to keep them safe, this will include activities to improve their resilience. Children and young people are taught to recognise when they are at risk and how to get help when they need it.
HYI will therefore:
● establish and maintain an environment and positive ethos where children feel secure, supported and are encouraged to talk, and are listened to, can learn, develop and feel valued.
● ensure children know that there are adults in HYI whom they can approach if they are worried or in difficulty.
● include in both the youth work curriculum and the Alternative Education curriculum, activities and opportunities for PSHE which equip children and young people with the skills they need to stay safe from abuse, develop resilience and that they know to whom to turn for help 
Support for those involved in a child protection issue 
Child abuse is devastating for the child and young person and can also result in distress and anxiety for staff who become involved. 
We will support children and young people, their families, and staff by: 
● taking all suspicions and disclosures seriously 
● responding sympathetically to any request from children, young people or staff for time out to deal with distress or anxiety 
● maintaining confidentiality and sharing information on a need-to-know basis only with relevant individuals and agencies 
● storing records securely 
● offering details of helplines, counselling or other avenues of external support 
● where a member of staff is the subject of an allegation made by a child and young person, ensure that lines of communication are maintained
● following the procedures laid down in our child protection, whistleblowing, complaints and disciplinary procedures 
● cooperating fully with relevant statutory agencies
● providing access to supervision for those staff dealing with child protection issues 
Complaint’s procedure 
Our complaints procedure will be followed where a child, young person or parent raises a concern about poor practice towards a child or young person that initially does not reach the threshold for child protection action. Complaints are managed by the Project Co-ordinator and Chair of Trustees. An explanation of the complaint’s procedure is available on request or on the website.
Complaints from staff are dealt with under the HYI’s complaints and disciplinary and grievance procedures.
Complaints which escalate into a child protection concern will automatically be managed under HYI’s child protection procedures.
Whistle blowing if you have concerns about a colleague 
Staff who are concerned about the conduct of a colleague towards a child or young person are undoubtedly placed in a very difficult situation. They may worry that they have misunderstood the situation and they will wonder whether a report could jeopardise their colleague’s career. All staff must remember that the welfare of the child or young person is paramount. HYI’s whistleblowing code is available in the Policies file in the office. This enables staff to raise concerns or allegations, initially in confidence and for a sensitive enquiry to take place. 
All concerns of poor practice or possible child abuse by colleagues should be reported to the Project Co-ordinator/Chair of Trustees. Complaints about Project Co-ordinator should be reported to the Chair of Trustees.
Staff may also report their concerns directly to children’s social care or the police if they believe direct reporting is necessary to secure immediate actions
Allegations or concerns about an adult working in HYI whether as a youth worker, tutor, other staff, volunteers or contractors
At HYI we recognise the possibility that adults working in the setting may harm children and young people, including trustees, volunteers, youth workers, tutors and visitors. Any concerns about the conduct of other adults in Hexham Youth Initiative should be taken to the Project Co-ordinator without delay; any concerns about the Project Co-ordinator should go to the Chair of Trustees who can be contacted by email or telephone.
Any concerns about the conduct of a member of staff, tutors, volunteers or contractors should be reported to the Project Co-ordinator. 
Concerns may come from various sources, for example, a suspicion; complaint; or disclosure made by a child, young person, parent or other adult within or outside of the organisation; or as a result of vetting checks undertaken.
The Project Co-ordinator has to decide whether the concern is an allegation or low-level concern (see Appendix I for further information re low level concerns). When an allegation is made against a member of staff or volunteer, set procedures must be followed. It is rare for a child or young person to make an entirely false or malicious allegation, although misunderstandings and misinterpretations of events do happen. 
A child or young person may also make an allegation against an innocent party because they are too afraid to name the real perpetrator. Even so, we must accept that some professionals do pose a serious risk to children and young people, and we must act on every allegation. 
Staff or volunteers who are the subject of an allegation have the right to have their case dealt with fairly, quickly and consistently and to be kept informed of its progress. Suspension is not the default option and alternatives to suspension will always be considered. In some cases, staff or volunteers may be suspended where this is deemed to be the best way to ensure that children and young people are protected.  In the event of suspension, HYI will provide support and a named contact for the member of staff or volunteer.
The full procedures for dealing with allegations against staff in Alternative Education settings can be found in Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE, 2021) and HYI’s Managing Allegations Policy and Procedures.  (See Appendix K). 
Staff, parents, and trustees are reminded that publication of material that may lead to the identification of a member of staff who is the subject of an allegation is prohibited by law. Publication includes verbal conversations or writing, including content placed on social media sites. 
Allegations concerning staff who no longer work at HYI, or historical allegations will be reported to the police.
Staff training 
It is important that all staff receive training to enable them to recognise the possible signs of abuse, neglect and exploitation and to know what to do if they have a concern. 
New staff and trustees will receive a mandatory briefing during their induction, which includes HYI’s child protection and safeguarding policy, behaviour policy, staff behaviour policy, reporting and recording arrangements, and details for the DSL. 
All staff, including the Project Co-ordinator (unless the Project Co-ordinator is the DSL) and Trustees will receive training that is regularly updated. The NSSP recommends staff receive annual updates and a detailed programme (either online or face to face) at least every three years.
The DSL (and deputies) will receive annual safeguarding training, with subjects to reflect local and national priorities and including a refresher session on their roles and responsibilities every two years.
All staff sign to confirm they have received a copy of the child protection and safeguarding policy and staff behaviour policy/code of conduct and have read Keeping Children Safe in Education (Part 1)
Any visitors to the project will be briefed on arrival regarding child protection procedures.
Safer recruitment 
HYI endeavours to ensure that we do our utmost to employ safe staff by following the guidance in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021) and HYI’s Staff Recruitment procedures (available in the policies file in the office)
At least one member of each recruitment panel will have attended safer recruitment training. 
HYI obtains written confirmation from third party organisations that any visitors or other individuals who may work in the project have been appropriately checked.
HYI maintains a single central record of recruitment checks undertaken.
Regulated Activity
Alternative Education Provisions are ‘specified places’ which means that the majority of staff and volunteers will be engaged in regulated activity.  A fuller explanation of regulated activity can be found in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021) Annexe F.
Volunteers, including trustees will undergo checks commensurate with their work in HYI and contact with children and young people. Under no circumstances will a volunteer who has not been appropriately checked be left unsupervised or be allowed to engage in regulated activity.
Supervised volunteers
Volunteers who work only in a supervised capacity and are not in regulated activity will undergo the safe recruitment checks appropriate to their role, in accordance with HYI’s risk assessment process and statutory guidance.
HYI checks the identity of all contractors working on site and requests DBS checks and barred list checks where required by statutory guidance. Contractors who have not undergone checks will not be allowed to work unsupervised or engage in regulated activity.
Site security
Visitors to HYI, including contractors, are asked to sign in and are given a badge, which confirms they have permission to be on site. Parents who are simply delivering or collecting children and young people do not need to sign in. All visitors are expected to observe HYI’s safeguarding and health and safety regulations to ensure children in the setting are kept safe. The Project Co-ordinator will exercise professional judgement in determining whether any visitors should be escorted or supervised while on site.
Extended HYI and off-site arrangements 
All extended and off-site activities are subject to a risk assessment to satisfy health and safety and safeguarding requirements.  Where extended HYI activities are provided by and managed by HYI, our own child protection and safeguarding policy and procedures apply. If other organisations provide services or activities on our site, we will check that they have appropriate procedures in place, including safer recruitment procedures. 
When our children and young people attend off-site activities, including day and residential visits and work-related activities, we will check that effective child protection arrangements are in place. 
Photography and images 
The vast majority of people who take or view photographs or videos of children do so for entirely innocent and legitimate reasons. Sadly, some people abuse children and young people through taking or distributing images, so we must ensure that we have some safeguards in place. 
To protect children and young people we will: 
● seek parental consent for photographs to be taken or published (for example, on our website or in newspapers or publications) 
● use only the young person’s first name with an image 
● ensure children and young people are appropriately dressed 
● encourage children and young people to tell us if they are worried about any photographs that are taken of them. 
Our children and young people increasingly use electronic equipment on a daily basis to access the internet and share content and images via social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, MSN, Tumblr, Snapchat and Instagram.  
Unfortunately some adults and young people will use these technologies to harm children. The harm might range from sending hurtful or abusive texts and emails, to grooming and enticing children and young people to engage in sexually harmful conversations, webcam photography or face-to-face meetings. 
Children and young people may also be distressed or harmed by accessing inappropriate websites that promote unhealthy lifestyles, extremist behaviour and criminal activity. 
HYI’s e-safety policy, available in the policies file in the office explains how we try to keep children and young people safe at HYI and protect and educate children and young people in the safe use of technology. Cyberbullying and sexting by children and young people will be treated as seriously as any other type of bullying and will be managed through our anti-bullying procedures.  Serious incidents may be managed in line with our child protection procedures.
HYI consider e-safety as a priority and included in this is how we manage children and young peoples’ use of their own electronic devices on HYI site, and in particular mobile phones. Children and young people are expected to use electronic devises as laid out in our e-safety policy which can be found displayed in the project and on the website.  All staff receive e-safety training and Hexham Youth Initiative’s e-safety co-ordinator is Mandy Senior.
Staff/Young people relationships
HYI provides advice to staff and volunteers regarding their personal online activity and has strict rules regarding online contact and electronic communication with children and young people.  Staff found to be in breach of these rules may be subject to disciplinary action or child protection investigation.  Information can be found in the staff handbook.
Child protection procedures
Recognising abuse
To ensure that our young people are protected from harm, we need to understand what types of behaviour constitute abuse and neglect. 
Abuse may be committed by adult men or women and by other children and young people.
The four types of abuse are physical, sexual, emotional and neglect
Details of the definitions of the 4 types of abuse are included as Appendix A
Detailed below are a number of specific categories where there is evidence of increased vulnerability, and all HYI staff understand the need to be particularly vigilant, taking advice from the DSL if they believe they identify a child who may need extra support or referred to an external agency.
The links will take the DSL to the relevant pages of the regional North and South of Tyne Safeguarding Children partnership manual or relevant DfE documents 
a) Children Missing Education
With regard to the Alternative Education project, attendance, absence and exclusions are closely monitored. A child or young person going missing from education is a potential indicator of abuse and neglect, including sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.
HYI will monitor unauthorised absence and take appropriate action including notifying the local authority, particularly where children go missing on repeated occasions and/or are missing for periods during the school day. HYI will always follow up with parents/carers when young people are not in HYI. This means we need to have at least two up to date contact numbers for parents/carers. Parents should remember to update HYI as soon as possible if numbers or other details change.
In response to the latest DfE guidance HYI has staff who understand fully what to do when children do not attend regularly, appropriate procedures/policies for young people who go missing from HYI and staff are trained to recognise signs of children at risk of travelling to conflict zones, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. HYI, in liaison with the Local Authority, have procedures in relation to taking young people off roll when they leave HYI to be home educated, move away from HYI’s  location, remain medically unfit beyond compulsory school age, are in custody for four months or more (and will not return to HYI afterwards) or are permanently excluded. We will ensure that young people who are expected to attend HYI but fail to take up the place will be referred to the local authority. When a young person leaves HYI we will maintain a record of their new setting/provision and the expected start date.
HYI’s behaviour and attendance lead, Karren Spowart, will submit a monthly return to the LA, indicating children missing education and the DSL must review this submission before it is sent to ensure they are aware of any concerns or can add additional information 
The DfE’s  guidance on Children Missing Education is available at and the LA guidance is available on the Virtual School web page
b) Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities 
Children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities can face additional safeguarding challenges. Trustees should ensure their child protection policy reflects the fact that additional barriers can exist when recognising abuse and neglect in this group of children and young people.
These can include: 
• assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the child’s disability without further exploration;
 • the potential for children with SEN and disabilities being disproportionately impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs; and 
• communication barriers and difficulties in overcoming these barriers
c) Bullying 
While bullying between children and young people is not a separate category of abuse and neglect, it is a very serious issue that can cause considerable anxiety and distress. At its most serious level, bullying can have a disastrous effect on a child’s or young person’s wellbeing and in very rare cases has been a feature in the suicide of some young people.
All incidences of bullying, including cyber-bullying and prejudice-based bullying should be reported and will be managed through our tackling-bullying procedures. All young people are made aware of our anti-bullying policy. If the bullying is particularly serious, or procedures implemented to address the bullying are deemed to be ineffective, the Project Co-ordinator and the DSL will consider implementing child protection procedures.
d) Looked After Children and Previously Looked After children
The most common reason for children becoming looked after is as a result of abuse or neglect. HYI ensures that staff and volunteers have the necessary skills and understanding to keep looked after children safe.  Appropriate staff have information about a child’s looked after legal status and care arrangements, including the level of authority delegated to the carer by the authority looking after the child. The designated person for looked after children, Keda Norman and the DSL have details of the child’s social worker and the name and contact details of the local authority’s virtual head teacher
e) Children with sexually harmful behaviour (please also refer to l) child on child abuse)
Children may be harmed by other children or young people. Staff will be aware of the harm caused by bullying and will use HYI’s  anti-bullying procedures where necessary. However, there will be occasions when a young person’s behaviour warrants a response under child protection rather than anti-bullying procedures. 
The management of children and young people with sexually harmful behaviour is complex and Hexham Youth Initiative will work with other relevant agencies to maintain the safety of the whole HYI community. Young people who display such behaviour may be victims of abuse themselves and the child protection procedures will be followed for both victim and perpetrator.  Staff who become concerned about a young person’s sexual behaviour, including any known online sexual behaviour, should speak to the DSL as soon as possible.
f) Sexual exploitation of children
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology. 
HYI includes the risks of sexual exploitation in the youth work and Alternative Education curriculum. A common feature of sexual exploitation is that the child or young person often doesn’t recognise the coercive nature of the relationship and doesn’t see themselves as a victim.  The child or young person may initially resent what they perceive as interference by staff, but staff must act on their concerns, as they would for any other type of abuse.
All staff are made aware of the indicators of sexual exploitation and all concerns are reported immediately to the DSL. 
Child Sexual Exploitation (
g) Criminal Exploitation of Children and Young People
 Criminal exploitation of children is a geographically widespread form of harm that is a typical feature of county lines criminal activity and includes drug networks or gangs groom and exploit children and young people to carry drugs and money from urban areas to suburban and rural areas, market and seaside towns. 
See Appendix A for further details
Gang Activity, Youth Violence and Criminal Exploitation Affecting Children (
h) Female Genital Mutilation
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the practice is illegal under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.  Any person found guilty of an offence under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 is liable to a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment or a fine, or both. 
See Appendix A for further details 
Female Genital Mutilation (
i) Forced Marriage
A forced marriage is a marriage in which a female (and sometimes a male) does not consent to the marriage but is coerced into it. Coercion may include physical, psychological, financial, sexual and emotional pressure.  It may also involve physical or sexual violence and abuse.
Since June 2014 forcing someone to marry has become a criminal offence in England and Wales under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
See Appendix A for further details
Forced Marriage (
j) Radicalisation and Extremism
The government defines extremism as vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.
Some children and young people are at risk of being radicalised: adopting beliefs and engaging in activities which are harmful, criminal or dangerous.  Nationally, Islamic extremism is the most widely publicised form  however organisations should also remain alert to the risk of radicalisation into white supremacy and extreme right wing factions
HYI staff receive training to help to identify signs of extremism.  Opportunities are provided in the youth work and Alternative Education curriculum to enable young people to discuss issues of religion, ethnicity and culture and in the Alternative Education Project, HYI follows the DfE advice Promoting fundamental British Values as part of SMCS (spiritual, moral, social and cultural education) in Schools (2014).
Prevent - Safeguarding Children and Young People against Radicalisation and Violent Extremism (
See Appendix A for further details
k) Private fostering arrangements
A private fostering arrangement occurs when someone other than a parent or a close relative cares for a child for a period of 28 days or more, with the agreement of the child’s parents.  It applies to children under the age of 16, or aged under 18 if the child is disabled.  Children looked after by the local authority or who are placed in a residential school, children’s home or hospital are not considered to be privately fostered. 
Private fostering occurs in all cultures, including British culture and children may be privately fostered at any age.
By law, a parent, private foster carer or other persons involved in making a private fostering arrangement must notify children’s services as soon as possible. 
Where a member of staff becomes aware that a young person may be in a private fostering arrangement they will raise this with the DSL and in the case of the Alternative Education provision HYI should notify the local authority of the circumstances.
Children Living Away from Home (
l) Child on Child Abuse  
Staff should be aware that safeguarding issues can manifest themselves as child on child abuse.  This is most likely to include, but not limited to: bullying (including cyber bullying), physical abuse, sexual violence, gender-based violence, initiation- type violence and rituals and sexting. Abuse is abuse and should never be tolerated or passed off as ‘banter’ or part of growing up. Different gender issues can be prevalent when dealing with child-on-child abuse and this must always be considered when cases are reviewed. HYI maintains a zero-tolerance approach to any forms of sexual violence or sexual harassment. At HYI we believe that all children and young people have the right to attend HYI and participate in a safe environment. Children and young people should be free from harm from adults, other children and young people. We recognise that some young people will negatively affect the learning and wellbeing of others and their behaviour will be dealt with under HYI’s behaviour policy.
Occasionally, allegations may be made against young people by others in HYI which are of a safeguarding nature. This could include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation and also include girls being sexually touched/assaulted or boys being subject to initiation/hazing type violence It is likely that to be considered a safeguarding allegation, some of the following features will be found – 
● the allegation is made against an older young person and refers to their behaviour towards a younger or more vulnerable young person
● is of a serious nature, possibly including a criminal offence
● raises risk factors for other young people in HYI
● indicates that other young people may have been affected by this young person
● indicates that young people outside HYI may have been affected by this behaviour
To support young people in this situation we will follow our usual safeguarding procedures ensuring all information is recorded and reported to the DSL, with particular reference being made to NSSP guidance on abuse by children and young people ( Plus see Annexe E)
Child Sexual Exploitation (
In  cases of ‘sexting’ we will adhere to the guidance given to schools and colleges by the DfE  - Sharing Nudes and Semi Nudes: how to respond to a incident, published December 2020
Sharing nudes and semi-nudes: advice for education settings working with children and young people - GOV.UK (
m) Domestic Violence
HYI is fully engaged as an Alternative Education Provision, in Operation Encompass  and we recognise the importance of all staff having  a basic understanding in relation to domestic violence  and the impact it can have on children and young people. In Alternative Education Provision, HYI notifies all parents that we are partners with the LA and police in relation to Operation Encompass and new staff receive a briefing as part of their induction. Staff have received specific Domestic Violence Training and work with Domestic Violence Agencies where appropriate to support young people.  
Staff understand that violence perpetrated by a child on their parent is also a form of domestic violence and as such will seek advice from the DSL when they are made aware of such incidents
See Appendix 1 
Domestic Violence and Abuse (
Contextual Safeguarding 
Safeguarding incidents and/or behaviours can be associated with factors outside the Alternative Education Provision or HYI and/or can occur between children and young people outside the project. All staff, but especially the designated safeguarding lead  should be considering the context within which such incidents and/or behaviours occur. This is known as contextual safeguarding, which simply means assessments of children should consider whether wider environmental factors are present in a child’s life that are a threat to their safety and/or welfare. Children’s social care assessments should consider such factors so it is important that the Alternative Education provisions and the youth project provide as much information as possible as part of the referral process. This will allow any assessment to consider all the available evidence and the full context of any abuse. See Appendix A for additional information regarding contextual safeguarding (see paragraph 21, Part 1)
Impact of abuse 
The impact of child abuse, neglect and exploitation should not be underestimated. Many children do recover well and go on to lead healthy, happy and productive lives, although most adult survivors agree that the emotional scars remain, however well buried. For some children, full recovery is beyond their reach, and the rest of their childhood and their adulthood may be characterised by anxiety or depression, self-harm, eating disorders, alcohol and substance misuse, unequal and destructive relationships and long-term medical or psychiatric difficulties.  
Taking action 
Any child or young person could become a victim of abuse.  Staff should always maintain an attitude of “it could happen here”.
Key points for staff to remember for taking action are: 
● in an emergency take the action necessary to help the child, if necessary call 999 
● report your concern as soon as possible to the DSL, definitely by the end of the day 
● do not start your own investigation 
● share information on a need-to-know basis only – do not discuss the issue with colleagues, friends or family 
● complete a written record by completing the Incident Form.
● seek support for yourself if you are distressed. 
If you are concerned about a young person’s welfare 
There will be occasions when staff may suspect that a young person may be at risk but have no ‘real’ evidence. The young person’s behaviour may have changed, or their patterns of attendance may have altered. In these circumstances, staff will try to give the young person the opportunity to talk. The signs they have noticed may be due to a variety of factors, for example, a parent has moved out, a pet has died, a grandparent is very ill, or an accident has occurred. It is fine for staff to ask the young person if they are OK or if they can help in any way. 
Staff should use the Incident form to record these early concerns. If the young person does begin to reveal that they are being harmed, staff should follow the advice below. Following an initial conversation with the young person, if the member of staff remains concerned, they should discuss their concerns with the DSL.  
Concerns which do not meet the threshold for child protection intervention will be managed through the Early Help process 
If a young person discloses to you 
It takes a lot of courage for a child or young person to disclose that they are being abused. They may feel ashamed, particularly if the abuse is sexual; their abuser may have threatened what will happen if they tell; they may have lost all trust in adults; or they may believe, or have been told, that the abuse is their own fault.  Sometimes they may not be aware that what is happening is abusive.
If a young person talks to a member of staff about any risks to their safety or wellbeing, the staff member will need to let the young person know that they must pass the information on – staff are not allowed to keep secrets. The point at which they tell the young person this is a matter for professional judgement. If they jump in immediately the young person may think that they do not want to listen, if left until the very end of the conversation, the young person may feel that they have been misled into revealing more than they would have otherwise. 
During their conversations with the young people staff will: 
● allow them to speak freely
● remain calm and not overreact – the young person may stop talking if they feel they are upsetting their listener
● give reassuring nods or words of comfort – ‘I’m so sorry this has happened’, ‘I want to help’, ‘This isn’t your fault’, ‘You are doing the right thing in talking to me’
● not be afraid of silences – staff must remember how hard this must be for the young person
● under no circumstances ask investigative questions – such as how many times this has happened, whether it happens to siblings too, or what does the young person’s mother think about all this
● at an appropriate time tell the young person that in order to help them, the member of staff must pass the information on and explain to whom and why
● not automatically offer any physical touch as comfort. It may be anything but comforting to a child who has been abused
● avoid admonishing the child for not disclosing earlier. Saying things such as ‘I do wish you had told me about this when it started’ or ‘I can’t believe what I’m hearing’ may be the staff member’s way of being supportive but may be interpreted by the child to mean that they have done something wrong
● tell the young person what will happen next. The young person may agree to go to see the designated senior person. Otherwise let them know that someone will come to see them as soon as possible.
● report verbally to the DSL even if the child has promised to do it by themselves
● write up their conversation as soon as possible on the Incident Form and hand it to the designated person 
● seek support if they feel distressed.
Notifying parents 
In the case of the Alternative Education provision, and the youth project where appropriate, HYI will normally seek to discuss any concerns about a young person with their parents. This must be handled sensitively, and the DSL will make contact with the parent in the event of a concern, suspicion or disclosure. 
However, if HYI believes that notifying parents could increase the risk to the child or exacerbate the problem, advice will first be sought from children’s social care. 
Referral to children’s social care 
● The DSL will make a referral to children’s social care if it is believed that a young person is suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm. 
● The young person (subject to their age and understanding) and the parents will be told that a referral is being made, unless to do so would increase the risk to the child. 
● Any member of staff may make a direct referral to children’s social care if they genuinely believe independent action is necessary to protect a child. 
● The DSL should keep relevant staff informed about actions taken, they do not need to share all information, but staff must be confident their concerns have been actioned
Confidentiality and sharing information 
All staff will understand that child protection issues warrant a high level of confidentiality, not only out of respect for the pupil and staff involved but also to ensure that information being released into the public domain does not compromise evidence. 
Staff should only discuss concerns with the designated senior person, Project Co-ordinator or Chair of Trustees (depending on who is the subject of the concern). That person will then decide who else needs to have the information and they will disseminate it on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. 
However, following a number of cases where senior leaders in school settings had failed to act upon concerns raised by staff, Keeping Children Safe in Education (2021) emphasises that any member of staff can contact children’s social care if they are concerned about a child.
Child protection information will be stored and handled in line with the Data Protection Act 1998.  Information sharing is guided by the following principles.  The information is:
● necessary and proportionate
● relevant
● adequate
● accurate
● timely
● secure
Information sharing decisions will be recorded, whether or not the decision is taken to share.
Incident forms and other written information will be stored in a locked facility and any electronic information will be password protected and only made available to relevant individuals. 
Every effort will be made to prevent unauthorised access, and sensitive information should not routinely be stored on laptop computers, which, by the nature of their portability, could be lost or stolen. Child protection information, including Operation Encompass and Operation Endeavour notifications will be stored separately from the young person’s file (in the case of Alternative Education) and HYI file will be ‘tagged’ to indicate that separate information is held. 
The DSL will normally obtain consent from the young person and/or parents to share sensitive information within HYI or with outside agencies. Where there is good reason to do so, the DSL may share information without consent, and will record the reason for not obtaining consent.
Child protection records are normally exempt from the disclosure provisions of the Data Protection Act, which means that children and parents do not have an automatic right to see them. If any member of staff receives a request from a young person or parent to see child protection records, they will refer the request to the Project Co-ordinator or DSL
The Data Protection Act does not prevent HYI staff from sharing information with relevant agencies, where that information may help to protect a child. 
Hexham Youth Initiative’s confidentiality and information-sharing policy is available to parents and pupils on request and on the website.
The child or young person’s wishes.
Where there is a safeguarding concern, board of trustees, Project Co-ordinator and DSL should ensure the child and young person’s wishes and feelings are taken into account when determining what action to take and what services to provide. Systems should be in place for children and young people to express their views and give feedback. Ultimately, all systems and processes should operate with the best interests of the child and young person at their heart. 
Reporting directly to child protection agencies 
Staff should follow the reporting procedures outlined in this policy. However, they may also share information directly with children’s social care, police or the NSPCC if: 
● the situation is an emergency and the designated senior person, their deputy, the Project Co-ordinator and the chair of trustees are all unavailable 
● they are convinced that a direct report is the only way to ensure the young person’s safety
● for any other reason they make a judgement that direct referral is in the best interests of the child or young person.
Our designated safeguarding lead who has responsibility for Child Protection issues are:
(Name and role designation) Diane Harris and Keda Norman
Last trained – January 2021
Lead trustee for Safeguarding
(Name and role designation)  Diane Harris
Last trained - January 2021
Last trained E-Safety 
Our E-Safety Coordinator is:        
 (Name and designation)  Mandy Senior 
Safer Recruitment and Selection online training
One member of the selection panel for staff appointments must have completed either on-line or face-to-face safer recruitment training 
Currently the following people are trained
(Names, designation & dates completed) Keda Norman and Diane Harris – December 2019
APPENDIX A   Definitions of Abuse and Other Harmful behaviour
APPENDIX B LA and NSSP contacts
APPENDIX C Paperwork for Recording & Reporting Concerns
APPENDIX D Raising Safeguarding Concerns about a Child
APPENDIX E Dealing with Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment
APPENDIX F Standards for Effective Child Protection Practice in Schools
APPENDIX G Frequently asked questions
APPENDIX H Dealing with Indecent or Potentially Illegal Images of Children
APPENDIX I Dealing with Allegations Against People who Work with Children
APPENDIX J Child Protection Files – a guide to good practice
APPENDIX K Managing allegations against staff
APPENDIX L Peer on Peer Abuse Procedures
APPENDIX M Local Authority Designated Officer Flowchart
NB:   IMPORTANT – These are directly from KCSIE 2021
These appendices refer to schools.  Where this term is used we can read it as HYI.  Where is says pupils – we can read as children and young people.



Full version

For a full version of the Hexham Youth Initiative Safeguarding Policy (including all Appendices) please contact us

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