8.2 Safer Working Practice, Supervision and Culture
This document should be read in conjunction with Safer Recruitment Guidance.
See also Bichard Inquiry Report.
1.1 All statutory and public organisations which employ staff and/or volunteers to work with or provide services for children have a duty to safeguard and promote the children’s welfare. This includes ensuring that safe working practice extends past recruitment and selection and is embedded in the culture. This includes that managers and staff:
- Are supervised, supported and have time to reflect on their safeguarding activities, with a specific focus on understanding risks, sharing information and decision-making;
- Periodic evaluation of performance by their supervisors.
2. Induction and Review
2.1 For all new staff working with children, including locum and agency staff, their induction must cover safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare as outlined in the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership Training Strategy. This must include an introduction to the organisations child protection policy and procedures. They must also be made aware of the identity and specific responsibilities of those staff with designated safeguarding responsibilities.
2.2 New staff members must be provided with information about safe practice and a full explanation of their role and responsibilities and the standard of conduct and behaviour expected. They must also be provided with information about the organisations disciplinary procedures and the relevant whistle blowing policy.
2.3 The induction programme must also include undertaking child protection training at a level appropriate to the member of staff’s work with children.
2.4 Where appropriate, supplementary induction, supervision training and appraisal with respect to their new role must be provided. Information gleaned from the selection process must be used to inform a personalised induction and support programme.
2.5 Regular supervision and review meetings between the appointee and his/her line manager must be convened by the manager throughout the induction period to address areas where further support, guidance and training may be required.
3. Supervision and Support
3.1 Senior managers in all agencies for which this procedure is relevant have a duty to ensure the provision of:
- Adequate training for staff working with and/or likely to come into contact with children and families;
- Clear and up to date procedures to follow in relation to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, including information sharing and what to do if they have concerns that a child has suffered or is suffering or likely to suffer Significant Harm;
- Ready access to advice, expertise and management support in all matters related to safeguarding children and child protection (including recognition of the need for additional support in particular cases or circumstances);
- Access and support to engage in Joint Agency Group Supervision (JAGS) where necessitated;
- Systems to protect staff from violence, bullying and harassment.
- Systems to monitor that staff comply with expected behaviour and good practice through performance management and professional development arrangements;
- Systems to recognise and respond to poor practice e.g. regular audits of cases which involve children, including those in adult and mental health teams;
- Complaints and whistle-blowing procedures to allow service users and staff to highlight issues for consideration and resolution;
- Collated information for the Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership about issues arising from local operational experience of child protection.
3.2 All agencies which have operational responsibility for child protection services must have an agency policy, which defines minimum levels of formal supervision of those staff who are accountable for child protection cases.
3.3 Such supervision should help to ensure that practice is soundly based and consistent with the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership and organisational procedures. It should ensure that practitioners fully understand their roles, responsibilities and the scope of their professional discretion and authority. All child protection cases must be regularly discussed in supervision and case files/records audited systematically by the line manager.
3.4 Supervisors should be available to practitioners as an important source of advice and expertise, and may be required to endorse judgments at certain key points in time, which should then be recorded within the child’s case records.
3.5 On some occasions – e.g. enquiries about complex abuse or allegations against colleagues, agencies must consider the provision of additional individual or group staff support.
3.6 Managers must develop local policies and systems to maximise staff safety including the need to carry out risk assessments as appropriate.
Guidance on Joint Agency Group Supervision is available on NSCP website here.
4. Reporting Systems for Unsuitable Staff
4.1 Any concerns that arise that call into question a persons suitability to work with children must be managed according to the Allegations Against Persons who Work with Children Policy.
4.2 Allegations Against Persons who Work with Children Policy, Key Roles and Responsibilities – to follow describes how each agency must have a Named Senior Officer whose responsibilities include reporting in appropriate cases to the relevant professional body and the Disclosure and Barring Service any member of staff who (following an enquiry) it concludes to be unsuitable to work with children – see Allegations Against Persons who Work with Children Policy, Action following a Criminal Investigation or a Prosecution – to follow.
5. Whistle Blowing
5.1 Staff, through fears about repercussions, may find it difficult to raise child protection concerns about colleagues or managers.
5.2 Each agency must ensure the provision of a well-publicised ‘whistle blowing’ or ‘speak out’ procedure that provides alternative methods of reporting concerns relating to conduct which is in breach of the law, compromises health and safety provisions or falls below established standards of childcare practice.