By Fiona Becker and Saira Bashir, senior consultants for the NSPCC
Safeguarding - it's just one word but it covers such a broad spectrum of responsibilities and requirements. An organisation's safeguarding policies and procedures are the foundation to helping keep children safe. They set out your commitment to protecting children, how you will put this into action and what to do if there is a concern about a child. But every situation and environment is different, so it's not always easy for organisations to be sure that they're doing everything they can to keep children safe.
NSPCC Learning provides a range of tools and resources to help you safeguard children and young people - from our safeguarding information to our interactive safeguarding checklist and our online and face-to-face training courses. But sometimes organisations need more specific help and advice and that's where our consultancy team can help - we work together with your organisation to provide tailored support.
Collaboration is the key to success
We work with clients including education establishments, the voluntary and community sector and commercial organisations on a range of different issues. This might be something as simple as reviewing the effectiveness of safeguarding policies and procedures or helping them develop a programme of training for their staff and volunteers. In other cases, we may be asked to help with a serious issue. For example, managing a situation where abuse has taken place and establishing safeguards to prevent this happening again in the future.
And the organisations that we work with all have different levels of experience - some may be new to safeguarding whereas others may have much more established practices. Whatever the need, it's crucial that we work collaboratively. We're experts in child protection but the clients that we work with are experts in their area. They know the industry that they work in and the children that they work with.
No two projects are the same, so whether we're helping with a complex issue or something more straightforward, it's essential we take the time to thoroughly understand the individual context and environment before we start working together. And we're flexible in our approach, tailoring our help and support to make sure that we're providing whatever help is required to help organisations keep children safe.
Working across your organisation
Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility, no matter whether they work directly with children or not, so we work across all levels of an organisation. We provide coaching and mentoring for individuals who have a specific responsibility for safeguarding. We undertake training needs analysis and offer face-to-face training and elearning courses for staff at all levels. And we brief trustees and board members about safeguarding and related requirements.
Measuring our impact
We continuously evaluate the service that we provide, monitoring the quality and effectiveness of our work. We ask our clients to complete a survey both before and after undertaking consultancy and we then follow this up with an evaluation eight months after we finish our work. This allows us to measure the impact that we make and to identify any areas where we can improve.
We're proud of the feedback that we receive (93% of our clients would recommend us*) but our work doesn't stop here. We're always looking for new ways to make our offering even better and, ultimately, keep children safe. Recently we've used this feedback to develop "health checks" that review an organisation's core safeguarding policy and procedures or HR safeguarding policies and procedures.
Together with our consultancy colleagues in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales we work across the UK. So, no matter what support an organisation requires with safeguarding, or where you are, we can provide a tailored approach that helps you ensure you're doing everything you can to keep children safe.