Writing safeguarding and child protection procedures
Your overarching safeguarding and child protection policy statement should refer to a set of more detailed policies and procedures. These procedures should outline the steps that must be taken if there are any concerns about a child's or young person's safety and wellbeing.
It is essential that your procedures are clear and easy to follow. Make sure each procedure includes the items below.
Purpose and aim of the procedure
Every procedure you create should clearly state its aim and purpose and who it applies to. For example, each procedure should be written for everyone who comes into contact with children and young people even if it is not their main role in your organisation.
Summary of useful information
Include a summary of any information that is relevant. For example, a procedure about responding to concerns about a child's wellbeing could include a description of the different types of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect) as well as the signs and indicators that might be a cause for concern.
Each procedure should include clear steps of the action needed. You could consider using diagrams and flowcharts to help make the steps easy to follow.
If someone is concerned about child's welfare they should tell the nominated child protection lead or their deputy. Any concerns must be kept confidential and should not be discussed with anyone other than the child protection lead, who should make a referral to children's services. Reporting concerns helps children's services build an overall picture of the child's life and the support they or their family may need.
If a child tells you they are experiencing abuse, it’s important to reassure them that they’ve done the right thing in telling you. Make sure they know that abuse is never their fault. Never promise a child that you will keep the things they’re telling you a secret. Explain that you need to share what they’ve told you with someone who will be able to help.
> Find out more about recognising and responding to abuse
What information to record
Ensure the procedure details how, when and what information needs to be recorded. You should also cover who should record this information (for example, your organisation's nominated child protection lead) and where records should be stored.
Make sure the procedure includes contact details for anyone who needs to be informed, including any external agencies and make sure it's clear who is responsible for making any referrals. This should be your organisation's nominated child protection officer.
It is important that staff and volunteers know who to speak to and don't feel they are on their own when dealing with a worrying situation. Parents, children and young people also need to know who to talk to if they are worried.
Be clear about confidentiality. Information should only be shared with people who need to know. Make sure your procedures are clear about what should be shared and who with. Remember you must share any concerns you have about a child, even if they ask you not to.
Ensure your procedures are clear and accessible
Make sure that all adults and children are aware of, understand and can access your safeguarding and child protection procedures. Reading them should be part of your induction processes and training.
> See our Introduction to safeguarding and child protection training
> See our Safeguarding 16 to 25 year olds training
You may need to provide procedures in different languages or in other formats such as Braille or large text. You should also consider whether you need a child-friendly version. Decide in advance how you will tell everyone about any new or updated procedures.
What procedures should you have?
When writing your more detailed policies and procedures you should consider all elements of keeping a child or young person safe. You should make sure your procedures cover:
> View our Introductory guide to safeguarding for the voluntary and community sector