RAYS OF SUNSHINE SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN POLICY AND PROCEDURES
APRIL 2022

Policy Statement:

As part of Rays of Sunshine’s charitable vision to brighten the lives, and alleviate the suffering, of children living with serious, life threatening, life-changing and life limiting illness, Rays of Sunshine is committed to promoting the wellbeing of our beneficiaries and protecting them from harm in relation to all our activities, including online activities.

Our charity is in contact with children who are recognised as amongst the most vulnerable.

Rays of Sunshine actively recognizes this position and the legal framework in relation to the paramountcy of child welfare and the requirements around safeguarding and is particularly mindful of its obligations as found within the Children Act 2004, which at section 11 imposes a clear

‘… duty of care on organisations to ensure their functions, or services on their behalf, are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’

Safeguarding is therefore prioritized as a core responsibility for the charity and Rays of Sunshine is fully committed to ensuring all safeguarding concerns, including allegations of abuse, will be taken seriously.

Scope:

This policy, and the responsibilities outlined within it, applies nationally to all:

  • Trustees
  • Employees
  • Volunteers
  • Contractors involved in the delivery of our services

It concerns in particular the care and wellbeing of children; defined as any person who is under the age of 18 years.

This policy is drawn from current legislation in England and Wales in combination with government and Charity Commissions guidance, including:

For other UK nations, including Scotland and Northern Ireland, Rays of Sunshine will use this policy in combination with local procedures as required.

This policy will be placed on the Rays of Sunshine website so that it is available for stakeholders to view.  It will also be passed to directly to stakeholders, including children, their parents, guardians, carers or other agencies in hard copy or electronic format where relevant or on request.

Breach

Rays of Sunshine expects all parties to work in accordance with this policy.  Breaches will be taken very seriously and may lead to disciplinary action, dismissal, removal from post, contract termination  or referral to other agencies.

For trustees, this may require removal from the board and role cessation.

Principles 

All work at Rays of Sunshine is conducted in accordance with the following guiding principles:

  • The welfare of the child (or children) is paramount. The child is placed at the core of our activities, services, governance and processes.

 

  • Discrimination on the basis of age, disability sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy or marital status, heritage or culture is impermissible and actively guarded against.

 

  • A ‘safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility’ culture; where vigilance, protection from harm and welfare promotion is actively encouraged and core to all our activities and processes.

 

  • A ‘safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility’ culture; where safeguarding training across the organization is prioritized and all concerns and allegations are taken seriously and responded to appropriately. According to circumstance, this may require:

 

  • Contacting the police (emergencies)
  • Referral to children’s social care services; and/or
  • Where allegations relate to employees, trustees or volunteers, referral to the independent Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO)

 

  • Partnership working; promoting child welfare through direct and positive contact with children, parents/carers/guardians and, where necessary, working collaboratively in the interests of the child with other relevant agencies.

 

  • Actively listening to children.

 

  • An active approach to inclusiveness; Rays of Sunshine recognizes that some children will, as a result of previous experiences, level of dependency, communication needs or other issues, have additional vulnerabilities and will actively seek to respond to consider and respond to these in a positive and supportive manner.

 

  • Committing to a ‘safer recruitment’ approach for all new appointees by way of undertaking vetting checks into the eligibility and the suitability of all trustees, employed staff and volunteers who have direct or indirect (e.g. email) contact with children and their families.

 

  • Completing Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks for all trustees, staff and volunteers who have direct or indirect contact with children and their families at 2 year intervals.

 

  • Ensuring that partner organizations, who provide services for or on behalf of Rays of Sunshine have appropriate safeguarding processes in place;

 

  • Requiring all adults (staff, trustee, volunteer and others) who participate in the delivery of our services, do so in accordance with the safeguarding led, behaviour code of conduct which they are required to read and sign up.

 

RoS Behaviour Code of Conduct 2022

  • Incorporating ‘safeguarding’ into all our risk assessment processes and as a standing agenda item before the Board of Trustees.
  • Enabling adults and children to voice their concerns through other channels, including our complaints procedure and a ‘whistleblowing policy’.

Safeguarding training and monitoring at Rays of Sunshine

Rays of Sunshine is committed to providing staff, trustees with the training necessary to discharge their safeguarding obligations.

For employed staff, the DSL (or nominated deputy) delivers initial safeguarding training during induction, following which the DSL enrolls the new starter on to a level 2 training course, provided by the Safeguarding Alliance (here) with the objective that this will take place within their first month in post.

Thereafter training is updated annually, when a member of staff returns from a period of prolonged leave e.g. maternity leave or when a specific training need is identified as part of mentoring and performance processes.

Trustees and regular volunteers must also complete regular, annual training in accordance with their roles and responsibilities.  This is arranged by the DSL.

The DSL is responsible for ensuring training is delivered as described, keeping an up to date training log for the whole organization, monitoring effectiveness and reporting any concerns about the training programme (to the safeguarding trustee and the CEO).

Individuals appointed to DSL and DDSL roles are required to complete enhanced, level 3 training at least annually in accordance with the separately set out job description and are actively encouraged to seek out further training opportunities as needed.

How might I encounter child abuse, harm or maltreatment?

Rays of Sunshine recognises that thinking about safeguarding and abuse and considering how best to discharge their duty to protect children from harm and, where necessary, act on an allegation of harm, can be very challenging.

This policy is in place to assist with this challenge and bring the matter of child protection to the fore.

Concerns about abuse or risks to child safety can come from any quarter and might, for example, include:

  • Becoming concerned about a child by way of a direct disclosure from that child, being told of an event where a child was harmed, or by witnessing a child being harmed or being placed at risk of harm.

 

  • Being the recipient of an allegation about a colleague, trustee, or volunteer or becoming concerned about the conduct of a member of staff in relation to a child or children.

 

  • Becoming aware of safety concern at a venue used by the charity e.g. fire risk or through a contractor’s conduct e.g. a car hire company which does not undertake DBS checks.

These are examples only and not intended to be exhaustive.  Some will overlap with our Health and Safey obligations.  To learn more about how child abuse might present click the following link.

RoS Definitions & Signs of Child Abuse 2022

Under all circumstances, the key is knowing who to inform, recognising that there is a need to seek appropriate advice in response to a concern and remembering that to do nothing in preference to acting may place a child at significant risk of harm.

In short – in the presence of a concern, you must seek appropriate and timely advice.

What must I do to protect children from harm?

To enable a safeguarding culture and to protect children from harm, you must:

  • Be aware of situations which may present risks to children and proactively take steps to reduce those risks.

 

  • Participate in active risk reduction processes. This requires assessing, planning and organising any work which affects children in a way that considers potential risks in order to minimise them.  This may involve discussing an upcoming event with colleagues/seniors to fully understand any attendant risks, scoping venues or providers ahead of time, completing tailored and careful risk assessments and reviewing past work for learning.

 

  • Always remain visible to others when working with children. There should never be a situation in which anyone employed by, representing, volunteering with, or working with Rays of Sunshine is in any way alone with a child. This includes celebrities.  Children should always be supervised by parents/carers or hospital/hospice staff and are their responsibility at all times.

 

  • Whilst physical contact with children is not prohibited, anything beyond high fives and fist bumps should not be initiated by a member of staff/volunteer. Children should always be responded to and a child who goes to hold your hand, or hug you, should never be made to feel rejected or embarrassed, but for your own protection be mindful of your response and keep physical contact to a minimum.

 

  • Avoid promising a child that you will keep disclosure or concern secret.

Acting on a concern about a child

If there is a safeguarding/child protection concern or a child makes a disclosure of possible abuse, then:

  • The initially contacted staff member must complete part 1 of the RoS Safeguarding Incident Report Form, describing the concern, disclosure or allegation.

 

  • Following this, they must inform the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) within the same working day or, if unavailable, one of the Deputy Designated Leads (DDSL) as soon as possible.

 

  • Where possible the DSL will discuss the matter with the initial referrer (staff) before completing Part 2 of the RoS Safeguarding Incident Report Form.

 

  • The completion of Part 2 of the RoS Safeguarding Incident Report Form will enable the DSL to evaluate the matter more carefully and, if necessary, consult with the Trustee responsible for safeguarding regarding an onward contact with children’s social services local to that child’s home address/postcode.

 

  • The above form should be completed within 24 hours of the incident.

 

  • In the event that a decision is reached to contact the child’s local children’s social services team, then this should be done by going to the relevant Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) webpage or by calling directly using the telephone numbers provided in or out of hours.

 

  • Where there is a belief that a child is at risk of immediate harm, call the Police on 999 and call social services.

Record keeping:

All records are to be kept contemporaneously and the RoS Safeguarding Incident Reporting Form completed (including discussions and agreed actions) within 1 working day.

Accurate and complete record keeping is an essential part of safeguarding and protecting children from harm.   Details such as names, venues, dates must be recorded in full.  Terms such as ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ (rather than names) or dates which omit the year must be avoided.

All onward discussions around the process being followed, including the content of any advice sought, agreed actions and the associated rationale for any decisions reached, must be captured in full, including names, roles, call times, telephone numbers or emails.

Irrespective of later outcome, completed Safeguarding Concern Records must be filed in the Safeguarding Folder, not in the ‘wish’ database or CRM.

The DSL will log an anonymised summary in the incident log for later analysis and trend review and discussion at Trustee level.

For all allegations and concerns, the DSL will advise the CEO of the incident for advice and guidance as well as for the purposes of recording and monitoring;

The form to record the concerns and the actions taken can be found in the Rays of Sunshine Safeguarding Folder.

RoS Safeguarding Incident Report Form 2022

Acting on a concern about a member of staff, trustee or volunteer

      • On becoming aware of any safeguarding allegation in relation to a member of staff, trustee or volunteer, you must immediately notify the DSL unless they are implicated in the allegation.
        • Under these circumstances, concerns should be escalated directly to the Trustee responsible for safeguarding and the CEO.
      • The DSL, in consultation with the CEO or the Trustee responsible for safeguarding and the HR lead, will contact the Barnet Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) for advice and guidance.
      • Where there is a belief that a child is at risk of immediate harm, call the Police on 999 and call social services.
      • This should include discussion about the suitability of remaining in post whilst the allegation is being explored and how (if at all) the charity will communicate with the child and/or their family in respect of the allegation.

Record Keeping

All records are to be kept contemporaneously and the RoS Safeguarding Incident Reporting Form completed (including discussions and agreed actions) within 1 working day.

Accurate and complete record keeping is an essential part of safeguarding and protecting children from harm.   Details such as names, venues, dates must be recorded in full.  Terms such as ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ (rather than names) or dates which omit the year must be avoided.

All onward discussions around the process being followed, including the content of any advice sought, agreed actions and the associated rationale for any decisions reached, must be captured in full, including names, roles, call times, telephone numbers or emails.

Irrespective of later outcome, completed Safeguarding Concern Records must be filed in the Safeguarding Folder, not in the ‘wish’ database or CRM.

The DSL will log an anonymised summary in the incident log for later analysis and trend review and discussion at Trustee level.

For all allegations and concerns, the DSL will advise the CEO of the incident for advice and guidance as well as for the purposes of recording and monitoring;

The form to record the concerns and the actions taken is provided in the Rays of Sunshine Safeguarding folder.

RoS Safeguarding Incident Report Form 2022

Escalating Concerns

It is important to note that if you raise a child protection concern or pass on an allegation about a child being abused, you have a responsibility to ensure your concern is addressed to your satisfaction.

If you feel that your concern has not been addressed (and the child has not been protected) you should escalate the matter to the CEO and then, if necessary, to the trustee with responsibility for safeguarding.

In these cases, the Safeguarding Trustee will fill in a Safeguarding Trustee Response Record with their course of action. This form can be found in the Rays of Sunshine Safeguarding folder.

Legal Issues

Information Sharing & Confidentiality:

In respect of children i.e., anyone under the age of 18, you can never guarantee confidentiality to a child. Information should always be shared if you think a child is suffering, or likely to suffer, abuse.

Rays of Sunshine recognises that this may feel challenging to staff who are likely to be unaccustomed to making referrals of this nature or managing the distress that may arise (or be directed towards them) as a result of making a referral and commits to supporting staff who act in good faith and in accordance with our guiding principles to place the child’s welfare at the heart of our activities.

Concerns around information sharing, confidentiality and data protection obligations are addressed directly in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 which confirms at paragraphs 24 to 27 that:

  • Effective sharing of information between local organisations and agencies is essential to

keep children safe.

 

  • Information sharing is also essential to enable child safeguarding agencies to identify patterns of behaviour, which will not be immediately apparent to an individual reporting what (in their view) could appear to be a minor concern, risking that a significant concern goes overlooked.

 

  • The Data Protection Act 2018 and General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) do not prevent the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping children safe.

 

  • The GDPR provides a number of bases for sharing personal information. It is not necessary to seek consent to share information for the purposes of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of a child provided that there is a lawful basis to process any personal information required.

 

  • Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and protect the safety of children.

Serious Incidents

It is a requirement of the Charity Commission that all charities inform them of serious incidents that may occur.

The Charity Commission defines a serious incident as ‘an adverse event, whether actual or alleged, which results in, or risks, significant’:

  • Loss of the Charity’s money or assets
  • Damage to the Charity’s property
  • Harm to the Charity’s work, beneficiaries or reputation

It is the responsibility of the trustees to report a serious incident. More details can be found on the Charity Commission website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-report-a-serious-incident-in-your-charity.

At Rays of Sunshine the trustee with the responsibility for safeguarding will ensure any serious incident is reported to the Charity Commission, unless the incident involves that individual, in that case it will be the responsibility of the Chair of Trustees.

Roles and Responsibilities

Designated Safeguarding Leads: Cheryl Tissot and Ginnie Maxfield-White (maternity leave).
Deputy DSLs: Jasmin Garrett, Sarah Osborne and Claire Kelly (maternity leave)

Named Trustee: TBC

Appendices & Documents

Policies and Codes

Definitions of Abuse: RoS Definitions & Signs of Child Abuse 2022

Code of Behaviour for Adults Working with Children: RoS Behaviour Code of Conduct 2022

Online Safety Policy: RoS Online Safety Policy Statement 2022

Recruitment Policy: RoS Recruitment Policy 2022

Safer Recruitment Checklist: RoS Safer Recruitment Checklist 2022

Induction: RoS New Starter General Induction 2022

Whistleblowing: RoS Whistleblowing Policy 2020

Safeguarding Roles & Responsibilities

RoS DSL Job Description 2022

Incident Reporting

Safeguarding Report Form: RoS Safeguarding Incident Report Form 2022