Policy Devon District Councils Joint Safeguarding Policy

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5. Responsibility

Responsibility for the implementation of this policy lies at all levels of the council.

Elected Members are responsible for ensuring that the council has a policy, which adequately provides protection for children and adults with care and support needs in receipt of its services and for the regular review of this policy in the light of changes to legislation e.g. Data Protection Act, or new legislation or regulation.

Elected Members should report any concerns to the Corporate Safeguarding Lead.

A designated Lead Member will be appointed to assume lead responsibility for safeguarding.

There are a number of safeguarding staff across each council situated in teams and services which have the most experience of dealing with safeguarding issues in their day to day work. Service Leads should act as safeguarding leads. In addition each organisation has appointed a Corporate Safeguarding Lead responsible for co-ordinating the implementation of the policy and providing a single point of contact for the safeguarding boards.

Any staff who have a safeguarding concern should in the first instance discuss the matter with any one of the safeguarding leads who will make a decision whether or not to refer the matter to the appropriate external organisation.

Safeguarding leads have responsibility for:

  • Receiving concerns, discussing them with whoever has raised the concern and taking advice from the relevant partner agency/County Council service: this could include complex matters such as consent and whether parents/carers should be notified.
  • Making a decision about how to proceed and whether to make a formal referral. If there is disagreement on the appropriate course of action to take then the safeguarding lead has the final decision. Where staff are dissatisfied with the decision of the safeguarding lead, they should report their concerns to their line manager in the first instance and can still make a referral if they have strong concerns.
  • Ensuring the procedure is followed on such matters as making a referral, confidentiality and recording.
  • Working with colleagues to improve practice across the organisation.
  • In the event of an incident or query, should a safeguarding lead not be available, staff should go straight to relevant Devon County Council service. They can be supported by a senior manager but details of any incident must not be shared unless absolutely necessary.
  • Attending appropriate courses and updating of safeguarding legislation.

In addition the Corporate Safeguarding Lead has responsibility for:

  • ensuring there is a secure central record relating to allegations and investigations
  • acting as multi agency partner on the Local Safeguarding Children Board and Local Adult Safeguarding Board
  • advocating the importance of safeguarding to partners, contractors and customers
  • ensuring all safeguarding policies, procedures and guidelines are implemented and promoted

Line Managers are responsible for:

  • Ensuring that employees, volunteers and other workers dealing with these groups are adequately trained and aware of their responsibilities in this area.
  • Ensuring that external contractors delivering council services are aware of the council’s expectation that workers are aware of and abide by the standards of behaviour expected of council employees.
  • Ensuring that carers and/or parents of the children and adults with care and support needs are aware that, in providing services, council employees are not normally acting in place of a parent, except in relation to events for unaccompanied children who have been formally registered.
  • Ensuring the carers and/or parents of the children and adults with care and support needs who are in direct receipt of council services [1] are made aware that services will be delivered in line with this policy.
  • Ensuring that any evidence or complaint of abuse or lack of care is reported to the appropriate body e.g. Devon County Council, Safeguarding Board or the Police, and to council’s Human Resources or Personnel team where members of staff are involved.
  • Ensuring that employees and others do not work with children or adults with care and support needs on regulated activities without an appropriate Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) disclosure.
  • Working with other associated agencies to ensure the proper transfer of information relating to dealings with children and adults with care and support needs, where necessary.
  • Ensuring that adequate supervision and support is available to those who have been directly involved in dealing with safeguarding cases, including a debrief of the case and any relevant outcomes.

In addition to the above, members of the senior management team are responsible for:

  • Identifying those services and posts that are likely to have an involvement with children and adults with care and support needs, and undertaking an appropriate risk assessment of posts in respect of DBS disclosure requirements.
  • Ensuring that those people appointed by them to the district council, whose normal duties fall into the definition of Regulated Activity as defined in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 and amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, are subject to the appropriate level of DBS disclosure and are appropriately qualified and/or trained in working with these groups.
  • Ensuring that all necessary procedures and practices are in place to provide adequate protection both for the individuals in these groups but also protection for the employees involved with them.
  • Ensuring that proper records are kept of any incidents occurring within their service and that these are held securely and/or passed on to the council’s Human Resources/Personnel team if the incident involves a member of staff.
  • Ensuring that the procurement framework for the authority includes expectations upon contractors to demonstrate effective safeguarding practices for all their staff.
  • The Head of Paid Service/Chief Executive is the lead officer with overall responsibility for the organisation’s safeguarding arrangements.

Human Resources/Personnel are responsible for:

  • Working with senior managers in maintaining a record of those posts, requiring a DBS disclosure together with the level of disclosure required.
  • Ensuring that recruitment procedures are robust and that information pertinent to working with these groups is obtained during the recruitment procedure.
  • Ensuring that DBS Disclosures are carried out in compliance with legislation and DBS guidance.
  • Supporting senior managers in dealing with allegations of abuse or lack of care by staff.
  • Referring information to the DBS and Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) about employees who have been dismissed or removed from working with vulnerable groups (or would have been had they not left/resigned) as a result of a relevant caution/conviction, conduct that has harmed or put a child/vulnerable adult at risk of harm, or satisfied the ‘Harm Test’ in relation to vulnerable groups.

All employees and particularly those working with children and adults with care and support needs are responsible for:

  • Ensuring that they are familiar with and understand the policies and procedures relating to their work with or in the vicinity of children and adults with care and support needs.
  • Ensuring that they feel confident in working within this environment and working with their managers to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills to carry out their tasks in this context.
  • Treating all those children and adults with whom they come into contact while carrying out their work equally and with respect.
  • Reporting to a Safeguarding Lead, any concerns they may have about abuse or a lack of care of children and adults with care and support needs either from other staff, from carers, parents or those in place of a parent or between members of the group.

Volunteers, partners, contractors and other workers are responsible for:

  • Working with employees of the council, to the same standard, in ensuring the safety and well-being of children and adults with care and support needs within their scope.
  • Participating in any training or development opportunities offered to them to improve their knowledge of skills in this area.

[1] For example: this would include arranging accommodation for a vulnerable adult or holding an event for children at the museum. It would not include arranging accommodation for a family with children where the contract is with the parents/carers.