Safeguarding in early years
Early years and childcare practitioners are in a unique position to observe changes in a child's behaviour or appearance which give rise to concern about their well-being. They also have a duty to comply with the safeguarding and welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE 2014) as set out in section 40 of the Childcare Act 2006.
For safeguarding concerns about a child in your care or for advice, support or to make an enquiry please contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 01432 260800.
Also see the government's guidance on what to do if you're worried a child is being abused.
Safeguarding children is everyone's business
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined in Working Together to Safeguard Children as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing impairment of children's health or development
- Ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
Children are best protected when professionals are clear about what is required of them individually, and how they need to work together.
You can find out more information about safeguarding and child protection from Herefordshire Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB).
Allegations against members of staff and the role of the LADO
You can find out about the procedures for managing allegations against people who work with children and the role of the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) in managing and overseeing allegations on the Herefordshire Safeguarding Children Board's website:
Safeguarding children policy
All early years nursery and pre-school settings must have a written policy on safeguarding. Childminders must have a safeguarding policy but there is not a requirement to have a written policy. The policy should include procedures for whistleblowing and allegations made against members of staff.
The safeguarding children policy for each setting is reviewed annually and you must make an annual return to Herefordshire Safeguarding Children Board (HSCB).
Auditing safeguarding in your setting
The safeguarding audit checklists will help you ensure that the service and your own professional practice comply with current legislation (Children Act 1989 and 2004) and best practice as set out in national guidance Working Together to Safeguard Children and the Early Years Foundation Stage, Welfare Requirements 2012. These audit checklists explain what you need to do to:
- Safeguard children
- Ensure the suitability of adults who have contact with children
- Promote good health
- Manage behaviour
- Maintain records, policies and procedures
There are two different audits; the Safeguarding audit checklist for pre-school settings, is for all pre-school settings including governor-run pre-schools and the Safeguarding audit for childminders should be completed by all childminders.
Providers should ensure all staff are aware of their duty under section 26 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to have 'due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism'.
Departmental advice can be found in the document The Prevent duty - Departmental advice for schools and childcare providers. This advice includes a link to online training called Channel. This is free of charge and all staff members and others associated with the setting should complete this.
Face to face training - Workshop to Raise Awareness of Prevent (WRAP) will be advertised on Herefordshire CPD Online.
For information about availability of local safeguarding training:
- Visit Herefordshire CPD online, select Early Years and search for safeguarding.