Introduction

Sustainable Merton believes that the safety and welfare of children and young people is of the utmost importance. It is the duty of all our staff and volunteers to protect each child from abuse and to be alert to the possibility of abuse.

Child protection relates to any child (under 18) who has suffered from, or may be at risk of physical injury, neglect, and emotional or sexual abuse.

DBS Checks

Please note that the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged into the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and CRB checks are now known as DBS checks. (For more information visit www.gov.uk)

All staff and volunteers working directly with children (under 18 years) and any vulnerable adults, are required to have an enhanced check through the Disclosure and Barring Service before commencement of work or placement. Sustainable Merton will use the good offices of the Merton Volunteer Bureau to carry out DBS checks. Staff members (voluntary or paid) are thus required to fill out a DBS form and produce evidence as to their identity, in accordance with the Disclosure and Barring Service Guidelines. This information is then witnessed by the Designated Person responsible for child protection and signed as an acknowledgement of information produced. Volunteers cannot undertake any unsupervised face-to-face work with children until satisfactory checks have been received. All returned DBS checks will be retained by the person checked and will have to be produced immediately on request.

The designated person

Any concerns about a child’s welfare must be brought to the notice of the designated person, who is currently Thomas Walsh. The Trustees will review the appointment of the designated person on an annual basis, or as soon as it becomes known that that person will no longer be available to undertake this responsibility.

Contact with children

Sustainable Merton normally expects its activities to involve children who are supervised by a teacher, parent or carer. Teachers, parents and carers will normally have the primary responsibility for managing the behaviour of the children in their care. In general it is inappropriate to spend excessive time alone with children away from others, particularly on a one to one basis.

Staff and volunteers must never:

  • do things for children of a personal nature that they can do for themselves
  • condone, or participate in, behaviour of children which is illegal, unsafe or abusive
  • act in ways intended to shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children, or otherwise perpetrate any form of emotional abuse
  • discriminate against, show differential treatment, or favour particular children to the exclusion of others.

This is not an exhaustive or exclusive list. The principle is that staff should avoid actions or behaviour which may constitute poor practice or potentially abusive behaviour.

Cases raising concern relating to child protection

Concern about a child or young person must be discussed with the Designated Person immediately so that, if necessary, a referral can be made without delay. Individual staff or volunteers should not investigate concerns. This is the role of the statutory agencies. However, if a child does say something, it is vital to listen carefully, so that it can be reported accurately. The designated person will liaise with Local Education Authority, Social Services, and any other agencies on individual cases of suspected or identified child abuse.

Allegations or concerns about a member of staff or volunteer must immediately be referred to a statutory agency.

Confidentiality

Our children & young people have the right to expect that all staff and volunteers will deal sensitively and sympathetically with their situation. It is important that information remains confidential and that only those with a ‘need to know’ should be privy to it.

Requests for assistance by other agencies

Sustainable Merton should assist local authority Social Services or the Police when they are making enquiries about the welfare of children. Information about a child must therefore be shared on a ‘need to know’ basis. When such requests are received by telephone, always maintain security by checking the telephone listing before calling back. Always advise the designated person of this contact immediately.