Safeguarding Policy

/Safeguarding Policy
Safeguarding Policy 2019-03-12T13:26:56+00:00

The Children’s Act 1989 states the legal definition of a child is a person under the age of 18. Hosts International accommodates students of all ages and is registered with the British Council with the following unique status for adults and juniors: ’Hosts International meets the standards for registration with the British Council as a provider of homestay, private home and independent self-catering accommodation for adults and under-18`s for accredited providers in the UK”.

A. Policy Statement

A1) Context

Hosts International (HI) welcomes foreign students through various schools, colleges, universities, agents and families and places them into homestay and house share accommodations across the UK. We recognise that we have a fundamental duty of care to all of these students as they are living away from home and without their normal support networks. We also recognise the additional duty of care for all under 18`s. This safeguarding policy represents our belief that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind and it is the responsibility of all adults in contact with young people to safeguard their welfare. It is noted that HI staff have undergone English UK Safeguarding Training Level 1, Childsafe Training and senior staff and management hold DBS checks and have been and are regularly involved in British Council, ISI, Ofsted, EAQUALS, ABLS and various other accrediting bodies inspections with partner schools.

On registration, all homestays are provided with a pack of HI’s safeguarding policy, a guidebook along with various other materials.

A2) Terminology

– Safeguarding: caring for children appropriately and protecting them from that which is not in their best interests

– Child Protection: Protecting children from abuse

– Abuse: all forms of physical and/or emotional ill treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power

– All adults: Refers to all adults who are working with the children (including group
leaders and homestay hosts)

– Child Protection Manager: Member of staff with overall responsibility for child protection and safeguarding issues

A3) Under 18’s entitlement

We recognise that:

  • the welfare of the child/young person is paramount
  • all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of harm
  • or abuse working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, homestay providers, agencies, leaders and teachers is essential in promoting young people’s welfare.

A4) Adult’s responsibilities

This Policy applies to all HI staff including directly employed staff, homestay hosts, accommodation and transport providers, volunteers, interns and anyone working on

behalf of the HI. All adults are expected to read and abide by the policy and procedures set out in this document.

A5) Recruitment Policy

The purpose of the policy:

  • To provide protection for under 18s who receive HI services
  • To provide staff with guidance on procedures they should adopt if they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of harm.

We seek to safeguard under 18s by liaising closely with our partner schools and hosts directly to ensure this policy guideline is considered and/or matches their own policy, including but not limited to the following for under 18 students:

  • valuing them, listening to and respecting them
  • adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and a code of conduct for alladults
  • recruiting staff and homestay providers safely, ensuring all necessary checks aremade
  • sharing information about child protection and good practice with under 18s, theirparents and all adults
  • sharing information about concerns with relevant agencies and involving parentsand under 18s appropriately
  • providing effective management for all adults through recruitment policies, supervision,support and training.

A6) Policy review

We ensure that this policy is communicated and understood and that there are sufficient

resources available for its implementation.

A7) Roles and responsibilities

Responsibilities for the implementation of this policy are as follows:

U18s: Responsible for understanding the policy, looking out for each other and raising any concerns with adults if necessary.

Adults: Responsible for understanding the policy and pro-actively engaging with its requirements.

Designated persons:

In HI there is a Child Protection Manager whose role it is to oversee the standards and practices across the group.

B) Code of Conduct

B1) Overview

Hosts International recognises the importance of creating a safe culture where trust is built between staff and under 18;s and both are protected from any behaviour which runs contrary to this culture. We achieve this through adherence to the policies laid out in this document and a genuine environment of care fostered by robust procedures and recruitment and training activities.

B2) Setting standards

The key elements of our code of conduct are interaction, appearance, intoxicants, IT and social networks, accommodation and transport. We expect all adults working on behalf of

Hosts International to provide an excellent role model for all students in their care and to cultivate a respectful, safe and secure environment for staff and students.

B3) Interaction

– Maintain professional physical and relationship boundaries, and act in a way appropriate to your Duty of Care

– Do not make suggestive or inappropriate remarks to or about any adult or U18.

Inappropriate remarks include innuendo, swearing and discussing their or your own intimate relationships.

– Other than in exceptional circumstances, do not communicate directly with U18’s via email or text messages and only then with prior consent from the child’s parent or guardian.

– Do not engage in behaviour that may be construed as ‘grooming’ an U18 for example giving money, presents or favours or talking or behaving in an inappropriate or unprofessional manner.

– Avoid putting yourself in a situation where you are on your own with an under 18 as far as possible.

– Conduct all interactions in a calm manner, and avoid shouting at U18s wherever this is possible unless there is a Health and Safety risk.

– Ensure physical contact within clear boundaries to avoid any allegations of

inappropriate touching.

– If you are required to be in a one-to-one setting with an U18, consider how this can be managed effectively (ie. leaving a door open, using a room that has a window in

the door, positioning yourself within sight of the door and considering if the one-to-one setting is really necessary)

B4) Appropriate appearance

Adults should present an appearance which:

– promotes a positive and professional image

– is appropriate to their role

– is not likely to be viewed as offensive, reveaHI or sexually provocative

– does not distract, cause embarrassment or give rise to misunderstanding

– is absent of any political or otherwise contentious slogans

– is not considered to be discriminatory

B5) Alcohol, drugs and smoking

– Do not consume, or allow U18s to consume any alcohol, drugs, cigarettes orintoxicating substances

– Do not provide alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or intoxicating substances to U18s

– Do not work under the influence of any intoxicants or drugs

B6) IT and social networks

– Do not share your personal social media details with any under 18s

– Do not take any images or videos of under 18s on your personal recording equipment

B7) Accommodation

– Abide by the accommodation rules and guidelines

– Do not enter private areas without first gaining the student’s permission, or in the case of needing to search property, without informing them first and doing so in their presence.

B8) Transport

– Abide by the specific guidelines of your local centre

– All transport providers, whether staff or contractors, to have appropriate suitability checks

C) Child Protection

C1) Overview

We meet our child protection responsibilities by:

– Creating policies and procedures to comply with all regulatory requirements and guidelines

– Reviewing these policies and procedures annually

– Training all staff to an appropriate level of awareness and procedural competence with periodic review

– Making all policies and procedures available to all our stakeholders

C2) Nominated/designated person

HI has a Child Protection Manager who works to ensure a safe environment for our staff and students.

C3) How to respond to concerns

Scenarios which may cause an adult to have safeguarding concerns about an U18 are:

– An U18 tells an adult they are worried about another U18

– An U18 tells an adult of an issue that concerns themselves

– Anyone from outside the Hosts International reports a potential issue

– An adult witnesses behaviours of another adult which cause concern

– An adult sees in an U18 non-verbal indications of safeguarding concerns

In the event of any one of the above adults should:

– Follow the Guidelines outlined below

– Report immediately to the CPM

– Explain your concerns and the reasons behind them

– The CPM will advise you on the next step.

C4) Recognising symptoms of abuse

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm.

It commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust. Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race or ability.

Abusers can be adults (male or female) and other young people, and are usually known to and trusted by the child and family.

There are four main types of child abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional

abuse and neglect. The abuser may be a family member, or they may be someone the child

encounters in a homestay situation including during classes, sports and leisure activities. An

individual may abuse or neglect a child directly, or may be responsible for abuse because

they fail to prevent another person harming that child.

There is no textbook list of signs and signals. Being alert to abuse means:

– Thinking about what you are seeing and asking if it is acceptable practice

– Taking seriously what you are told

– Responding to the stresses behind requests for help or other presenting problems

– Being alert to signals or non-verbal communication or challenging behaviour, and

aware that this could indicate unacceptable practice is being deliberately hidden or

denied.

– Reporting any doubts to the Child Protection Officers

C5) How to respond to a child or young adult telling you about abuse

When someone talks to you about alleged abuse, remember you are not investigating the

situation, just listening.

If a child discloses abuse, remember that this may be the beginning of a legal process,

as well as of a process of recovery for the child. Legal action against a perpetrator can

be seriously damaged by any suggestion that the child’s words have been influenced in any

way by the person they told.

-The following guidance should be followed as far as possible:

-Rather than directly questioning the child, just listen and be supportive.

-Never stop a child who is freely recalling significant events, but don’t push the child

to tell you more than they wish.

-Do not promise to keep the information a secret. Rather you must inform the child

that you will have to share this with the person responsible for their safety.

-Write an account of the conversation immediately afterwards, as close to verbatim as

possible. Make a note of what they actually said, using his or her own words and phrases.

-Describe the circumstance in which the disclosure came about.

Where physical harm is being reported use a body map to indicate the location of

cuts, bruises and abrasions, noting the colour of any bruising.

-Hand your record to the designated senior person, who will contact the local

children’s social care office where appropriate.

C6) Keeping Records

– All serious concerns communicated to the CPM will be responded to on the same

day

– Access to the safeguarding file is only available to the CPM and any official outside agency

as appropriate.

– Details of allegations that are found to have been malicious should be removed from

personnel records. However, for all other allegations, it is important that a clear and

comprehensive summary of the allegation, details of how the allegation was followed

up and resolved, and a note of any action taken and decisions reached, is kept on a

person’s confidential personnel file, and a copy provided to the person concerned.

The purpose of the record is to enable accurate information to be given in response

to any future request for a reference, where appropriate. It will provide clarification in

cases where future CRB Disclosures reveal information from the police about an

allegation that did not result in a criminal conviction and it will help to prevent

unnecessary re-investigation if, as sometimes happens, an allegation resurfaces

after a period of time. The record should be retained at least until the person has

reached normal retirement age or for a period of 10 years from the date of the

allegation if that is longer.

– The CPM will take advice from the LADO, police and local authority social care

services to agree the following:

  • Who needs to know and, importantly, exactly what information can be shared;
  • How to manage speculation, leaks and gossip;
  • What if any information can be reasonably given to the wider community to reduce speculation; and
  • How to manage press interest if and when it should arise.

C7) If an staff member is accused

The CPM will then work with the LADO/Appropriate Social Work Department for advice

on appropriate actions to take to ensure the safety of the child.

D) Training

The Child Protection Manager has overall responsibility for ensuring all adults have

appropriate training and that this is updated annually. Additional sessions will be organised

where deemed appropriate by the Child Protection Manager.

– All adults employed by HI must complete a minimum of the Level 1 Online

Safeguarding training and be fully aware of the HI Safeguarding Policy.

– Staff with access to U18s must also be in possession of a recent DBS check and sign the

HI Self Declaration where this is pending.

– The HI CPM must complete Level 3 Safeguarding

E) Safer Recruitment

Hosts International follows Safer Recruitment guidelines set down in all recruitment

interviews. For roles with substantial access to U18s there are questions exploring the

applicant’s awareness of safeguarding. For example: ‘Safeguarding is key to everything we

do. What do you understand by this term, and can you give examples of how your role can

contribute?’

References are always followed up for new staff members. Every reference request contains

a specific question asking if there are any concerns about this person working with U18s.

Suitability checks for working with U18s are always sought – DBS

E1) Applicants are informed that:

– References will be followed up

– All gaps in CVs must be explained satisfactorily

– Proof of identity and (where applicable) qualifications will be required

– Reference requests will ask specifically whether there is any reason that they should

not be engaged in situations where they have responsibility for, or substantial access

to, persons under 18.

– Appropriate suitability checks will be required prior to confirmation of appointment.

E2) Applicants awaiting suitability checks

In the UK, In the event that a DBS check has not been completed by the start date of a new

employee, commencement of employment can take place only with restrictions. The

decision will be made by the Line Manager, with the agreement of the CPM and rationale

must be completed and signed by both parties. This judgment will be based on an

assessment of the risk compared to the consequences of the decision. If the employee does

commence work, they must have signed a self-declaration and their access to U18s must be

supervised at all times.

E3) Applicants with a criminal record

In the event that a disclosure shows that a potential employee or member of staff has a

criminal record, the situation will be judged by the CPM will take into account the

seriousness and nature of the offence, the nature of appointment, the age of the offence and

the frequency of the offence. The disclosure will be discussed with the prospective employee

and any decisions made must be in writing and signed by the recruiter and the CPM.

January 2015

Review Date: January 2016