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Safety of children and vulnerable learners is a topic that is too often in the news. High profile cases of abuse of children and vulnerable adults highlight the importance of vigilance by provider staff and inspectors. Ofsted reports for colleges and work-based learning include statements on Safeguarding and Every Child Matters. For other adult provision, if any safeguarding issues have been observed, this has usually been raised under equality and diversity or health and safety. However, this is changing and observations will appear in inspection reports. Ofsted consider whether providers have an awareness of legislation and are in control. Inspectors consider how staff are educated and how operationally this is handled.
A child is legally defined as ‘any person who is under the age of 18 years’. Further education providers are required to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The broad definition of a vulnerable adult is ‘a person who is 18 years of age or over, and who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him/herself, or unable to protect him/herself against significant harm or serious exploitation’.
The main categories of people covered by this definition of vulnerable adult include people:
There are two main aspects to safeguarding and promoting welfare of children and vulnerable adults:
Links need to be made to every child matters (ECM) outcomes in keeping learners safe. Judgements on safeguarding are wider than protection in relation to individual children and vulnerable adults and include aspects such as learner health and safety, bullying, meeting medical needs and provider security arrangements.
The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 lays the legislative foundation for a new vetting and barring scheme for those working with children and vulnerable adults which will be phased in from 2008 and established by October 2009. An Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will be introduced at this time and ISA scheme checks will be required for people working in regulated activity with vulnerable adults (or children). As part of the ISA scheme check the employer will be able to request a CRB Disclosure. CRB Disclosures will also continue to be available for other groups who are not eligible for ISA scheme checks, but who are eligible for Disclosures at the moment.
How does your strategy, management and implementation of safeguarding compare with that of the most effective provision seen on inspection?
The following strengths and areas for improvement have been taken from recent inspection reports across the Ofsted Learning and Skills remit.
If you were given a similar area for improvement bullet at the end of your last inspection, self assessed this area as an area for improvement, or want to work to avoid such areas for improvement, then consider what inspectors judge to be key.
Do you have separate policies and procedures that cover all aspects of safeguarding within your organisation?
How often are these policies updated?
Do policies cover all necessary aspects, such as toileting procedures?
If yes, how do you know they do?
How is safeguarding managed within your organisation?
How have your staff been involved in developing safeguarding policies?
Have all staff, or other people who interact with your learners, been vetted appropriately?
Do you maintain and review/update a central CRB register?
Have all staff received training in safeguarding (including new staff)?
How has this changed what they do?
How is safeguarding covered in learner induction?
If you have work-based learners, how do you ensure that they can contact you easily should the need arise?
What examples have you of promoting safeguarding through the curriculum and learner support?
Is safeguarding included as part of your self-assessment process?
Do you include a specific judgement on it?
The Independent Safeguarding Authority’s website explains the responsibilities of employers, employees and volunteers with regard to the safeguarding of vulnerable groups:
Check this guidance to ensure you comply fully.
You can find this page and download any referenced resources from the Excellence Gateway at http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/167931.
© Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) 2012