Explain the policies, procedures re child protection in Northern Ireland

Explain the policies, procedures and practices for safe working with children and young people in Northern Ireland. The Child protection policy provides us with good practice guidelines and a framework which ensures consistent practice with the values to be taken into consideration during all contact with children and young people.

Although we do not work directly with or provide a service to children or young people, which the policy states is anyone under the age of 18, we may during the process of our work come into contact with this age group as we may provide services where children live, visit or where the people we support may meet children. The policy takes into consideration local legislation and guidance e. g. DHSSPS Standards for Child Protection 2008 and Every Child Matters 2003 published in conjunction with the detailed response to Lord Laming’s report into the death of Victoria Climbie which was the latest in a long line of widely publicised child abuse incidents (e. g. Jamie Bulger, Baby P. cases).

The Victoria Climbie case highlighted the failings in the existing systems to protect the most vulnerable children, including failure to act early, lack of accountability, inadequate staffing levels to deal with the high case loads, need for training and reluctance to share information between disciplines. The policy states it is the responsibility of everyone who works or volunteers for Action on Hearing Loss to report in line with the guidance all accusations or suspicion of child abuse.

As the manager of the service it is my responsibility to make sure all staff are aware of their responsibilities, who their Child Protection Co-ordinator is including how to contact them and to make sure the appropriate procedure is carried out regarding referrals. All information should be kept confidential, shared only with those people or agencies with a right and need to know, e. g. Social Services/PSNI (guidance on disclosure of confidential information is also contained in the policy) as required.

The information should be recorded accurately using the exact words the person used when making the disclosure, identifying what was actually seen, what is opinion and who provided you with the information. Staff must never promise to keep any information confidential to the person making the disclosure or try to investigate the allegation that is not the responsibility of staff however they do have a clear responsibility to report and follow the agreed processes.

This information should then be passed immediately to the local Child Protection co-ordinator, this information should be kept securely whether it is paper or electronic and retained for 70 years by the Head of Risk, Legal and Property Services. These records are considered confidential but may also need to be disclosed to third parties. How to do this is referenced within our confidentiality and disclosure of information policy. The policy outlines the underpinning values to work against in line with the Children’s Social Care Safeguarding Children Board procedures and provides useful links to helpful information including the NISCC and a list of Child protection co-ordinators plus contact details within the organisation.