5. Safeguarding rules and responsibilities
5. Safeguarding Roles and Responsibilities
Safeguarding is everyone's business.
- 5.1. All employees must read this policy and associated procedures and complete relevant safeguarding training in order to fulfil their legal responsibility to identify and respond to actual or alleged abuse and poor practice.
- 5.2. Those who visit people's homes must be particularly alert to signs of abuse or neglect. All officers must always report and respond to concerns, doing so swiftly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those involved. Early intervention and empowerment are key as is working with the person in a multi-agency approach to prevent the situation deteriorating. Officers will be alert to and record their response to the person's wishes, keeping details of safeguarding activity on the individual's case file and advice of the corporate Designated Safeguarding Officers Group.
- 5.3. All officers should exercise professional curiosity, looking beneath the surface and testing the facts and also their 'gut feelings' rather than accepting every explanation, however plausible. Staff may need to discuss concerns with their manager and/or refer these to another agency. If an employee and their manager do not agree on the best course of action when a concern is raised, they should speak to a Borough Council Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO).
Managers and Supervisors
- 5.4. Team managers and supervisors are responsible for increasing safeguarding awareness in their services, ensuring that staff are properly trained and follow good practice. They will include relevant safeguarding actions in their service plans, ensure that team and individual training needs are identified in appraisal and supervision, and ensure training is completed. They will review and manage progress on cases identified by their teams, liaising with the Operational Safeguarding Lead as appropriate.
- 5.5. Dealing with abuse and neglect can be stressful and distressing. Managers will support and supervise staff appropriately recognising the impact Safeguarding cases can have on staff. They will respond promptly to requests for information regarding specific cases and maintain clear communication with the Designated Safeguarding Officer and their Deputies, and good working relationships with other agencies, addressing any difficulties between frontline staff.
Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) / Operational Safeguarding Lead (OSL)
- 5.6. The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) is the senior person responsible for ensuring that the Council meets its responsibilities under the Children Act 2004, the Care Act 2014, and related statutory guidance. Their role is to provide leadership and accountability, increasing awareness of safeguarding issues across the Council. They have authority to commit resources and make strategic decisions, providing expert advice to Senior Managers, staff and councillors.
- 5.7. Working with the Designated Safeguarding Officers Group and OSL, they co-ordinate safeguarding activity: implementing and reviewing policy and procedures; co-ordinating and monitoring training; ensuring safer recruitment; supporting referrals; overseeing complex cases to ensure these are dealt with promptly, thoroughly and fairly; ensuring appropriate reporting and recording systems which comply with Data Protection and Confidentiality requirements; meeting external requests for information; engaging in serious case reviews, audits and inspections, and conducting assurance reviews, reporting on and implementing the outcomes of these. They also oversee the dissemination of information from Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership and Adults Board (NSCP and NSAB) as necessary.
- 5.8. The DSL or OSL leads on inter-agency arrangements, liaising with NSCP and NSAB. They support case referrals to NSCP / NSAB for review where: there is a need to enhance inter-agency working or the case is of particular interest or concern; a case is an example of good and effective practice; or where there is a split decision regarding action to be taken to safeguard an individual. The DSL/OSL contributes to multi-agency reviews and investigations, with a role in agreeing the scope of reviews and representing their agency; and assists in overcoming difficulties in inter-agency working which cannot be resolved by other colleagues, including initiating and responding to cases in line with the agreed escalation policy.
The Executive Director - People is the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). The Operational Safeguarding Lead (OSL) is the Prevention and Early Help Manager.
Chief Executive and Management Team
- 5.9. The Chief Executive leads and promotes the Council's work to identify, respond to and prevent abuse and neglect, in line with national legislation and local guidance. The Chief Executive must assure themselves that safeguarding systems and practices within the Council are effective.
- 5.10. The Council's Management Team and Executive Leadership Team must ensure that resources are available to support staff, councillors, volunteers, contractors and consultants, including lead officer time, training budgets, etc. and ensure appropriate scrutiny and reporting arrangements are in place to review legal compliance with safeguarding requirements.
The Chief Executive as Head of Paid Service is responsible for recruitment and disciplinary action in relation to all staff.
Housing and Environmental Health
- 5.11. All Housing and Environmental Health Officer (EHO) staff working with individuals and families in difficult and/or crisis situations may identify concerns regarding welfare. Intervening early, working with parents or carers, taking account of the needs of the individual, in a multi-agency approach e.g., joint home visits with a Health Visitor; referral to Children's Services or Adult Social Care, often prevents the situation deteriorating.
- 5.12. In particular, this policy requires such a response in every case where staff work with a 16- or 17-year-old homeless child, a pregnant teenager or teenage parent, care leaver, or where Domestic Abuse is suspected. Housing staff also assess the needs of families, including those with disabled children who may need home adaptations to enable them to participate fully in family life, and are alert to the child's own needs and wishes. Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 requires authorities to take account of the impact of health and safety hazards in housing on vulnerable occupants, including children, when deciding on the action to be taken by landlords to improve conditions.
- 5.13. Housing staff work with and assess the needs of adults who may be vulnerable due to their circumstances, including older people, those with disabilities, long-term conditions and sensory impairment, those fleeing domestic violence, those with learning disabilities, mental health needs or who abuse drugs or alcohol. They may need specialist housing, medical help and/or housing adaptations. The Housing Act 1996 section 213A requires housing authorities to refer to adult social care services people with whom children normally reside or might reasonably be expected to reside, who they believe may be ineligible for assistance, or who may be homeless and may become so intentionally or who may be threatened with homelessness intentionally, as long as the person consents. If homelessness persists, any child in the family could be in need. In such cases, if social services decide the child's needs would be best met by helping the family to obtain accommodation, they can ask the housing authority for reasonable advice and assistance, and the housing authority must give reasonable advice and assistance.
- 5.14. Tenancy Services staff will ensure that safeguarding concerns in relation to children or adults are quickly dealt with. In making decisions in relation to enforcement action, staff will consider the vulnerabilities of the tenant and their household in taking proportionate and reasonable action to resolve tenancy breaches. Such decisions will also take into account the vulnerabilities of adjacent residents who are impacted upon by the actions/in action of the tenant. Staff will take early action where there are concerns to liaise with the Prevention & Early Help Manager as well as Social Services and the police as applicable.
Community Safety Team
- 5.15. The Community Safety Team works with children, young people and adults who are the victims or the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour or crime, or who live in families involved in anti-social behaviour. They are involved in agreeing multi-agency responses to meeting people's needs and ensuring that they live in a safe environment, for example through Anti-Social Behaviour Advisory Group (ASBAGs). Staff are alert to signs of abuse or neglect, including the links with Domestic Abuse and Prevent, know how to record and act on their concerns, and make referrals to other agencies as appropriate.
- 5.16. The Council has a responsibility to undertake its functions under the Licensing Act 2003 and the Gambling Act 2005. The Licensing Act 2003 requires 'the protection of children from harm', one of four licensing objectives. The Council must indicate in its statement of licensing policy the body (responsible authority) it deems to be competent to advise on matters relating to child protection: for the local district councils, this is Norfolk Safeguarding Children Partnership (NSCP). Also, where a premises license authorises the exhibition of films, this must include a condition requiring the admission of children to be restricted from viewing age-restricted films classified according to the recommendations of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) or the licensing authority itself. The licensing service is well-placed to raise awareness of abuse and neglect and promote good practice with taxi drivers and owners of licensed premises, requiring compliance with specific criteria such as completion of training in order to receive their licence.
Integrated Health and Communities
- 5.17. The Council's prevention, early help and operational safeguarding responsibilities are coordinated by Great Yarmouth Community Hub team. It works with residents to provide person-centric support to potentially vulnerable people with their consent. The team facilitates collaboration with health agencies active in the borough including Norfolk and Waveney ICB, Primary Care Networks, GP Practices, James Paget University Hospital, NSFT, and commissioned community health providers. It also liaises with the Police, Children's Services, Adult Social Care and Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprises (VCFSE) in a multi-agency approach to safeguard people.
- 5.18. Elected members need a good understanding of safeguarding and the need to balance this with empowerment. All councillors must read this Policy, adhering to this at all times and undertaking appropriate training. Councillors attending Norfolk Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Norfolk and Waveney Health and Wellbeing Board, Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Case Partnership and the Great Yarmouth Health and Wellbeing Partnership and/or Norfolk County Community Safety Partnership all play a further role in assuring local safeguarding measures are effective and accountable.
- 5.19. The Monitoring Officer ensures that the Council, its officers and its councillors maintain the highest standard of conduct in all they do. The Monitoring Officer is likely to be involved in advising political group leaders regarding member conduct.
- 5.20. Licensing Committee operates under the Licensing Act 2003 and the Gambling Act 2005, requiring members of the Committee to protect children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling. Committee members must complete appropriate training in order to serve on this Committee.
- 5.21. Great Yarmouth Borough council's Cabinet approves this Safeguarding Policy and procedures.
The Council as a Commissioner of Services from Contractors
- 5.22. Where the Council commissions services from contractors, it retains a legal duty to assure itself of the quality and safety of their safeguarding arrangements, holding them to account for preventing and dealing promptly and appropriately with any examples of abuse and neglect. Staff and volunteers in these agencies will have different levels and types of contact with children, young people and adults, but all are required to be alert to safeguarding concerns, recording details of these and any actions taken in response, reporting these to their manager and to the relevant agencies where further action is needed.
- 5.23. Great Yarmouth Borough Council requires all contractor agencies to complete 3-yearly Section 11 (children's) safeguarding audit reviews and annual updates on progress and to share their relevant safeguarding policies and procedures with the Council prior to appointment. This may include annual Modern Slavery Statement, Prevent Strategy Statement and Neglect Strategy Statement.
Community and Voluntary Organisations
- 5.24. Where Great Yarmouth Borough Council makes grants to community and voluntary sector organisations; these should have appropriate safeguarding policies in place.
Anyone who does not believe they can comply with this Policy should speak to the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL).