SAFEGUARDING POLICY

INTRODUCTION
STAR ASCEND UK LIMITED ('Star Ascend) is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children, young people and adults we work with, ensuring they feel supported and valued in a safe environment free from any form of discrimination and where safeguarding concerns are addressed appropriately. We are committed to ensuring that all individuals, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, marital status, religion or belief system, sexual orientation or identity, have the right to protection from any form of harm, abuse or exploitation.

We ensure that all staff have a clear understanding of child protection and safeguarding by providing thorough guidance and training. All Star Ascend employees and candidates are expected to follow this policy (which complies with (REC and DfE guidance) and are made aware that safeguarding is the responsibility of everyone involved, including them. To do so, they should:

  • Read, understand, accept, and act in accordance with this policy.
  • Be vigilant and follow professional codes of conduct to maintain professional boundaries and safe working practices.
  • Report any concerns or disclosures related to the protection and safety of children and young people
  • Undertake mandatory safeguarding training and awareness sessions where provided.
  • Help educate learners/service users in placements regarding matters of keeping safe, including acting as a good role model.

OUR COMMITMENT TO SAFEGUARING

  • Star Ascend has robust safer recruitment processes that ensures that those who are known to be a risk to children and vulnerable young adults do not gain access to them.; those whose actions suggest that they are a risk to children and young people are detected at the earliest stage and prevented from continuing to work with children; and that those who intend to do harm are prevented at every possible stage from entering the workforce.
  • Staff and candidates understand their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and are provided with appropriate learning opportunities to recognise, identify and respond to signs of abuse, neglect and other safeguarding concerns relating to children.
  • There is an open and transparent culture which enables staff and candidates to raise concerns around children, those that work with children, and processes within Star Ascend.
  • It is as simple as possible for an individual to report concerns about harm or risk and clear procedures are implemented where safeguarding and child protection issues arise. Where concerns are reported we will ensure that individuals are supported.
  • Star Ascend has robust policies and procedures in place, which are reviewed and updated at least every 12 months.
  • Star Ascend stays up to date with development on safeguarding best practice, reporting and auditing safeguarding activities annually and addressing any areas of improvement.
  • We will report any concerns regarding any individual, or any potential safeguarding situation that is becomes aware of as soon as practicable to the appropriate authority and will co-operate in any ongoing investigations or assessments.
  • We will work in partnership with other services especially parents/carers, the referring authority, the Police, Children's Social Services and other partnership agencies to ensure that those who are identified as being at risk of abuse are protected.
  • Confidential, detailed and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored.

RELEVANT LEGISLATION AND GUIDANCE
The policy is based on the DfE statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education (September 2020) and Working Together to Safeguard Children (July 2018).This policy is also based on the following legislation:

  • Working Together to Safeguard Children (DFE, 2018)
  • Keeping Children Safe in Education (DFE, 2020)
  • Children and Social work act (2017)
  • The Children Act 1989
  • The Children Act 2004
  • The Education Act (2002)
  • The Care Act 2014
  • Children missing education-statutory guidance for local authorities (DFE, 2016)
  • The Sexual Offences act, (2003)
  • Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
  • The Data Protection act (2018)
  • Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
  • Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 (2015)
  • Local Safeguarding Partners/Arrangements
  • Modern Slavery Act 2015
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR)
  • What to do if you're worried a child is being abused (HMG, 2015)
  • Searching, Screening and Confiscation (DFE, 2018)
  • Preventing and Tackling bullying (DFA, 2017)
  • Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003)
  • Serious Crime Act (Home Office, 2015)
  • Teaching online safety in schools (DFA, 2019)
  • Actual Violence and Sexual Harassment between Children in Schools and Colleges (DFE, 2018)
  • Promoting positive emotional well-being and reducing the risk of suicide (ESCB, 2018)
  • Preventing Violence and Gang Involvement (Home Office, 2015)
  • The Prevent Duty, Departmental, Advice for Schools and Child Care Providers (2015).
  • Information Sharing Advice for Safeguarding Practitioners (HMG, 2018)
  • The Counterterrorism and Security Act (HMG, 2015)
  • Criminal Exploitation of Children and Vulnerable Adults-County Lines Guidance (Home Office, 2018)
  • Education access team CME/home education policy and practice (ECC, 2018)
  • Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults Who Work with Children and Young People (2019)
  • Understanding and supporting behaviour safe practice for school in educational settings

Star Ascend Policies on Related Safeguarding Issue
We are aware that child protection and safeguarding are fundamental to the welfare of all children and young people in our care. This Policy, therefore, should be read in conjunction with our other relevant safeguarding policies, such as:

  • Whistle-Blowing Policy
  • Prevent Policy
  • Allegations Policy
  • Risk assessment Policy
  • Complaints Policy
  • Staff Code of Conduct
  • Safer Recruitment Policy
  • Health and Safety Policy
  • Information Sharing Policy

The Role of the Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO)

  • Ensuring that all relevant staff and candidates have received safeguarding training appropriate to their role and continue receiving training to enable the development of skills and good practice when working with children.
  • Receiving and responding appropriately to all reports of safeguarding issues or abuse which are raised by staff members, partner agencies or candidates.
  • Ensuring that confidential, detailed and accurate records are kept of any concerns, reports or referrals related to candidates or children that they work with.
  • Liaising with Designated Safeguarding Leads/Officers in partner organisations.
  • Acting as a source of support, advice and expertise for staff and candidates with concerns and liaising with other agencies and professionals.
  • Supporting staff and candidates involved in safeguarding incidents and assisting them in challenging or reporting poor or unsafe practice.
  • Referring any allegations of abuse or safeguarding concerns to the relevant children's social care and if relevant, the police and/or the Local Authority's Designated Officer (LADO). In order to do this, the DSO will need to consult the Local Safeguarding Partnership Arrangements for the area in which the organisation is located. Further details on referral routes are located in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018) and in Keeping Children Safe in Education (2020)
  • Reporting concerns to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), this may be where a staff member or candidate has been dismissed or left, where serious concerns have been raised about their conduct or behaviour, and the company believes they pose a risk to children. The DSO will complete the necessary referral documents to the DBS and liaise with them thereafter if they have any further questions regarding the staff member or candidate.
  • Keeping senior management appraised of any safeguarding incidents and their outcome.
  • Liaising with the Company's Compliance Officer and senior management regarding training and skill development programmes available to staff and candidates.
  • Policy development (or overseeing this, including ensuring that all policies are updated as and when needed, but in any event on an annual basis.

DEFINITIONS
According to the Children Act 1989, a 'child' is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital or in custody in the secure estate for children and young people, does not change his or her status or entitlement to services or protection under current legislation. In this policy, the terms 'child' and 'young person', or 'children' and 'young people', are used interchangeably to refer to any individual under the age of 18.Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. The Children Act 1989 defines 'harm' as "ill-treatment or the impairment of health or development". 'Development' means physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development; 'health' means physical or mental health; and 'ill-treatment' includes sexual abuse and forms of ill-treatment which are not physical. As a result of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, the definition of harm also includes "impairment suffered by hearing or seeing the ill-treatment of
another"
Abuse may be perpetrated by an individual from the child's school, community, family, those in a position of trust or another child. All staff should be aware that children can abuse other children (often referred to as peer on peer abuse). This is most likely to include but may not be limited to: bullying (including cyberbullying), physical abuse, sexual violence, sexual harassment, up-skirting, sexting (also known as youth produced sexual imagery); and initiation/hazing type violence and rituals. Child abuse can be one of four different categories as set put in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018):
Physical Abuse: Physical abuse is a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Emotional Abuse: The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child's emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or 'making fun' of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child's developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Fabricated / Induced Illness (FII): This form of abuse occurs when a child is presented for medical attention with signs or symptoms which have been fabricated or induced by the child's parents/carers.
Harmful practices related to culture and faith-based beliefs: Not all practices related to culture, faith and beliefs are harmful, but there are some that are unsafe and also illegal in the UK. These include, branding a child as a witch, breast ironing, child trafficking, cupping therapy, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour-based abuse, harsh forms of physical chastisements, scarring initiations and certain healing
practices and initiations.
Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (e.g. rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect: Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child's health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child's basic emotional needs. For detailed guidance on the signs which may indicate abuse and neglect see WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE WORRIED YOUR CHILD IS BEING ABUSED (2015.


SAFER RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION PROCESS
Star Ascend is committed to protecting children and young people through a careful recruitment and selection process (Safer Recruitment), a Whistleblowing Policy and guidance on appropriate behaviour (Code of Conduct). These policies should be read alongside this policy. We will comply with Part 3 of the DfE's guidance 'Keeping Children Safe in Education' (KCSIE 2020) throughout the recruitment process. This includes an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks. This procedure is designed to help appoint the best staff, candidates and volunteers who are safe to work with our children and young people and prevent people who pose a risk of harm. In accordance with statutory guidance, Star Ascend will ensure that at least one person on any appointment panel has undertaken safer recruitment training.


RESPONDING TO SAFEGUARDING CONCERNS
All staff have a responsibility to protect children. This includes:

  • Observing Star Ascend policies and processes including any Code of Conduct
  • Attending the recommended training and keeping their skills and knowledge concerning safeguarding and safer recruitment up to date
  • Reporting any concerns arising from meeting candidates or carrying out pre-placement checks to the DSO without delay and making a clear written record of all relevant information to be passed to the DSO
  • Reporting any concerns arising from organisation visits/placements to the Designated Safeguarding Lead/Officer at the relevant organisation and confirming that this has been done to Star Ascend DSO
  • Taking action, such as following the process detailed in the Whistleblowing Policy where there are concerns about practice.

All staff, candidates and volunteers working through Star Ascend are expected to keep children and young people safe by:

  • Following the Star Ascend policies including the Code of Conduct
  • Following the Safeguarding Policy of each placement, including any Code of Conduct
  • Making the Designated Safeguarding Lead/Officer at the placement aware of any concerns regarding any children or any adults caring for or working with those children
  • Seeking advice and support from Star Ascend DSO when they have reason to believe that their concerns have not been responded to appropriately or they have concerns about practice in the placement..

DEALING WITH ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE MADE AGAINST STAFF AND CANDIDATES
Star Ascend recognises that it is possible for staff and volunteers to behave in a way that might cause harm to children and takes seriously any allegation received. Such allegations should be referred immediately to the DSO/SLT who will first contact the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) to agree further action to be taken in respect of the child and staff member. Should staff have concerns about the DSO they should refer direct to the Director responsible for Safeguarding or to the LADO direct. All staff need to be aware of the 'Whistle-blowing procedure' and that it is a disciplinary offence not to report concerns about the conduct of a colleague that could place a child at risk.


DUTY TO MAKE A REFERRAL TO THE DBS
Where there is evidence that anyone has harmed, or poses a risk of harm, to a child, there is a legal duty on Star Ascend to report that person to the Disclosure and Barring Service using their guidance available HERE
The DBS has statutory authority to bar a person from working in regulated activity with children in the UK.A referral to the DBS will also be made if the person resigns prior to an investigation being carried out or reaching its conclusion. If the accused person resigns, or ceases to provide their services, this should not prevent an allegation being followed up in accordance with this guidance contained in Part Four of KCSiE 2020.


RESIGNATIONS AND SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS
Star Ascend will not make any compromise/settlement agreement in the case of a person deemed unsuitable to work with children and young people. Any such agreement which contained a condition of not referring the case to the DBS would constitute a criminal offence. Anyone who is concerned about a child's welfare or who believes that a child may be at risk of abuse should pass any information to the DBS or other appropriate
authority as soon as possible and no longer than 24 hours after the initial concern.


COMPLAINTS
Star Ascend has a Complaints Procedure available to parents, pupils and members of staff if they wish to report concerns. This can be supplied electronically or requested in hard copy. This can also be found on our website: www.starascend.co.uk. All reported concerns will be taken seriously and considered within the relevant and appropriate process. Anything that constitutes an allegation against a member of staff or volunteer will be dealt with under the specific Procedures for Managing Allegations against Staff policy.


WHISTLE BLOWING
We recognise that children and young people cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so. We also recognise that staff ,candidates and volunteers may find it difficult to raise concerns about colleagues, managers, people in placement or concerning how safeguarding concerns are responded to within a setting. Star Ascend has a specific Whistleblowing Policy which encourages candidates to raise concerns and also provides details of outside organisations that staff, candidates and volunteers can approach for support and advice. Star Ascend aims to have an open and honest culture where safeguarding is responded to effectively, and both staff and candidates feel safe, supported and able to voice any concerns that they have in the knowledge that they will be responded to. Members of staff can also access the NSPCC whistleblowing helpline if they do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally, the NSPCC can be reached on: 0800 028 0285
(8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday to Friday) or emailed at: help@nspcc.org.uk


SUMMARY
Star Ascend will make clients and candidates aware of the Safeguarding Policy through publication of policies on our company website, registration process and emailed to all candidates once booked into register with us.All staff, temporary workers, candidates and contractors must be aware that they have a professional duty to share information with other recruitment firms in order to safeguard children.The public interest in safeguarding children may override confidentiality interests. However, information will be shared on a need to know basis only, as judged by Star Ascend.

Keeping children safe in education(2020)
Keeping children safe in education 2021

REVIEW
This policy will be reviewed annually. If there are any changes prompted by legislation or case law, it will be reviewed to ensure compliance.
DATE OF POLICY: 08/2021
REVIEW DATE: 08/2022