Safeguarding Children Policy
1.1 Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people is everyone’s responsibility. Therefore all staff who come into contact with children and young people have a role to play.
1.2 Northwards Housing is committed to supporting and working with Manchester City Council and other partner agencies to safeguard and promote the welfare of children residing in Northwards Housing’s properties. The policy also applies to any other children we are in contact with or become aware of in the course of our day-to-day work.
1.3 In safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children we will have regard to relevant guidance issued by the Government and/or Manchester Safeguarding Partnership. This includes ‘’Working Together to Safeguard Children (2018), along with any specific guidance or strategies which apply, including for instance in relation to Modern Slavery, Human Trafficking or Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE).
2. Principles of the Policy
2.1 Effective safeguarding systems are those where all professionals who come into contact with children and families are alert to their needs and any risks of harm that abusers, or potential abusers, may pose to children. This policy outlines Northwards Housing’s role within the safeguarding framework set out in legislation and guidance and overseen in Manchester by the Manchester Safeguarding Partnership (MSP).
2.2 Information sharing is essential in working to safeguard children. Staff and agencies are required to share information about:
- Children and their health, development and exposure to possible significant harm;
- Adults who may not be able to care adequately and safely for children;
- Individuals who may present a risk to children.
2.3 Northwards will always put the welfare of children first. This means putting the needs of a child before the wishes of any adults involved with the child. Our overriding responsibility is to ensure that timely and effective action is taken in relation to risks to children, whatever the circumstances of the adults involved.
2.4 This includes making sure that the needs of children are prioritised in cases where adults involved with them also have needs, such as in relation to substance misuse or mental health. We recognise that adults in such situations may not always put the needs of children first. We will always make decisions based on the actual situation on the ground as it relates to the welfare of children, as opposed to relying on what adults say or the extent of their apparent or actual ‘’engagement’’ with agencies.
2.5 Northwards will always consider the needs of children in any situation where domestic abuse is involved and where appropriate will take action to safeguard them.
2.6 Northwards Housing will ensure that all frontline staff have the relevant level of training to identify and respond to any potential safeguarding concerns. This will include initial training and regular ‘refresher’ sessions for all employees. Training will also be provided to repairs contractors.
2.7 Where any safeguarding concerns are highlighted, Northwards will adopt a multi-agency problem-solving approach and liaise and work with the relevant statutory agencies (Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Police and others) to ensure any safeguarding concerns are addressed and the relevant level of support is provided. This will be done in a timely manner.
2.8 Where relevant, staff will attend and/or have an input into multi-agency meetings relating to vulnerable children. This will be assessed on a case by case basis to ensure that attendance at and/or input into such meetings is appropriate and proportionate.
2.9 Northwards has a Head of Neighbourhood Services as organisational lead for safeguarding issues. They are a point of contact for staff, managers and Board members needing further information, advice, support or guidance in relation to any safeguarding matters or delivery of this policy.
2.10 Northwards recognises that children and young people are at risk of significant harm through exploitation and will work closely with relevant agencies to prevent the sexual and criminal exploitation of children and young people. We also recognise that preventing violent extremism is a safeguarding issue in that children and young people at risk of becoming involved in violent extremism are at risk of significant harm. Northwards will support the police and other agencies in preventing violent extremism. Northwards’ lead manager for safeguarding issues will also have overall responsibility for this activity and for linking into relevant multi-agency structures.
2.11 Northwards also recognises that human trafficking, modern slavery, forced marriage and female genital mutilation are safeguarding issues. Any concerns in relation to these will be promptly referred to the relevant agency for further investigation and if necessary intervention.
2.12 Staff are positively encouraged and indeed are expected to speak out and seek advice if they have any concerns at all about the safety or well-being of a child or young person.
3. Safeguarding Procedure
3.1 Northwards Housing has an internal procedure for dealing with safeguarding matters which is provided to employees. All relevant referral forms are included within the procedure.
4.1 Overall responsibility for the policy is with the Director of Neighbourhood Services. A Head of Neighbourhood Services has lead responsibility for safeguarding issues (including linking into and supporting multi-agency partnership and problem-solving arrangements and making sure that learning from reviews is incorporated into our day-to-day practices). The relevant Neighbourhood Housing Manager or Community Safety Manager (depending on the status of the case) has day-to-day responsibility for overseeing individual cases and making sure that these are regularly reviewed, appropriately progressed and escalated within Northwards or with partner agencies where necessary.
4.2 An annual overview report, detailing safeguarding activity during the year, will be provided to Northwards Board. We will have a Board Safeguarding Champion, appointed annually.
4.3 Our safeguarding policy and procedure are subject to an annual internal audit to ensure that practices are up to date and fit for purpose and that we are complying with them.
4.4 Each year the Manchester Partnership Board requires Northwards Housing to carry out a self-assessment on its safeguarding practices to monitor their effectiveness and report back to the Board. The Head of Neighbourhood Services with lead responsibility for safeguarding at Northwards completes this as well as attending peer review sessions to ensure that our policy and procedures remain relevant and up to date and to improve the way we do things.
5. Review Process
This policy will be reviewed every two years, or in line with any relevant legislative changes, revised guidance or learning from reviews if sooner. P
olicy version: Seven Date: January 2020
Author: Claire Tyrrell, Head of Neighbourhood Services
Approved by: Mike Stevens, Director of Neighbourhood Services
Next review: January 2022