Section 1 Introduction
1.1 Scope of the policy
This policy applies to all staff, including senior managers, the board members, paid staff, volunteers and seasonal workers, assessors, apprentices, or anyone working for and on behalf of DNA Skills. The term 'apprentice' used in this policy refers to registered apprentices with DNA Skills who attend End-Point assessment events.
This policy should be read alongside our organisational policies and procedures including:
1.2 Purpose of the policy
The purpose of this policy is:
1.3 Reviewing the policy
This policy will be reviewed annually or:
Section 2 Legal Framework
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of legislation, policy and guidance that seeks to protect children, young people and vulnerable in England.
A summary of the key legislation is available from: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/
Section 3 DNA Skills' Commitment
Section 4 DNA Skills' Aims
DNA Skills aims are to:
DNA Skills recognise that:
DNA Skills will seek to keep children* and young people safe by:
*if applicable to DNA Skills.
Section 5 Definitions
Significant harm is defined as ‘ill treatment or the impairment of health or development, including impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill treatment of another’.
In the definition above:
A child or vulnerable adult in need of universal help from those already involved or from a single or multiple agency response
Section 6 Recognitions of Abuse, including Neglect and Bullying
Recognising abuse is not easy, and it is not the responsibility of staff, volunteers, or apprentices to decide whether abuse has taken place or if there is significant risk. DNA Skills do however, have a responsibility to act if abuse is suspected.
Abuse, including neglect, includes forms of maltreatment of a child or vulnerable adult. Somebody may abuse a child or vulnerable adult by inflicting harm, by failing to act to prevent harm. Children and young people may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting; by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger for example via the internet. They may also be abused by an adult or adults, or by another child or children.
Section 7 Types and Signs of Abuse
The following list identifies types and signs of abuse:
Child or vulnerable adult abuse - may be physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or neglect.
Significant harm - ill treatment or the impairment of health or development (compared with the health or development which might be expected of a similar child/ adult).
Physical abuse - actual or likely physical injury to a child or vulnerable adult, or failure to prevent injury. This may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child or vulnerable adult they are looking after. This form of physical harm is recognised as Fabricated or Induced Illness.
Sexual abuse - actual or likely sexual exploitation of a child or vulnerable adult, including prostitution. Involving forcing or enticing a child or vulnerable adult to take part in sexual activities without their consent or understanding. The activities may involve physical contact including penetration or non- penetrative acts. For example, it may also include involving the child looking at or being involved in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging the victim to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Can include grooming a child or vulnerable adult in preparation for abuse.
Emotional abuse - emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child or vulnerable adult with the intent to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the victim’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to the victim that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
Age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children, causing children frequently to feel frightened, or the exploitation or corruption of children or young people will also constitute emotional abuse. This may also include overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning or participating in normal social interaction.
It can include seeing or hearing ill treatment of another person. It may include serious bullying, including cyber-bullying. It may include not giving the child or vulnerable adult opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them, or making fun of what they say or how they communicate.
Neglect - neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child or vulnerable adult’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of their health or development such as failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, medical care or treatment or neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, their basic emotional/physical needs. It can include not protecting a child or vulnerable adult from emotional harm or danger.
Bullying and harassment - bullying can include a variety of behaviours from one individual/group to another individual/group such as name calling, offensive language, coercion, hitting, pushing, theft or damage to belongings, cyber, spreading harmful messages, hate crime or mate crime which is befriending someone with the intent to exploit them in some way. Please refer to DNA Skills Grievance, Harassment & Bullying Policy on Creatiogreen for further detail.
E-safety - the safe and responsible use of technology is sometimes presented as primarily a child or vulnerable adult protection issue. While children, young people and vulnerable adults do need support to keep themselves safe online, there are other risks associated with the use of technology. Examples include the mismanagement of personal data, risks of financial scams, identity theft, cyber bullying, grooming, and radicalisation.
Learning difficulty and/or disability - children or adults with a learning difficulty and/or disability may be especially vulnerable to abuse or bullying and may have difficulties in communicating this to staff. At DNA Skills, staff are skilled, experienced and can identify signs of learning difficulty and/or disability. Any reports of an apprentice with a learning difficulty and/or disability being abused or bullied will involve the Safeguarding Officer at the very earliest opportunity.
Risk to self and/or others - this may include but is not exclusive to self-harm, suicidal tendencies or potential risk of harming others, which may or may not include children. This may be because of an individual experiencing a significant level of personal, emotional trauma and/or stress.
Domestic violence - can be physical, emotional, sexual, neglect. This category also covers Forced Marriages and honour-based violence. Some apprentices may experience issues with drugs or alcohol, potentially to self-medicate, which could lead to a dependence.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - victims of FGM are likely to come from a community that is known to practice FGM. Professionals should note that girls at risk of FGM may not yet be aware of the practice or that it may be conducted on them, so sensitivity should always be shown when approaching the subject.
The FGM mandatory reporting duty is a legal duty provided for in the FGM Act 2003 (as amended by the Serious Crime Act 2015). The legislation requires staff to report where, during their professional duties, they either are informed by a girl under 18 that an act of FGM has been carried out on her, observe physical signs which appear to show that an act of FGM has been carried out on a girl under 18 and they have no reason to believe that the act was necessary for the girl’s physical or mental health or for purpose with labour or birth. For the purposes of the duty, the relevant age is the girl’s age at the time of disclosure/identification of FGM (i.e., it does not apply where a woman aged 18 or over discloses she had FGM when she was under 18).
Forced marriage - One or both spouses do not consent to the marriage or consent is extracted under duress. Duress includes both physical and emotional pressure. A clear distinction must be made between a forced marriage and an arranged marriage. In arranged marriages, the families of both spouses take a leading role in choosing the marriage partner but the choice whether to accept the arrangement remains with the young people.
Modern slavery - Encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.
Risks/abuse related to family/cultural belief/faith - It is important to remember that many children and young people are a part of a family. Some families have certain values and beliefs that can cause harm to a child or vulnerable adult. An example of this can include strong beliefs or a sense of honour or shame that can prevent people from seeking or accepting the help they need. A strong cultural or religious belief in the sanctity of marriage may dissuade people from leaving their partners, even if they are violent. In addition, many religions and cultures have strong beliefs around sex outside marriage, making it very hard for young, unmarried, pregnant women to get the help they need. Differences in culture or religion between partners, or between parents and children, may also make it more difficult for individuals to understand and support each other. Where one partner perceives their faith and heritage to be superior to, or more important than, their partner's it can lead to a power imbalance and an erosion of the other partner's self-esteem. In extreme cases children who are perceived as “disobedient” or “different” are believed to be possessed by a spirit controlling their behaviour. The children can be physically and emotionally abused to exorcise the spirit.
Parental impacts - The issues of parents and carers can have a significant impact upon a child or vulnerable adult’s wellbeing. Some issues can include Substance Misuse, Mental Health and Domestic Abuse. It is also important to note that some children and young people also misuse drugs or alcohol when experiencing trauma in their own lives and they may require support around both factors. It is fundamental that wherever a concern is held for a child or vulnerable adult that confidentiality is respected however if the concern must involve the parent or carer for safeguarding reasons then it is good practice to work together and inform parents or carers of any referrals that may have to be made to support services.
Section 8 The Prevent Duty
In 2010, the Government published the Prevent Strategy. This raised an awareness of the specific need to safeguard children, young people, and families from violent extremism.
Extremist groups have attempted to radicalise vulnerable children and young people to hold extreme views including views justifying political, religious, sexist, or racist violence, or to steer them into a rigid and narrow ideology that is intolerant of diversity and leaves them vulnerable to future radicalisation.
Prevent is about safeguarding our apprentices to keep them both safe and within the law. The Prevent Duty is not about preventing students from having political and religious views and concerns but about supporting them to use those concerns or act on them in non-extremist ways.
8.1 Radicalisation & Extremism - The holding of extreme political or religious views e.g., animal welfare rights, environmentalists, EDL / white supremacy groups, anti-gay groups, Islam / Christian ideology. The Counter Terrorism and Security Act, places a duty on specified authorities, including local authorities and childcare, education, and other children’s services providers, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism (‘The Prevent Duty’).
The current threat from terrorism in the United Kingdom may include the exploitation of vulnerable people, to involve them in terrorism or in activity in support of terrorism. The normalisation of extreme views may also make children and young people vulnerable to future manipulation and exploitation.
DNA Skills is clear that this exploitation and radicalisation should be viewed as a safeguarding concern and that protecting children from the risk of radicalisation is part of the companies safeguarding duty.
Radicalisation refers to the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and forms of extremism leading to terrorism. Apprentices may become susceptible to radicalisation through a range of social, personal, and environmental factors - it is known that violent extremists exploit vulnerabilities in individuals to drive a wedge between them and their families and communities. It is vital that staff can recognise those vulnerabilities.
Extremism is defined by the Government in the Prevent Strategy as: Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British Values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces, whether in this country or overseas.
Section 9 Responding to Suspicions of Radicalisation and Extremism
DNA Skills are alert to changes in an apprentice’s behaviour or attitude which could indicate that they need help or protection:
Section 10 Channel
Channel is a multi-agency approach to provide support to individuals who are at risk of being drawn into terrorist related activity. It is led by the regional Police Counter-Terrorism Unit, and it aims to:
The Channel programme focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. It provides a mechanism for schools to make referrals if they are concerned that an individual might be vulnerable to radicalisation. An individual’s participation in the programme is entirely voluntary at all stages.
Training Providers have a duty to cooperate with the Channel programme in the carrying out of its functions, and with the Police in providing information about an individual who is referred to Channel (Section 38, Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015).
Section 11 Recognition of Vulnerability Factors and Critical Risk Factors
Vulnerability factors include:
Identity crisis – the apprentice is distanced from their cultural / religious heritage and experiences discomfort about their place in society.
Personal crisis – the apprentice may be experiencing family tensions; a sense of isolation; and low self- esteem; they may have dissociated from their existing friendship group and become involved with a new and different group of friends; they may be searching for answers to questions about identity, faith and belonging.
Personal circumstances – such as migration, local community tensions, and events affecting the apprentice’s country or region of origin may contribute to a sense of grievance that is triggered by personal experience of racism or discrimination or aspects of Government policy.
These can include:
Special educational needs – apprentices may experience difficulties with social interaction, empathy with others, understanding the consequences of their actions and awareness of the motivations of others. However, this list is not exhaustive, nor does it mean that all young people experiencing the above are at risk of radicalisation for the purposes of violent extremism.
Critical risk factors could include:
Section 12 Allegations Against Staff
DNA Skills recognises that whilst staff and volunteers who work with children and young people are committed to their wellbeing and care there exists a range of abuse perpetrated by workers that despite the best efforts and interventions can still take place.
An allegation may relate to a member of staff for example who works with children who has behaved in way that has harmed a child, or may have harmed a child, possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to a child or behaved towards a child or children in a way that indicates they may pose a risk of harm to children.
DNA Skills will:
Section 13 Support for Staff
Where a member of staff finds a disclosure particularly distressing, they may wish to access the additional services within the DNA Skills shared HR service for support.
DNA Skills has an open-door policy for any staff who wish to discuss their concerns, staff will need to be mindful that DNA Skills cannot give absolute confidentiality to any disclosures.
DNA Skills safeguarding approach will include the following:
Section 14 Role of Designated Safeguarding Lead
14.1 Management of referrals
14.2 Working with others
14.3 Ongoing development & raising awareness
A good working relationship between DNA Skills and its staff, assessors, partners, employers, and apprentices depends to a large extent on the establishment of trust. However, guarantees of absolute confidentiality should not be given. If an apprentice/staff member discloses to a member of staff, it is important that the boundaries of confidentiality and the need to pass on that information are explained. It is often easier to explain to that you have a responsibility to pass on information on certain matters than to get into a situation where you break a confidence.
14.5 Disciplinary action
It is a criminal offence for a person over 18 in a position of trust to enter a sexual relationship with any apprentice under 18 years old, even if the relationship is consensual. If allegations are made against staff the same procedures as outlined above must be followed. If a member of staff suspects abuse, whether sexual or otherwise, from another member of staff, the HR Designated Safeguarding Officer must be informed. Depending on the severity of the allegations outside agencies may be informed and/or the staff disciplinary procedure may be invoked.
Where a member of staff is dismissed from the delivery of services or internally disciplined because of misconduct relating to an apprentice, DNA Skills notify the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) so that appropriate action is taken.
14.6 Safer recruitment processes
DNA Skills provide adequate and appropriate staffing resources and training to meet the needs of apprentices.
All staff are informed by HR that their job falls under the DBS requirements for an enhanced check under section 128 of the Education Skills Act 2008. Those in management roles need to have an additional check to ensure they are not prohibited from teaching. This is in addition to the DBS check.
DNA Skills will provide the applicant with more information about the level of check required (criminal record check applicants must be 16 or over). There are 3 types of check:
All staff have access to a copy of this policy which is located within a designated channel on our Microsoft Teams area for policies and procedures.
14.7 Information sharing & record keeping
There may be some circumstances where the welfare or safety of an individual may take precedence over confidentiality. When sharing information there are Seven Golden Rules that DNA Skills will adhere to:
14.8 DNA Skills reporting of issues & concerns
The staff member who receives the allegation or disclosure should make an immediate written record, via the MyConcern! software, of the conversation including the following information:
Disclosure records are held by the Safeguarding Officers and stored on MyConcern! software. Staff must take care not to influence the outcome either through the way they speak to or question children/young people.
All suspicions and investigations are kept confidential and shared only with those who need to know. Any information is shared under the guidance of the Local Safeguarding Board and Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).
All incidents should be recorded via the MyConcern! software. Whilst it’s possible to record observations, care should be taken not interpret, or give opinion as this may bias the information provided and jeopardise any future investigation into the allegation.
All issues or concerns, allegations or suspicions relating to safeguarding must be taken seriously and reported to a Safeguarding Officer as well as directly onto the MyConcern! software.
Where required, the Safeguarding Representative will refer or support you with guidance on next steps and/or signposting the relevant external agency.
DNA Skills abide by the DBS regulatory requirements in respect of requesting references and DBS checks for staff.
New staff are not given unsupervised access to young people or young people pending return of a satisfactory DBS check.
DNA Skills will meet the DBS reporting requirements in respect of any person who is dismissed from our employment or resigns in circumstances that would otherwise have led to dismissal for reasons of apprentice protection concern.
DNA Skills strongly supports the principle of working in partnership with children, parents/carers, and adults. This means seeking clear, explicit, and informed consent from the individual(s) concerned for information about them to be shared with specified other individuals or agencies where consistent with the individual(s) best interests.
It is possible, however, to identify some circumstances in which sharing confidential information without consent will normally be justified in the public interest. These are:
14.10 DNA Skills responsibilities
All staff at DNA Skills have a responsibility to:
14.11 Responding to suspicions
DNA Skills is committed to responding promptly and appropriately to all incidents or concerns that may occur and to work with statutory agencies in accordance with the procedures that are set down in 'What to do if you are worried a child is being abused' (DfE 2014).
DNA Skills acknowledge that abuse or neglect of basic safety and welfare procedures for apprentices can take place and that this can take different forms - physical, emotional, and sexual as well as employer's neglect of legal responsibilities and neglect of parental or statutory responsibilities (including where young people are in care of social services). DNA Skills also acknowledge that this can take the form of 'virtual' or internet-based abuse or neglect.
DNA Skills recognise that when young people or young people are suffering from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, or may be experiencing neglect, this may be demonstrated through the things they say (direct or indirect disclosure) or through changes in their appearance or behaviour.
Where any member of staff who has knowledge of, or a suspicion that, a child, young or vulnerable person is or has been suffering significant harm, they must refer their concern to the Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible but within 24 hours at the latest. The member of staff must make a dated record of the details of the concern by logging on the MyConcern! safeguarding portal for investigation and action.
All allegations or suspicions must be taken seriously. The apprentice or staff member must be advised that this information cannot be kept confidential and will be passed on to the Safeguarding Officer in DNA Skills in the first instance.
Section 15 Contacts
Your contact for this policy
If you have any queries about the contents of the policy, please contact our DNA Skills EPA Safeguarding Team:
Designated Safeguarding Officer (DSO)
Name: Chris Barnes
NSPCC Helpline: 0808 800 5000
Telephone: 01344 944675
DNA Skills EPA Team
7 Lakeside Business Park
Title & Key Responsibilities
General Manager - Accountable for the strategic objectives of DNA Skills and its regulatory compliance. Ensures all policies are effectively implemented
Head of Quality & Compliance - Responsible Office and point of contact for regulatory bodies. Oversees the version control of policies
Head of Product & Assessment Development - Acting Deputy for Responsible Officer. Manages the development and life cycle of our products
Quality & Performance Manager - Responsible for the delivery of assessments and quality assurance processes
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