Policy and Procedure for the Safeguarding of Children

Policy Purpose

The University regularly invites children and young people to access its facilities and services for a wide variety of purposes. Examples include outreach activities, school visits, residentials, hosting of work-experience placements and Open Days. There are also a small number of undergraduates who start studies at the beginning of an academic year who are under 18 and specific areas of the University (such as research groups and the Nursery, etc.) who have a very specific relationship with children and young people. This policy also extends to students who may work with children for specific reasons such as a research project or volunteering. Many of these activities, involving University members of staff working with children or young people, are away from parent/guardian and/or teacher supervision.

This policy is separate to that of individual departmental policies, such as the Nursery or the School of Education, but is intended to be an over-arching set of procedures so that all staff across the University, who might be working with children and/or young people as a regular part of their normal duties, know how to respond if a child/young person discloses abuse and/or shows signs of such. Even if you do not work with children; all staff have a responsibility towards their safeguarding.

Principles

Oxford Brookes University recognises its responsibility for the safeguarding of children. It is recognised also that Oxford Brookes University has a general duty of care to provide a safe environment for all those working and studying at the University as well as those who visit the campus. 

Some specific areas of the University are expressly identified (e.g. the Nursery) as having responsibility for providing care or support for children as the main focus of their operation. For safeguarding purposes though; all staff have a responsibility for providing care or support to children.

Training and designating specific persons to fill bespoke roles surrounding child safeguarding will enable this policy. Wider awareness raising for all relevant staff will also be provided.

For the purpose of this policy, the terms ‘child’, ‘children’, ‘young person’ or ‘young people’ is to refer to a person or persons under the age of 18 (The Children Act, 1989).

The term ‘staff’ used in this policy refers to staff, students and volunteers within the University.

Scope

This policy applies to all staff and includes any activity involving children. 

The University recognises that staff who work regularly with children are best placed to notice changes in behaviour and/or physical injuries. Oxford Brookes staff will therefore:

  • know how to report any unusual/inappropriate behaviour to a Designated Safeguarding Officer and
  • ensure that children know they can approach any of the adults in our establishment if they are worried about something and that they will receive a consistent, supportive response.

Roles and Responsibilities

Effective safeguarding practice starts with having in place effective procedures. Lines of responsibility should be clear, with leadership from the senior management level. Representatives from across the university should be involved in implementation and in contributing to a culture in which safeguarding is discussed openly. Staff with particular responsibilities will need appropriate training and all staff need to be aware of the university’s policies and procedures. For definitions of specific safeguarding roles and responsibilities see Policy.

Safeguarding Measures

The University aims to ensure the safeguarding of children attending University premises or activities, as far as is reasonably practicable, by ensuring that the following general measures are implemented:

  • Existing risk assessments would normally be undertaken for activities involving children. Any other significant hazards, not already covered in the existing risk assessments that may arise from having children on University premises must also be risk assessed.  It will be the responsibility of the Faculty/ Directorate to seek guidance from the University Safety Officer on this matter.  Where no current risk assessment exists it is advisable for one to be conducted.
  • Safe recruitment practices are utilised to prevent unsuitable people working with children. This includes the use of Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks where necessary.  For further information see relevant DBS policies at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/agencies-public-bodies/dbs/.
  • Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs) within the University will be in place and trained in safeguarding issues.
  • All staff, regardless of role, will be made aware of, and be familiar with, the University’s safeguarding policy and procedure.
  • Volunteering/community-based activities are also included where they necessitate a DBS check.

Confidentiality

The University will ensure that any information relating to safeguarding will be recorded and stored securely. All safeguarding matters should be recognised as confidential but the law permits the disclosure of confidential information necessary to safeguard a child.

Review

This policy will be reviewed annually by the Director of HR/the Senior Designated Safeguarding Officer (SDSO) or his/her designate.