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Our Policies

SAFEGUARDING AND PROTECTING CHILDREN

At EDLounge Ltd, we all have a fundamental responsibility to ensure that in every aspect of our work, children and young people are protected and kept safe from harm.

Everyone who works for EDLounge Ltd is expected to be familiar with and committed to our policy and be clear about what their individual role and responsibility is in keeping children safe.

EDLounge Ltd expects all staff/volunteers to be able to:

  • Define what is meant by safeguarding

  • Understand their roles and responsibilities for safeguarding children, young people and know what to do if they suspect that a child or young person may be at risk from harm.

  • Be clear about professional boundaries and safe working practices.

  • Know where to go for support.

EDLOUNGE LTD AND SAFEGUARDING

EDLounge’s core safeguarding principles

EDLounge is working towards a society where children and young people are free to learn, grow and develop their potential, without fear of violence (including domestic violence and bullying), abuse or exploitation. Within such a society children and young people would be valued and their rights to protection and physical integrity fully respected.

  • All children have a fundamental right to protection from abuse and exploitation and should receive the same degree of protection, under the law, as adults.

  • Listening to children is paramount in ensuring their safety and children should be enabled to participate appropriately in their learning.

  • Children and young people are not responsible for their own abuse and exploitation or expected to bear the primary responsibility for their own protection. Whilst there may be steps children can take to enhance their safety, the ultimate responsibility lies with the adults caring for and supporting them. You must report it to the Head of Safeguarding instantly.

  • We recognise that views about what contributes to abuse and exploitation of children and young people are informed by current research and societal attitudes and our work evolves to reflect and to contribute to current debate.

  • We recognise the importance of how issues of age, gender, race, culture, disability and sexuality impact on our understanding of and responses to keeping children safe.

  • We seek to work in a child centred way with safe and protective adults within children’s families and communities, being aware that children are directly affected by violence between adults, particularly those responsible for their care.

  • Keeping children and young people safe is an integral part of all our work.

Framework of a safe organisation

This framework describes how we manage risk so as to minimise circumstances where harm may befall children using EDLounge Ltd  services through acts of omission (e.g. failure to make referral of a child protection concern) or commission (e.g. direct abuse of a child) by EDLounge Ltd  staff, volunteers, carers and service users.  This is addressed through a management framework comprising nine components based on external national standards and our own core child protection standards (the framework below identified which core standard applies).

This framework is developed, monitored and implemented by the EDLounge Ltd  Safeguarding team .  It is chaired by a Director of EDLounge Ltd through which the group reports to the UK Director of Children’s Services.

The role of Head of Safeguarding and the Business Support Unit in safeguarding children is:

  • To keep standards and policies up to date

  • To maintain accessibility of these, to practitioners and managers

  • To give advice on request

The role of the lead Region/Nation Safeguarding ADCS is to:-

  • Work with Management Teams to ensure safe practice

  • Provide a focus for sharing and evaluating information on all aspects of Safeguarding Children

  • Participate in and contribute to the business plan

The nine components are as follows :

1.  Accountability

  • Clear strategies for safeguarding, co-ordinated by a Director-led strategy group which anticipates and responds to external and internal developments

  • A clear organisational focus on risk management.

  • Safeguarding core standard.

2. Acting on concerns of abuse

  • Consistent procedures for reporting concerns to investigating agencies;

  • Working jointly with other agencies to provide services;

  • Management of allegations against staff and historic abuse.

3. Recording and information sharing

  • Standardised recording policy;

  • Recording and reviewing file information to identify patterns of risk;

  • Recording core standard

  • Information sharing with other agencies to protect children

4. Recruitment

  • Standard recruitment processes to ensure consistency;

  • Requirement for references;

  • Requirement for criminal records checks;

  • Scrutiny of employment history for suspicious gaps;

  • Professional advice and support from Human Resources available to Managers throughout the process.

5. Supervision

  • Regular formal supervision at all levels;

  • Regular staff appraisal/performance review;

  • Management core standard.

6. Inspection

  • Internal and external inspection of services against core and national standards;

  • Self audits and sampling against core standards by line and senior managers resulting in action plans.

7. Empowering children

  • Ensure services remain child-centred and educational-focused;

  • Commitment to equality/diversity issues – e.g. talking to child in first language; age appropriate interaction; awareness of issues around gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability and race;

  • Development of participation;

  • Development of education and qualifications;

  • Commitment that abuse is always taken seriously;

  • Formal complaints process including independent elements;

  • Independent advocates/inspectors to support children;

  • Participation and equalities core standards.

8. Raising concerns about poor and dangerous practice (whistle-blowing)

  • An organisational culture which allows challenge to poor practice;

  • Clear procedure backed up by disciplinary/criminal code;

  • Independent investigation of concerns;

  • No victimisation of whistle blowers;

  • Emphasis on learning from mistakes.

9. Learning and development

  • Induction and continuous in-service learning matched to roles and responsibilities for safeguarding and protecting children / teachers;

  • Service focused on  safeguarding and protecting educational staff and managers;

  • Learning and development opportunities to support the implementation of safe positive behaviour management;

Professional boundaries policy

Managing a breach of professional boundaries

Becoming over-familiar

Inappropriate feelings

Gifts and favours

Family and friends

Sexual relationships

Self disclosure

Giving out personal contact details

Continuing a personal relationship after the service or piece of work is complete

Management responsibility and supervision

Definition

EDLounge Ltd  believes that every child, young person and vulnerable adult has a right to be safe from harm. Professional boundaries are the framework by which an individual member of staff relationship with a service user is clarified to ensure that it is always safe and appropriate.  It defines the parameters of that relationship to ensure it is professional and complies with the EDLounge Ltd  code of conduct and UK Social Care Council's Codes of Practice.

Purpose

This policy not only protects the children, young people and vulnerable adults we work for but also safeguards the reputation of EDLounge Ltd . If staff and volunteers are clear about professional boundaries and what is and is not acceptable this can protect them from the possibility of false allegations and poor practice.

Scope

This policy document applies to all EDLounge Ltd staff and volunteers who have regular access to children, young people and vulnerable adults as part of their work. All managers should ensure it is regularly referred to when planning work with service users and their families.

 A breach of professional boundaries is never acceptable and it is the responsibility of the managers to make sure the relationship with a service user is maintained on a professional level.

Professional boundaries are important in our work for a number of reasons:

  • To safeguard children, young people and vulnerable adults and to ensure that staff/volunteers are aware of what EDLounge Ltd expects of them in terms of their conduct and relationships with them, their educational institute and their families.

  • To recognise and appropriately manage power imbalances and unequal relationships.

  • To build appropriate relationships of trust with children, young people and vulnerable adults alongside their educational establishment.

  • To ensure we understand the issues around working with vulnerable children, adults and families within education and their expectations of their EDLounge Ltd  worker.

  • To fulfil the registration requirements of different regulatory bodies and the need to comply with their codes of conduct and practice.

  • To protect the reputation of the organisation.

Setting and maintaining professional boundaries with children, young people and vulnerable adults.

Before undertaking any work with or delivering any service to children, young people and vulnerable adults it is important that clear boundaries about the nature of the work and relationship are set. Staff and volunteers should be familiar with the EDLounge Ltd  code of conduct and the Safeguarding & Protecting Children and Whistle blowing policies in order that they can refer to them in all of their work with children, young people and vulnerable adults .

Professional Boundaries Policy

Staff/volunteers should:

  • Be clear of their roles and responsibilities as defined in their job description (job role where volunteers have not received a job description) and confirm that understanding in discussion with their line manager.

  • Draw up an agreement with children, young people, vulnerable adult and schools about their role and responsibilities and what they can expect from the relationship from EDLounge during their subscription period.

  • Know and practice the protocols around confidentiality and recording and share these with the child/young person/vulnerable adult and family as appropriate.

  • Continually reflect upon and consider the relationships established with children young people and vulnerable adults to ensure that the professional boundaries are being maintained whilst educated through EDLounge.

  • Seek help and support in dealing with issues or concerns they have about professional boundaries from their line manager.

Managing a breach of professional boundaries

Staff/volunteers may at times breach professional boundaries even though their initial intentions were well meaning. Regardless of the intention, the issue must be shared with the line manager and steps taken to support the individual not to repeat the behaviour or action.  The breach may not be a single event but a series of events and interactions which together cause the individual to cross the boundary between what would be considered a professional relationship to a non-professional relationship. Areas where professional boundaries can be breached may include:

Becoming over-familiar

If the relationship with a child, young person or vulnerable adult becomes over-familiar professional judgement may be clouded and behaviours may be misinterpreted. Over- familiarity is difficult to define but may involve:

  • thinking about the child, young person or vulnerable adult constantly;

  • feeling a sense of attachment similar to them being a sibling or a friend;

  •      wanting to see them more than necessary or continue the relationship even     when the planned work is finished; and

  •      considering asking them to come with you to social events that are not work related.

In any work undertaken with children, young people and vulnerable adults there must be a clear plan of how, where, when and why the work will be undertaken and by whom with clear plans being established with their school / organisation. This includes not visiting users outside of agreed and planned working hours and not inviting them to your home or to be part of your family or social network. Any changes to the agreed parameters of the work must be discussed with your line manager and recorded in a work plan alongside clear discussions with the school.

Inappropriate feelings

Any concern about the nature of the relationship with the young person or vulnerable adult should be discussed with the line manager to avoid misinterpretation or confusion on the part of the service user or potential breach of professional boundaries. This includes a worker’s perception that a young person/vulnerable adult has developed a “crush” on them or another worker.

Gifts and favours

Staff/volunteers should never use a relationship with a child, young person or vulnerable adult or their family for personal gain. This includes using contacts to get information that they would not otherwise have access to or obtaining discounted or free products. Gift giving and accepting should only take place in line with EDLounge Ltd  agreed policies General Obligations to EDLounge Ltd  and should be agreed with your line manager.

Family and friends

There may be some instances where staff/volunteers live and work in the same community as service users. It is usually inappropriate for EDLounge Ltd  staff/volunteers to deliver a service and education to a friend or family member.  If this situation occurs, arrangements should be made for another staff member to take over the case and not be the account manager. Any exceptions to this must be agreed with line managers.

Sexual relationships

Any inappropriate sexual relationships with service users or members of their families are a breach of professional boundaries and codes of practice and may also be against the law. (Exceptions would be where staff member is married to the parent of a disabled service user for example)

Self disclosure

Although some member of EDLounge Ltd staff may have had personal experiences of abuse in their own life which may give them empathy and understanding of the situations in which the children, young people and vulnerable adults they work with find themselves in, it not usually acceptable for a member of staff to self-disclose their personal experiences to a service user / school / organisation. Apart from being unprofessional a worker might find they are vulnerable or at least embarrassed if their personal information is given to others.

Giving out personal contact details

Staff must not give out their personal mobile, home telephone numbers or home email in any circumstances to any child / vulnerable adult. If staff require regular contact with service users this should be done through appropriate use of EDLounge Ltd  issued equipment.

If the service user needs to contact the member of staff they should wherever possible use the work email address, telephone/text number. It is not appropriate for staff to be part of service user social networking sites or agree to be e-friends, unless this is an agreed part of the work and has been risk assessed by line managers.

Staff must not share personal blog addresses or other modes of electronic communication with children, young people or vulnerable adults. It is also important that staff are aware of privacy setting on their own personal social networking sites to prevent inappropriate content being shared with service users.

Continuing a personal relationship after the service or piece of work is complete

It is normally not acceptable for a member of staff to continue to see a child, young person or vulnerable adult in a personal capacity once the service or piece of work they have been involved in is complete. Any exceptions to this must had been agreed with line management and demonstrate there is a purpose to the continued contact that is in the service user’s best interests and does not compromise professional boundaries in any way.

Management responsibility and supervision

It is important that managers use supervision to help workers reflect on their professional relationship with children, young people and vulnerable adults and identify if there are any warning signs that professional boundaries may be in danger of being compromised. If at any time a member of staff believes that it is appropriate to act in a way which is counter to this policy and procedure, they must discuss this with their manager before taking any action and a record must be kept by them and the manager of the discussion.

All staff and volunteers have responsibility to act if they suspect that a colleague may be in breach of professional boundaries.

In the first instance you should share your concerns with your line manager. If you don’t feel able to do this then you should refer to the EDLounge Ltd  Whistle Blowing policy and guidance. These will enable you to talk through your concerns confidentially. You must always act upon your concerns to protect children.

Line managers must print this form for staff/worker signature at the commencement of employment or for already employed workers at the next supervision meeting. The signed copy must be kept on the individual’s supervision file.

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

GENERAL OBLIGATIONS TO EDLOUNGE LTD

EDLounge Ltd recognises and respects that everyone has the right to conduct their private life according to their own conscience.  However, members of staff should avoid situations where other interests conflict with obligations to EDLounge Ltd .  Our aim must always be for "the best interests of EDLounge Ltd ".  The following is therefore intended for the protection of members of staff and the preservation of EDLounge Ltd integrity and public image.

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AT WORK

Members of staff who enter into/are involved in ongoing personal relationships with other members of staff should inform their managing director if appropriate, if that relationship, viewed objectively, may impact negatively on the work of the organisation, the perception of colleagues, students and/or the public.  This would include relationships between line managers and staff reporting to them and relationships between staff in the same team/project.  Disclosure of such a relationship will be treated sensitively and in confidence.

The manager receiving the information will consider whether any steps are required to ensure there is no detrimental effect on the business or others, for example where a personal relationship exists between a line manager and a member of staff reporting to them additional management supervision may be required.

Where a personal relationship exists those involved should conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times and not allow the relationship to affect work performance, cause embarrassment to colleagues or compromise the integrity of the organisation.  Members of staff should also be aware that abuse of a personal relationship could lead to allegations of sexual harassment.

Members of staff must not enter into personal relationships with students and should be alert to such situations developing.  The disciplinary procedure will be used where this requirement is breached.

CONTRACTOR/SUPPLIER LIAISON, GIFTS AND HOSPITALITY 


GENERAL PRINCIPLES

This policy on gifts and hospitality relates not only to suppliers and contractors but to all external stakeholders that EDLounge Ltd works with, or could potentially work with. 

Staff should avoid accepting gifts and hospitality from stakeholders where this might be open to misinterpretation or when a significant decision regarding that stakeholder is imminent.  

Staff who are unsure whether it is appropriate to accept a gift or hospitality should always seek advice from their line manager. 

Failure to disclose relationships, hospitality and gifts as per paragraphs will render the member of staff liable for disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal. 

All gifts and hospitality above the specified limits be must recorded on the appropriate form and entered on the Gifts and Hospitality Register.

This register will be reviewed at regular intervals by the relevant Directors. 

Contractor/Supplier Liaison  

The working relationship between a member of staff and suppliers, contractors (or any other stakeholder) should remain professional.  

A member of staff who engages or supervises contractors and has previously had, or currently has a relationship in a private or domestic capacity with that contractor must declare that relationship to their manager. 

Where a member of staff is using the services of a supplier or contractor personally, or for their partner/family, the member of staff must declare that to their manager. Evidence of the value of the works undertaken may be required.  

Members of staff should talk to their manager when in doubt about the acceptability of any offer made which could be misconstrued as a potentially corrupt practice.

EDLOUNGE LTD POLICY & PROCEDURE FOR  APPROPRIATE PROFESSIONAL BOUNDARIES AND PROTECTING SERVICE USERS FROM ABUSE

As a member of staff, a volunteer or student you must follow the guidelines below which set out the professional boundaries you must maintain.

You are expected to remain alert to these issues at all times and to discuss them openly and proactively at support and supervision sessions.  If urgent concerns arise, you are expected to raise them with your line manager or supervisor.

  • You must maintain a professional relationship with service users at all times.  This means that you must not form a sexual or personal relationship with service users.

  • Part of your role is to befriend service users but this does not mean that you become ‘friends’ with them.

  • You need to be aware that the service users may develop strong or close feelings about you but you have a responsibility to manage this within the boundaries of your role as a professional.  To allow your relationship to develop beyond the boundaries of a professional one would be to abuse your relationship with the service user, given the power imbalance between you.

  • You must not initiate or respond to any unprofessional physical contact towards or from service users.

  • No contact should be made which could reasonably be perceived as sexual.

  • No contact should be of such force that it causes harm.

  • All contact should be within the boundaries of what is considered fair and reasonable in the circumstances.

  • You should not act in a way that you put yourself or others in a position of danger.  Retreat from physical danger is always the most favoured option.

  • No action should be reasonably perceived as threatening.

  • You must not impose your own personal, cultural, religious, philosophical or other beliefs on the service users.

  • You must operate within EDLounge Ltd value system as set out in it’s mission statement, aims, objectives, service description etc.

  • You must be sensitive to the cultural needs and differences of service users.

  • You should not seek to persuade or influence a service user in terms of your own personal beliefs.

  • Where directly asked for a personal opinion or belief from a service user, you may state   this whilst making it clear that it is your own personal view.  You should remain aware of the imbalance of power in your relationship with a service user before acting in this way.  You also need to be aware of your own prejudices before offering a personal view.

  • You must act in a way that promotes and safeguards the well being and interests of service users, staff members and the organisation at all times. 

  • There may be times when you feel that there is a conflict between the interests of these various parties.

  • You are therefore expected to raise any such issues in support and supervision sessions or more immediately with a colleague or line manager as and when they arise.

  • Handling service user’s money.

  • You must not lend money; borrow money or property from service users.

  • You must not disclose any personal information to service users relating to yourself or other colleagues without the prior consent of that person.

  • You must not witness wills for service users or act as a named executor.

  • You must not act as a God Parent/Life Parent for a child of a service user.

  • You must not sell or buy property from service users.

  • You must not accept free services from service users where such services would normally be charged for.

  • All interactions with service users outside the workplace must be conducted on a professional basis.

  • You must not arrange to meet service users when not in work.

  • If a chance meeting occurs you must bear in mind your professional relationship at all times and notify a manager of any significant conversation or contact.

  • If a chance meeting occurs when outside of work and in a social context, you have the right to choose whether to engage with the service user or not.

  • You are required not to be unfit for work through the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

  • You must not take any action that could undermine the position of any staff members in the eyes of service users.

  • You are expected to support decisions and actions that have been made within the EDLounge policies, procedures and delegated authorities.

  • You should not discuss or denigrate other staff or team members with service users.

  • This does not supersede your right and your responsibility to raise issues of concern through the Whistle Blowing and Safeguarding policies and procedures.

Relationships between employees

  • EDLounge Ltd does not encourage the formation of relationships between employees because this can cause tensions and conflicts within an organisation or a team.

  • However, EDLounge Ltd acknowledges that relationships can develop and in this event you must declare this to your line manager.

  • Where a relationship does exist, you must conduct it outside the workplace.

  • You must ensure that your relationship does not impinge on your work in any way.

  • You may not directly supervise or be supervised by the person with whom you are having a relationship.

Dress and Appearance

  • A person’s dress and appearance are matters of personal choice and self-expression.  However adults should dress in ways which are appropriate to their role and this may need to be different to how they dress when not at work.

  • Workers who are employed to work with young children and young people should ensure they take care to ensure they are dressed appropriately for the tasks and the work they undertake.  In Edlounge Ltd, it is important that dress is appropriate to task.  Workers who visit schools / conferences are representing a professional service and should similarly present themselves as professionals, out of respect to parents and young children.

  • Those who dress in a manner which could be considered as inappropriate could render themselves vulnerable to criticism or allegations.

Communication with Children and Young People and workers (including the use of Technology)

  • Communication between children and workers, by whatever method, should take place within clear and explicit professional boundaries.  This includes the wider use of technology such as mobile phones text messaging, e-mails, digital cameras, videos, web-cams, websites and blogs.  Workers should not share any personal information with a child or young person.  They should not request, or respond to, any personal information from the child/young person, other than that which might be appropriate as part of their professional role.  Workers should ensure that all communications are transparent and open to scrutiny.  Workers should not have their work mobile on at weekends and evenings: users, even those with high support needs, need to respect the professional boundary of their relationship with a worker, and workers need to have a proper amount of time away from work concerns.

  • Workers should also be circumspect in their communications with children so as to avoid any possible misinterpretation of their motives or any behaviour which could be construed as grooming.  They should not give their personal contact details to children and young people including e-mail, home or mobile telephone numbers, unless the need to do so is agreed with senior management and parents/carers.  E-mail or text communications between an adult and a child/young person outside agreed protocols may lead to disciplinary and/or criminal investigations.  This also includes communication through internet based web sites.

  • Internal e-mail systems should only be used in accordance with the organisation’s policy.



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