Brunswick Cars recognises its responsibility to protect and safeguard the welfare of the children and young people entrusted to its care by establishing a safe environment in which children feel safe and secure. How we deliver our business is therefore critical to ensuring that children feel safe being transported between school and home.
All our drivers and escorts are Enhanced CRB checked as is all other people employed by our company that have unsupervised access to children and young people.
Staff are made aware that some young people and children have a number of difficulties that they are attempting to resolve. Staff need therefore to be alert to changes in a Child’s behaviour bringing such changes to the attention of the school or carer.
Providing reassurance is also important. Having the same driver and escort can provide the children or young person with an additional feeling of safety. ‘Staff are not permitted to touch or engage in inappropriate discussion with children/young persons in their charge. Should young persons or children seek to engage with staff in an inappropriate way, the duty manager should be informed, he/she will then inform the school or the carer.
Drivers working without escorts are not permitted to leave the vehicle unattended while a passenger is on board. Nor are they permitted to stop at unauthorised locations without first obtaining authority from the duty manager.
Drivers are not permitted to deviate from the scheduled route again without seeking prior authority from the duty manager. They are not permitted to allow additional persons into the vehicle.
Escorts are also CRB checked. The same regulations apply to them as applies to drivers about not allowing unauthorised stops, deviating from agreed routes allowing unauthorised persons into the vehicle. If the vehicle is delayed then the driver/escort must inform the carer or the school as soon as possible.
Definitions of Terms
A child is legally defined as anyone under the age of 18.
The definition of vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 or over and who:
is living in residential accommodation, such as a care home or a residential special school
is living in sheltered housing
is receiving domiciliary care in their own home
is receiving any form of health care
is detained in lawful custody (in a prison, remand centre, young offender institution, secure training
centre or attendance centre, or under the powers of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999)
is under the supervision of the probation services
is receiving a specified welfare service, namely the provision of support, assistance or advice by any person, the purpose of which is to develop an individual’s capacity to live independently in accommodation or support their capacity to do so
is receiving a service or participating in an activity for people who have particular needs because of their age or who have any form of disability
is an expectant or nursing mother living in residential care
is receiving direct payments from a local authority or health and social care trust in lieu of social care services, or requires assistance in the conduct of their own affairs.
Abuse is the violation of an individual’s human rights. It can be a single act or repeated acts. It can be physical, sexual, or emotional. It also includes acts of neglect or an omission to act. In all forms of abuse there are elements of emotional abuse. Vulnerable adults may also suffer additional types of abuse such as being manipulated financially or being discriminated against. Other examples of abuse include inflicting physical harm such as hitting or misuse of medication, rape and sexual assault or exposure to sexual acts without informed consent, emotional abuse such as threats, humiliation and harassment, exploitation, ignoring medical or physical needs, withholding of necessities of life such as food or heating. This list is not definitive.
Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders act 1974, if a person convicted of an offence is not convicted again during a specified ‘rehabilitation period’, the conviction is ‘spent’ (this would not include serious criminal offences). Usually the person does not have to reveal or admit the conviction, nor can an employer refuse to employ someone because of the spent conviction. However there are some exceptions, particularly to protect children and other vulnerable groups (see further details above in ‘Legislation’). An employer should not ask for a CRB Disclosure or for details of spent criminal convictions unless the post is one covered under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act exceptions order or there is statutory obligation to do so.
Social Services Department
If there is a concern about the possible abuse of a child, young person or vulnerable adult, the local authority social services department should be contacted. It is their legal responsibility to find out if abuse has taken place. It is not the role of your organisation to decide whether abuse has taken place, only to report allegations to Social Services or the Police. If your organisation investigates the suspected abuse, it could actively damage chances of the case reaching resolution.
Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs)
The LSCBs are statutory bodies set up by local authorities. They have replaced the Area Child Protection Committees which were non-statutory. Every local area now needs to have an LSCB. The aim is to ensure that key agencies work together effectively to ensure that children are safeguarded properly. The core membership of LSCBs is set out in the Children Act 2004, and includes local authorities, health bodies, the police and others. When working out your organisation’s protection procedures you are advised to contact your local LSCB. They also may be able to provide training. Go to www.londonscb.gov.uk/contacts/london_local_safeguarding_children_boards.html for contact details of all LSCBs and for local borough social services department.
Criminal Records Bureau
This Home Office agency was set up in 2002 to replace the old system of police checks. It provides the Disclosure service to help organisations recruit more safely, with checks on information held by the police and government departments. Their website is at www.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk CRB Customer Services PO Box 110 Liverpool L69 3EF General Enquiries: 0870 90 90 811
This is a document containing information held by the police and the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills, which can help organisations make safer recruitment decisions. Details of the Disclosure service can be found on the CRB website www.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk.
Standard Disclosure From 12 October 2009, all volunteers or employees who work with children or vulnerable adults must apply for an enhanced disclosure and not a standard one. The standard disclosure is for other types of work or licences.
This is the level of Disclosure for anyone whose work regularly involves caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of young people under 18 or vulnerable adults. In addition to the information provided for a Standard Disclosure of spent convictions, unspent convictions and cautions, it may also contain information held by the police which is thought relevant but which may not have led to a conviction. The current CRB fee for an Enhanced Disclosure is £36.00 and the application process will take at least 3 weeks. Users (applicant, the employer, the Registered or Umbrella Body) can check the progress of their application online atwww.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk/tracking. Disclosures are free of charge for volunteers (but not people on work experience or placements. The CRB’s definition of volunteers is “a person who is engaged in any activity which involves spending time, unpaid (except for travelling and other approved out-of-pocket expenses), doing something which aims to benefit some third party other than or in addition to a close relative.” They consider that volunteers are not individuals who expect to receive a benefit for the activity such as an expected credit towards a qualification gained by someone on a placement.)
Umbrella Registered Bodies
Organisations who need over 100 checks per year can register with the CRB in order to process applications to the Disclosure service for their own employees. The current registration fee is £300 plus £5 for each additional counter-signatory. Umbrella Registered Bodies can countersign applications for Disclosure checks on behalf of other organisations and their employees. The CRB websitewww.crb.homeoffice.gov.uk/umbrella_body_search.aspx has a database of umbrella organisations in England, Scotland and Wales. Alternatively your local CVS or safeguarding board may be able to advise on your nearest umbrella body. Umbrella bodies normally charge a small administration fee on top of the CRB fee for the Disclosure. However there is no CRB fee for Disclosures for Volunteers.
Physical abuse causes harm to a person. It may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning or suffocating. It may be done deliberately or recklessly, or be the result of a deliberate failure to prevent injury occurring.
Neglect is the persistent or severe failure to meet a person’s basic physical and/or psychological needs. It will result in serious impairment of the person’s health or development.
Sexual abuse involves a person being forced or coerced into participating in or watching sexual activity. It is not necessary for the person to be aware that the activity is sexual and the apparent consent of the person is irrelevant.
Emotional abuse occurs where there is persistent emotional ill treatment or rejection. It causes severe and adverse effects on the person’s behaviour and emotional development, resulting in low self worth. Some level of emotional abuse is present in all forms of abuse.
The Main Legislation
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974)
This act made any convictions ‘spent’ after a certain period and the convicted person would not normally have to reveal or admit the existence of a spent conviction. In most circumstances, an employer cannot refuse to employ someone, or dismiss them, on the basis of a ‘spent’ conviction. However under this act all applicants for positions which give them “substantial, unsupervised access on a sustained or regular basis” to children, must declare all previous convictions whether spent or unspent, and all pending cases against them.
The Children Act 1989
This act provided legislation to ensure that the welfare and developmental needs of children are met, including their need to be protected from harm.
The Police Act 1997
This act contained the provision to set up the Criminal Records Bureau for England and Wales. Under this act it is a criminal offence for an employer to not check an employee working with children or vulnerable adults give a job to someone who is inappropriate to work with children or vulnerable adults when they know this to be case.
The Protection of Children Act 1999
Under this act, childcare organisations (defined as those that are ‘concerned with the provision of accommodation, social services or health care services to children or the supervision of children’) must make use of the Disclosure Service in their recruitment and reporting processes and urges other organisations working with children to also do so.
Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000
This act covers Disclosures and child protection issues. It contains the list of convictions that bar offenders from working with children in ‘regulated positions’. These types of ‘regulated positions’ are defined in this act and include: any employment in schools, children’s homes, day care premises where children are present caring for, training, supervising, or being in sole charge of children unsupervised contact with children o other positions which give the kind of access or influence which could put children at risk if held by a disqualified person (e.g. management committee members).
Care Standards Act 2000
A CRB disclosure is required for most roles in organisations providing care or health services regulated under this act. This act also sets out the Protection of Vulnerable Adults scheme.
The POVA or Protection of Vulnerable Adults scheme was launched in 2004 by the Department of Health and the National Assembly for Wales.
Every Child Matters and the Children Act 2004
Under the previous government, ‘Every Child Matters: Change for Children’ was issued and the Children Act 2004 was passed. It set out the Government’s approach to the well-being of children and young people from birth to age 19. Its aim is for every child, whatever their background or circumstances, to have the support they need to:
- be healthy
- stay safe
- enjoy and achieve
- make a positive contribution
- achieve economic well-being.
Every local authority leads on an integrated delivery of services for children and young people through multi-agency children’s trusts. Each local authority is responsible for establishing a Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) in their area and ensuring it is run effectively. Current ministers are expected to set out the Coalition Government’s priorities for children, young people and families in the coming months. Further details fromwww.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
In response to recommendation 19 of the Bichard Enquiry Report into child protection procedures following the Soham murders, new arrangements for people whose jobs and voluntary work bring them into contact with children and vulnerable adults (previously referred to as the vetting and barring scheme) was initially phased in from October 2009 under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, but was halted whilst the vetting and barring scheme (VBS) was reviewed by the Coalition Government. The aim of the scheme was to provide a more effective and streamlined vetting service for potential employees and volunteers. This means that the previous vetting systems using List 99 and POCA was integrated to create a single list of people barred from working with children. In addition a separate, but aligned, list of people barred from working with vulnerable adults was also established, replacing POVA . In effect, there are just two lists: the children’s barred list and the adult’s barred list. The scheme also aims to ensure that unsuitable individuals are barred from working, or seeking to work with children and vulnerable adults at the earliest opportunity. The decision on who should be placed on the barred lists will lie with the new Independent Safeguarding Authority which is an independent statutory body. The Coalition Government’s review report has now been published. Key recommendations include:
the merging of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) continuing a barring and criminal records disclosure service for workers and volunteers but only covering only those who may have regular or close contact with children or vulnerable adults (under a new narrowed definition of regulated activity)
scrapping the notion of controlled activity altogether
scrapping the requirement for individuals to register with the ISA along with the ongoing monitoring of individuals
making criminal record disclosures portable and enabling disclosures to be updated continuing the duty on employers to make referrals to the state barring body (currently the ISA) introducing two offences under the new system: for a barred person to work with children or vulnerable adults in regulated activity roles, and for an employer to knowingly employ a barred person in a regulated activity role.
The primary legislation is expected to be in place by early 2012 and rolled out soon after.
More details at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime/vetting-barring-scheme/
Duty to refer
Whilst the new scheme is being remodelled, the duty to make referrals to the ISA continues. If an employer removes an employee or volunteer from activity, or if they leave while under investigations for allegedly causing harm or posing a risk of harm, the employer is required by law to refer this information to the Independent Safeguarding Authority. It will also be a serious offence for employers/providers to permit a barred individual to work with children or vulnerable adults for any length of time (no matter how infrequent). Further details from the Independent Safeguarding Authority at www.isa-gov.org.uk
Until the new scheme is implemented, organisations working with children and vulnerable adults should continue to use Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) disclosure checks for staff and volunteers (see below). New forms have already been produced by the CRB, and these will continue to be used, although details relating to ISA registration will be ignored when processed.