Safeguarding and child protection has always been a high priority for schools as we all work hard to ensure the safety of all of our children. On this page we identify our Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs), outline their roles as well as identify key information and policies which may be helpful to you.
The Role of a DSL
The role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead was specified in the Children Act 2004 and ensured the every organisation had a “named person” for safeguarding children and young people. Prior to that, the role had frequently been known as the Child Protection Officer. The Designated Safeguarding Lead has a responsibility at both a strategic level within the organisation and on a day to day basis.
Key Aspects of the Designated Lead role includes:
- Making sure all staff are aware how to raise safeguarding concerns
- Ensuring all staff understand the symptoms of child abuse and neglect
- Referring any concerns to social care
- Monitoring children who are the subject of child protection plans
- Maintaining accurate and secure child protection records
Role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead
Governing bodies and proprietors should ensure that the school or college designates an appropriate senior member of staff to take lead responsibility for child protection. This person should have the status and authority within the school to carry out the duties of the post including committing resources and, where appropriate, supporting and directing other staff.
The broad areas of responsibility for the designated safeguarding lead are:
- Refer all cases of suspected abuse to the local authority children’s social care and:
- The designated officer(s) for child protection concerns (all cases which concern a staff member),
- Disclosure and Barring Service (cases where a person is dismissed or left due to risk/harm to a child); and/or
- Police (cases where a crime may have been committed).
- Liaise with the headteacher or principal to inform him or her of issues especially ongoing enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 and police investigations.
- Act as a source of support, advice and expertise to staff on matters of safety and safeguarding and when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies.
- The designated safeguarding lead should receive appropriate training carried out every two years in order to:
- Understand the assessment process for providing early help and intervention, for example through locally agreed common and shared assessment processes such as early help assessments.
- Have a working knowledge of how local authorities conduct a child protection case conference and a child protection review conference and be able to attend and contribute to these effectively when required to do so.
- Ensure each member of staff has access to and understands the school’s or college’s child protection policy and procedures, especially new and part time staff.
- Be alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and young carers.
- Be able to keep detailed, accurate, secure written records of concerns and referrals.
- Obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses.
- Encourage a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, among all staff, in any measures the school or college may put in place to protect them.
- The designated safeguarding lead should ensure the school or college’s policies are known and used appropriately:
- Ensure the school or college’s child protection policy is reviewed annually and the procedures and implementation are updated and reviewed regularly, and work with governing bodies or proprietors regarding this.
- Ensure the child protection policy is available publicly and parents are aware of the fact that referrals about suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the school or college in this.
- Link with the local LSCB to make sure staff are aware of training opportunities and the latest local policies on safeguarding.
- Where children leave the school or college ensure their child protection file is transferred to the new school or college as soon as possible. This should be transferred separately from the main pupil file, ensuring secure transit and confirmation of receipt should be obtained.