All too often it can be difficult to find a middle ground on child protection and high-level safeguarding, in comparison to general misdemeanours under the employee code of conduct. This is due to the sometimes-stark difference between what might be referred to as ‘gross misconduct’ and ‘low level mis conduct’. What we hope to do is to provide some tips and guidance on how to strike that balance whilst also creating behavioural expectations which are easy to manage and well understood by the workforce.
When working within the education sector the term ‘safeguarding’ is used daily, but how often do we stop and think about how it is a fundamental part of every recruitment process, staffing decision, changes to policies and the overall day-to-day running of your school or MAT? The signs of a strong safeguarding system is a positive organisation culture, where concerns can be voiced and open discussions are had on its importance and ever changing nature. It is the openness of this culture that will strike the balance, we highlight the need for, by providing the ability to identify concerning, problematic or inappropriate behaviour early and therefore, minimising the risk of ‘gross’ misconduct and abuse taking place.
Here at Fusion Education People Solutions, we pride ourselves in putting the child at the heart of everything we do by creating innovative solutions that grow alongside our clients needs. Creating a culture of openness right at the very start of the recruitment process is fundamental when looking at how to best protect students and staff. Failure to protect from these early stages can lead to disastrous outcomes and can also damage the culture you have spent so long building up. It was this knowledge that has driven us into creating our FACE-Ed software that allows your organisation to carry out streamlined recruitment processes, while simultaneously providing you with the ability to use the vetting software to manage vacancy approvals, applications, shortlisting, referencing and track all required vetting checks to ensure safe and secure recruitment that also automatically updates your Single Central Record (SCR).
The emphasis on striking the balance between high level and low-level safeguarding concerns has also been of interest in the most recent update to Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE). The document highlighted previous failing of this level of reporting within the education sector and the impact of which now makes it a legal requirement for all low-level concerns to be reported in the correct manner. Furthermore, KCSIE also now encourages establishments to introduce a mechanism whereby low-level concerns can be shared with a Safeguarding Lead even if they do not meet the threshold of a referral to the LADO. Each individual organisation has the responsibility to decide how these concerns are being recorded but also must bear in mind the need to ensure that GDPR regulations are being met. Our extensive experience within the education sector has provided an insight on how these issues are historically reported and this can often lead to needing to repeat work on several different applications. Not only can this repetition take valuable time away from your workforce but also leaves room for human error. Due to this we have developed our SAMpeople software through years of speaking with our clients and looking at their needs. By utilising SAMpeople, you can keep your employees HR Case Management, Compliance Tracker, CPD, Performance Management, Contracts, Vetting, HR Reporting and Staff Absences all in one system. You can then run reports that show any areas of development or concern when looking at your low-level concerns before they develop any further. Patterns of behaviour can also be highlighted and low-level concerns that may result in misconduct or poor performance can be handled in line with your disciplinary, grievance or whistleblowing procedures that can be collated in the form of an investigation pack by the click of a button.
To conclude, concerns of failure to safeguard are rarely formed with little to no indication of prior conduct issues and often the signs present themselves in the form of low-level concerns. Therefore, a balance of either side of the threshold must be implemented through every notion of the working life cycle of an employee.