SAFEGUARDING AND CHILD PROTECTION

THE ARMY’S CADET FORCES

THE ARMY’S CADET FORCES

SAFEGUARDING AND CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

References:

A. HMG Policy – The Children’s Act 2004 in England (Devolved Authorities have similar procedures).

B. HMG Policy - Working Together to Safeguard Children - A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children dated Mar 13.

C. JSP 535 - Cadet Training Safety Precautions (The Red Book)

D. JSP 763 – MOD Bullying and Harassment complaints procedures.

E. JSP 814 – Policy and Regulations for Ministry Of Defence Sponsored Cadet Forces (Chapter 13 Child Protection/Safeguarding) dated 31 Mar 11.

F. JSP 834 – MOD Safeguarding Children dated 17 Oct 11.

G. JSP 893 – MOD Policy on Safeguarding and Vulnerable Groups dated 28 Aug 12 (Mainly focused on Service children from infancy to adulthood).

General

1. Government and the MOD are committed to improving the outcomes for young people1 and place a duty on key people and bodies to make arrangements to ensure they discharge the functions that they have and recognise the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. The range of Government Policy and MOD Joint Service Policies (JSPs) demonstrate the commitment to work together to ensure early support and is reinforced through the Armed Forces Covenant.

[1 Children Act 1989 (England and Wales), the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.]

2. The Army’s Cadet Forces - the Army Cadet Force (ACF) and the Combined Cadet Force (Army) (CCF(A)) - with some 75,000 cadets and 10,000 Adult Volunteers in some 1,700 detachments and 259 Schools across the UK, aim to ensure that no act or omission on the part of the organisation, or that of its staff and partner organisations, puts a child, or young person inadvertently at risk. The Cadet Forces have a duty of care to safeguard all children involved in Cadet activities from harm. All children have a right to protection and the needs of disabled children and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.

3. The wide range of JSPs and legislation changes, evident in the references, indicate the need to draw together the various strands that are already in place and utilised across the cadet forces. A more coherent Army Cadet Safeguarding Policy will ensure that rigorous systems are in place to proactively safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people and support staff in fulfilling their obligations. Consequently the ACF will continue to ensure the safety and protection of all children involved in Cadet Activities through adherence to the Child Protection guidelines contained in this policy document and references. The Army also recognises that most Combined Cadet Forces (CCFs) tend to have well established mainstream Safeguarding policies in place and that these are the responsibility of the Heads of School. However, Adult Volunteers or military staff working with young people in schools must follow the guidelines explained in this policy but also must be aware and suitably sychronised to individual schools safeguarding policy and processes.

4. In this document, a child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday

[2. The fact that a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently, or is in further education, does not change his or her status or entitlement to services or protection under the Children’s Act 1989 and 2004. The Army also fully recognises that a cadet is a cadet up to 18 years and 9 months and therefore commonsense must be applied in interpreting the rules and regulations but it is implicit that the Army has responsibility for their well being and protection.]

Policy Aims

6. The aim of the Army’s Cadet Forces Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy is to promote good practice by: 

providing children and young people with appropriate safety and protection while in the care of the Army’s Cadet Forces. 

allowing all permanent support staff and adult volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific child protection issues.

Policy Commitment

7. To fulfil the commitment to safeguard and promote the welfare of Cadets, the Army will ensure the following are in place:

• clear priorities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of cadets explicitly stated in all key policy documents;

• a clear commitment by senior management at all levels to the importance of safeguarding and promoting cadets’ welfare;

• clear lines of accountability and governance within and across organisations for the commissioning and provision of services designed to safeguard and promote the welfare of cadets;

• a culture of listening to and engaging senior cadet views and involving them in decision making – seeking their views in ways appropriate to their age and understanding, and taking account of those both in individual decisions and the establishment or development and improvement of services;

• taking account of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people in our care, including arrangements for: appropriate checks on both new and established permanent support staff, all adult volunteers and for those who might have contact with cadets in the short or long term, adopting best practice in recruitment and management procedures on the full range of staff and volunteers;

• a clear understanding of how to work together to help keep cadets safe online by being adequately equipped to understand, identify and mitigate the risks of new technology (social networking and education on acceptable behaviour towards adults and other young people);

• procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse against permanent support staff, adult volunteers and others who might have contact with cadets and equally complaints procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse by staff and volunteers against cadets or even cadet on cadet;

arrangements to ensure that all permanent support staff and adult volunteers undertake appropriate training and education to equip them to carry out their responsibilities effectively, and keep up to date by refresher training at regular intervals; and that all staff are made aware of both the establishment’s arrangements and their responsibilities for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of cadets;

• the Designated Safeguarding Children Officer (the Cadet Executive Officer at County/Battalion/Sector HQ) is to provide advice and support for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of cadets, including implementing the child protection policy, an effective complaints procedure and procedures that are in accordance with guidance from the local authority (Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB)) and locally agreed inter-agency procedures;

• arrangements to work effectively with other organisations to safeguard and promote the welfare of cadets, including arrangements for sharing information;

• appropriate and common open reporting procedures with a culture that enables issues about safeguarding and promoting the welfare of cadets to be addressed.


Policy Implementation

8. Safeguarding is a Chain of Command responsibility and the majority of the implementation falls to Sp Comd to deliver within the following guidelines:

a. Governance. Safeguarding will be a standing agenda item at Army Cadet Executive Group (ACEG) meetings, in order to provide robust governance and assurance processes to monitor and to ensure that Cadet Units, both community and school based, are safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in their care. The Army Cadet Executive Group (ACEG) will provide direction and guidance on these issues working in conjunction with the appropriate staff leads and is to brief CLF every 6 months on the outcomes.

b. Training and Education. The Army Cadet Force (ACF) has arguably been more focused on safe training issues for a number of years, but now needs to establish a more mature balance between the effort on safe training and safeguarding. This will require some cultural adjustment and a change of attitude across the adult and cadet population. It is to be addressed through a programme of education and training for 2013/14/15. Sp Comd is responsible for developing and delivering this programme in line with this Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy. The ACEG will monitor the progress of work and will brief CLF every 6 months on progress and results.

c. Training Implementation. Army Cadet Force Safeguarding Training is to follow the guidelines set out in JSP 834 (MOD Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy) and Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013. The Army is committed to ensuring that all staff are trained up to the appropriate standard. All new Adult Volunteers (AVs) are to receive an initial induction course in safeguarding and protecting children and all permanent support staff and AVs are to receive periodic education on safeguarding matters and policy including an update just prior to the start of annual camp. As not all Adult Instructors in Schools are teachers, schools are to be encouraged to engage in safeguarding training and education for all their AVs which will ensure uniformity of approach on all safeguarding matters. Training packages are to be updated at least every three years and all staff and volunteers must have up to date safeguarding training. Sp Comd in consultation with RFCAs is to ensure that Designated Safeguarding Children Officers (DSCOs) receive additional specialised training which must be updated at least every three years.

c. Adult Recruitment, The ACF recruitment process is to continue to carry out checks on all staff and adult volunteers as laid down in JSP 893 (Policy on Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups). Furthermore, the ACF will continue to follow Safer Recruitment Practice, originally developed by the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC), and current Safer Recruitment Practice guidelines as set out in Safe Network and in Department for Education (DfE) guidance; Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education.

Child Protection and action on allegations of abuse

9. All children have the right to protection from all forms of abuse and harm when engaged in cadet activities and when in contact with members of the Army’s Cadet Forces. All adult members of staff3 have a duty of care, which makes them responsible both for safeguarding children in their care from abuse and harm and for responding swiftly and appropriately when suspicions or allegations of inappropriate behaviour arise; this applies to all cadets and not just cadets under their immediate control.

[3 For the purposes of this guide, the phrases “adult member(s) of staff” and “adult member(s) of the ACF” does not include cadets who are over the age of 18, as they remain cadets. ]

10. All Cadet Force AVs and support staff should be alert to signs of abuse and neglect, and know how to act on concerns about a child’s welfare. The Red Book (JSP 535 - Cadet Training Safety Precautions) remains the key Aide Memoire on training safety but it also provides clear guidance to all adults on child safeguarding – dealing with allegations of abuse in Part 1, pages 34 to 45 (Child Safeguarding). This Policy follows the guidelines laid down in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2010, as well as JSP 834 (MOD Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy). It is similar to many schools but not necessarily all. The following extract from the new Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013 (Reference B) highlights two key points on allegations that must be understood and practiced:

• any allegation should be reported immediately to a senior manager within the organisation. The LADO should also be informed within one working day of all allegations that comes to an employer’s4 attention or that are made directly to the police; and

• if an organisation removes an individual (paid worker or unpaid volunteer) from work such as looking after children (or would have, had the person not left first) because the person poses a risk of harm to children, the organisation must make a referral to the Disclosure and Barring Service. It is an offence to fail to make a referral without good reason

11. It is the duty of all adults to understand the overarching safeguarding policy and the processes for dealing with an allegation, from whatever direction they come, and on when to consult colleagues, line managers and other statutory authorities about concerns they may have about a child or young person and, importantly to feel comfortable in dealing with them. This will assist ACF staff and volunteers in balancing the desire to maintain confidentiality between the young person and the ACF and the duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of the young person and others. Any concerns should normally be reported to the immediate superior or supervisor. However, if concerns relate to a supervisor then there should be immediate discussion with the Designated Safeguarding Children Officer (DSCO).

Freedom to speak out

12. Any form of child protection concern can be an exception to following the routine chain of command or the normal Cadet Force requirement on other issues. Every adult member of the ACF is required to report any suspicions or evidence of abuse or harm concerning a child whether it is within or outside the Cadet Force and no-one should feel, or be made to feel uncomfortable, bullied or intimidated by doing so or being coerced into not reporting them.

13. Cadets should feel comfortable and free to report, at any time, any child protection concerns within or outside the ACF to any member of staff and all commanding officers are to work on creating a culture to ensure there is some means for cadets to do so. Cadets should know to whom they should report concerns and also what is likely to happen as a result – they must have confidence that they are being listened to.

[3 For the purposes of this guide, the phrases “adult member(s) of staff” and “adult member(s) of the ACF” does not include cadets who are over the age of 18, as they remain cadets.]

Working safely with children and young people

14. Every adult member of the Army’s Cadet Forces, training staff (regular and reserve) and permanent support staff is responsible for ensuring that:

• their behaviour is appropriate at all times

• they observe the rules established for the safety, security and well being of cadets

• they follow the procedures following suspicion, disclosure or allegation of child

abuse

• they recognise the position of trust in which they have been placed, and

• in every respect, the relationships they form with cadets in their care are appropriate

Designated Appointments

15. At a senior management level, responsibility for cadet safeguarding is:

• Army HQ: CLF

• Sp Comd: GOC

• Regional Bdes: Bde Comd

• RFCAs – Nominated authority role

• County: Comdt

• Detachment: Det Comds

• Schools: Heads of School

16. The County/Battalion/Sector Cadet Executive Officer (CEO) is the Designated Safeguarding Children Officer (DSCO) for the ACF. The DSCO will take responsibility for dealing with child protection issues, providing advice and support to the Commandant, staff and volunteers, liaising with the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), and working with other organisations as necessary. The DSCO is also responsible for ensuring that all permanent staff and adult volunteers, cadets and those working with cadets (to include attached personnel, including regular and reserve soldiers) for training, annual camps and general support are fully aware of their responsibilities towards safeguarding and that all relevant information and policy is promulgated within the Unit.

17. ACF contact details are available from the County/Battalion/Sector Headquarters. However, advice and support is also available from a number of outside sources and must also be prominently displayed. They are:

• Help and Advice for adults and young people - www.nspcc.org.uk

• For young people who need advice - NSPCC Child line: 0800 1111

• For adults who need advice or have concerns about a young person. NSPCC: Call 0808 800 5000 or Email help@nspcc.org.uk or Text 88858

• Kidscape: Anti bullying helpline 08451 205204 or visit www.kidscape.org.uk

18. All adults working with the cadets must accept and understand this policy and they must also agree to put the organisation’s policy on child protection into practice and adhere to the Codes of Behaviour.