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2.5 Underlying Policy, Principles and Values


  1. Introduction
  2. Values and Principles
  3. Key Principles Underpinning Work to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children
  4. Children and Young People's Services Plan
  5. Effective Supervision and Support for Professionals

1. Introduction

1.1 The following principles underpin work with children and their families in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children (see also Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015). The principles will be relevant to varying degrees to different personnel but have general relevance to all services provided to children.

Children have said that they need:

  • Vigilance: to have adults notice when things are troubling them;
  • Understanding and action: to understand what is happening; to be heard and understood; and to have that understanding acted upon;
  • Stability: to be able to develop an on-going stable relationship of trust with those helping them;
  • Respect: to be treated with the expectation that they are competent rather than not;
  • Information and engagement: to be informed about and involved in procedures, decisions, concerns and plans;
  • Explanation: to be informed of the outcome of assessments and decisions and reasons when their views have not met with a positive response;
  • Support: to be provided with support in their own right as well as a member of their family;
  • Advocacy: to be provided with advocacy to assist them in putting forward their views.

These procedures have been developed in the context of the legislative framework. For more information see The Legal Context for Child Protection Procedure. They reflect the values and principles that underpin:

  • The Children Act 1989, amended in 2004. This Act requires local authorities to give due regard to a child's wishes when determining what services to provide under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, and before making decisions about action to be taken to protect individual children under section 47 of the Children Act 1989. These duties complement requirements relating to the wishes and feelings of children who are, or may be, looked after (section 22 (4) Children Act 1989), including those who are provided with accommodation under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 and children taken into police protection (section 46(3) (d) of that Act);
  • The Equality Act 2010 which puts a responsibility on public authorities to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity. This applies to the process of identification of need and risk faced by the individual child and the process of assessment. No child or group of children must be treated any less favourably than others in being able to access effective services which meet their particular needs; and
  • The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child - in particular Article 19 which states that all children have the right to be protected from abuse and neglect;
  • The Legal Context, section 2 Human Rights Act 1998, which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights. This requires professionals involved to have clarity about why there is an intervention into a child's life and the planning and implementing of that action. It also requires that all statutory agencies will carry out any necessary work with the least level of intervention.

2. Policy and Values

2.1 These procedures set out the essential actions required to undertake and complete the tasks and duties to ensure best practice in working with children in need, including those in need of protection. They are written based on current research and agreed good practice and embody the National Standards on quality and performance as determined by the Department of Health, Department for Education, OFSTED and the Home Office. They also incorporate the principles of the South Tyneside Children and Young People's Plan, which outline the planning of services for children in South Tyneside in line with relevant legislation and government initiatives.
2.2 In providing the service, South Tyneside Safeguarding Children Board is committed to ensuring that children and young people who use services provided for them experience positive outcomes. 

All agencies will always work to provide services:

  • To ensure that families are provided with services which value diversity and promote equality;
  • To ensure that the contents of the child's records, including placement plans, care plans and other planning documentation are comprehensive and have been shared with all relevant people;
  • To ensure that all aspects of a child or young person's Care Plan is outcome focused, communicated to all parties concerned and updated where appropriate;
  • To ensure that placements and services are tailored to meet the needs of children and young people and that they provide a safe, healthy and nurturing environment;
  • To ensure that statutory requirements are met;
  • To ensure that children and young people are protected from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation and deprivation;
  • To ensure that up to date, comprehensive care planning documentation is maintained which details the nature and quality of care provided linked to specific outcomes across all seven developmental dimensions;
  • To ensure that children, young people, their parents/carers are fully informed about their care and outcomes to be delivered;
  • To ensure that all relevant stakeholders have been fully involved in the care planning process;
  • To ensure that children, young people, their parents and carers have been consulted and participated in the planning and review process;
  • To consider all aspects of a child or young person's care and life and not just those that have led to a period of separation from home;
  • To ensure that care plans and other documentation is rigorously recorded and acted upon;
  • To encourage partnerships between those responsible for a child or young person's care;
  • To promote continuity in the lives of children and young people looked after and reduce and wherever possible, eliminate, disruption.

The Children’s Act 2004 defines five key outcomes for children as:

  • Stay safe;
  • Be healthy;
  • Enjoy and achieve;
  • Make a positive contribution;
  • Achieve economic well being.

3. Key Principles Underpinning Work to Safeguard and Promote the Welfare of Children

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2015 outlines the following key principles.

Effective safeguarding arrangements in every local area should be underpinned by two key principles:

  • Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility: for services to be effective each professional and organisation should play their full part; and
  • A child-centred approach: for services to be effective they should be based on a clear understanding of the needs and views of children.

Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility

Everyone who works with children - including teachers, GPs, nurses, midwives, health visitors, early years professionals, youth workers, police, Accident and Emergency staff, paediatricians, voluntary and community workers and social workers - has a responsibility for keeping them safe.

No single professional can have a full picture of a child's needs and circumstances and, if children and families are to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.

In order that organisations and practitioners collaborate effectively, it is vital that every individual working with children and families is aware of the role that they have to play and the role of other professionals. In addition, effective safeguarding requires clear local arrangements for collaboration between professionals and agencies.

It is very important that safeguarding arrangements are strongly led and promoted at a local level, specifically by:

  • A strong lead from local authority members, and the commitment of chief officers in all agencies, in particular the Director of Children's Services and Lead Member for Children's Services in each local authority; and
  • Effective local coordination and challenge by the LSCBs in each area.

A child-centred approach

Effective safeguarding systems are child centred. Failings in safeguarding systems are too often the result of losing sight of the needs and views of the children within them, or placing the interests of adults ahead of the needs of children.

Children are clear what they want from an effective safeguarding system and this is described in Section 1, Introduction.

Children want to be respected, their views to be heard, to have stable relationships with professionals built on trust and for consistent support provided for their individual needs. This should guide the behaviour of professionals. Anyone working with children should see and speak to the child; listen to what they say; take their views seriously; and work with them collaboratively when deciding how to support their needs.

In addition to individual practitioners shaping support around the needs of individual children, local agencies need to have a clear understanding of the collective needs of children locally when commissioning effective services. As part of that process, the Director of Public Health should ensure that the needs of vulnerable children are a key part of the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment that is developed by the Health and Wellbeing Board.

4. South Tyneside Children and Young People's Plan

4.1 The procedures have been written within the spirit of these values and principles and in line with the Assessment Framework, in addition to the specific principles defined by South Tyneside's Children's Trust.

The following values and principles underpin the work carried out by the Children's Services:

  • To ensure that the work with children and young people is always child focused and does not promote problem profiling;
  • To aim for standards of child care that are equivalent to those of well informed parents;
  • To have in place formal planning and communication processes to promote continuities in the lives of children and young people;
  • To respect each child or young person as an individual in their own right, to value diversity and promote equality;
  • To encourage contact, where appropriate with family, friends and significant others;
  • To promote the well-being and success of children and young people;
  • To be ambitious for children and young people;
  • To work in partnership with others to promote positive outcomes for children and young people;
  • To promote positive action at all times when working with children and young people and their families;
  • To treat children and young people with courtesy, ensuring respect, dignity, acceptance, honesty, choice and confidentiality;
  • To listen and take into account the views and opinions of children, young people and their carers;
  • To enable children and young people to fulfil their potential across the areas of childhood development identified in the Assessment Framework.

5. Effective Supervision and Support for Professionals

5.1 All agencies should have an accessible agency policy which defines minimum levels of formal supervision of those Staff who are accountable for safeguarding children. Such cases, which give rise to concerns regarding a child within the Children's Services Authority, should be supervised on a minimum of a monthly basis. 
5.2 For all other agencies, frequency of supervision should adhere to agreed agency procedures. Formal supervision should be differentiated from consultation with designated personnel on specific matters of concern. 
5.3 Supervision should ensure that members of staff fully understand their roles, responsibilities and the scope of their professional discretion and authority. Supervision should be used effectively to identify training and developmental needs.
5.4 Case supervision where there are concerns regarding a child's welfare should include reflecting and evaluating the work carried out as well as future action planning. All case supervision must clearly record content and decisions. The case recording should be checked in supervision by the supervising officer of the relevant practitioner to ensure adherence to these procedures.