Promoting the welfare of children and protecting them from harm is referred to as ‘safeguarding’. Research shows that children are best protected when professionals are clear about what is required from them individually and how they need to work together and in partnership with families and other local agencies. Children’s needs must be paramount, and concerns must be identified at an early stage with informed action taken promptly. Essentially, we need to give children the right help at the right time.
All staff members at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust are aware of their professional duty to safeguard the welfare of any child who receives healthcare services or with whom they come into contact.
Staff, including those who work with adult patients, will see children and young people up to the age of 18 (including unborn babies) in a variety of settings such as hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, schools, community clinics, or at home. Whatever the setting, all staff are trained to take action if concerned about a child’s welfare.
The Safeguarding Children Team
We support staff in this responsibility to protect children and ensure their wellbeing. We are a specialist team of doctors and nurses, providing a range of expertise, support, advice, supervision and training to all staff at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust. Every individual staff member has access to the Safeguarding Children Team.
Our Team comprises four county-wide, community-based locality teams and hospital-based staff providing cover to:
- Harrogate and the rural district
- Hambleton and Richmondshire
- Scarborough and Ryedale
- Selby and York
The Team consists of:
- Designated doctor, safeguarding (consultant paediatrician)
- Named nurse, child protection
- Child protection advisor
- Named doctor, child protection (consultant paediatrician)
- Named midwife, child protection
- Named nurse, looked after children
- Looked after children’s nurse
- Paediatric liaison health visitor
Supporting staff and training them to identify concerns for children and young people is just one area of safeguarding children at the Trust. It’s equally important that we ensure that children are cared for in a safe, secure, and caring environment and that safeguarding is prioritised at a strategic level.
Some of our key safeguarding children arrangements include:
- Guaranteeing a safe workforce by ensuring staff members meet statutory requirements in relation to Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly Criminal Records Bureau) checks;
- Ensuring policies and procedures are in place, up-to-date, and reflect statutory safeguarding children legislation and government guidance;
- Following up children and young people who do not attend recommended outpatient appointments to ensure this is not detrimental to their health;
- Submission of an annual report by the Team for Trust board review;
- A clear accountability pathway and governance structure at executive and senior nursing level.
Leads from the Trust take responsibility for representing safeguarding children, both on the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust Board and the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Board. Performance and quality is assessed through robust audit processes to ensure that safeguarding children practices meet national Care Quality Commission standards (CQC’s roles and responsibilities for safeguarding children and adults; June 2015), adhere to Children Act duties (HMSO, 2004), and national guidance (Working Together to Safeguard Children, HM Government, 2015).
We work in close collaboration with a wide range of multi-agency partner agencies and are a member of the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Board.