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Underlying Values and Principles

A number of core values and principles underpin these procedures, as follows:

Shared Responsibility

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is everyone’s responsibility, including all those who work with children, young people and families; those who manage staff within this work; staff who work with mothers, fathers, carers and other adults who have contact with children; staff who have both direct and indirect contact with children, including administration, support and back office staff; volunteers, community groups and the general public.

The complexity of the work relies upon effective working between and within partner agencies, which includes a high degree of co-operation and a commitment to a continual need to improve awareness and practice. Safeguarding activity is undertaken at all levels of service provision, including universal, targeted and specialist services. To achieve this joint working, there needs to be constructive relationships between individual employees, promoted and supported by a commitment from chief officers and senior managers in all agencies.

All agencies and employees should:

  • Be alert to potential indicators of abuse and/or neglect;
  • Be alert to the risks posed by individual abusers or potential abusers;
  • Share information and assist with its analysis in order for informed assessments to be made of children's needs and circumstances;
  • Actively contribute to whatever actions are needed to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.

All agencies are responsible for ensuring that their staff have access to and undergo appropriate child protection training. It is essential that all its employees recognise their responsibility within the process and are committed and able to undertake this.

Focused on Outcomes

All children deserve the opportunity to achieve their full potential under the five outcomes identified as being key to children and young people’s well being:

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

The purpose of all interventions should be to achieve the best possible outcomes for the child.

Child Centred

All work with children, young people and families should remain focused on the individual needs of the child or young person throughout. It is essential that attention is not diverted by the behaviour of adults within the family particularly where these are complex and require support in their own right.

Working in Partnership with Children, Young People and Families

Most parents and carers want the best for their children and developing positive relationships and support packages to enable families to safeguard and promote their own children’s welfare where possible is good practice. Early intervention and the use of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) rely on the ability to engage positively with families and the role of Lead Professional is central to this work. See Pathways to Services. For further information on the initiation and implementation of a Common Assessment Framework.

Working in Partnership with other Agencies

Interagency work is crucial in safeguarding children and young people and promoting their welfare. Evidence from Serious Case Reviews highlights the need for agencies to work together at all levels of intervention to ensure information is shared and the whole picture of needs recognised.

Inclusive Practice 

All work with children, young people and families, including assessments at all levels of intervention, must ensure the individual needs of the family are taken into account and assessed for the impact on needs and service provision. Issues of race, culture, language, religion, sexuality and disability are integral to an holistic assessment process and appropriate service provision. Practice must ensure equality of opportunity, sensitivity, understanding of diversity and challenging of stereotypes or assumptions. An understanding of previous experiences of racism or discrimination should also be taken into account when undertaking assessments or providing services.

Early Help

Children have varying needs that change over time and judgements on how best to intervene and at what point must be made based on professional judgement, a sound assessment of the child’s needs and the parents and wider family’s ability to respond to these needs.

In Nottinghamshire the agreed multi-agency thresholds for services for children and families are set out in the Pathway to Provision. For further information please refer to Pathway to Services Procedure.

Information Sharing

In carrying out our statutory responsibilities in safeguarding children, employees should always strive to work in partnership with children, young people and families and other agencies. Serious Case Reviews undertaken locally and nationally highlight the need to share information across agencies to build a complete picture of the child and their needs.

Family members know more about their own situation than others and have the right to know what is being said about them. They must also be involved and contribute to decisions about their lives and the lives of their children, unless there are specific reasons why this right is overruled by the child’s rights and needs. Consent issues do not override the duty on employees and agencies to promote children’s welfare or protect them from harm. For more information on this issue, see Information Sharing Procedure.