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Agenda Item No.22a

 

Matter Which the Chairman has Decided Is Urgent by Reason of the Need to Allow Cabinet to Consider the Views of the Safeguarding Working Group in Tandem with the Report on Safer Recruitment Policy for the Council and Schools

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 14TH JANUARY, 2013

 

REFERENCE FROM SAFEGUARDING WORKING GROUP – 9TH JANUARY 2013

 

“           SAFER RECRUITMENT POLICY FOR THE COUNCIL AND SCHOOLS -

 

BACKGROUND

 

The draft Safer Recruitment Policy was considered at CMT on the 19th December 2012 and was amended to reflect the removal of the ability for Governors, Managers and Head teachers to use the Risk Assessment process in the engagement of volunteers.

 

POSITION

 

The revised draft policy was subsequently considered at the Safeguarding Working Group meeting on the 9th January 2013.  The group were advised of the views of the Head Teachers requesting to be afforded the ability to engage volunteers on occasions without all necessary checks being in place.

 

The concerns expressed by Head Teachers were made during the consultation process on the basis of providing flexibility to enlist the support of volunteers and enhance their ability to call on volunteers to support school activities.

 

The Head Teachers were advised at these meetings that the Risk Assessment process would provide opportunities to adopt a pragmatic but properly managed and accountable response and address their needs on occasions where it was considered essential for volunteers to take up their roles but checks remain outstanding.

 

VIEW OF THE SAFEGUARDING WORKING GROUP

 

The Safeguarding Working Group are concerned that given the above, some schools may determine not to adopt the policy or reject those aspects in respect of volunteers.

 

The group seeks to realise a consistent approach in all aspects of safeguarding throughout the Council and recognise the intention to appoint a dedicated Safeguarding Officer within the Learning & Skills Directorate which will assist schools in undertaking their safeguarding responsibilities.

 

Similarly, given that the policy will be subject of further development and refinements, the group would ask the Cabinet to amend the policy to reflect the following -

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the policy and associated documentation be amended  to enable volunteers (excluding those roles governed by the Care Council) to be engaged with the benefit of a formal Risk Assessment being concluded by a suitably trained Manager/Head Teacher who will be required to accept responsibility for their decision.

 

(2)       T H A T as part of the awareness and training to support the implementation of the new Policy, Managers/Head Teacher will be asked to ensure that the highest vigilance be applied as they remain professionally accountable for the application of the Risk Assessment process and that they  conclude all outstanding checks as a matter of urgency.  

 

(3)       T H A T the need for robust and vigorous safeguarding checks be conducted as soon as practicable and that consideration be given by Governors, Managers and Head teachers to establishing a “pooled resource” within each school, where volunteers can be checked in advance of being called upon to provide support to school activities.

 

Reasons for Recommendations

 

(1&2)  To provide a pragmatic and accountable Risk Assessment process to enable volunteers (excluding those roles governed by the Care Council) to be engaged through a robust procedure for those roles with unsupervised access to children and vulnerable people.

 

(3)       To ensure that all Governors, Managers and Head teachers complete all appropriate checks on volunteers as soon as possible and arrangements made to establish a “pooled resource” within each school to support school activities.”