Explain why it is important to ensure children and young people are protected from harm in the work setting
Ensuring children and young people’s safety and welfare in the work setting is an essential part of safeguarding. While children are at school, practitioners act in ‘loco parentis’ while their parents are away. As part of their legal and professional obligations, practitioners hold positions of trust and a duty of care to the children in their school, and therefore should always act in their best interests and ensure their safety – the welfare of the child is paramount (Children Act 1989). The Children Act 2004 came in with the Every Child Matters (ECM) guidelines and greatly impacted the way schools look at the care and welfare of pupils. Children and young people should be helped to learn and thrive and be given the opportunity to achieve the five basic outcomes: be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution and achieve economic well-being. Children are vulnerable and depending on their age and level of development, do not see danger or recognise risks. They do not know when or how to look after themselves and need adults to protect them and ensure their safety, whilst encouraging their independence in an age appropriate manner.
All organisations that employ staff or volunteers to work with children need to use a safer recruitment practice. In March 2005, following the Soham murders and the subsequent Bichard Inquiry, the DCSF – Department for Children, Schools and Families - (previously the DES and the DoH) proposed that Recommendation 19 of the Bichard Inquiry should be carried out:
‘new arrangements should be introduced requiring those who wish to work with children, or vulnerable adults, to be registered. The register would confirm that there is no known reason why an individual should not work with these clients.’
As a result, the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 was passed, providing the legislative framework for the new Vetting and Barring scheme. This Act established the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) to