• Safeguarding policies and procedures to ensure that every child, or young adults regardless of their age, race, gender, disability, race, religion or belief, etc has a right to equal protection from harm of every kind.


Any staff (Permanent, part time, sessional or volunteer) working with children on the premises must possess a PVG certificate.

Have undergone at least 20 hours of Childcare/handling training within the first six months of employment, 5 hours of which must be at the start of work.

We continue to adopt the policy of continuous safer recruitment practices to help make sure our staff and volunteers are suitable to work with children and young people. It is a vital part of creating a safe and positive environment and making a commitment to keep children safe from harm.

Publications: The following frameworks, policies etc shall be adopted

  • National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland
  • NSPCC Learning
  • Scottish Framework for Standards
  • Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) Scotland 2015
  • UN Convention on The Right of the Child (UNCRC)
  • National Risk Framework to Support the Assessment of Children and Young People (2012)

Identifying and Managing Risk

Working with risk is at the heart of child protection. Staff must have the training, tools and confidence to apply their professional judgement in a highly uncertain, complex and rapidly changing environment. Identifying concerns that require child protection actions in a timely fashion is central to effective action to support children. For this reason, the importance of good, accurate risk assessment within child protection cannot be overstated.

Decisions on intervention, support offered, or compulsory measures required to immediately protect the child are dependent on professional analysis of accurate and relevant information and robust decision-making. Failure to properly identify risk can lead to serious, and even fatal, outcomes for children. Hence, the adoption of National Risk Framework to Support the Assessment of Children and Young People (2012) aims to support and assist practitioners at all levels, in every agency, in these tasks.

Incidence Recording and Reporting: A register will be in place to record incidences, signed by the staff reporting and counter signed by a supervisor, and promptly reported to the parent/carer of the child in question by the supervisor and further escalated to the appropriate authorities.

Where incidence involves two or more children, or between young adults, the above procedure shall be complied with and all guardians (parents/carers) involved duly informed, and further escalated to relevant authorities as required by law.


  • protecting children from abuse and maltreatment
  • preventing harm to children’s health or development
  • ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care.
  • taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes.

Child protection is part of the safeguarding process. It focuses on protecting individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This includes child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child.

According to National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland Paramount among these principles is that child protection must be seen within the wider context of supporting families and meeting children's needs through GIRFEC.

GIRFEC incorporates the SHANARRI indicators which recognise that every child and young person should be:

  • Safe
  • Healthy
  • Achieving
  • Nurtured
  • Active
  • Respected
  • Responsible
  • Included (Scottish Government, 2014a)
    • puts children's needs first.
    • ensures that children are listened to and understand decisions that affect them; and
    • ensures that they get the appropriate co-ordinated support needed to promote, support and safeguard their wellbeing, health and development.

GIRFEC requires that all services for children and young people and adult services working with parents and carers of children and young people - including social work, health, education, police, housing and third sector services - adapt and streamline their systems and practices so that, where necessary, they can work together better to support children and young people. This includes strengthening arrangements for information-sharing. The approach encourages earlier intervention by practitioners to avoid crisis situations at a later date and ensures that children and young people get the help they need when they need it. With its emphasis on shared assessment based on common language, it facilitates information-sharing and stresses the importance of understanding risks and needs across all aspects of the child's wellbeing.

Support for staff

  • Child protection can be a complex and demanding area for staff and volunteers at all levels and requires sound professional judgements to be made. All of those involved should have access to advice and support from, for example, peers, managers or designated practitioners. Opportunities to reflect on individual and collaborative practice are particularly valuable.
  • Practitioners from all agencies involved in child protection require high quality, consistent and accessible support and supervision. Each agency should have formal procedures in place that promote good standards of practice and support individual staff members and effective prioritisation of workloads. Senior managers should ensure that supervision procedures are implemented, and that staff feel supported.
  • Supervision should ensure that practitioners - whether paid or volunteers - fully understand their roles, responsibilities and the scope of their professional discretion and authority. It should also help to identify the training and development needs of practitioners, ensuring that they have the skills to provide an effective service.
  • Supervisors should be available to practitioners as an important source of advice and expertise and may be required to endorse judgements at certain key points in time. Supervisors should also record key decisions within the child's case records.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

These principles, enshrined in legislation and practice in child protection, are derived from Articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the UK Government and endorsed by the Scottish Government. They should underpin all code and practice in child protection. While not directly enforceable in domestic Scottish courts, it is Scottish Government policy to implement the Convention wherever possible. The principles of the UN Convention include:

  • each child has a right to be treated as an individual.
  • every child who can form a view on matters affecting them has the right to express those views if they so wish, and those views should be given due weight in accordance with the child's age and maturity.
  • parents should normally be responsible for the upbringing of their children and should share that responsibility.
  • each child has the right to protection from all forms of abuse, neglect or exploitation.
  • insofar as is consistent with safeguarding and promoting the child's welfare, public authorities should promote the upbringing of children by their families; and
  • any intervention by a public authority in the life of a child must be properly justified and should be supported by services from all relevant agencies working in collaboration.

The Charter reflects children and young people's own views regarding what they need and the standard of care they expect when they have problems or are in difficulty and need to be protected. It shows that children and young people place more value on relationships and attitudes than processes and events. This should be reflected in the planning and implementation of all child-focused interventions.

Children get the help they need when they need it

Intervention should be proportionate and timely, and a holistic approach should be taken to identifying and responding to a child's wellbeing needs, as well as any risks they may face. Early intervention, preventative work and the provision of universal services, such as health and education, should ensure a timely response. Agencies working with children and their families should consider not only immediate needs but also longer-term needs that may arise. Child protection investigations may highlight significant unmet needs for support and services among children and families. These should always be considered, even where concerns about significant harm are not substantiated. Equally, family support services should always be alert to potential indicators of abuse and neglect. It must be remembered that early intervention and Compulsory Measures of Supervision are not mutually exclusive, early use of Compulsory Measures of Supervision may help to ensure compliance and prevent concerns from escalating.

Professionals take timely and effective action to protect children.

Practitioners should be alert to a child's wellbeing needs. If they are concerned about a child, they should seek all the information they need to inform their assessment of a child's circumstances and this should include any protective factors in the child's life. Practitioners should be clear about who they can discuss their concerns with and what action may be required to best support and protect the child. Joint planning and intervention across agencies will help ensure that risks are thoroughly assessed. The Named Person will be key to ensuring that all the information available is coordinated in order to arrive at a holistic assessment of the child's needs.

Professionals ensure children are listened to and respected.

Children should be listened to and their views should always inform any decisions made about them. Children and their carers should also be able to expect honesty and to be given explanations for actions or decisions taken. In some instances, urgent, immediate action will be needed to ensure the child's protection. In most cases, however, the child will be able to remain in the care of their family. It is especially important, therefore, that practitioners strive to achieve a good working relationship with parents/carers to ensure the best welfare of the child.

When involved in child protection work, agencies should ensure that:

  • wherever possible, parents/carers are given full information about the nature of the concerns.
  • wherever possible, the child and their parents/carers have the opportunity to either give or withhold their consent to interviews and medical examinations. For further information, see the sections on Health assessment and medical examination and Joint Investigations/assessment.
  • the child and family are consulted on and given explanations for any actions/decisions taken. Where necessary, explanations should be given more than once and/or in writing, as the stressful nature of investigations can make it difficult to take information in.
  • children and their families should be involved, wherever possible, in planning to meet the child's needs, both in the short and longer term. Children and their families are often best placed to know 'what works' for them.
  • the religious and cultural background of the child and family are taken into consideration when any decisions are being taken; and
  • where a child has learning disabilities or additional support needs with communication, consideration is given to the best way to involve and communicate with the child.

Agencies and professionals share information about children where this is necessary to protect them.

Sharing relevant information is an essential part of protecting children Although those providing services to adults and children may be concerned about balancing their duty to protect children from harm and their general duty towards their patient or service user, the over-riding concern must always be the safety of the child but concerns about a child's safety will always take precedence over the 'public interest' in maintaining confidentiality; for example, when referring a child to the Children's Reporter when there might be a need for Compulsory Measures of Supervision, or for the prevention and detection of crime. It should be borne in mind that a minor wellbeing concern raised by one agency may, when combined with information from other agencies, point to much more serious concerns. Under present Data Protection law, it is perfectly acceptable and lawful for services to share information, where there is an indication that a child's wellbeing is at risk. Under such circumstances consent is not required and should not be sought as the holder of the information can rely on alternative and more appropriate conditions from schedules 2 and 3 of the Data Protection Act 1998. This has been reaffirmed through the publication of advice by the Information Commissioner

Children and their families should be made aware of how information may be held and with whom it may be shared. Agencies should have clear and robust mechanisms for recording and storing information about a child and their family. For further information, see the chapter on Information-sharing and recording.

Agencies and professionals work together to assess needs and risks and develop effective plans.

Practitioners involved with a potential child protection case will, first and foremost, need to ensure the safety of the child, initially by assessing any risks and then by taking any immediate steps required to address those risks. Although the child's safety must be the primary consideration, agencies also need to take a wider view of the overall wellbeing needs of the child and family in line with the GIRFEC approach. Positive strengths and protective factors must be considered, and assessments should clearly identify the impact of both protective and adverse factors on the child. Any subsequent interventions, including Child Protection Plans, should be clearly focused on improving outcomes for the child. All agencies involved, along with the child and family, should clearly understand each other’s roles and the contributions everyone will make to ensure the successful delivery of the plan. Timescales for intervention should be clear and those involved with the plan should be alert to changes in circumstances and how these may affect the child and family.

Professionals are competent and confident.

84. All staff who work with children and or their families must understand their role in meeting children's needs and be alerted to concerns about a child's wellbeing. Practitioners who work with children and their families should be able to demonstrate collaborative practice, both with other agencies and with children and their families. Specialist skills and training should be available to staff undertaking joint investigations and assessments. Training should recognise and support the unique contribution each service has to make to meeting children's wellbeing needs and protecting them; equally, multi-agency training should be widely available for local services, including managers and leaders as well as direct practitioners.

Agencies work in partnership with members of the community to protect children.

All services that work with children and/or their families are responsible for promoting, supporting and safeguarding the wellbeing of all children and ensuring that members of the public know who to contact if they are concerned about a .child. This may include raising public awareness of the role of Named Person and promoting community responsibility for child protection. Child protection must be seen as the responsibility not only of the statutory agencies but also of the wider public. Local services should be accessible, transparent and accountable to the general public.

Agencies, individually and collectively, demonstrate leadership and accountability for their work and its effectiveness.

Effective service delivery requires effective leadership at both strategic and operational levels. Chief Officers are responsible for ensuring that the appropriate mechanisms are in place for the delivery of their service and that the appropriate links between planning and strategic fora are established and operating effectively. Services need to ensure that they have robust quality assurance and self-evaluation mechanisms in place so that the impact of service delivery can be measured. Practitioners involved in child protection often face complex and demanding challenges and senior managers must have an understanding of their staff's needs, and provide supervision and support.

Equality and diversity

Child protection policy must pay due attention to equality and diversity issues. Access to, and delivery of, child protection services should be fair, consistent, reliable and focused on individual outcomes and enablement. Service users should be listened to, respected and responded to. There should be no discrimination on the grounds of race, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, gender reassignment or on the basis of pregnancy and maternity.

Account should always be taken of diversity and equality issues. For example, children, young people and adults with a learning disability or people from minority ethnic communities - including the Gypsy/Traveller community - may have specific communication needs and require flexible approaches by staff to engage with them.

Information-Sharing and Recording

As highlighted in the section on Core principles, sharing appropriate information is an essential component of child protection and care activity. To secure the best outcomes for children, practitioners need to understand when it is appropriate to seek or share information, how much information to share and what to do with that information. Practitioners also need to consider from and with whom information can, and should, be sought and/or shared. This applies not only between different agencies, but also within agencies [15] . At the same time, children and their families have a right to know when information about them is being shared. Where appropriate, their consent should be sought, unless doing so would increase the risk to a child or others or prejudice any subsequent investigation.

Information-sharing for child protection: general principles

  • The wellbeing of a child is of central importance when making decisions to lawfully share information with or about them.
  • Children have a right to express their views and have them taken into account when decisions are made about what should happen to them.
  • The reasons why information needs to be shared and actions taken should be communicated openly and honestly with children and, where appropriate, their families.
  • In general, information will normally only be shared with the consent of the child (depending on age and maturity). However, where there is a risk to a child's wellbeing, consent should not be sought and relevant information should be shared with other individuals or agencies as appropriate.
  • At all times, information shared should be relevant, necessary and proportionate to the circumstances of the child, and limited to those who need to know.
  • When gathering information about possible risks to a child, information should be sought from all relevant sources, including services that may be involved with other family members. Relevant historical information should also be considered.
  • When information is shared, a record should be made of when it was shared, with whom, for what purpose, in what form and whether it was disclosed with or without informed consent. Similarly, any decision not to share information and the rationale should also be recorded.
  • Agencies should provide clear guidance for practitioners on sharing information for example, the GMC guidance on Protecting Children and Young People . This should include advice on sharing information about adults who may pose a risk to children, dealing with disputes over information-sharing and clear policies on whistleblowing.
  • It is not necessary to seek consent when there is legislative requirement to share information; for example, when making a referral to the Children's Reporter, or the prevention and detection of crime.

Confidentiality and consent

Privacy and confidentiality are governed by legal provisions that aim to safeguard personal information, particularly:

  • the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).
  • the Human Rights Act 1998.
  • the Data Protection Act 1998; and
  • professional codes of conduct.

The same legal provisions also provide for sharing of information for purposes such as public protection, crime prevention and crime detection.

The Data Protection Act 1998 provides specific conditions for processing personal information and sensitive personal information, respectively. The Act requires that an individual's data be processed fairly and lawfully and that specific conditions/justifications for processing are met. At least one condition from Schedule 2 of the Act must be met before processing personal data and in addition at least one from Schedule 3 of the Act in respect of sensitive personal data. The Schedules provide several conditions/justifications for processing, only the first of which rely on consent - where required, this should be fully informed and freely given. However, the issue of obtaining consent can be difficult and it should only be sought when the individual has real choice over the matter. Where circumstances exist, it may not be appropriate to seek consent, for example where an assessment under the wellbeing indicators or Child Protection raises concerns, it will be possible to share information if one of the other conditions in the Schedules is met. This includes where the processing is necessary for the exercise of any function conferred by or under an enactment. Specific reference to the Data Protection Act and to national and/or local guidance supporting it should be made in any case where practitioners are unsure about their ability to share information. Perth and Kinross CPC have produced helpful guidance [16] on this.

Where agencies are acting in fulfilment of their statutory duties, it is not necessary or appropriate to seek consent - for example, where a referral is made to the Reporter under the Children's Hearing (Scotland) Act 2011 or where a report is provided by the local authority during an investigation by the Reporter under the Act.

There is an important distinction between making the child aware that information will/may be shared and seeking their consent for that sharing.

If a child's wellbeing is considered to be at risk, relevant information must always be shared.

The application of this principle can be overly sensitive, particularly where children and young people make use of a service on the basis of its confidentiality. Good examples of this are helplines set up to support children and young people, such as ChildLine. Many young people need the time and space that such confidential services can offer to talk about their problems with someone who can listen and advise without necessarily having to refer. However, on some occasions, this contract of confidentiality can be suspended if the information received concerns risks to a child or another person. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 contains provisions which, when enacted, will introduce a duty to share concerns about a child's wellbeing with the Named Person. In such cases the Act allows for the disclosure of information obtained through confidential service contact, where the requirements set out in the Act have been met.

Recording and analysing information

Decision-making depends on having sufficient, succinct, accurate and accessible records. A distinction should always be made between facts, hearsay and opinions. Records should include note of:

  • dates of staff contacts with children and families;
  • the child's views and emotional wellbeing;
  • actions and decisions and the rationale behind them;
  • outcomes of interventions;
  • the Child's Plan (incorporating a Child Protection Plan, where the child is believed to be at risk of significant harm) and
  • a chronology of significant events involving the child.

Chronologies can help identify patterns of events or accumulation of concerns (or positive developments). They should be reviewed and monitored by managers with a quality assurance role. Care should be taken to ensure chronologies are cross-referenced with relevant information from other agencies. For further information, (see the SWIA Practice Guide on Chronologies or GIRFEC Practice Paper 8)

Storage and retention of records

Good information-sharing depends on the quality of record-keeping and on robust processes for storing information. All agencies should have clear procedures for recording and handling personal information, including managing the interface between electronic and manual records. Procedures should also be in place for the storage, retrieval, retention and disclosure of information. Where there are arrangements for the sharing of files or electronic information - for example, in an integrated assessment as part of a single planning process - there should be clear protocols in place to support this.

Local procedures should provide clear guidance on how different types of information ( e.g. verbal, written or electronic) should be recorded and/or stored. These procedures also need to address the issue of protective markings and the secure storage of information by their own and other services or third parties. The length of time records are kept will be influenced by both legislative and regulatory requirements and local services should ensure processes are in place to conform to these standards. All staff should understand their responsibilities with regard to recording, storing and sharing information.

Collective Responsibilities for Child Protection

All agencies, professional and public bodies and services that deliver adult and/or child services and work with children and their families have a responsibility to recognise and actively consider potential risks to a child, irrespective of whether the child is the main focus of their involvement. They are expected to identify and consider the child's needs, share information and concerns with other agencies and work collaboratively with other services (as well as the child and their family) to improve outcomes for the child.

Self-evaluation is central to continuous improvement. It is a reflective process through which Child Protection Committees and strategic planning groups for services for children and young people get to know how well they are doing and identify the best way to improve their services. Relevant frameworks of quality indicators are designed to assist this process by:

  • encouraging reflection upon practice to identify strengths and areas for improvement;
  • recognizing work which is having a positive effect on the protection of children ;
  • identifying where quality needs to be maintained, where improvement is needed and where services should be working towards achieving excellence; and
  • allowing services to inform stakeholders about the quality of services to protect children.

YOUNG ADULTS: In Scotland, a child legally becomes an adult when they turn 16, but statutory guidance which supports the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 includes all children and young people up to the age of 18. Where concerns are raised about a 16 or 17 year old, agencies may need to refer to the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007, depending on the situation of the young person at risk. Section 21 of the National guidance for child protection in Scotland explains how professionals should act to protect young people from harm in different circumstances (Scottish Government, 2014).

Other community and related services

Third sector

The third sector is made up of various types of organisation with certain characteristics in common. They are non-governmental, value-driven and typically reinvest any profits in furthering their social, environment or cultural objectives. The term encompasses voluntary and community organisations, charities, social enterprises, co-operatives and mutuals, both large and small.

The third sector is a significant provider of services for children and young people, including nurseries, residential care, pre-school play groups, parenting and family support, youth work and other youth services, befriending, counselling, respite care, foster care, adoption, through-care and after-care, advocacy, helplines and education. Some services are provided substantially by volunteers, particularly in relation to youth work ( e.g. Scouts Scotland and Guiding Scotland) and helplines ( e.g. ChildLine). The third sector includes a number of large to medium-sized charities providing a wide range of specialised services. These often deploy both professional staff and volunteers.

The third sector plays a significant role in engaging with and improving outcomes for children and young people who are vulnerable or disadvantaged for a wide range of reasons including poverty, neglect and disability. These organisations may be commissioned to provide direct services such as family support, and residential and fostering services. Where they are in contracted/commissioned relationships with public bodies and providing a service on their behalf they will be under the duties of those bodies. In addition, voluntary organisations are often in an ideal position to engage with those children and families who are suspicious of statutory interventions.

Many voluntary organisations will have direct or indirect engagement with children, young people and parents, even if this is not their principal activity. Providers of services to adults, for example, in relation to housing/tenancy support, mental health, disability, drug and alcohol problems, may become concerned about children within a family, without necessarily having seen the children. Anyone who has cause for concern about a child or young person should share information according to their organisation's local protocol. All agencies and organisations working with children and young people are expected to have child protection procedures in line with the national guidance.

Reporting concerns

In Scotland, there is no legal requirement to report concerns about a child’s welfare. However, the National guidance for child protection (Scottish Government, 2014a) refers to "collective responsibilities" to protect children.

How to report a concern

If you think a child is in immediate danger, contact the police on 999. If you're worried about a child but they are not in immediate danger, you should share your concerns.

  • Follow your organisational child protection procedures.
  • Contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or by emailing
  • Contact your local children’s social work team. Their contact details can be found on the website for the local authority the child lives in.
  • Contact the local Children's Reporter. Local, independent officials can decide if any legal interventions need to be made to protect a child. Children’s Reporters offices can be found on the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration website.
  • Contact Police Scotland if you are concerned that a child is in immediate danger.

Services will risk assess the situation and take action to protect the child as appropriate either through statutory involvement or other support. This may include making a referral to the local authority.