From 11 December 2017, individuals and organisations that have regular access to or contact with children must undertake a risk assessment of any particular harm to a child and specifically put in place a child safeguarding statement. This is necessary in order to comply with the Children First Act 2015.
The Act sets out a list of what it calls "relevant services". If you provide a service on this list and you employ at least one other person to carry out any work relating to this service, you must ensure, as far as practicable, that any child availing of your service is safe from harm. To do this, you must:
undertake a risk assessment of any potential risk/harm to a child while availing of your service; prepare a child safeguarding statement (see below); and appoint someone as the main point of contact for the child safeguarding statement. WHO IS AFFECTED?
The list of relevant services includes any work carried out by people who have regular access to or contact with children in:
Hospitals, hospices, health centres or other centres which provide physical or mental health services to children Schools or other centres of education Crèches or pre-schools Accommodation centres for asylum seekers It also includes any work or activity carried out by certain professionals who may come into contact with children, including: An Garda Síochána Priests, ministers or other persons advancing religious beliefs Persons who provide counselling or therapy to children Drivers or conductors or supervisors on vehicles used only for the purpose of conveying children who are unaccompanied by a parent/ guardian. The Act does not apply to anyone who provides a service in the course of a family or personal relationship or on an occasional basis only for no consideration at a school, sports or community event. WHEN MUST YOU PREPARE A CHILD SAFEGUARDING STATEMENT?
If you already provide a relevant service, you must do this by 11 March 2018. If you start providing a service after 11 December 2017, you will have three months from the date you commence providing your service to prepare your child safeguarding statement.
WHAT SHOULD BE IN A CHILD SAFEGUARDING STATEMENT?
The child safeguarding statement must:
specify the service being provided; include a written assessment of any potential risk/harm; set out the principles and procedures that are in place in relation to: managing any risk identified; any member of staff who is the subject of an...