Visitors

REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS

Regulation 5 – Engaging with the Wider System to Ensure Each Child’s Needs are Met

The Protection of Children Standard

AMENDMENT

This chapter was slightly amended in April 2013 in regard to the Disclosure and Barring Service.



Contents

  1. General
  2. Parents, Relatives and Friends
  3. Delivery People
  4. Maintenance Workers and Contractors
  5. Officials (e.g. Social Workers, Independent Visitors, Regulatory Authority)
  6. Employees and Children from other Homes
  7. Neighbours


1. General

  1. We wish to maintain an open and professional relationship with neighbours, agencies and interested people in the community. We also welcome and encourage visitors to all our communities but we understand that this has to be achieved within the context of protecting the interests and rights of everyone living and working within the community;
  2. There is a potentially wide range of people who may wish to visit our communities and staff need to be vigilant when permitting visitors to enter the community, ensuring identification is always authenticated. If the visitor is unable to prove their identity, a senior manager must be consulted and give approval before contact is permitted;
  3. Visitors to communities fall into several categories: Social workers, parents, relatives or friends of children, prospective employees, inspectors, neighbours or representatives of community/agency groups, workers, delivery drivers, meter readers and the like;
  4. The degree of briefing they need should be appropriate to the risks to which they are exposed and to which they might expose children. We understand this must be kept in context. We want the children in our care to lead normal everyday lives and to learn how to assess and manage risks;
  5. The following applies to all visitors who are likely to remain in the community or come into contact with children:
    • They should have a clear understanding of the purpose and function of the community, this does not mean that they should be required to read our Statement of Purpose, but they should be briefed on the purpose of the community and risks they may encounter;
    • The visit should normally be planned/announced and agreed by the Director/Registered Manager or staff (e.g. for social worker visits). Visits to children by parents, relatives and friends must be planned as set out in Section 2, Parents, Relatives and Friends. As part of the planning process, a risk assessment must be undertaken;
    • Visitors should be welcomed by a Director or senior member of staff on duty, who should act as a reference person for the visitor for the duration of their visit. The Director/member of staff should ensure that the visitor's identity is authenticated as described in b) above. The Director/member of staff must ensure the visitor has received and/or understands the key elements of being in the community;
    • The visitor should be briefed on what behaviour they are likely to encounter, what to do if an incident occurs, practical matters such as fire precautions, location of toilets, mealtimes, etc.
    • Their arrival and departure must be recorded in the Daily Log, Visitors Book and, if an individual child has been visited his/her daily record.


2. Parents, Relatives and Friends

See: Section 1, General.

No contact may be permitted between children and their parents, siblings, relatives or friends without the approval of the social worker - preferably outlined in the Placement Plan.

We will do all we reasonably can to encourage contact with parents and relatives but we have a duty to protect children's rights and interests. Therefore contact with parents or relatives must be planned/agreed with social workers in consultation with children, and clearly set out in Placement Plans.

If parents or relatives arrive without prior agreement, staff should politely and sensitively explain that they can not allow contact until the Director/social worker has been consulted; and then consult the Director. If there appear to be any immediate risks to the child or others, staff should seek guidance and support from a manager or, in exceptional circumstances, the Police.

In relation to planned contacts, before or upon arrival parents and relatives will need a fuller briefing, including information on how to react if there are problems or if children make offensive suggestions. If they are staying for longer periods particularly overnight they will need a full fire precautions briefing. 

Staff take reasonable precautions to prove the identity of parents, relatives or friends before entering the community. If the person is unable to do so or there is any doubt or concerns on the part of staff, they may not come into the community and should be politely referred to a senior manager.


3. Delivery People

See: Section 1, General.

People visiting for short periods such as delivery drivers, post office staff etc. will not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with children and will not normally be expected to note their arrival or departure in the Daily Log and Visitors Book.


4. Maintenance Workers and Contractors

See: Section 1, General.

Before Contractors are permitted to undertake work in the community, the Director/Registered Manager must ensure that they are properly briefed on the purpose and function of the community, and that any parameters are agreed, preferably in writing e.g. which parts of the community they may access, safe management of tools/equipment.

Staff must ask the visitor to prove their identity before entering the community. If the person is unable to do so or there is any doubt or concerns on the part of staff, they may not come into the community and should be politely referred to a senior manager.

Under no circumstances may contractors have unsupervised contact with children, even if they have obtained DBS checks, unless the relevant social worker approves it.

All arrivals and departures must be recorded in the Daily Log and Visitors Book, any concerns raised by the workers or by staff within the community must immediately be brought to the attention of the Director.


5. Officials (e.g. Social Workers, Independent Visitors, Regulatory Authority)

See: Section 1, General.

Independent Visitors or Advocates who are likely to require unsupervised contact with children must firstly satisfy the Community Director that they have up to date Enhanced DBS Checks.

Social workers, police officers and representatives of Regulatory Authority will not be required to provide details of DBS Checks.

Should such visitors require unsupervised contact with children, this is acceptable but they should not be alone with children in their bedrooms.


6. Employees and Children from other Homes

See: Section 1, General.

Staff and children not working/living at the community must be treated as visitors; their arrival and departure must be recorded in the Daily Log and Visitors Book.

Should family members of employees visit the community, they must not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with children.


7. Neighbours

See: Section 1, General.

Neighbours may not have unsupervised contact with children.

We are keen to establish good relationships with people in the community, maintaining an open and honest dialogue.

A children's home no matter how well run is likely to have some degree of negative impact on its neighbours.

  1. Where possible the locations of communities are chosen where such impact is minimised but where this is not possible, physical measures are taken such as the erection of substantial fences or the double glazing of windows from which a noise nuisance might emanate;
  2. Communities should discourage behaviour patterns, which seem likely to cause difficulties e.g. noisy activities or loud music in close proximity to neighbours' property;
  3. In new locations, contact should be made with neighbours at the earliest opportunity and regular contact after that should be maintained. All efforts should be made to build up goodwill and understanding as they are of assistance if difficulties do arise. The parish council are involved at the early stage of registration when no young people have yet been placed at the Resource;
  4. Neighbours should be given practical advice on dealing with our children which might include not inviting them into their homes, not lending money or offering cigarettes, etc.
  5. If an incident occurs, it must be taken seriously. All phone calls or visits should be dealt with calmly and politely, even if aggressive. A senior manager should call back as soon as possible and if at all possible, arrange a visit to the neighbour. If the neighbour wishes to make a complaint, the Director/Registered Manager should refer to Representations and Complaints Procedure.