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Safeguarding is an action, or actions, that promotes the welfare of children and vulnerable adults and protects them from harm. It enables them to live safely, with no risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and with all their physical and emotional needs being met.
Safeguarding may include:
- Protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse or mistreatment.
- Preventing harm to their physical, mental, and emotional health.
- Ensuring they receive effective care.
- Taking specific actions to ensure the best possible outcomes are met.
Safeguarding procedures may differ depending on whether the individual is an adult or a child. For more information regarding safeguarding children, consult the NSPCC.
For the most up-to-date safeguarding policies for vulnerable adults.
All organisations that have contact with the child or vulnerable adult should ensure they are following safeguarding procedures. These organisations may include, schools, hospitals, care facilities, community organisations, and voluntary groups. It is the legal duty of all organisations, employees, and volunteers to ensure they are following safeguarding policies and procedures.
Safeguarding should also be free of discrimination. All individuals have an equal right to be protected under safeguarding policies, regardless of race, religion, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation.
If you work or volunteer with children or vulnerable adults, or come into close contact with them, safeguarding training is likely to be essential. It is recommended that safeguarding training is updated every two years. Some safeguarding certificates may be valid for a different length of time (e.g., one year), in which case you will need to take a refresher course before your certificate expires.
In many workplaces where safeguarding is required, governing bodies, such as Ofsted, will check your safeguarding certificate is up to date. Even if you are not likely to be inspected, it is still your legal duty to ensure your safeguarding certificate is valid.
There are currently three different safeguarding levels. Although each level will provide essential information and knowledge about safeguarding, they do have some key differences. Which level is most appropriate to you will depend on your personal circumstances, job role, and your level of contact with vulnerable individuals.
Today, we are going to examine the different safeguarding levels and their suitability to different job roles. Keep in mind that the definition and suitability of each of the levels may vary depending on the individuals you are required to safeguard, your industry, and even the country you reside in within the UK.
Level One safeguarding training is an introduction to safeguarding. You do not need to have any previous knowledge or training, as a Level One training course will provide a firm understanding of safeguarding risks.
Some of the things you will learn include:
- What safeguarding is.
- Why safeguarding is so important.
- Information about safeguarding legislation and guidelines.
- How to maintain a person-centred approach.
- How to recognise signs of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
- How to respond to a disclosure.
- How to report concerns.
- Maintaining confidentiality.
- How to record information.
- What to do if a safeguarding incident occurs.
- The importance of following safeguarding procedures.
Depending on the sector you work in and your job role, you may be legally required to obtain Level One safeguarding training.
Job roles that usually require this training include:
- Teachers, childminders, and nursery workers.
- Administrative workers and receptionists.
- Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers.
- Social workers.
- Council staff and immigration workers.
- Police staff.
- Sports teachers, coaches, and youth workers.
- Religious leaders and volunteers.
- Health and Safety workers.
- Maintenance and cleaning staff.
Level Two safeguarding training is designed for those who require a high level of safeguarding knowledge. Often referred to as ‘Advanced Safeguarding’, someone who is trained in Level Two safeguarding is likely to have an increased level of safeguarding responsibilities. Level Two training is usually undertaken by those who have frequent, close contact with children or vulnerable adults.
Level Two training should cover everything included in Level One but will build on this knowledge by providing a more in-depth understanding of safeguarding procedures, different scenarios you may encounter, and what happens after a referral is made.
An individual with Level Two safeguarding will be able to participate in a safeguarding enquiry and will have the ability to record and report any concerns.
Some of the things you will learn include:
- Key safeguarding legislation and guidelines.
- How the legislation applies to your role.
- How to effectively communicate with at-risk individuals.
- How to identify abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
- An overview of designated responsibilities for different safeguarding roles.
- The role of the designated safeguarding officer.
- The differences between adult and child safeguarding.
- Multi-agency work and relationships.
- How to handle safeguarding concerns.
- How to handle concerns, complaints, and allegations.
Jobs that may require a Level Two safeguarding qualification include:
- Managers in a care setting.
- Ambulance workers.
- Community pharmacists.
- Welfare rights workers.
- Rehabilitation workers.
- Anyone who engages in regulated activities.
Some professions that require Level One safeguarding training may also require Level Two. This can vary depending on your employer, your local authority, and your exact role. These professions may include teachers and other school staff, sports coaches, and youth workers.
Level Three safeguarding training is usually recommended for an individual who has a central role in any safeguarding situation. This individual will usually be the first point of contact for the staff or other individuals who have safeguarding concerns.
This individual may be the Designated Safeguarding Officer or Lead. They may require the necessary knowledge to write or organise any safeguarding policies and contribute to or manage safeguarding plans for vulnerable adults or children.
A Safeguarding Lead may also be required to work with other agencies and have direct responsibilities to investigate, record, and report any safeguarding concerns in a specific environment or workplace. They will be expected to act as an advocate for the vulnerable adult or child and ensure safeguarding policies are followed and enforced.
Level Three training will build on the knowledge from Levels One and Two and will also provide knowledge and information specific to a Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Some of the key aspects of Level Three training are:
- A thorough understanding of safeguarding, child protection, child abuse, and the protection of vulnerable adults.
- Definitions, legislation, guidance, and specific processes related to safeguarding.
- How to ensure the duty of care is fulfilled.
- Vulnerability and protection.
- The professional responsibilities of you and others.
- How to report and document any concerns.
- How to contribute to inter-agency assessments.
- How to gather and share information appropriately.
- Multi-agency work and relationships.
- How to support vulnerable individuals and their families.
- Local organisation protocols.
- The referral processes.
- How to find information about your local social services or safeguarding team.
- Your information-sharing responsibilities.
Level Three training is also often recommended for any clinical staff who could contribute to assessments, planning, interventions, and evaluations. Professions that may require Level Three Safeguarding training are usually those who have a designated safeguarding position or whose main responsibilities are related to safeguarding.
This could include:
- Designated Safeguarding Officer or Lead.
- Those in a management or supervisory position.
- Mental health staff.
- Adult learning practitioners.
- Social workers or care workers.
- Doctors, general practitioners or senior nurses.
- Any agency staff working in the medical profession.
What to do if you are still uncertain?
If you are still unsure what level of safeguarding you require, consult your employer or the organisation you volunteer with. They should be able to clarify the specific level you require and whether you need any additional training alongside safeguarding, such as Child Abuse training or Dementia training. If you are still unsure which level is recommended for you, you could also consult the governing body that oversees your field or inspects your place of work.
The majority of employers and governing bodies in the UK will accept online safeguarding training. However, in some cases, you may be required to obtain face-to-face training. Check the requirements of your workplace before signing up for a course. You should also ensure that the course you choose is verifiable and your certificate will meet inspection guidelines.
There are different guidelines regarding how often safeguarding training should be refreshed. These guidelines are based on a number of factors, including the country of the UK that you reside and work in, your job role, your employer, and the employment field you work in.
However, it is generally recommended that safeguarding training is updated every two years, or whenever your certificate expires – whichever happens first. This ensures that your safeguarding knowledge is up to date and you remain familiar with safeguarding policies and procedures.
You can choose to complete a refresher course instead of redoing the original course. A refresher course will be customised and specifically tailored for updating your knowledge. It may be possible to complete a refresher course with the same organisation that originally provided your safeguarding training.