Hertfordshire Music Service (HMS) understands and fully recognises the responsibility of the service for providing safe and inclusive experience for all children and young people (here referred to as Pupil(s)/Student(s)), protecting their wellbeing, and having due regard of the need to prevent people from being radicalised.
HMS will ensure that all staff receive (or has received) the relevant training in relation to safeguarding, child (pupil/student) protection and radicalisation prevention, colleagues will be vigilant at all times, identify those who may be at risk and take appropriate action.
Through their day-to-day contact with pupils / students, all HMS colleagues play a crucial role in identifying indicators of possible concern and making appropriate referrals. HMS will ensure that all Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads (DDSL) will undertake (or have undertaken) all relevant and appropriate safeguarding, child (pupil / student) protection and radicalisation prevention training, and will be able to make appropriate referrals.
It is important for pupils / students to receive the right help at the right time to address risks and prevent issues escalating. Research and serious case reviews have repeatedly shown the dangers of failing to take effective action (as detailed in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’). Examples of poor practice include failing to act on and refer early signs of abuse and neglect, poor record keeping, failing to listen to the pupil / student and failing to reassess concerns when the situation does not improve.
If after a referral the pupil’s / student’s situation does not appear to be improving, the DDSL (or the person that made the referral) should press for re-consideration to ensure their concerns have been addressed and, most importantly, that the pupil’s / student’s situation improves.
This policy sets out how HMS discharges its statutory responsibilities and is part of a set of documents relating to its safeguarding and child protection responsibilities. In addition, HMS also follows guidelines within the Handbook and Code of Conduct for Instrumental and Vocal Teachers.
This policy was comprehensively reviewed in August 2023 and is kept under review on an ongoing basis, updated at least annually; to the best of our knowledge, we do not feel it impacts negatively on any specific group(s) or individual(s) within our Hertfordshire community.
The policy will be implemented through the HMS performance and development programme. Compliance with the policy will be monitored by the Exceutive Leadership Team, colleagues in management and leadership roles and the Safeguarding Lead team.
HMS follows the procedures established by Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partners, including local authorities, Chief Officers of Police, and clinical commissioning groups.
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In order to effectively safeguard pupils / students and promote their welfare, HMS acts in accordance with the following legislation and guidance:
To comply with legislation and guidance, HMS:
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- follows the procedures established by the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Partners
- ensures all colleagues have appropriate training in order to recognise, and be alert to signs of abuse and radicalisation
- ensures all colleagues are aware of the procedures for handling suspected safeguarding issues, including those to be followed if a fellow colleague is accused or suspected of abuse, or promoting radicalisation
- ensures DDSL’s receive appropriate training and have responsibility for co-ordinating action and liaising with the appropriate agency if a safeguarding issue is brought to their attention
HMS understand and recognise their duty to undertake specific responsibilities to ensure all statutory measures, legislation and guidance is being adhered to. This is done so by ensuring:
- it has a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads (DDSL) for Child (Pupil / Student) Protection and receive refresher training at two yearly intervals to keep their knowledge and skills relevant and where necessary, take advice and guidance from a child protection specialist
- the Child Protection Team at County Hall is notified of the HMS DDSL’s and kept informed of any changes in personnel
- all colleagues know or have access to documentation detailing the names, roles and contact details of HMS’s DDSL’s
- all colleagues undertake regular safeguarding training, including identifying indicators of abuse and neglect, knowledge of safe working practice and an understanding of their role and responsibilities
- all colleagues are aware of and have access to a copy of this policy and other relevant documents
- all colleagues adhere to a strict confidentiality policy and will only disclose information about a pupil / student on a need-to-know basis
- if after a referral is made, the pupil / student’s condition does not improve, escalation procedures are followed to ensure their concerns have been addressed and the pupil / student’s situation improves
- new colleagues and temporary workers receive a safeguarding pupil’s / student’s induction
- HMS will work with relevant agencies and co-operate on child (pupil / student) protection matters
- hMS operates within the legislative framework and recommended guidance
- HMS understands the increased expectations and responsibilities around filtering and monitoring its IT systems. Standalone systems operated by HMS are limited. The DSL takes lead responsibility for this, working in partnership with relevant internal and external stakeholders.
Guidance for schools around the legal duties to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils / students under the age of 18, is outlined by the Department for Education (DfE) ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ (2023).
The duty placed upon schools and staff to ensure safeguarding procedures are correctly followed is set out in Section 175 of the Education Act 2002.
Safeguarding is defined by DfE in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2018) as:
“protecting children from maltreatment; preventing impairment of children’s mental and physical health or development; ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care; and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.”
More information on ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ can be found at Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 (publishing.service.gov.uk)
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Signs of abuse and neglect
Child abuse is when a child is intentionally harmed by an adult or another child, child neglect is the failure to act to prevent harm. It can happen over a period but can also be a one-off action. Abuse can be physical, sexual, or emotional and it can happen in person or online. It can also be a lack of love, care, and attention – this is neglect. The following information will help you understand different types of abuse:
|Type of abuse||How to be vigilant|
A form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm or by failing to act to prevent harm. Harm can include ill treatment that is not physical as well as the impact of witnessing ill treatment of others. This can be particularly relevant, for example, in relation to the impact on children of all forms of domestic abuse.
Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others. Abuse can take place wholly online, or technology may be used to facilitate offline abuse. Children may be abused by an adult or adults or by another child or children.
A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.
Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate.
It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate 11 expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning or preventing the child from participating in normal social interaction.
It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.
Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing, and touching outside of clothing.
They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse.
Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children. The sexual abuse of children by other children is a specific safeguarding issue in education and all staff should be aware of it and of their school or college’s policy and procedures for dealing with it.
The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy, for example, because of maternal substance abuse.
Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing, and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Most likely to include, but may not be limited to:
- bullying (including cyberbullying, prejudice-based and discriminatory bullying)
- abuse in intimate personal relationships between children (sometimes known as ‘teenage relationship abuse’)
- physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages physical abuse)
- sexual violence, such as rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault; (this may include an online element which facilitates, threatens and/or encourages sexual violence)
- sexual harassment, such as sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be standalone or part of a broader pattern of abuse
- causing someone to engage in sexual activity without consent, such as forcing someone to strip, touch themselves sexually, or to engage in sexual activity with a third party
- consensual and non-consensual sharing of nude and semi-nude images and/or videos (also known as sexting or youth produced sexual imagery)
- upskirting, which typically involves taking a picture under a person’s clothing without their permission, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks to obtain sexual gratification, or cause the victim humiliation, distress, or alarm, and
- initiation/hazing type violence and rituals (this could include activities involving harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group and may also include an online element)
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE)
Both are forms of abuse that occur where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance in power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child into taking part in sexual or criminal activity, in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator and/or through violence or the threat of violence.
CSE and CCE can affect children, both male and female and can include children who have been moved (commonly referred to as trafficking) for the purpose of exploitation.
Can encompass a wide range of behaviours and may be a single incident or a pattern of incidents. That abuse can be, but is not limited to, psychological, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional. Children can be victims of domestic abuse.
They may see, hear, or experience the effects of abuse at home and/or suffer domestic abuse in their own intimate relationships (teenage relationship abuse). All of which can have a detrimental and long-term impact on their health, well-being, development, and ability to learn.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Whilst all staff should speak to the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) about any concerns about female genital mutilation (FGM), there is a specific legal duty on teachers. If a teacher, in the course of their work in the profession, discovers that an act of FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18, the teacher must report this to the police.
Mental health problems can, in some cases, be an indicator that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering abuse, neglect or exploitation. If any colleague has a mental health concern about a child that is also a safeguarding concern, immediate action should be taken, following their child protection policy, and speaking to the designated safeguarding lead or a deputy.
All colleagues should be aware of the indicators, which may signal children are at risk from, or are involved with, serious violent crime. These may include increased absence from school or college, a change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups, a significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in wellbeing, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries.
Unexplained gifts or new possessions could also indicate that children have been approached by, or are involved with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs and may be at risk of criminal exploitation.
Pupils / students with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) or certain medical or physical health conditions can face additional safeguarding challenges. These can include:
- assumptions that indicators of possible abuse such as behaviour, mood and injury relate to the pupil’s / student’s disability without further exploration
- these pupil’s / student’s being more prone to peer group isolation or bullying (including prejudice-based bullying) than other children
- the potential for pupil’s / student’s with SEND or certain medical conditions being disproportionally impacted by behaviours such as bullying, without outwardly showing any signs; and
- communication barriers and difficulties in managing or reporting these challenges
- cognitive understanding – being unable to understand the difference between fact and fiction in online content and then repeating the content / behaviours in schools or colleges, or the consequences of doing so.
More information can be found at Types of Child Abuse & How to Prevent Them | NSPCC
If you have concerns or are worried that a pupil / student is being abused, information on what to do can be found at Stat guidance template (publishing.service.gov.uk)
There are also procedures in place to safeguard pupil’s / student’s in relation to Radicalisation and Terrorism, as outlined in Section 29 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015. Revised Prevent duty guidance: for England and Wales - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Radicalisation is defined by the Home Office in ‘Prevent Strategy’ (2011) as:
“the act of process or making a person more radical or favouring of extreme or fundamental changes in political, economic or social conditions.”
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Preventing unsuitable people working with pupils / students
As part of HMS’s safeguarding responsibilities, HMS recognises the importance of ensuring only suitable candidates are appointed. All successful candidates are screened for necessary, statutory pre-employment compliance checks. To do this appropriately, HMS will ensure they:
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- Operate safe practice including ensuring appropriate DBS and reference checks are undertaken according to Keeping Children Safe in Education (DfE 2023) and Working Together to Safeguard Children (DfE 2018)
- Inform shortlisted candidates that online searches may be done as part of due diligence checks.
- Keep relevant copies of documents used to verify the successful candidate’s identity, right to work and required qualifications on their personnel file
- Conduct any disciplinary proceedings against staff relating to pupil / student welfare matters and ensure they are concluded in full, even when the member of staff is no longer employed with HMS / the local authority, and that notification of any concerns is made to the relevant authorities and professional bodies and included in references where applicable
- Ensure all colleagues are aware of the need for maintaining appropriate and professional boundaries in their relationship with pupils and parents (further information can be found in the “Safeguarding Guidelines for Instrumental and Vocal Teachers”)
- Ensure all colleagues are aware that intimate or sexual relationships with pupils / students under 18 years of age are unlawful and could result in legal proceedings being taken against them under Section 16 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, abuse of position of trust.
Hertfordshire County Council, together with HMS is committed to the highest standards of transparency, probity, integrity, and accountability. This procedure is intended to provide a mechanism for making serious allegations about standards, conduct, financial irregularity, or possible unlawful action. It does so in a way that will ensure confidentiality and protect those making such allegations in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so from being victimised, discriminated against, or disadvantaged. This procedure is intended to ensure that the County Council and HMS complies with its duty under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.
Individuals employed or working in maintained schools should raise their concerns with the school using the school's own whistleblowing policy and reporting arrangements as a first contact, rather than directly with the County Council or HMS. If you, however, have a concern which you feel cannot be discussed with the management of the school or have good reason to consider that the complaint or disclosure will not be properly handled, then you may report concerns direct to the County Council (to a Reporting Officer – details below) or the prescribed regulator.
In respect of disclosures of serious misconduct or wrongdoing relating to safeguarding pupil’s / student’s or adults at risk and / or Special Educational Needs, the Council has a legal obligation to investigate and will do so irrespective of the status of the school.
If the concern relates to a child (pupil / student (protection issue, this should be reported to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and in line with the specific guidelines outlined in the school’s safeguarding policy.
Contact details for reporting officers
In this procedure reference is made to Reporting Officers. The following County Council officers are Reporting Officers:
- The County Council’s Monitoring Officer (Director of Law and Governance)
- The Director of Human Resources
- The Head of Assurance Services
The contact details for the Reporting Officers are as follows:
The Monitoring Officer (Director of Law and Governance) - Quentin Baker
Postal address: Room 212, County Hall, Hertford, SG13 8DE
Postal point: CHO 241
Telephone: 01992 555527
This is a dedicated e-mail address for whistleblowing complaints to which only the Monitoring Officer and their two nominated Deputy Monitoring Officers will have access.
There is also a confidential phone number to which whistleblowing complaints can be made. This number is 01992 555320 (25320).
Director of Human Resources - Sally Hopper
Postal Address: Room 202 County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DE
Postal Point: Postal Point CH0243
Telephone: 01992 555692
Head of Assurance Services - Chris P Wood
Postal Address: Resources Neighbourhood, New Block, County Hall
Postal Point: SROB105
Telephone: 01438 845513
The County Council's Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is available to support and counsel whistle blowers or those considering using the Whistleblowing Procedure. While this service can provide useful support in what can be a difficult and worrying process, it cannot be used to make an allegation (the way to do this is set out in section 'Procedure for making an Allegation' below).
When an allegation of whistleblowing is made, this can be done orally or in written format (although oral allegations may be required to be put into writing for confirmation).
Please note – if you need to report / make an allegation of an incident within your school, you must follow your school’s whistleblowing policy, procedures, and points of contact.
When an allegation is made regarding a member of HMS staff, the first contact should be with one of the HMS Designated Safeguarding Lead team. When making a report, it is important that relevant information is provided including the:
- name of the person making the allegation and a contact point. It is much more difficult for the relevant investigating individual to pursue issues if allegations are made anonymously
- background and history of the allegation (giving relevant dates and names and positions of those who may be able to have contributed to the allegation)
- specific reason for the allegation
Although someone making an allegation will not be expected to prove the truth of any allegations, they will need to provide information to the DDSL / Reporting Officer to establish that there are reasonable grounds for the allegation. The DDSL / Reporting Officer will record details of the allegation and within 5 working days of receipt of the allegation, inform the relevant Monitoring Officer in writing that the allegation has been made and forward to the Monitoring Officer copies of:
- the record of the allegation
- the acknowledgement of the allegation
- any documents supplied by the whistle blower
The DDSL / Reporting Officer will ask the whistle blower for their preferred means of communication and contact details and use these for all communications with the whistle blower in order to preserve confidentiality.
If you wish to make an allegation and want to remain anonymous from the DDSL, there is a dedicated e-mail address for whistleblowing complaints to which only the Monitoring Officer and their two nominated Deputy Monitoring Officers will have access:
There is also a confidential phone number to which whistleblowing complaints can be made. This number is 01992 555320.
HMS recognises that the decision to make an allegation can be a difficult one to make. However, whistle blowers who make serious allegations in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so should be reassured that they are doing their duty either to their employer and / or to those for whom they are providing a service. The County Council and HMS will take appropriate action to protect a whistle blower who makes a serious allegation in the reasonable belief that it is in the public interest to do so from any reprisals, harassment, or victimisation.
All allegations will be treated in confidence and every effort will be made to not reveal a whistle blower's identity unless the whistle blower otherwise requests or unless there is a legal requirement to do so. If the matter is subsequently dealt with through other HMS and County Council procedures, such as the Disciplinary Procedure, the whistle blower's identity may have to be revealed in accordance with that procedure if the matter is to be effectively dealt with. Similarly, if the allegation results in court proceedings, the whistle blower may have to give evidence in court if the case is to be successful.
A Reporting Officer will not, without the whistle blower's consent, disclose the identity of a whistle blower to anyone other than another Reporting Officer or to a person who has been asked by a Reporting Officer to investigate the allegation. A Reporting Officer, who intends to ask another person to carry out an investigation, will, as far as is practicable, inform the whistle blower before disclosing the whistle blower's identity to the person to be asked to carry out the investigation. Any person asked to carry out an investigation by a Reporting Officer and to whom a whistle blower's identity has been disclosed, will not further disclose that identity to any person without the whistle blower's consent.
The Whistleblowing Advice Line (NSPCC) offers free advice and support to professionals with concerns about how child protection issues are being handled in their own or another organisation. If you think an organisation is putting children at risk, even if you're not certain, call the helpline to talk through your concerns on 0800 028 0285 or you can email them on: email@example.com.
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As per page 32 (section 120) of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023; the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK GDPR do not prevent the sharing of information for the purposes of keeping pupils / students safe. If in any doubt about sharing information, colleagues should speak to any member of the Designated Safeguarding Lead team. Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to safeguard and promote the welfare and protect the safety of pupil’s / students.
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Repertoire/Musical Resources written by convicted sex offenders
It is for HMS Instrumental / Vocal Teachers to make their own decisions regarding which music is appropriate to purchase and use in their work.
We do, however, support colleagues who choose not to purchase or use music by convicted sex offenders. Instrumental / Vocal Teachers should also consider the potential challenge from parents / carers asking to use / purchase such materials, and how they will respond.
Our position as a team within the Children's Services directorate of the local authority, is that Hertfordshire Music Service will not knowingly purchase or use such materials.