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Key duties of regulated bodies

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Duties of immigration services to safeguard children

The secretary of state (in practice, UK Visas and Immigration, Immigration Enforcement and the Border Force) must have regard to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children when providing immigration, asylum, nationality and customs services and functions. who are in the United Kingdom

This also applies to third parties (including charities and voluntary organisations) supplying statutory services on behalf of public bodies.

Reference: Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009

Duties of maintained schools and colleges to safeguard children

Local authorities must make sure that their education functions are carried out with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.

Governing bodies of maintained schools (ie community, foundation or voluntary schools; community or foundation special schools; or maintained nursery schools) and further education institutions (eg sixth form colleges) must make arrangements to ensure the same in relation to children receiving education or training at the school or institution.

Reference: Section 175 of the Education Act 2002

Duties of independent/non-maintained schools to safeguard children

The duty of maintained schools and colleges to safeguard children also applies to independent schools. This includes independent academies and free schools (which may be operated by charities).

Various standards must be met in relation to the welfare, health and safety of pupils (eg in relation to good behaviour and the prevention of bullying).

Reference: Schedule, Part 3 of the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 made in accordance with Sections 94(1) and (2), and 166(6) of the Education and Skills Act 2008

A non-maintained special school must have arrangements for safeguarding and promoting the health, safety and welfare of pupils.

Reference: Schedule, Part 1, Paragraph 3 of the Non-Maintained Special Schools (England) Regulations 2015 made in accordance with Section 342 of the Education Act 1996

The key statutory guidance for education providers is revised regularly by the secretary of state.

Reference: Statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education

Duties of local authorities to children in care and care leavers

Local authorities are required to have regard to seven key needs in their functions to children in care and care leavers. This applied to all local authorities in England, whether or not they are (or were) the local authority responsible for the child or the care leaver.

The principles include:

  • to act in the best interests and promote their physical and mental health and wellbeing
  • encourage them to express their views, wishes and feelings
  • take account their views, wishes and feelings
  • help them access services
  • promote high aspirations, and seek to secure the best outcomes, for them
  • ensure they are safe and have for stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work; and
  • to prepare them for adulthood and independent living.

Reference: Section 1 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017

Duties of childcare providers to safeguard children

Childcare providers are required to register with Ofsted in relation to the provision of care to 0–5-year-olds. They must comply with the welfare requirements set out in regulations and in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Later years childcare providers are required to register with Ofsted in relation to the provision of care to under 8-year-olds and must also comply with the welfare requirements set out in regulations.

Reference: sections 33, 34, 39, 40, 43, 52, 53 and 59 of the Childcare Act 2006

These regulations set out the requirements to be fulfilled by early years childcare providers in order to safeguard the welfare of children aged 0–5 in their care.

Reference: Early Years Foundation Stage (Welfare Requirements) Regulations 2012

This statutory framework sets out the requirements on early years providers (including childminders, preschools, nurseries and school reception classes) for welfare and learning.

Reference: Statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage

These regulations set out the requirements to be fulfilled by childcare providers in order to safeguard the welfare of children under 8-years-old in their care.

Reference: Childcare (General Childcare Register) Regulations 2008

Duties of children’s homes to safeguard children

Providers of residential care for children must register with Ofsted and must comply with regulations in relation to the safeguarding and wellbeing of children in their care.

Reference: Sections 11 and 22 of the Care Standards Act 2000

These regulations set the welfare and safeguarding requirements for people operating children’s homes (and certain other provisions) in England.

Reference: Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015

This guidance has been issued by the Department for Education for anyone involved in the care of children, and in some cases those aged 18 or over, in children’s homes and some other defined types of activity.

Reference: Guide to the Children’s Homes Regulations including the quality standards (pdf)

Duty of Ofsted

In performing its functions, Ofsted must safeguard and promote the rights and welfare of children.

Reference: Section 117(2)(a) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006

Duty of the Children’s Commissioner

The Children’s Commissioner advocates for children and young people so that policymakers and those whose decisions affect their lives take their views and interests into account.

Independent of Government and Parliament, the Children’s Commissioner has unique powers to help bring about long-term change and improvements for all children, particularly the most at risk. They have special responsibility for the rights of children who are in or leaving care, living away from home, or receiving social care services.

Reference: Children Act 2004 as amended by the Children and Families Act 2014

Duties of providers of childcare, education and social care to safeguard children

Non-statutory guidance to help practitioners identify the signs of child abuse and neglect, and understand what action to take.

Reference: Child abuse concerns: guide for practitioners

Non-statutory guidance on information-sharing for people who provide safeguarding services to children, young people, parents and carers.

Reference: Information sharing advice for safeguarding practitioners

This non-statutory code of practice gives advice for out-of-school settings, such as providers of youth activities, after-school clubs and tuition.

Reference: Keeping children safe in out-of-school settings: code of practice

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 15 June 2022

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