Proactive steps we take in order to meet our pledge promises
Safeguarding and child sexual exploitation (CSE) prevention across NFA Group services
With over 5000 children in our care (either fostering, residential or day-school), NFA Group is perpetually focused on reducing risk of child sexual exploitation through initiatives such as ‘Stop CSE Awareness Week’.
This was in response to recommendations from the National Safeguarding & Quality Committee in December 2018, whereby we ran an NFA Group ‘Stop Exploitation’ campaign in conjunction with the NWG (formerly National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People) to raise awareness of how to spot the signs and signals of exploitation of children and that these can present as sexual or criminal in nature.
By teaching staff across the group of how to observe and stop exploitation of children, as well as what to do in such circumstances, the series of events we held in coordination with service managers across each group division, as well as activating a social media campaign highlighting our focus on stopping exploitation, ensured everyone associated with us was more informed to act effectively in safeguarding the vulnerable young people in our care.
Training on CSE prevention procedures was provided across all corners of the business as part of ‘Stop CSE Exploitation Week’, demonstrating how seriously we take this issue and how we are steadfastly committed to working together and tackling CSE going forward.
As well as raising the profile of CSE across social media on a regular basis to our audience of foster carers, who also complete a mandatory safeguarding course each year, we also launched a new online training based ‘Spot and Stop Exploitation’ programme for all staff as part of an HR safeguarding training project led internally, which further entrenched the importance of recognising, preventing and stopping instances of CSE across the group.
How we work to meet our child and young person safeguarding pledge
A team of quality advisors regularly audit and support NFA Group services to ensure they are meeting our requirement of ensuring every child and young person within NFA Group care, education and residential services are receiving at least a ‘good’ standard of provision.
Our safeguarding & quality committee is chaired by Tim Loughton, who is the former Children’s Minister, and also includes British Professor of Nursing, Baroness Mary Watkins of Tavistock, as well as Jenny Whittle, former Deputy Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education Learning & Development and Mike Blakey, our Group Director of Quality & Compliance.
A national safeguarding adviser also provides expert advice on safeguarding children and young people to ensure we always remain collectively compliant and aligned with current national procedures across the group.
‘Every aspect of the school’s work is scrutinised. Governors have a good oversight and know the current strengths of the school and areas of development. As a result, they are able to provide appropriate support and challenge that drive improvement. Governors are ambitious for all pupils.’
Ofsted, November 2018 (Wenlock School)
Reducing the use of restraint in NFA Group Services
We have made a commitment to actively participate in reducing restraint, where possible, across all of our services, so as to further embody our stance as a leading children’s care and education provider striving to set the highest standards, which for us includes sharing and acting upon learnings related to reducing reliance on restrictive practices and minimising the requirement for restraint upon children and young people in our care.
Our desire to make a positive difference to the lives of thousands of young people in our care therefore led to us officially pledging to join the Restraint Reduction Network and support the cause as an organisation.
As a member of the Restraint Reduction Network we have pledged to:
- Give a clear and transparent commitment to the people who use and work in our services that all our leaders, managers and frontline staff will endeavour to work together to ensure that the use of coercive and restrictive practice is minimised and the misuse and abuse of restraint is prevented.
- Work together to create restraint-free services to each person we support as much as possible, built on continuous learning and improvement.
- Develop an annual ‘restraint reduction plan’ which will outline the different organisational approaches we will implement in order to help us achieve the Network’s vision, mission, values and principles so that those people subject to restricted practices are fully protected.
In order to meet these pledges, we have created a network of restraint reduction champions throughout the group. This allows our champions to lead on the coordination of self-evaluation and the development of a plan to reduce the use of restraint in each of our services.
This means that we are now able to proactively contribute towards developing quality standards for avoiding incidents whereby any vulnerable children and young people in our care are exposed to any behavior that may be deemed traumatising, particular within therapeutic settings, keeping them as safe and comfortable as possible.
We have also devised a forum for discussing issues surrounding restraint within our wider industry, encouraging the sharing of best practice examples including successful strategies which have already been implemented. This ensures that we are well positioned to continually keep abreast of progression in best practice when preventing unnecessary incidences of restraint, ensuring human rights of all in our care are respected at all times, and remain focused on achieving positive outcomes in highly beneficial ways.