A policy is a collective agreed statement of beliefs. It exists to protect children, parents & staff. It is a course of action recommended or adopted by a service”

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Confidentiality Statement

  • The effective protection of a child often depends on the willingness of the staff in statutory and voluntary organisations involved with children to share and exchange relevant information. It is therefore critical that there is a clear understanding of professional and legal responsibilities with regard to confidentiality and the exchange of information.

  • All information regarding a concern or assessment of child abuse or neglect should be shared on ‘a need to know’ basis in the interests of the child with the relevant statutory authorities.

  • No undertakings regarding secrecy can be given. Those working with a child and family should make this clear to all parties involved, although they can be assured that all information will be handled taking full account of legal requirements. Ethical and statutory codes concerned with confidentiality and data protection provide general guidance. They are not intended to limit or prevent the exchange of information between different professional staff with a responsibility for ensuring the protection and welfare of children. The provision of information to the statutory agencies for the protection of a child is not a breach of confidentiality or data protection.

  • It must be clearly understood that information gathered for one purpose must not be used for another without consulting the person who provided that information.

Allegations of abuse or neglect against employees, students or volunteers

  • The protection and welfare of the children in the service are paramount and their safety and well-being is the priority. However, the service also has a duty and responsibility, as an employer, in respect of its employees. It is important to note that there are two procedures to be followed when an allegation of abuse or neglect is made against an employee:

  • 1. Reporting procedure in respect of any child protection and welfare concern

  • 2. The procedure in respect to the allegation against the employee

The procedure for dealing with the allegation of abuse against staff member / volunteer should be a different protection officer to the person making the child protection report.

The DLP Vicky Ward is responsible for reporting the matter to the Child & Family Agency (as per the reporting procedure) while the employer is responsible for addressing the employment issues.

Staff/volunteers may be subjected to erroneous or malicious allegations. Therefore any allegation of abuse should be dealt with sensitively and support provided for staff including counselling where necessary. However, the primary goal is to protect the child while taking care to treat the employee fairly; therefore it is policy to suspend with pay pending further investigation. In the case of a volunteer this would result in suspension pending further investigation.

Employee Reporting

Any Employee / Volunteer / Student suspecting another member of staff/volunteer of abuse should record, report the circumstances immediately to the D.L.P. Vicky Ward or Deputy D.L.P. Margaret Gleeson who will in turn carry out their duties as outlined above.

When an allegation has been made, The Employer will inform the employee

(i) the fact that an allegation has been made against him/her;

(ii) the nature of the allegation.

The employee should be afforded an opportunity to respond. The employer should note the response and pass on this information when making the formal report to the Child and Family Agency.

All procedures for handling disciplinary procedures and following the rules of natural justice will be followed as outlined in disciplinary procedure, when carrying out a pending suspension, the Chairperson (or equivalent head of organisation) should be informed as soon as possible. The first priority should be to ensure that no child is exposed to unnecessary risk. The employer should as a matter of urgency take any necessary protective measures. These measures should be proportionate to the level of risk and should not unreasonably penalise the employee, financially or otherwise, unless necessary to protect children. Where protective measures do penalise the employee, it is important that early consideration be given to the case.

The employer should maintain regular and close liaison with the Child & Family Agency and

or An Garda Síochána and ensure that no action by the service frustrates or undermines any investigation.

Further action will be guided by employment legislation, the contract of employment, the other policies and procedures of the service (including the disciplinary policy) and the advice of the investigating agencies.

Parents and Allegations of abuse or neglect against employees

  • Parents have the right to contact the Child & Family Agency to report an allegation of abuse or neglect about the employee or service.

  • Parents of children who are named in an allegation of abuse or neglect will be kept informed of actions planned and taken, having regard to the rights of others concerned.

  • If there is any concern that a child may have been harmed, their parents will be informed immediately.

Record Keeping

  • Under the Child Care (Pre-school Services) Regulations 2006, accurate and up to date records in relation to children, staff and service provision must be kept. The Early Years (Pre-school) Inspectorate will have access to files for inspection purposes.

  • Parents may have access to the files and records of their own children on request but may

not have access to information about any other child.

  • Only employees involved with a particular child should have access to confidential files.

Records are stored in compliance with 2006 Child Care Regulations.

  • Where there are child protection or welfare concerns, observations/records will be kept on

an on-going basis and information shared with the Child and Family Agency as appropriate.

It is important to note where these will be recorded and stored. Procedures are in place for archiving records.

  • All records should be managed in line with the service Data Protection Policy. The Bridge Complex will ensure all reports / documentation will be locked in the childcare cabinet with restricted access. The only personnel who will have access to the information will include:

  • Designated Liaison Person – Vicky Ward

  • Deputy Designated Liaison Person – Margaret Gleeson

  • General Manager - Siobhan Hopkins

  • Childcare Manager - Margaret Gleeson

  • Staff Member raising allegation can review documentation on request.

  • Chairperson of the Board of Management.

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