Sponsor segment - supporting children’s safeguarding

Friday 25 June 2021

Safeguarding in schools have become a current high-profile issue, since stories on the Everyone’s Invited website came to light.

Ofsted, working with the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), conducted a reactive review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges, which included safeguarding policies in state and independent schools. The review started in April and the Report was published on 10 June.

The Review went further than the Government request and the Report includes insightful feedback and recommendations in response to Ofsted’s findings on schools’ safeguarding responses to known incidents and wider social and cultural problems.

The overarching recommendation in response to the rapid Review is that: ‘leaders should take a whole-school or college approach to developing a culture where all kinds of sexual harassment and online sexual abuse are recognised and addressed’.

Ofsted guidance on achieving this is for schools and colleges to ‘create an environment where staff model respectful and appropriate behaviour, where children and young people are clear about what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, and where they are confident to ask for help and support when they need it’.

The ultimate sanction for schools that fail to protect children is closure.

Getting support

Regardless of who your insurer is, don’t be reticent about bringing up the topic of safeguarding. Engaging with your insurer can have positive benefits. Your insurer will have insight on safeguarding and may be able to support you and your organisation on preventative measures.

Zurich Municipal has spent a lot of time understanding this area with our in-house safeguarding expert and our external safeguarding partner, Ineqe.

Together we have identified several factors that can be monitored over time and which may assist in discussions with your social services team around the risk, as well as potential outcomes.

Ineqe provides extensive information and guidance aimed at professionals that’s freely available on its website, including a focus on the facts, with a useful Basic Safeguarding Checklist on Harmful Sexual Behaviours.

Ineqe has also put together a page dedicated to actions and responses following the Everyone’s Invited movement to assist your organisation and any schools you may support.

Zurich Municipal is engaging with all customers to discuss their safeguarding risk in the areas we have identified as key, and where appropriate, to offer support to help give further assurance in this difficult but extremely important risk area.

Regardless of who insures your schools, working with your insurer and their risk advisors can add valuable risk management support.

As risk managers you can help your organisations promote effective safeguarding.

Alix Bedford (alexandra.beford@uk.zurich.com) is Risk Proposition Manager and Rod Penman (rod.penman@uk.zurich.com) is Head of Public Services at Zurich Municipal.

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