Why the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead must be standalone

Posted: 2nd May 2024

Source: (19) Why the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead must be standalone | LinkedIn

Keeping Children Safe in Education (‘KCSiE’)2021 states at Para 11: “The designated safeguarding lead (and any deputies) are most likely to have a complete safeguarding picture and be the most appropriate person to advise on the response to safeguarding concerns”, but with the safeguarding ‘picture’ becoming increasingly broader, achieving this has never been harder.

The Safeguarding Alliance are calling for the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (‘DSL’) to become a standalone role in schools and colleges. It is unfeasible to think that this fundamental role in keeping children safe in education can be fulfilled as a bolt on to any other role, especially whilst maintaining a teaching timetable. The Safeguarding Alliance are increasingly seeing DSL’s becoming professionally burnt out, desensitised, and professionally blinded due to a lack of capacity, and this is putting children at risk.

Safeguarding is much wider than just ‘child protection’ and is defined within KCSiE 2021, Para 4 as:

  • protecting children from maltreatment;
  • preventing the 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.

The above highlights just how broad in scope the role of the DSL is, it must be, taking into consideration, but not limited to, case management, health and safety, site security, governance, safer recruitment, mental health and wellbeing, and staff development and safeguarding within the curriculum.

It is clear that DSLs are ever more becoming ‘in-house’ social workers, yet seem to lack the recognition, time, funding and support the role so greatly requires.

It is time for greater regulation in safeguarding. Safeguarding should be seen as a profession within it’s own right with standardised training and continuous quality assurance. We previously released an article discussing how ‘safeguarding is not a pizza, and cannot be delivered in a box’and this is never more so important than now.

It is time that we stop reactively coming up with ‘lessons (not) learned’ and finally proactively reform safeguarding within education to keep children safe.

Considering the ‘bigger’ picture and inspired by the famous 1982 Michel Kichka poster ‘I love New York’ we have provided a visual of just a fraction of some of the safeguarding risks a DSL has to consider. How many risks can you spot? Submit your answers here.

If you agree and would like to stand with The Safeguarding Alliance, sign our petition by clicking on the linkhere.

Categories: News