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1.1.5 Lone Working Guidance for Employees Working with Young People & Families

RELEVANT PROCEDURES

Please refer to the Council’s Intranet

HSE Guidance on Lone Working (HSE Website)

Working alone Suzy Lamplugh Trust

Violence at Work – HSE Guide to Employees

Violence & Aggression Guidance

Personal Safety Guidance

Statutory guidance: Keeping children safe in education

AMENDMENT

In September 2018, this chapter was extensively updated and should be re-read throughout.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Risk Assessments
  3. Home Visits
  4. Caseload Supervision
  5. Training
  6. Recording Accidents & Near Misses


1. Introduction

The purpose of this guidance is to provide advice and guidance on the arrangements to reduce risk to employees who work alone. As part of professional practice, there will be occasions when those working with children and their families come into contact with behaviour that may cause them to feel threatened or intimidated. It is essential that appropriate procedures and risk assessments are in place to safeguard children, young people and the adults who work with them.

All services within Children’s Services will adhere to this guidance and undertake risk assessments to mitigate against these risks.

Employees will also report accidents and near misses so situations can be monitored.


2. Risk Assessments

Prior to undertaking the initial visit, the allocated worker will view any existing Children's Social Care records and information from Police, health, school and other appropriate agencies. The employee will assess the family circumstances, identify any potential risks and appropriate risk management measures to be put in place before home visits are agreed.

The outcome of the risk assessment, details and decisions will be recorded on the child’s file and will be regularly reviewed between the employee and their manager.

A parent, carer or young person may be regarded as hostile and / or aggressive if they present an explicit or implicit challenge to a worker's health, safety and wellbeing. Some examples are:

  • Physical violence;
  • Shouting / swearing;
  • Throwing things;
  • Using intimidating or derogatory language;
  • Using written threats;
  • Using domineering body language;
  • Using dogs or other animals as a threat;
  • Racial abuse;
  • Deliberately damaging property of an organisation or its workers;
  • Knowledge of a previous conviction that suggests that they present a threat, e.g. for serious assault or gun crime.

Risk assessments will be reviewed when updating the case file and / or when necessary.

The Council’s caution list will be reviewed before attending a home for the first time.


3. Home Visits

Managers and employees need to be aware that there are many visiting situations that are potentially dangerous and it is important that the risks are assessed prior to any visit.

The most common types of risky situations are:

  • Any visits that require investigation into alleged abuse, or possibly the removal of a child from a risk situation;
  • Any visits which involve clients who may be assessed for compulsory admission into hospital;
  • Any visits to people who use drugs or alcohol;
  • Any visits to people who are alleged to have knives or guns on the premises.

Always consider whether a home visit is really necessary or whether the young person or family could be seen in the office or another safe environment.

Mobile phones enhance security for employees and it is essential that phones are:

  • Kept charged up at all times;
  • Switched on during home visits that are unfamiliar or where there are known or possible safety issues;
  • That the mobile phone remains easily accessible;

Employees should take responsibility for their own personal safety and discuss any concerns with their line manager. The considerations they should take into account are:

  • Ensuring their location and whereabouts are known and accessible;
  • Discuss any concerns or identified risks with a manager prior to the visit;
  • Always adhere to risk management strategies;
  • When there has been no or little information gathered consider visiting in pairs;
  • Keeping electronic calendars up to date of working hours, logging on and off work and keeping a record for all visits including unplanned visits;
  • Ensure that Outlook calendar is up to date, that a manager knows that you are conducting a lone visit, and that there is an arrangement in place to inform them or a colleague once the visit has taken place;
  • In specific circumstances, the police can be informed of the visit and if appropriate surveillance will be made on the home address;
  • Following specific incidents, home visits may be carried out alongside police;
  • If at any point during a visit a worker is feeling under threat, intimidated or at risk, they must remove themselves from the situation immediately and safely;
  • Consideration of using late/lone working hub to register visit and confirm visit has been completed. If this facility is used managers should agree team arrangements for confirming they have left the venue safely.


4. Caseload Supervision

The manager will have regular supervisions with employees where individual cases can be discussed and appropriate actions agreed and recorded on the case management information system. If there is a situation or behaviour which gives cause for concern the worker must inform their Manager immediately and the manager will agree any course of action.


5. Training

All employees will undertake an induction programme that includes:

  • Lone Working;
  • Dealing with Violence & Aggression;
  • Health & safety responsibilities.

All managers and employees will complete annual training on the above through CPD sessions, briefings and on-line learning.


6. Recording Accidents & Near Misses

Employees are required to report all accidents and near misses and managers will monitor these to consider any remedial action that needs to happen.

End