5 considerations when your electronic safeguarding software goes offline

by | Jun 3, 2021 | child protection

In recent times there has been an explosion of software services that will help you, as designated safeguarding lead, manage your safeguarding referrals queries & enquiries electronically.

These systems have been a life changer for many designated safeguarding leads.  They have meant patterns can be spotted early & information shared easily. You can share information easily, not just between senior leadership members but also between organisations where they use the same software. This has saved so many hours of work. 

So what do you do when your electronic system crashes?

If it goes down (or is inoperable) for a couple of hours that’s not such a big deal. But what if the system goes down for a day, two days, what about if it was a week?

Your safeguarding issues don’t stop. Nor does your requirement to keep a record and a log of the different things that are going on within your organisation.

What do you need to do? 


Keep your paper-based records safe

For some safeguarding practitioners you may have had your electronic system in place for a significant number of years. All of your information may be directly inputted onto that system.The paper-based system you had in place previously has long gone the way of the dodo.

In restarting to use paper-based, even for a short period of time, remember your golden rules around safe storage and recording. This is particularly important if you have staff members who are still working from home and who may be keeping written records about students in their personal space.

As senior lead it is your responsibility to make sure that all records are kept confidential and service regardless of the format in which they are prepared.


Keep your recordings in the same format

Many of you will have slightly altered, if not wholly altered, the way that the information is recorded on your systems when you move from paper to electronic-based recording. Now is not a time to revert to your old ways of working, it is a time for consistency as this will help you when it comes to uploading the information at a later date and also if your records are scrutinised in the future over this particular period of time.


Keep undertaking your usual checks

Whilst this will be harder to do on a paper-based system than electronically it is important that you keep up to speed with ED checks that you would normally do on a daily and weekly basis.

Patterns are still important and there will always be children for whom you are concerned.

Make sure you have sufficient time in your diary to undertake checks through the paper-based process. This will undoubtedly be longer than it would take via electronic system but it is essential that you make time to do this even if the system is only down for a day or two.


Have regular meetings

In order to undertake number three this may mean that you have to have more regular meetings with your safeguarding colleagues.

Make sure your staff members know what is required of them and how you would like the information presented to you.


Uploading the information

This is where many designated safeguarding needs can come undone at a later date.

When you are uploading the information to your electronic system once it is back online, you must make sure that you do so not just accurately (which I know you would do in any event) but also that you do not change the wording, format or information that is held on the paper-based record at all.

Ideally, the staff member taking the written record will upload it to the electronic record. You must ensure, as senior leader, the information is done so correctly and accurately. I have seen too many times and cases where there has been a discrepancy in the information being transferred from one format to another which, at the time, didn’t seem particularly important. However, in the cold light of the serious Case review, audit all care proceedings, can leave those who have written the records wondering why on earth they changed one simple word and how on earth can that word have such a significant difference in meaning at this particular time.


Want more?

Want to keep on top of your safeguarding obligations, join Kate and other child protection professionals in The Safeguarding Association community.

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Already working as a DSL in tertiary education and looking for quality training relevant to your sector and role? Look at my open courses here

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Content Disclaimer

The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Safeguarding Practitioners Ltd & Kate Young disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.


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