KCSiE 2023: Key themes for DSLs

by | Jun 30, 2023 | Blog, Child Protection

The new draft of Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023 has been published. Like many others, I’ve been through it with my pen, sticky notes and the highlighter.

I’m not going to go through each of the changes made in this document. There are several organisations who have video showing all the changes. Some have line by line changes should you wish to understand each of those changes.

Rather, I want to share the key areas I believe will cause the biggest problem for education providers.

Firstly, I would like you to cast your mind back to the Protect Duty consultation. This occurred a number of months ago and was looking at imposing a duty on non-educational establishments around policies and procedures related to the Prevent Strategy.

The consultation ran to a number of pages and included questions around imposing requirements for policies, procedures, in evacuation and invacuation of pretty much every establishment which housed or had facilities for community groups. Places like church halls, community rooms, schools, colleges, pension providers, law firms, you name it, anywhere with a room to rent was going to potentially be caught by this duty.

The changes made within Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023, remind me very much of some of the proposed changes considered within that consultation around Protect.

It strikes me there are several requirements within this new draft of Keeping Children Safe in Education which require education institutions to undertake some of those checks which were being proposed within the Protect scheme. Indeed, there is specific mention around the Prevent duty when talking about monitoring and filtering.

So let’s think for a moment in terms of themes.

There is clearly more placed on the role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead  (DSL) than previously. There is a striking theme around filtering and monitoring of Internet services, including, the use of private mobile phones. Online safety has, for some time, been the remit of the DSL. However, the DSL was often able to refer to those services they had engaged with when it came to filtering and monitoring.

No more.

The new draft of Keeping Children Safe in Education makes it clear that the DSL needs to understand those monitoring and filtering systems. They should receive reports in relation to the filtering and monitoring and be able to report to the institution on issues raised within those reports.

This theme around what people are accessing is echoed within some of the changes to the safer recruitment sections. Last year we saw a reference to checking social media. This year, the remit is much broader in terms of checking online presence. Again, there are echoes of the Protect consultation here.

As DSL’s we understand the importance of identity checking. We know how many hoops we need to put in place to prevent those who may want to cause our children and young people harm, from actually getting access to them. It’s interesting to me that the phrase online presence is used. This suggests that it’s a much wider remit than that of social media. It suggests that, and recognises that social media isn’t the only place where people can have an online presence. Facebook has long since been regarded by those under 18 (possibly those under 25) as not being the place to hang out. There are chat rooms, multitude of apps, and websites where people’s online presence can be felt and seen. I also think it’s reflective of the current climate around the online world being used to peddle misogyny and misandry and hate via the use of chat platforms on websites and subscription-based models. Remember, the incel movement started on a website rather than a social media platform.

The final area I want to draw your attention to is the requirement, in part, to that those institutions renting spaces. Those institutions need to be assured of the child protection arrangements of those to whom they are renting the space. Of all the changes, this is perhaps the most onerous and will have the biggest commercial impact. Some institutions will simply take the view that renting spaces is now too difficult and will walk away from that income. For others, they will not understand the requirements and may seek to impose further requirements to try and make sure that they are compliant. Again, this is one of the largest calls from the Protect Duty consultation. It feels like the government has decided that the easiest route to implement the Protect Duty, almost by the back door, is to impose those requirements upon those education providers who are sharing their spaces with others who provide services to underage teens.

I’m incredibly conscious that there is a consultation around changes to Working Together to Safeguard Children too. I will watch with interest to see what those changes are and would not at all be surprised if there were changes along the lines of those suggested within the protected consultation. Whether this is right is an entirely different question.

Yes, there are more changes to the document and yes, there are other steps that need to be taken. This is not a conclusive guide to the changes made within Keeping Children Safe in Education 2023. Rather, I hope I’ve drawn your attention to those key areas where I do feel that institutions will find the greatest impact.

Will be considering all of these changes, their implications for your institution and practical considerations around these areas in our workshop in August. Book your place here 

Want an audio version of Part 1 of KCSiE 2023? Buy yours here

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 Flounders disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.

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