Visitors to the Home and Vetting


Contents

  1. General
  2. Parents, Relatives and Friends
  3. Delivery People
  4. Maintenance Workers and Contractors
  5. Officials (e.g. Social Workers, Independent Visitors, Regulatory Authority)
  6. Employees and Children from other Homes
  7. Neighbours
  8. Vetting


1. General

Visitors are encouraged at children's homes but the rights and interests of those living and working in the home should be respected especially in terms of privacy and protection.

Visitors to the home may fall into several categories and can include social workers; parents / carers and relatives or friends of children; prospective employees; inspectors; neighbours or maintenance workers, delivery drivers, meter readers etc.

Staff should be vigilant when allowing visitors into the home, ensuring identification is always authenticated and the Visitors’ Book is signed on arrival and departure. If the visitor is unable to prove their identity, the manager must be consulted and give approval before contact is permitted.

The degree of briefing given to a visitor should be appropriate to the risks to which they are exposed and to which they might expose children. The following applies to all visitors who are likely to remain in the home or come into contact with children:

  • Visits should normally be planned in advance and agreed by the manager or staff (e.g. for social worker visits). Visits to children by parents, relatives and friends must be planned as set out in Section 2, Parents, Relatives and Friends. As part of the placement planning process, a risk assessment must be undertaken in relation to contact with family and friends;
  • Visitors should be welcomed by a member of staff on duty, who should act as a reference person for them during visit. The member of staff should ensure that the visitor's identity is authenticated as described above;
  • The visitor should be briefed on practical matters such as fire precautions, the location of toilets, mealtimes, etc.
  • Any regular visitors (such as contractors or maintenance workers) who have not had Disclosure and Barring Service Checks must not be left alone with a child at any point;
  • Their arrival and departure must be recorded in the Daily Log, Visitors Book and, if an individual child has been visited, their daily record.

If staff are concerned in any way following a visit to child they should raise this with the manager and speak to the child’s social worker as soon as is reasonably practicable.


2. Parents, Relatives and Friends

Any contact between children and their parents, siblings, relatives or friends should be consistent with arrangements outlined in the child’s Care Plan.

If parents or relatives arrive without prior agreement, staff should politely and sensitively explain that they cannot allow contact until the manager/social worker has been consulted. If there appear to be any immediate risks to the child or others, staff should seek guidance and support from a manager or, in exceptional circumstances, the Police.

Staff should take reasonable precautions to prove the identity of parents, relatives or friends before entering the home. If the person is unable to do so or there is any doubt or concerns on the part of staff, they may not come into the home and should be politely referred to a manager.


3. Delivery People

People visiting for short periods such as delivery drivers, post office staff etc. will not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with children and will not normally be expected to note their arrival or departure in the Daily Log and Visitors Book.


4. Maintenance Workers and Contractors

Before contractors are permitted to undertake work in the home, the manager must ensure that they are properly briefed on the purpose and function of the home, and that any parameters are agreed, preferably in writing e.g. which parts of the home they may access, safe management of tools/equipment.

Staff must ask the visitor to prove their identity before entering the home. If the person is unable to do so or there is any doubt or concerns on the part of staff, they may not come into the home and should be politely referred to a manager.

Under no circumstances may contractors have unsupervised contact with children.

All arrivals and departures must be recorded in the Daily Log and Visitors Book, any concerns raised by the workers or by staff within the home must immediately be brought to the attention of the manager.


5. Officials (e.g. Social Workers, Independent Visitors, Regulatory Authority)

See: Section 1, General.

Independent Visitors or Advocates who are likely to require unsupervised contact with children must firstly satisfy the manager of the home that they have up to date Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Checks.

Social workers, the Police and representatives of Regulatory Authority will not be required to provide details of Disclosure and Barring Service Checks.

Should such visitors require unsupervised contact with children, this is acceptable but they should not be alone with children in their bedrooms.


6. Employees and Children from other Homes

See: Section 1, General.

Staff and children not working/living at the home must be treated as visitors; their arrival and departure must be recorded in the Daily Log and Visitors Book.

Should family members of employees visit the home, they must not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with children.


7. Neighbours

Neighbours may not have unsupervised contact with children.

  • Where possible the locations of homes are chosen to ensure that any adverse impact on local residents is minimised but, where this is not possible, physical measures are taken such as the erection of substantial fences or the double glazing of windows from which a noise nuisance might emanate;
  • Homes should discourage behaviour patterns, which are likely to cause difficulties e.g. noisy activities or loud music in close proximity to neighbours' property;
  • In new locations, contact should be made with neighbours at the earliest opportunity and regular contact after that should be maintained. All efforts should be made to build up goodwill and understanding as they are of assistance if difficulties do arise;
  • Neighbours should be given practical advice on dealing with our children which might include not inviting them into their homes, not lending money or offering cigarettes, etc.

If an incident occurs, it must be taken seriously. All phone calls or visits should be dealt with calmly and politely, even if aggressive. A manager should call back as soon as possible and if at all possible, arrange a visit to the neighbour. If the neighbour wishes to make a complaint, the manager should refer to the Complaints Procedure.


8. Vetting

All staff working in the home will have under gone the appropriate check through the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and that other references have been taken up when individuals started their employment.

All Volunteer Visitors to the Home must have undergone the required selection checks and DBS check before they are given access to children and young people.