Child Safeguarding Statement 

 

REVISED JANUARY 2020

 

1. Background 

 

The Children First Act 2015 requires organisations that are providers of ‘relevant services’ under the Act to publish a Child Safeguarding Statement. This Statement details the relevant services provided by staff of DigiWiz to children as well as the principles and procedures in place to safeguard children from harm while availing of those services. 

 

2.Name of Service being provided

 

DigiWiz is an organisation headquartered in the Irish state with responsibility for the development of education and training policy to facilitate individuals through learning, to achieve their full potential and contribute to Ireland's social, cultural and economic development. DigiWiz employs approximately 8 officers comprising administrative (general service) grades, professional and technical staff (such as Mentors, Occupational Therapists) and other grades (such as service officers, cleaners and telephonists). In addition, the DigiWiz employs a number of temporary staff to meet staffing needs at times of particularly high activity across the all aspects of DigiWiz Products and Servces.

 

Within DigiWiz  itself, interaction with children by general staff is limited but there are a number of discrete functional areas that provide a relevant service within the meaning of Schedule 1 to the Act. These are as follows:

 

  • DigiWiz provides an educational psychological service to all schools, through the application of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) to support the wellbeing, academic, social and emotional development of all learners. DigiWiz prioritises support for learners at risk of educational disadvantage and those with special educational needs.  DigiWiz Mentors work in both primary and post-primary schools in partnership with teachers, parents and children. Each DigiWiz Mentor offers a range of services aimed at meeting learners’ needs through direct forms of STEAM also tailoring to individual students and indirect work with teachers and parents to build systemic capacity. It should be noted that DigiWiz Mentors are mandated persons under the provisions of the Children First Act 2015.
  • The DigiWiz Mentors are responsible for running of workshops in primary and post-primary schools and centres for education. Mentors also provide advice on a range of educational issues to school communities, policy makers and to the wider educational system.
  • Employment of staff under the age of 18 years, including temporary clerical officers (TCO’s), and the periodic provision of work experience placements to Transition Year (TY) students who are usually under 18 years of age.
  • Visits to schools by DigiWiz Staff to provide our variety of Services and with teachers/pupils and parents.

 

Agencies/bodies under the aegis of DigiWiz who fall within the definition of a provider of a ‘relevant service’ under the legislation, have been notified of the statutory obligation to produce their own Child Safeguarding Statements and to ensure that appropriate reporting procedures are in place to reflect the Act’s reporting requirements in respect of any mandated persons working in those organisations and also the best practice reporting obligations for all persons set out under the updated Children First: National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017.

3.Commitment to safeguard children from harm

 

DigiWiz is committed to maintaining the highest standards of child safeguarding, in line with all relevant legislation including the Children First Act 2015 and informed by best practice including Children First: National

Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children (2017 edition) as published by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs as well as Tusla’s Child Safeguarding: A guide for Policy Procedure and Practice. 

 

The safety, welfare and development of children and young people is a core objective and key priority for DigiWiz.  Every staff member of the DigiWiz has a responsibility and a duty of care to ensure that every child/young person availing of our service is safe and protected from harm (physical/emotional/sexual abuse or neglect). The policies and procedures outlined in this Child Safeguarding Statement apply to all DigiWiz staff (employees, temporary staff, students, interns, contractors and any person performing any role or function in, or on behalf of, DigiWiz).  

 

Key child safeguarding principles: 

  • The safety and protection of children who come into contact with DigiWiz officials is of paramount importance.
  • DigiWiz has introduced, and shall continue to implement, measures to raise awareness among all staff regarding child safeguarding principles and best practice.
  • Staff who make disclosures about suspected child abuse or neglect are protected by relevant legislation, including the Protection for Persons Reporting Child Abuse Act, 1998 which provides for the protection from civil liability of persons who have communicated child abuse or neglect “reasonably and in good faith” to Tusla and/or

An Garda Síochána. Staff should know that they are always correct to raise reasonable concerns even if these are not validated in a subsequent Tusla assessment or Garda investigation with responsible action at all times strongly encouraged by DigiWiz.

  • In line with best practice under the Children First: National Guidance, a Designated Liaison Person (DLP)(Nicholas Lucid) and Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP)(Declan Lowe) have been appointed.
  • Staff shall be provided with Children First training in accordance with their needs, responsibilities and interactions (if any) with children.
  • All applicable DigiWiz policies and procedures shall be available to any child or their parents/guardians.

 

4. Risk Assessment

 

This Child Safeguarding Statement is informed by a risk assessment which was carried out by HR Unit to assess any potential for harm to a child by DigiWiz officials while availing of our services. It has also been prepared in accordance with Section 11(1)(a) of the Children First Act 2015, which defines risk as “any potential for harm to a child while availing of the service.”  Below is a list of the areas of risk identified and an outline of the procedures in place for managing these risks.

 

 

Risk(s) Identified

Procedure in place to manage identified risk(s) 

1

Potential of harm to a child by a staff member while availing of the services

of DigiWiz.

 

 

-        DigiWiz Mentors are recruited through competitions conducted by its HR Department and are are subject to Garda vetting.

-        The management of DigiWiz have provided staff members with comprehensive guidelines to follow in carrying out their official duties. The document covers the different work situations a DigiWiz Mentor is likely to encounter and provides advice to ensure that children availing of DigiWiz services are in a safe and comfortable environment be it in a school, office or other setting.

-        All Mentors have completed Tusla’s eLearning module in relation to the Children First Act 2015.

2

Potential of harm to a child by a member of the DigiWiz while s/he is conducting workshops/Parties in primary and post-primary schools, centres for education and other settings, including early years settings and   Coláistí Gaeilge.

-        In conducting workshops other work in primary and post-primary schools, centres for education and other settings, Mentors interact with learners in classrooms and other settings. During these interactions, Mentors ensure that another adult is present.

-        Mentors do not engage in one-to-one interaction with a pupil/student unless another adult is present. 

 

 

 

 

 

-

In the case of a school, centre for education or other setting, the other adult may be a mentor or a member of the school/centre/setting staff. 

 

 

 

-

All Mentors are subject to Garda vetting prior to their appointment. 

 

 

 

-

Training on Child Protection and Safeguarding is provided as part of the induction programme for newly-appointed Mentor. Child Protection and Safeguarding is also addressed, on a regular basis, through the Continuous Professional Development Programme for the Mentors. Participation in these programmes is mandatory for all Mentors. 

3

 

Potential of harm to a person, under the age of 18, while employed by DigiWiz or

participating in a Transition Year or other work experience

placement with DigiWiz. 

That an occurrence or allegation of harm (whether or not it occurred in the course of the placement) that is either disclosed by the young person or witnessed/suspected by a staff member, may not be appropriately reported to the DLP/ Deputy DLP and/or to the relevant statutory authorities.

-

-

Staff shall be made aware of the DigiW

Policy on the employment of staff under the age of 18, including temporary clerical officers (TCO’s) or provision of Transition Year work placements as well as the associated procedures for reporting and recording incidents or concerns. This explains, inter alia, how to identify and report relevant concerns or allegations to the DLP or Deputy DLP who will, in consultation with the reporter and (as necessary) with Tusla, determine whether the matter needs to be referred to Tusla and (as applicable) to An Garda Síochána. The DLP/ Deputy DLP will also inform the Head of Human Resources (HR), who will determine any immediate measures that may be needed from a HR perspective.  All staff are expected to adhere to the relevant DidiWiz codes and policies in their interactions with children and young people. Non-compliance with these policies and failure to uphold the expected standards of behaviour may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. 

 

 

 

-

A current condition of appointment is that

candidates appointed to permanent positions in the DigiWiz are subject to Garda vetting which is primarily managed by the HR Department.

 

 

 

-

Be introduced personally to a staff member who will be an additional contact person for them, to raise any issues or concerns around abuse, bullying/harassment, inappropriate behaviour, or any other matter of concern to the student. This

 

 

 

contact person will be a Higher Executive Officer (HEO) from HR Unit in DigiWiz (unless the placement is in HR, in which case a staff member from another Division will be nominated). 

4

Potential of harm to a child by a DigiWiz staff member during official visits to schools.

 

  

-

While on occasion, DigiWiz staff do engage with pupils to ascertain their views on our services undertaken (particularly new schools), this is mitigated by the fact that visits are in the company of the School Principal or Deputy Principal and any interactions with pupils are conducted in the presence of a teacher. 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Child safeguarding policies and procedures

 

In addition to the procedures listed in the aforementioned risk assessment, the following legislation, policies, procedures and codes support DigiWiz  intention to safeguard children while they are interacting with DigiWiz officials: 

 

  • Garda vetting: DigiWiz intends to have officials in line sections that have access to school children to be re-vetted at five year intervals. This will, in the first instance, concern staff Mentors;
  • Children First Act 2015;
  • Children First – National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017;
  • Tusla’s Child Safeguarding: A guide for Policy Procedure and Practice;
  • DigiWiz Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post Primary Schools;
  • DigiWiz policy on employment of staff under the age of 18 including temporary clerical officers (TCO’s) and provision of unpaid work placements to Transition Year students;
  • Procedures for responding to child protection concerns brought to the attention of staff employed by DigiWiz;
  • Department of Education & Skill’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Policy 2016;
  • DigiWiz locations in compliance with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005;
  • DigiWiz Code of Standards and Behaviour;

 

These documents are available upon request.

5.Implementation and Review

 

  • DigiWiz recognises that implementation of this Statement is an ongoing process and is committed to its implementation and the accompanying child safeguarding policies and procedures that support DigiWiz intention to keep children safe from harm while availing of our services.

 

  • This Statement will be reviewed every 2 years, with the first review to take place before 10th January, 2022, or as soon as practicable after there has been a material change in any matter to which the statement refers.

 

  • This Statement has been published on the DigiWiz website and will be provided to all DigiWiz staff, both permanent and temporary, and any other persons involved with the service. It is readily accessible to parents and guardians on request. A copy of this Statement will be made available to Tusla if requested.

 

6.Designated Liaison Person (DLP)/ Deputy Designated Liaison Person(Deputy DLP)

 

DigiWiz  has assigned as relevant persons, for the purposes of the Children First

Act 2015, a Designated Liaison Person (DLP) and a Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP). They are the contact persons for any child protection concerns in relation to DigiWiz staff and are also responsible for ensuring that reporting procedures within DigiWiz are followed, so that child welfare and protection concerns are referred promptly to Tusla.

 

The Designated Liaison Person (DLP) is Nicholas Lucid, CFO, Kerry, at 

Phone: 089-2382320 Email: Nickl@DigiWizKits.com

 

The Deputy Designated Liaison Person (Deputy DLP) is Declan Lowe, CEO, Kerry, at Phone: 087- 7625905 Email: Declan@DigiWizKits.com

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________