Safe Network was successful in its tender for the Department for Education’s safeguarding network contract which, along with additional NSPCC funding, will take the service in its current form through until the end of March 2015.
This new funding arrangement will allow Children England and the NSPCC to continue jointly providing essential child safeguarding advice, information and resources to the voluntary and community sector (VCS) in England while also preparing for our longer term future post-March 2015.
There have been a lot of changes and developments in the world of child protection and safeguarding that have an impact on the VCS. These include:
Safe Network has always strived to ensure that these sorts of changes are communicated to the VCS in a way that is straightforward, jargon-free and easily accessible – we will continue to do this.
There are lots of exciting plans for the next stage of the Safe Network programme which include:
- New regional network meetings organised by the Safe Network regional development managers (RDMs) which will take place three times a year
- The development of new regional pages on the Safe Network website which will provide contact information for local safeguarding children boards and Councils for Voluntary Services (CVS) plus information on Safe Network activity in the area
- Standards 2013/14 release in September 2013, including the all new Standards Xtra which build on the core standards for groups that may need to consider additional areas of work
- The release of the 2013 version of Safe organisations, safe children modular training resource which will be updated in line with the Standards 2013/14
- An updated version of Keeping our children safe: raising awareness in black and minority ethnic communities
- A revamp of the Safe Network Champions programme which will see a wider range of opportunities for VCS groups to become involved in what we offer
- A new programme of safeguarding webinars which will provide free information on Safe Network resources as well as the opportunity to join specialist sessions focussing on key safeguarding issues which will include:
- Child sexual exploitation
- Online abuse
- Regulated activity & supervision guidance
- Risk assessment in play
- Unregulated sports
- Preventing sexual abuse
- The development of new resources for Trustees of charities
- A quality standards framework for those either commissioning or delivering child safeguarding training in the VCS
Those of you who follow Safe Network will no doubt have seen the excellent feedback and evaluation report from Charities Evaluation Services. We will continue working with them during this contract period so please get involved in any of the online surveys or telephone interviews that will be on offer – your input helps shape what Safe Network offers and, ultimately, becomes.
One of the key areas we will be focussing on will be making Safe Network self-sustaining. This is, of course, a massive challenge in the current social and financial climate but one we need to address because there will be no guaranteed government funding from April 2015 and the NSPCC and Children England cannot provide the service on their own.
We already know that people are willing and able to pay for specialist resources, training or learning opportunities and appreciate what Safe Network offers – this is something we will be exploring further over the coming months. We will be asking your opinions on developing a subscription model and providing other paid-for services – please let us know what you think.
In the meantime, we will get on with finishing off the updated resources and new developments that are close to being finished and start on those that will take a bit longer.
Make sure you:
That way you will know EXACTLY what is going on.