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3.11.3 Countering Bullying

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to children placed in foster care and residential care managed by the authority, but the principles apply to the placement of every Looked After Child. Therefore, where a Looked After Child is placed with parents, relatives or friends or in placements not managed by the authority, the social worker must ensure these or other adequate procedures are applied.

The procedures in this chapter must be read in conjunction with detailed Guidance contained in Bullying Guidance.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

Preventing and Tackling Bullying: Advice for Headteachers, Staff and Governing Bodies (March 2014)

DfE, Advice for Parents and Carers on Cyberbullying

AMENDMENT

This chapter was updated in July 2015 to add a link to ‘DfE, Advice for parents and carers on cyberbullying’


Contents

  1. Definition of Bullying  
  2. Home's Strategies  
  3. General  
  4. Risk Assessment and Placement Planning 
  5. Countering Bullying Day-to-Day  
  6. Notifications  
  7. Recording  


1. Definition of Bullying

Bullying is defined as behaviour or actions of a person, group of people or a whole organisation designed to cause distress or to hurt a person or group of people. 

Further detail of what may constitute bullying is contained in Bullying Guidance.


2. Home’s Strategies

Each home may have its own Strategies for countering bullying, depending on the needs of the child or children living there. 

If staff or carers have their own strategies they should be communicated to children placed with them. 

In the absence of any such strategy, the following must be applied.


3. General

Everyone involved in looking after children shares responsibility for countering bullying and for creating a culture that positively encourages acceptable behaviour and reduces or prevents the likelihood of bullying.

As part of this ethos, everyone must understand what bullying means and what measures should be taken within the home and by individual staff to counter it.

Everyone should also be clear what measures they should take if they suspect bullying or it is reported to them.

In this respect, everyone should be alert to the fact that bullying may constitute Significant Harm and, if so, must be reported under the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board Procedures, Referrals: Procedure, Introduction.


4. Risk Assessment and Placement Planning

As part of the Placement Planning process, the child’s social worker must ensure that a Risk Assessment is conducted to ascertain whether the child may be a victim or perpetrator of bullying.

If there is any risk, the child should have a Behaviour Management Plan outlining the concerns and strategies to be adopted to counter it.


5. Countering Bullying Day-to-day

Staff/carers must be alert at all times to the possibility of bullying.

If they have any concerns, they must discuss them with their manager/Supervising social worker and take what actions are necessary to reduce or prevent it. 

If the bullying is persistent or serious, the child’s social worker should be consulted and it may be necessary to conduct a The Review of the Child's Plan for Looked After Children Procedure or hold a Strategy Discussion. See Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board Procedures, Referrals Procedure.

If the on call manager or social worker is unavailable, the staff/carers may take what immediate actions are necessary to reduce or prevent bullying from occurring and inform their manager and the child’s social worker as soon as practicable.


6. Notifications

There are different notifications procedures depending on the persistence and seriousness of the bullying:

Notifications of Minor or Non-persistent Bullying

Where bullying is not persistent or not serious, it should be notified to the manager/supervising social worker at the first opportunity; the manager/Supervising social worker will decide whether to inform the child’s social worker, unless it has previously been agreed this is not necessary.

Notifications of Persistent or Serious Bullying

Serious, one-off, episodes of bullying are deemed to be Incidents and must be notified to the manager/supervising social worker and the child’s social worker as soon as possible but within 24 hours. The on call manager/child’s social worker should decide whether to inform the child’s parent(s) and, if so, who should do so.

Where serious bullying persists, the social worker, manager/supervising social worker and staff/carer should come to a decision about whether it is deemed to be an Incident and whether the child’s social worker should be notified on each occasion or at specified intervals.

It will also be necessary to decide whether to notify the child’s parent(s). These arrangements must be outlined in the child’s Behaviour Management Plan. 

If the bullying is serious or persists, the child’s social worker should consider whether the bullying constitutes Significant Harm. If this is likely, a referral should be considered under the Lincolnshire Safeguarding Children Board Procedures, Referrals Procedure.

If the matter is referred under the Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures, the Designated Manager must be notified.


7. Recording

There are different recording procedures depending on the persistence and seriousness of the bullying.

Recording of Minor or Non-persistent Bullying

Minor or non-persistent bullying should be recorded in the child’s Daily Record.

Recording of Persistent or Serious Bullying

Unless otherwise agreed between the social worker, manager/supervising social worker and staff/carer, and set out in the child’s Behaviour Management Plan, incidents of persistent or serious bullying must always be recorded as Incidents and are subject to a Management Review.

Please see Incidents Guidance.

End