Safeguarding Individuals: What Are the Duties and Responsibilities for a Designated Safeguarding Lead?

Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL) are important parts of educational organisations. DSLs need to be recognised and considered within safeguarding processes from the point-of-view of the institution. They must, from an individual perspective, make sure they’re up-to-date with a school or education provider’s safeguarding protocols.

Here are the duties and responsibilities related to safeguarding individuals as a DSL:

Learn the Safeguarding Basics for Designated Safeguarding Leads

The abuse and maltreatment of children or young people are highly serious, important and sensitive issues. Creating a safe environment for these individuals, whether it be in a school or for a charity is a top priority. Effective safeguarding covers this, as well as the protocols for responding to any instance of such abuse. 

DSLs are responsible for enacting the safeguards put in place to reduce the risk of children and young people suffering from abuse or maltreatment.

So what can you do as a DSL to prepare yourself for implementing safeguarding?

  • Discover how to raise a safeguarding alert. A safeguarding alert is where you report an issue of abuse to an authority.
  • Read through the NSPCC’s Introductory Guide to Safeguarding and Child Protection.
  • Learn how to report a safeguarding concern. You can discover the information needed for this important action in our blog here.
  • Explore safeguarding scenarios to learn the signs you need to look for and the resolutions that should be implemented.

Know How to Implement Safeguarding 

As a DSL, you need to be aware of the basic safeguarding standards that an organisation should work with as it’s your duty as a DSL to maintain a safe environment. 

In the NSPCC’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Standards for the Voluntary and Community Sector, it's written that “Child protection and safeguarding, like all aspects of a well-run organisation, is an ongoing responsibility that involves continuing commitment from all involved in order to create and maintain a safer environment for everyone.”

This ‘ongoing responsibility’ is that of the DSL’s to instill in the rest of staff.

So how can a DSL implement effective safeguarding within their respective institution?

  • Explore and understand an organisation’s safeguarding policy.
  • Make sure the senior authorities within the organisation are aware of the policy and have knowledge of it.
  • Work within the written procedure of dealing with a situation where a child may be or is suspected to be at risk.
  • Work within the written procedure surrounding situations where allegations of abuse have been made.
  • Make themselves known to the rest of staff as a point of contact.
  • Make their contact details and availability known to all staff.
  • Read and recognise any written behaviour codes the organisation employs. 
  • Take any mandatory or recommended safeguarding training offered by the organisation.

Understand Your Organisation’s Safeguarding Policy

All organisations you work for should have their own safeguarding policy. These are two of the main functions that all institutions should provide when working to safeguard children.

A DSL should make themselves and their responsibilities known and understood throughout all staff. This provides them with a contact point in case any issues or emergencies present themselves. 

A DSL needs to become the representation of the organisation’s safeguarding policy. These are statements detailing how safeguarding is actioned and what steps are to be taken to ensure a safe environment for children or young people. While they may contain similarities, some organisations’ safeguarding policies may entertain differences, depending on the makeup of their organisation or service offering. 

The Key Responsibilities of a DSL

Take the Lead in Policy Implementation

The DSL needs to ensure that safeguarding is at the very heart of the school’s main policies and that staff are supported in both recognising and responding to concerns. 

DSLs need to liaise, not only with head teachers or senior staff, but with local authorities as well. They need to communicate with staff on safeguarding matters and decide when a referral to an authority is appropriate to make. 

Constantly Build on Knowledge Consistently Within Your Role

To remain effective in their role, the DSL needs to undertake training to maintain their knowledge base. The nature of safeguarding is likely to change over time and developing upon the base skills is important. The DSL should make an effort to:

  • Understand any and all referral processes.
  • Be aware of the needs of vulnerable children and young people. For example, those with special educational needs.
  • Understand a school’s role in the UK’s Prevent Duty

A DSL also needs to make sure that all staff are kept up-to-date as well.

Keep Records of Any Safeguarding Procedure

Accurate and detailed records are also incredibly important when it comes to safeguarding, especially within a referrals procedure. These records are highly confidential so need to be stored in a secure location, separate from any pupil records.

Each referral process, case or alert should include a timeline of events, concerns and parties involved. This includes any phone calls, emails or other evidence. This is so if an external authority becomes involved in the case of a referral, all the necessary evidence is there to build a full picture. This makes it simpler for a case to be built and the right outcomes delivered.

There is a lot of information to process when it comes to effective safeguarding. To make this information readily available and easily digestible, we’ve created a Safeguarding Handbook. Read on to find out more...

Discover the Key Information on Effective Safeguarding 

For members of staff to be accurately informed on the key tenets of safeguarding, download our Safeguarding Handbook. It covers an array of information, such as the legalities and responsibilities of protecting children and young people, what to look for in suspected cases of abuse and maltreatment, as well as an intricate look at the disclosure process.

To obtain this key information and develop your safeguarding skills, click on the link below to download your free handbook today.

Find out more about the handbook by clicking here