View LCP Procedures View LCP Procedures

3.9.3 Countering of Bullying

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This procedure applies to children placed in Southwark's foster homes, but the principles apply to the placement of all Looked After Children. Therefore, where Looked After Children are placed with parents, kinship carers 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 Countering Bullying Guidance.

For additional guidance see the Safe from Bullying suite of guidance, which was published on the Every Child Matters website in July 2009.

RELEVANT GUIDANCE

Preventing and Tackling Bullying - Advice for Headteachers, Staff and Governing Bodies

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in February 2014 to provide a link to Preventing and Tackling Bullying - Advice for Headteachers, Staff and Governing Bodies.


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 Countering Bullying Guidance.


2. Home's Strategies

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

If foster 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 London Child Protection Procedures.


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, foster carers must discuss them with their fostering 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 Placement Plan Review or hold a Strategy Discussion in line with the London Child Protection Procedures.

If the social worker is unavailable, the foster carers may take what immediate actions are necessary to reduce or prevent bullying from occurring and inform their fostering social worker 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:

6.1 Notifications of Minor or Non-persistent Bullying

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

6.2 Notifications of Persistent or Serious Bullying

Serious, one-off, episodes of bullying are deemed to be Incidents and must be notified to the fostering social worker and the child's social worker as soon as possible but within 24 hours. The 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, fostering social worker and foster 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 London Child Protection Procedures.

If the matter is referred under the London Child Protection Procedures, the Designated Manager must be notified.


7. Recording

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

7.1 Recording of Minor or Non-persistent Bullying

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

7.2 Recording of Persistent or Serious Bullying

Unless otherwise agreed between the social worker, fostering social worker and foster 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 - General Guidance.

End