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Voice of the Child/ Young Person

Working Together to Safeguard Children provides statutory guidance for multi-agency working to help, protect and promote the welfare of children. Chapter 1 sets out the shared responsibility for safeguarding children, emphasising a child-centred approach within a whole family focus.

"Children have said that they need:

  • vigilance: to have adults notice when things are troubling them
  • understanding and action: to understand what is happening; to be heard and understood; and to have that understanding acted upon
  • stability: to be able to develop an ongoing stable relationship of trust with those helping them
  • respect: to be treated with the expectation that they are competent rather than not
  • information and engagement: to be informed about, and involved in procedures, decisions, concerns and plan
  • explanation: to be informed of the outcome of assessments, and decisions and reasons when their views have not met with a positive response
  • support: to be provided with support in their own right as well as a member of their family
  • advocacy: to be provided with advocacy to assist them in putting forward their views
  • protection: to be protected against all forms of abuse, exploitation, and discrimination, and the right to special protection and help if a refugee

Anyone working with children should see and speak to the child, listen to what they say, observe their behaviour, take their views seriously, and work with them and their families and the people who know them well when deciding how to support their needs. Practitioners should also be aware that children may find it difficult to always speak about what they need, what is happening to them or what has happened to them.’ (pg. 12)

Local Resources

Pan Bedfordshire Procedures (Chapter 1) has a range of localised information and resources for Voice of the Child, including;

  • Voice & Lived Experience Overview provides an overview of this theme, including practical tips to ensure your record keeping includes a strong sense of what it’s like for the child/ young person at a particular time in their life.
  • This Voice of the Child Briefing aims to help practitioners and their managers understand the voice and lived experience of children. This briefing is just as important for those working with adults who are parents and
    we refer to children which includes young people.
  • Day in the Life Tools- Baby, Pre-Schooler, Primary and Teenager. These tools provide prompts for practitioners when engaging in a series of conversations/ assessments to explore and understand lived experience. The questions can be selected as appropriate and adapted to suit the communication needs of the child, young person and their parent/ carer. It is not intended that that all sections are answered in a single conversation. Information provided will need to be triangulated with the direct observations of practitioners and information from a range of sources. Day in the Life Tools: Practitioner briefing and Workforce Guidance. The Pan Beds Escalation Procedures are designed to support you if you experience disagreement between agencies.
  • Pan Bedfordshire Advice for when a Child/ Young Person raises an issue is a reminder of good practice in relation to a young person raising an issue/ concern or complaint. Our local Voice of the Child Group agreed Advocacy Guidance and Key Principles.
  • Alfie, a local young person (Instagram: @shinealightwithalfie) has designed an Anti-Bullying & Mental Health Campaign which has received support from the Children’s Commissioner, Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alex Holmes OBE, Luton Town footballers and many more! He recently created a documentary with CBBC where he had the chance to discuss bullying with Jack Grealish and Declan Rice. You can view Alfie’s documentary on BBC iPlayer - My Life - I Was Bullied.

National Resources

In 2011, Ofsted published Listening to Children in Serious Case Reviews; the report analysed 67 Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) between April-Sept 2010 and highlighted key learning on the importance of listening to the voice of the child. Although over 10yrs old, the messaging remains relevant.

Listen up, Speak up | NSPCC Free training from the NSPCC; a great resource to help build community knowledge of safeguarding. The digital learning takes 10 minutes.

Why Language Matters (NSPCC)

How to Build a Culture of Participation

Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2) (NSPCC) Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Luton use the GCP2 assessment tool to support practitioners measure the quality of care provided by parents/ carers in meeting their child’s needs, particularly where there are concerns of neglect. The GCP2 tool provides an insight into the lived experience of the child, particularly where they have not been able to articulate this to you. It also helps you to support parents understanding of their child’s daily experience. Practitioners must be trained/ licenced to lead a GCP2 but can still contribute without the training. (Click here to see our Neglect Resource document and find out more.)

Solution Focused Practice Toolkit: helping professionals to use a solution focused approach in work with children & young people (NSPCC)

Voice of the Child Training

Safeguarding Bedfordshire offers a wide range of safeguarding themed training, including 'Voice of the Child' (costs apply).

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