Why do you need policies in your residential children’s home?
Your residential children’s home needs policies to keep the wheels of your business turning within the law. As a residential children’s home provider or a residential children’s care provider, you must have specific essential policies available when you apply to Ofsted to register and a raft of policies in place to run your organisation.
The purpose of policies
Every residential children’s home needs to have policies and procedures to meet the lawful requirements of running their service. Policies reflect the law relating to the care side of the business, corporate law, health and safety, human resources and for a host of other eventualities. Policies are statements that act as guidance to the rules, regulations and principles your organisation operates by. Procedures provide the steps to help staff members do their job, what you expect of them and how to avoid falling foul of your policy requirements.
Policies and procedures make it clear to other professionals how your organisation operates, cares for and supports your client group.
How do policies and procedures help your organisation?
For example, you discover that a staff member has been sharing photos, on their personal Facebook account, of your children or young people out on social activities enjoying themselves. You might think it is obvious to a staff member that this would be unacceptable but what if that staff member had never worked in care before and thought it was harmless to share photos of themselves enjoying working with their clients?
An action like this raises a whole host of issues for you to deal with including breach of confidentiality and data breach. Then there are the administrative aspects of dealing with the fallout, including allegations against the staff member, investigating why the photos were shared, telling social workers and young people about the breach in confidentiality and possibly staff disciplinary actions.
When you investigate why the staff member posted the photos to Facebook, you find they did read and sign your policies and were inducted in your policies and procedures. You further discover that you don’t have a social media policy. You don’t say anywhere in your confidentiality policy that staff members must not post information about your children, young people or your company on their Facebook or anywhere else. You conclude, if the organisation had included the requirements around taking and sharing photos within your policies, then this practice error (and subsequent workload as a result) might have been avoided.
This quick example demonstrates how it helps to have policies and procedures to act as guidance to your team and protect yourself from unnecessary allegations.
You can read another example of employee social media mismanagement here.
Any policy that you find online offered free may only be a sample policy and may not be entirely up to date. Policies and procedures for children’s residential care homes must include the requirements of The Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015 and other applicable regulatory and practice requirements. Submitting an incomplete policy or policy copied from an online source may harm your registration process or inspection outcomes.