16. Duties of employees, trustees, school advisors and volunteersWhat's this business of a "general" legal duty? Why the qualifying adjective? In what way is a "general legal duty" different from a plain "legal duty"? The impression given is that a general legal duty is one that need not be taken too seriously, that it is something in the background which does not result in any specific action required of staff. This is reinforced by the rather vague descriptions of procedures which are listed.
The Headmasters, all other employees and trustees of the School as well as every school advisor and volunteer who assists the School is under a general legal duty:
a) to protect children from abuse;
b) to be aware of the School's practice and policies on Child Protection and to follow them;
c) to know how to access and implement the procedures, independently if necessary;
d) in dealing with a child protection issue to remain as objective as possible. Never assume that you “know” which categories of children are at risk;
e) to keep a sufficient record of any significant complaint, conversation or event. Information should be recorded verbatim, if possible. Do not prompt, lead or suggest information to the child;
f) to refer to the Designated Teacher (or in his/her absence, the Deputy Designated Teacher) immediately;
g) in the case of allegations brought against a colleague to refer the incident to the Designated Teacher who will then refer this to the Headmaster immediately (please see the section below on Staff Allegations);
h) to undertake appropriate training including refresher training at three-yearly intervals.
It is not stated how employees, governors and volunteers will initially acquire the knowledge necessary to carry out their duties. It should be stated that they shall take up their duties only after they have undergone an induction in which they are made aware of their duties in respect of child protection, the school’s policies and procedures, and the relevant people to contact.
Then there is a matter of a "sufficient" record of events. Sufficient for what purpose?
The duties and the procedures for executing them should be separated for clarity and the avoidance of confusion. Where there are two descriptions of the same procedure (as for instance here and paragraph 18) there is inevitably scope for confusion as to which is the correct procedure to follow. To avoid such confusion, procedures must be kept separate from other text, must be stated only once, and should be entirely clear as to the extent of discretion available to a staff member when following the procedure.