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8.4 Lone Working


  1. Induction/Training
  2. Risk Assessment
  3. Supervision
  4. Monitoring
  5. Guidance on One to One Working

1. Induction/Training

No member of staff will work in a one to one situation with a child until they have:

  1. Satisfactorily completed an induction programme;
  2. Or received relevant training;
  3. Or validated by a Manager as having sufficient prior training/experience.

2. Risk Assessment

No member of staff will be asked or expected to work with a child in a one to one situation, unless such a method of working has been confirmed as appropriate and manageable as a result of a risk assessment carried out in relation to the child. The assessment of the risk presented to lone workers must also be subject of regular reviews.

Controlling the risks associated with lone working will also include the relevant training, information, instruction, supervision and possible protective equipment etc.

The risk assessment will have identified the safe working measures, controls, training and supervision requirements to ensure the safety of staff and children.

All staff working with the child share responsibility for familiarising themselves with the contents of the risk assessment, any conditions attached, and any other relevant information contained on the child's file.

The manager must ensure that arrangements are made to carry out any steps considered necessary to manage any risks presented to staff.

Factors to consider:

  • The knowledge of a medical condition the staff member may have;
  • The time of day or night;
  • Methods of communication;
  • The location of the work and if travel is involved;
  • The risk of violence to staff, verbal and physical;
  • Is inexperienced staff at risk?
  • Are there any gender issues such as female staff or new and expectant mothers being especially at risk?
  • Has adequate training been received to ensure competency?

Where the risk assessment indicates that a member of staff is likely to be at risk in a given situation, the manager will ensure that a contingency plan is in place should the situation occur, for example by the provision of additional support staff.

If the member of staff has any concerns about the safety of themselves, the child or others, the member of staff must draw this to the immediate attention of the manager who will consider the need for an urgent review of the risk assessment. Any such concerns will be communicated as necessary to all members of the staff working with the child. For example during contact with parents, staff may feel threatened by the parent's behaviour. See Family Time with Parents / Carers / Siblings and Others Procedure.

If the manager has any reason to consider, having regard to any incidents, reports, or events that a child presents a risk to staff, or that an individual member of staff is particularly at risk from a child or is particularly weak working in a one to one situation, the manager must take immediate steps to review the deployment of staff. The manager will consider if further training is needed.

3. Supervision

See Staff Supervision and Appraisal Procedure.

At each supervision meeting, there should be an agenda item covering any issues related to lone working. Any concerns, training issues or requests for additional support should be shared and discussed as part of this item.

4. Monitoring

The manager must monitor the appropriateness of the risk assessment through the regular reading of the child's file, regular supervision with members of staff engaged in lone working, discussion at staff meetings, regular consultation with the young person via key/Linkworker meetings( See Key/Linkworker Guidance) and Placement Planning Meetings.

See Placement Planning and Disruption Meetings Procedure.

As indicated above in (Section 2, Risk Assessment) where the manager has any concerns that a child presents a risk to lone workers, in general or to an individual member of staff, the manager must take immediate steps to review the risk assessment and if necessary review the composition or deployment of the staff team, and/or the training needs of the individual member of staff.

Any member of staff who has any such concerns must report them to the manager so that he or she can take any necessary action.

5. Guidance on One to One Working

Please read in conjunction with:

Staff should view spending time alone with children as an opportunity to develop individual positive adult/young person relationships.

Staff are asked to pay particular attention to the following areas of risk:

  • Special Relationships: It is beneficial for children to be involved in wholesome relationships with responsible adults, but exclusiveness and secrecy should be challenged;
  • Taking Children Home: This is not allowed under any circumstances;
  • Physical Care: There are clear guidelines about appropriate privacy boundaries. Young people should be encouraged to undertake personal care and hygiene activities for themselves as soon as appropriate for their age;
  • Access to Bedrooms: Staff should be mindful of young people's need for privacy, and situations, which could give rise to discomfort or misinterpretation. It would be unwise for any member of staff to be alone with a young person in their bedroom, with the door closed. Also see Bedrooms Procedure;
  • Trips and Outings: These should be dispersed among the staff group and subject to collective management approval. There should be careful monitoring when a pattern emerges, linking one member of staff with a particular child, or group of children. Again there should be concern when a member of staff frequently comes in during their off-duty period or regularly volunteers for extra duties;
  • Arena of Safety: As a part of their mandatory training Staff are expected to attend the Arena of Safety training which highlights best practice, risk management and safety issues when lone working with children.

Where only one member of staff is on duty at any time, a risk assessment should be carried out and recorded in writing, identifying any likely risks to children, staff and members of the public, and this must have demonstrated that there is no acceptable level of risk from such an arrangement.

Children always have a member of staff responsible for them. They know who that member of staff is and how to contact them. There is always at least one member of staff responsible for each identifiable group of children, within or outside the home, with the means to call for immediate back up from at least one other member of staff or the On Call Service if necessary.