Designated safeguard lead role

Updated: 3 days ago

23rd April 2020 by Eve Johnson


In this article

  • What are the key roles of a designated safeguard lead?

  • Who can be a designated safeguard lead?

  • How long does a safeguarding certificate last?

  • Suspicions and disclosures where there is a designated safeguarding lead

  • What should I record?

  • Body maps

  • Methods of recording

  • Shared information

  • Consent to share information

  • Continued responsibility of members of the public who report a cause for concern

  • Continued responsibility of organisations

  • What happens during a Section 47 enquiry?

  • Outcomes of a Section 47 enquiry

  • Child protection meeting


Every organisation has a named person for the designated safeguard lead and this was specified in the Children Act 2004. A designated Safeguarding Officer is the person who has the duty to ensure a company’s safeguarding policy is followed by all members of staff in the setting.

Here are some of the settings where they will be a designated safeguarding lead –

  • Nurseries.

  • Schools and other educational settings.

  • Healthcare settings (such as GP surgeries and hospitals).

  • Social care settings (such as a women’s refuge where children may be present).

What are the key roles of a designated safeguard lead?

  • Creating and imposing the company’s safeguarding policy.

  • Make sure all staff know how to raise safeguarding concerns.

  • Referring any concerns of the welfare of a child to social services when appropriate.

  • Ensure all staff have the appropriate training to understand the signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect.

  • Maintain accurate and secure child protection records.

  • Gather any evidence or information that needs to be passed onto the social care team.

Who can be a designated safeguard lead?

The position can be offered to anyone within your organisation who has a good understanding of safeguarding guidance and the procedures.

How long does a safeguarding certificate last?

It is important for staff to have up to date safeguarding children level 2 training, this should be carried out every two years.

The designated safeguard lead should carry out safeguarding children level 3 training every two years too.

It is important to have regular meetings in regards to safeguarding within the school with the appropriate members of staff. Teacher training days are also the appropriate time to

Suspicions and disclosures where there is a designated safeguarding lead In a setting where there is a designated safeguarding lead, the following would apply when reporting a concern:

  • Calling 999 if the child is in immediate danger.

  • Following the setting’s safeguarding policies and procedures as soon as possible if the danger is not imminent.

  • Contacting the local child protection services who will be those which are in the setting’s local authority, where the local authority designated officer (LADO) will take action.

Employees are required to know who their safeguarding lead is, in the instance that a safeguarding referral needs to be made. It is important that if you are the designated safeguard lead that all staff are aware, especially new staff.


What should I record?


The simple answer to this question is that the person making a referral should record as much information as they possibly can. Not everyone will have a lot of information to hand but this should not stop the person from reporting a concern because even with just small amounts of detail, action can still be taken that may prevent further harm from taking place.

Vital information should include:


  • The details about the child or children involved.

  • Where the incidents are taking place.

  • Known family members who may be involved.

  • What exactly has been seen, heard or reported to the person making the referral.

  • When the incident(s) have taken place.

  • Any other relevant information.


If the person making the referral does not have all of this detail, it does not matter and a report should still be made. It may turn out that other people have also recorded a cause for concern and the organisation taking the referrals may be able to use the information together as part of a larger investigation.

If information about potential abuse has been gathered from an overt or a covert disclosure then what needs to be recorded is very similar. However, it is important to also ensure that any information given by a child is recorded in their own words, exactly as it was said at the time. The information should also contain details about what has happening at the time of the disclosure, where the disclosure took place and if there was anything happening prior to the disclosure that may be relevant.

If possible, particular details about when abuse has taken place should be recorded if this information has been given. For example, was it a one off incident that took place in a public are or what it in the home of the child or the home of the alleged abuser?

Other useful information to record includes when the alleged abuse took place, for example was it during the day, at nighttime, yesterday, a week ago or months ago?


As well as this, a child may disclose if they were alone with the alleged abuser or if they were with other people; any information like this should be noted as part of the report.

Children may mention that they have already told someone else about what happened and that person may or may not have taken action to make a report.


Regardless of whether someone else has reported the information though, the person listening to the disclosure should always take action themselves because the more evidence that can be given about the incident, the more likely that the best outcome in terms of what to do in response can be achieved.

Any information that a child gives should be of their own volition and the person who is hearing a disclosure should never press a child for more information or ask them questions that could lead to a child giving exaggerated or false information.


Body maps


A body map, such as the one below, is used to record information about any kind of physical injuries that a child has sustained as a result of abuse. The map acts as a visual record and helps professionals and agencies to work together in determining whether or not there is a safeguarding concern.

Any person who completes a body map should keep in mind that it is not a replacement for a medical assessment and if there is any concern about the physical injuries that are recorded on the body map, the child must be attended to by a medical professional.


5 Details that should be recorded on a body map include:

  • Information about the person who noticed the injuries on the child, when they noted them and what their relationship is to the child in question.

  • Details of specific injuries – where they are, what they look like, their colour, shape, size and condition.

  • Whether the injury seems to be healing or getting worse.

  • Whether the child is showing distress about the injury.

  • Information about how the injury was sustained.

  • Information about what a child or their parent says about the injury.

Information on a body map, just like with a disclosure report form should be factual and accurate and the information should be signed and dated by the person who has completed it.

According to the NSPCC the most common sites for injuries that have not been sustained by an accident include:

  • Eyes.

  • Ears.

  • Cheeks.

  • Mouth.

  • Shoulders.

  • Chest.

  • Upper and inner arms.

  • Stomach.

  • Genitals.

  • Front and back of thighs.

  • Buttocks.

  • Hands.

  • Feet.

Bruises, which occur in clusters, are a common feature of abuse and these most often appear on arms, thighs and the body. They may be in the shape of an implement used to abuse a child or may be in the shape of a hand or fingers if a child has been grabbed.

Why does certain information need to be recorded?

Having a factual account of what has happened to a child will better enable professionals who may be involved once the report has been forwarded to have a better idea of what is happening, or has happened, in the child’s life and what might have brought about a disclosure of abuse that a child may have kept to themselves for a long time before they have finally been able to feel safe enough to tell someone about it.

If the recording of the disclosure results in court proceedings then the record of the disclosure may be the only actual piece of evidence that exists about the abuse that has taken place and this may then help to protect the child because they may be removed from their family and/or criminal proceedings may take place against the abuser.

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Methods of recording

If a member of the public is making the report about abuse then they may not have recorded any information at all but are just working from what they remember they have seen or heard or what someone else has told them. Although this may not sound as though it is very useful in terms of ‘hard evidence’ the information should still be recorded, even if it is just on a piece of paper or on the notepad of a phone or tablet.

On the other hand, if the information about abuse is coming from a disclosure then it should be recorded formally. Settings should have formal paperwork which is used to record information, which will usually be a disclosure form, which has a body map attached to it, in case the child has visible injuries.

Any information that is written onto a disclosure form should be:

  • Factual and not opinion based.

  • Legible.

  • Accurate.

  • Signed and dated.

The person completing the form should remember that it may be used as evidence if the report results in a criminal trial or the removal of a child from their family.



Shared information


When information is shared between professionals and other agencies, it better enables everyone involved to build a clearer picture of the child’s life and therefore a better opportunity to assess the risks that are presented to them.

However, sharing information is not always appropriate, as to do so could put the child at greater risk of harm.

The times when sharing is appropriate include:


  • When a family will benefit from additional support.

  • When a family has requested additional support.