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Group D


Group D practitioners are those who operate at a higher level in the safeguarding process.

It’s usually a strategic role, but some responsibilities may be delegated to specialist Group C practitioners.

They give advice, guidance and supervision (when needed) to others in their organisation.

Some group D practitioners may have responsibilities that sit in the group E standards.

If this is the case, practitioners need to train to the group E standards so that they can prepare for their role.

Group D practitioners will:

  • be expected to have a high level of knowledge and expertise of safeguarding in their area of work
  • be expected to contribute to Single Unified Safeguarding Reviews and chair reviews when needed
  • act as a reviewer or panel member for Single Unified Safeguarding Reviews
  • be able to give safeguarding advice to partner agencies and understand the importance of multi-agency working
  • be able to justify their decision-making using legislation, process and procedures, making sure that everyone avoids making assumptions
  • be aware of the importance of child/person-centred practice and the positive impact it can have on the safeguarding process
  • make sure the person’s voice is heard and promoted in decision-making processes.

Statutory agencies will usually identify group D practitioners as they have higher-level decision-making powers for safeguarding.

Some of the roles include:

  • operational line managers (service managers)
  • specialist safeguarding roles
  • chairperson roles for safeguarding work. (For example: on reviews.)

There should be an emphasis on multi-agency working and working with others, as there is no equivalent role in many agencies.

The role involves:

  • understanding what’s needed from a strategic, multi-agency response
  • being able to collaborate with other agencies, and advise them about safeguarding, child and adult protection processes and practice
  • identifying and contributing to the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) and Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) processes, and the range of multi-agency specialist involvement
  • working in partnership with other agencies to facilitate identifying disseminating learning and raising awareness of best, appropriate, practice
  • helping to develop and promote multi-agency safeguarding communities of practice
  • supporting, promoting and advocating for appropriate training, training standards, training delivery methods, in multi-agency workforces in the area in which they work
  • working with the safeguarding boards and supporting regional, multi-agency safeguarding aims
  • being part of multi-agency regional governance arrangements, quality assurance, performance monitoring and compliance.

Memorable principles

  • I will lead the organisation’s safeguarding agenda.
  • I will make sure that people’s voices are heard at each stage of the process.
  • I will use my knowledge and expertise to enhance safeguarding practice.

According to the standards, people in group D need to:

  • know how to work in ways that safeguard people from abuse, harm and neglect
  • promote child- and person-centred practice
  • participate in safeguarding processes
  • support others to safeguard people
  • work with others to safeguard people
  • maintain professional accountability.

Learning outcomes

They’ll already have completed group A, B and C learning.

At the end of a period of learning and development specific to their safeguarding role, they must be able to:

  • reflect on individual safeguarding situations and find actions and learning to share with others, such as:
    • learning from child and adult practice reviews (Single Unified Safeguarding Reviews)
    • lessons and recommendations incorporated into improving practice.
  • evidence that the child and/or adult’s voice is heard and considered throughout the safeguarding process
  • take a chairing role or lead coordinator role
  • advise others about safeguarding processes
  • use supervision or one-to-one sessions to develop workers’ knowledge, skill, reflection and professional curiosity, using different methods
  • work in partnership and lead multi-agency meetings
  • advise colleagues about guidance, policy and procedures to safeguard people
  • escalate issues to get resolutions
  • represent the agency at higher levels, and work with key partners or stakeholders
  • lead practice to support the principles and values of professional curiosity
  • disseminate learning from reviews
  • use different methods to act on recommendations.

Training, learning and development

Group D staff that are new to their role will need to show previous training and learning.

They need to have already completed group C training.

They’ll also need to show that they have an effective and thorough understanding of safeguarding when they start their job.

Training at this level must be aimed at a multi-agency audience, with multi-agency facilitation.

The purpose of multi-agency training and trainers at this level is to provide opportunities for peers to learn together.

They should be able to discuss, reflect and analyse case studies, reviews or learning from safeguarding reviews.

Different types of training should be used for group D.

To cover greater number of people, training may need to suit different learning styles.

The training method may also depend on direct contact.

We recommend a blended way of learning, which should include (but not be limited to):

  • scenario workshops
  • face-to-face training and learning
  • role playing safeguarding reviews or meetings
  • explaining terms
  • using legislation and applying it
  • self-directed learning
  • peer review with a multi-agency approach
  • facilitated sessions to encourage interaction
  • reflective learning.

Group D practitioners should keep formal CPD logs to keep track of learning opportunities outside of training (for example: attending strategic meetings).

Group D training could include different ways of learning, and practitioners are expected to be responsible for their own learning and find any gaps in their training, knowledge or understanding.

There’ll be learning and development opportunities outside of specific training courses.

It’s about demonstrating competencies and using different ways of learning to gain knowledge and skills.

Things to consider

Learning should:

  • include shorter targeted information sessions
  • include reflection
  • include analytical practice
  • focus on research
  • be outcomes-based.

Training at group D level should concentrate a reflective ways of learning and will often be done in facilitated sessions to encourage interaction, reflection and learning.

Group D practitioners should keep formal CPD logs to keep track of other learning opportunities outside of training (for example: going to strategic meetings).

How much training, learning and development?

  • Professional development needs to have started as part of induction, or as soon as possible after starting in post. Professional development, and improving, learning and gaining increased understanding, skills and competence, will be an ongoing requirement.
  • A minimum of eight hours’ training within the probation period of a new role, plus training on safeguarding topics specific to the role. This include:
    • virtual classroom time
    • pre-course reading
    • following up with manager or supervisor
    • post-course consolidation, where practitioners put learning into practice.
  • Practitioners will complete a minimum of 24 hours of refresher training in every three-year period.
  • All organisations need to consider the requirements in the framework.
First published: 9 November 2023
Last updated: 13 November 2023
Series last updated: 20 March 2024
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