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Frequently asked questions about the standards

We’ve collected the most frequently asked questions about the national safeguarding training, learning and development standards on this page.

We’ll update this page regularly with any other questions we get.

Why’s it important to have a standardised approach to safeguarding learning and development?

Having these standards:

  • gives assurance to organisations that all practitioners and volunteers have the same level of learning and development when moving from one organisation to another in Wales
  • improves multi-agency learning and development
  • provides a common language and encourages organisations and practitioners to work together
  • helps organisations and commissioners make sure organisations are complying with the standards.

How can I use the standards in my organisation?

You can use the standards to plan and inform learning and development opportunities and to support multi-disciplinary learning.

Education institutes, such as universities, further education colleges and schools, can use the standards to provide a clear structure to safeguarding learning and development.

All organisations (public services, third and independent sector) can also use them to produce reports about safeguarding practice and performance.

What’s the purpose of the standards? What do we do with them?

The purpose of these standards is to make sure everyone in Wales gets consistent and good quality safeguarding learning and development. Because this learning and development is relevant to their role and responsibilities, they’ll be able to safeguard people to the best of their ability. This will also give assurance to the Regional Safeguarding Boards.

The standards will help organisations make sure:

  • the child or adult’s safety and well-being is at the centre of their work
  • practitioners can work in empowering and enabling ways
  • they incorporate the standards into their safeguarding policies and procedures
  • practitioners know what group they’re in and understand their responsibilities as part of that group, and how to follow the policies and procedures that are relevant to them
  • all practitioners have access to and comply with the Wales Safeguarding Procedures
  • their training needs analysis is focused, and learning and development opportunities give practitioners the skills they need to make early identification and reporting of safeguarding matters more likely
  • practitioners have the support they need to be skilled and confident, and there are processes in place to look after their well-being
  • there’s a safer community for everyone with all the agencies working together.

Why do the safeguarding standards have groups not levels?

The development group chose the term ‘groups’ to sort practitioners by their roles and responsibilities. This means organisations and practitioners can use the standards flexibly because for some roles, practitioners will need to have the knowledge and skills from a different group.

The ‘groups’ in the standards match the ‘levels’ set out in NHS Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff. For example, Group A is the same as Level 1.

What are the benefits of the standards?

The standards make sure the design, content and provision of safeguarding training, learning and development across Wales is consistent.

The standards clearly set out what appropriate content for safeguarding training, learning and development for practitioners in Wales should look like.

Where possible, training, learning and development should be multi-agency. This will help develop awareness of each practitioner’s role in early intervention and prevention work and in the safeguarding process.

What were the challenges in developing the standards? How did you overcome them?

The language used was a challenge. Our discussions focused on ‘levels’ versus ‘groups’, with ‘levels’ guided by what was used in the health sector.

Equal voices and opportunities were seen as a challenge to begin with, but they were crucial to developing the standards. All the organisations involved had to understand and respect each other’s needs and this shared empathy benefited the standards’ development. It was also important everyone understood the voluntary sector’s role in the safeguarding process.

By having discussions, working together and understanding each other’s needs, the development group was able to see each other’s points of view and think about what the standards and framework meant for each organisation and sector. This allowed us to create common safeguarding learning and development standards and a training, learning and development framework.

Everyone involved now feels the standards and framework are relevant to their organisation and sector – they speak and belong to all. This is the real achievement!

What are the challenges in putting the standards into practice?

The challenge will be who will develop the training, learning and development that must follow the standards and framework, and who will provide that training. Paying for it will also be a challenge. Training, learning and development needs investment and staff will need time off to attend and/or provide the training.

Putting timescales around the development and implementation of the standards and framework is also challenging, to make sure every organisation , practitioner and volunteer reach similar milestones at the same time. The standards and framework will need buy-in from everyone, and for everyone to feel they apply to them.

Other challenges include the perceived fear of safeguarding, and “Is this my responsibility?” “Does this have my name on it?” The standards place responsibility on certain practitioners to understand and apply safeguarding procedures when this may not have been something they expected to do.

Do I have to use the standards when thinking about or running safeguarding training?

Every area of the social and health care sector was involved in the development of the standards, so organisations are expected to voluntarily comply with them.

The Regional Safeguarding Boards own the standards and framework, and this places a clear expectation on all organisations to comply with the standards.

All statutory partners and other related organisations will be expected to apply the standards and the framework when carrying out their roles.

What’s the role of the Regional Safeguarding Boards in putting the standards into practice?

Every Regional Safeguarding Board was involved in developing the standards. The regional safeguarding board partners own the standards and framework.

They will:

  • adopt the standards and include them in regional safeguarding policies and processes
  • reinforce how the standards should be used to design, develop, deliver, monitor and evaluate training, learning and development
  • encourage use of the standards and framework to set clear expectations for providers of training, learning and development
  • be responsible for identifying appropriate, confident, qualified and experienced trainers to provide the learning programmes.

Who will monitor and review the standards? How often will this happen?

The Safeguarding Standards Review Group will be set up in early 2023. It will monitor and review how the standards are put into practice. The group will include some members of the development group, as well as new members.

The standards will be reviewed every three months after their launch – in April, July and October 2023 and in January 2024.

When will the safeguarding training, learning and development framework be available?

It will be published in early 2023. It won’t have a formal launch, but we’ll let everyone know when it’s published.

Will the safeguarding training be accredited, and if so, how? How’s the training quality assured?

At the moment, the standards and framework haven’t been accredited or quality assured.

The Safeguarding Standards Review Group will look into this.

What are the timescales for completing training and refresher training?

We don’t have any agreed timescales yet. Agreed timescales will be in the framework and available in early 2023.

Have you thought about the confusion the standards could cause with existing training that uses the terms ‘levels’ rather than ‘groups’?

Organisations can still use their existing terms, but they must show how their training, learning and development match those set out in the standards. The standards build on and strengthen existing groups and levels.

Who’s responsible for finding appropriately confident/qualified/experienced trainers to deliver the training, particularly for groups C, D, E and F?

Each Regional Safeguarding Board will be responsible for identifying appropriate, confident, qualified and experienced trainers to provide the learning programmes.

The Regional Safeguarding Boards may choose to use the standards to help them find the best trainers to run safeguarding programmes to make sure practitioners are safe and effective in their role.

How will issues of accessing training, learning and development be considered?

The framework will have clear guidance for minimum training time, and it has been created with sector colleagues to reflect pressures of staff release. It is hoped that it is achievable for all organisations.

The framework and feedback will be reviewed by the Standards Review Group throughout 2023.

First published: 23 January 2023
Last updated: 2 October 2023
Series last updated: 8 April 2024
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