Childcare Office

Playworkers Policy

The Cambridge Universities' Holiday Playscheme (CUHP) will make every effort to be flexible with Playworkers and to promote harmonious working relations, through trade unions and other organisations.

CUHP expects honesty, loyalty and diligence from its Playworkers.

Playworkers should be aware that the minimum-Playworker ratio for children aged 4–7 will be 1:8. However in some circumstance the ratio of Playworkers to children may need to be higher. For children aged over eight, CUHP will make every effort to maintain a ratio of Playworkers to children of at least 1:10.

Code of conduct

All Playworkers are expected to conduct themselves at all times in a professional, courteous, helpful and consistent manner.

Playworkers are expected to display both knowledge and understanding of child protection, multi-cultural issues and a commitment to treating all children as individuals and with equal concern and respect.

Playworkers will have regard for wearing appropriate clothes and shoes when working with children and with awareness of health and safety issues.

Personal mobiles should be switched off and not used during working hours. If Playworkers do need to receive an emergency call, the person calling them should use the main CUHP site mobile number.

CUHP will ensure that space is made during the working day for Playworkers to take regular breaks, ensuring that no Playworker exceeds the legal limit of six hours consecutive work without a break.

Under no circumstances should any arguments or disagreements between Playworkers occur in the presence of children or parents.

No smoking, alcohol or drug use is allowed on CUHP premises.

No bullying, swearing, harassment or victimisation will be tolerated on CUHP premises.

Offensive behaviour such as sexist or racist language or harassment will not be tolerated.

All Playworkers are expected to treat everyone respectfully at all times and inappropriate behaviour may lead to disciplinary action.

Confidentiality

Playworkers have a right to privacy, as do children and their parents. Personal details should not be discussed except in exceptional circumstances.

The Playscheme Co-ordinator, Playworkers, volunteers and any other individual associated with the running or management of CUHP will respect confidentiality by:

  • Not discussing individual incidents, behaviour or information of children in front of parents and other children.
  • Not discussing confidential matters about children with other parents.
  • Not discussing confidential matters about parents with children or other parents.
  • Not discussing confidential information about other Playworker members of staff.
  • Only passing sensitive information, in written or oral form, to relevant people.

In circumstances where Playworkers have good reason to believe that a child is at risk, or is likely to be at risk, of child abuse or neglect, the Safeguarding policy will override confidentiality on a ‘benefit to know’ basis.

Playworkers failing to show due regard for confidentiality will be liable to disciplinary action under the provisions of the Playworkers Disciplinary procedures.

Under no circumstances should Playworkers provide any information about children to any branch of the media. All media enquiries should be passed in the first instance to the Playscheme Co-ordinator.

Valuing Playworkers

CUHP will arrange regular Playworker meetings where all Playworkers are able to discuss and contribute in a positive manner.

CUHP should encourage Playworkers to contribute to the development and quality of the programme of activities provided.

All Playworkers will have a review and will be encouraged to attend training courses to enhance their skills.

The Playscheme Co-ordinator will be available to Playworkers to discuss any concerns relating to CUHP.

Absences

If Playworkers require compassionate leave this should be negotiated with the Playscheme Co-ordinator.

If Playworkers are unable to attend work due to illness or other medical condition, they must contact the Site Co-ordinator prior to the start of the working day.

Playworkers should indicate why they are unable to attend work and when they expect to return. If a Playworker is off due to sickness or diarrhoea they should not return to work until they have had a clear 48 hour period without episodes of sickness or diarrhoea.

The Playscheme Co-ordinator will ensure that suitable and sufficient contingency plans are in place to cover emergencies, unexpected Playworker absences, Playworker breaks and sickness.

Whistleblowing Procedure

Raising a Concern

If a Playworker has a concern about the behaviour of another member of staff at CUHP; they should raise the concern in the first instance to the Playscheme Co-ordinator or Manager of Childcare Services. Concerns should be raised in writing and include:

  • Reference to the fact that it is a whistle blowing disclosure.
  • The background and history of the concerns.
  • Names, dates and places (where possible).
  • The reasons why the worker is particularly concerned about the situation.

Playworkers, who feel unable to put the concern in writing, can telephone or meet either the Playscheme Co-ordinator or Manager of Childcare Services.

Responding to a Concern

In order to protect individuals, initial enquiries (usually involving a meeting with the individual raising the concern), will be made to decide whether an investigation is appropriate and, if so, what form it should take. Concerns or allegations that raise issues that fall within the scope of other policies/procedures, will be addressed under those procedures.

Some concerns may be resolved at this initial stage, by agreed action or an explanation regarding the concern, without the need for further investigation.

The action taken will depend on the nature of the concern. The matters raised will be investigated internally or in the case of a child protection allegation against a Playworker:

  • Advice will be sought from the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer).
  • Ofsted will be notified.
  • The matter may be referred to the police if necessary.

Support and Protection

Whistleblowing can be difficult and stressful. CUHP will ensure that they do their best to protect the identity of the worker raising the concern and that they are not subjected to harassment or victimisation.

Investigation

The appropriate person/s will investigate the concerns thoroughly, ensuring that a written response can be provided as soon as possible.

The response should include details of how the matter was investigated, conclusions drawn from the investigation, and whom to contact should the worker be unhappy with the.

If the investigation cannot be completed within the timescale above, the worker should receive a response that indicates:

  • Progress to date.
  • How the matter is being dealt with and.
  • How long it will take to provide a final response.

Untrue Allegations

If a worker makes an allegation in good faith, but it is not confirmed by the investigation, no action will be taken against that worker. If, however, there is clear evidence that a worker has made malicious or vexatious allegations, disciplinary action may be taken against that individual in accordance with CUHP's disciplinary procedures.

Unfounded Allegations

Following investigation, if an allegation is confirmed as unfounded this should be notified to the worker who raised the concern, who will be informed that CUHP deems the matter to be concluded and that it should not be raised again unless new evidence becomes available.

Grievances/complaints at work

CUHP recognises that there may be times when employees are unhappy about things at work, and encourages them to raise issues/problems as they arise so that they can be resolved quickly, fairly and to the satisfaction of all concerned, and are prevented from developing into more serious disputes.

You have the right to raise a grievance (i.e. a complaint or problem) about your treatment/conditions at work, i.e. about matters that:

  • Arise from your work with CUHP.
  • Directly affect you as an individual.

How to Raise a Grievance

Informal Stage

Where you discuss with the Playscheme Co-ordinator the concern(s) that you have, aiming to resolve them as quickly as possible.

If the grievance is in relation to Playscheme Co-ordinator, employees may submit their grievance to the Manager of Childcare Services (01223 765305). Employees may also wish to refer to CUHP's Child protection Whistleblowing policy.

Formal Stage

If your complaints/concerns remain unresolved, despite informal discussions, you should put your grievance(s) in writing to the Playscheme Co-ordinator or Manager of Childcare Services:

  • The details and nature of their complaint.
  • The reasons why you are not satisfied with the outcome/response from informal discussions.
  • That you wish the matter to be addressed as a formal grievance.
  • Desired outcome at this stage.

You may be accompanied and/or represented at this stage. Your representative may submit the grievance on your behalf.

Meeting

Representatives of CUHP will arrange to meet you to hear the full facts of the situation, and to attempt to find a satisfactory solution. You have the right to be accompanied and/or represented at this meeting by a person of your choosing. The meeting should be held within ten working days of receipt of the written complaint.

This meeting should be conducted in as informal a manner as possible to encourage a frank and full discussion of the issues and to facilitate a satisfactory solution for all concerned. In the majority of cases a satisfactory solution will be achieved through these discussions and the committee will be able to deliver a decision and agree any action(s) at the end of the meeting. This outcome should be confirmed in writing within five working days of the meeting.

However, in some cases, discussions will uncover other facts/issues that require further investigation. In these circumstances, the meeting should be adjourned, by mutual agreement, until CUHP has been able to investigate the identified areas/points of concern, including discussion with identified individuals as appropriate.

Generally, any further investigations should be completed and a second meeting held with the employee as soon as possible dependant on the infrequent nature of Playscheme, at which time the management committee should deliver a decision on the grievance and confirm this in writing.

The committee's decision must be delivered to the worker personally and then confirmed in writing within five working days. A decision, therefore, can only be:

  • Made after full discussion with the employee.
  • Delivered in person in the first instance.

Employees should be informed, in the letter confirming the outcome of the meeting(s), of their right, if not satisfied with the outcome, to seek additional advice from ACAS, other professionals and their trade union.

It may also be necessary at this stage for CUHP's management to seek additional advice from other professionals such as Educational Personnel Management (EPM).

If an employee raises a grievance that, through investigation, proves to be malicious they may find themselves subject to disciplinary action.

An employee cannot raise the same/related grievance within 12 months of the resolution, outcome or withdrawal of the grievance.

Policy reviewed 16 December 2011.