Guidance for DARE Officers

The Purpose of this guidance

This guidance is specifically for DARE Officers working in the classroom. During training you will have discussed safeguarding and how to identify concerns in the classroom. Remember the discussions about backgrounds and circumstances of students and the understanding of our own histories and the impact it had on our own learning. All students are different and have different needs; they can be vulnerable in many different areas and this can often be because of their backgrounds and circumstances – you will have discussed this with the teacher at the pre-programme meeting.

The purpose of this document is to remind DARE Officers of that discussion, and to guide them through the process of the action required should a safeguarding issue be identified.

Pre Programme

There are a number of different points of responsibility for the DARE Officer before the programme starts.

  • To ensure that all safeguarding training is up to date.

  • On the pre-programme visit – ensure that you ask the teacher about any potential safeguarding issues, the name of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) for the school and advise that we have a procedure in place for any identified safeguarding issues.

  • On the parent brief – advise that we follow strict guidelines designed to keep children safe.

  • The DARE rules and DARE box – use these to reinforce confidentiality.

I Identifying concerns during the programme

Please Note

There is no reason why a DARE Officer should be alone with a child at any point during a visit to school.

Identifying a Concern

During the programme you may identify a concern in a number of different ways e.g. spoken, observed, written in the workbook. Ask yourself the question ‘what are the risks and consequences of this?’ and if you are at all concerned then you must follow this up with the member of teaching staff who is with you at the time. Where you are in doubt, always err on the side of caution.


Your immediate response will depend on the circumstances and may range from a simple acknowledgement of a statement, to a quiet word with teaching staff. At no point should you engage in discussion about your concern or ask any questions of the young person – this may jeopardise any future investigation.


Make sure the member of staff understands that you have identified a potential safeguarding concern and that you need to follow LEC procedure. It is highly likely that the school will be aware of any safeguarding issues and support will be in place. Where school may be unaware, it is their responsibility to follow this up with their own safeguarding procedures. Ask what they intend to do about the concern. Discuss and agree action with the member of staff or the DSL as appropriate and advise that you are required to follow up to ensure actions have been carried through.


If you are not comfortable or satisfied with the response, or have any doubt you can ask to speak to the DSL or the Head and also may contact the LEC safeguarding lead i.e. the Training and Development Manager or in their absence the organisation CEO. If you think a child is at immediate risk, this needs to done be by telephone and urgently. If any further action needs to be taken you will be advised at this point. Should there be any difficulty in contacting the safeguarding lead please contact the main office for advice. There may be very rare occasions where LEC will need to act – this is the responsibility of the LEC safeguarding lead, not the DARE Officer.

Record of Concern

Complete the electronic Record of Concern (Appendix 3) form and submit to the office within either 3 working days if no further action is required or 7 working days where a follow up conversation is required – unless otherwise agreed with the safeguarding lead. Please remember to only give the information required on the form – at this point we do not require the child’s full personal details.

Following Up

In most cases you will have had a thorough discussion and agreed an action plan with school – if this is not the case then you must telephone the LEC safeguarding lead for advice. On your next visit check with the teacher and ensure that that the agreed and appropriate action has been taken, if not then again, a phone call to LEC safeguarding is required. Once the agreed action has been completed, the Record of Concern form will need to be updated and resubmitted. The form will be signed off by the safeguarding lead once no further action is required.

Overall Support

At any point during the process a call to LEC safeguarding lead can be made for support or guidance. If you are unclear or unsure about anything in this guidance please ask for further advice.

General Guidance on safeguarding legislation and process

Some children are in need because they are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. The Children Act 1989 introduced the concept of ‘significant harm’ as the threshold that justifies compulsory intervention in family life in the best interests of children, and gives local authorities a duty to make enquiries to decide whether they should act to safeguard or promote the welfare of a child who is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm. 

There are no absolute criteria on which to rely when judging what constitutes significant harm and this is not for the DARE Officer to decide. Consideration of a variety of factors will be made by the Local Authority. This may involve a multitude of and/or longer-term issues or a single traumatic event, each of which has been associated with having severe impacts upon child welfare or development. More often, significant harm is a compilation of significant events, both acute and long-standing, which interrupt, change or damage the child’s physical and psychological development. Some children live in family and social circumstances where their health and development are neglected. A thorough assessment of the child’s circumstances will determine any risk and inform planning and protection for that child, both immediately and in the longer term. Information/observation provided by a DARE Officer may well form a part of such an assessment.

Related documents

April 2020

LEC Safeguarding Children Policy

April 2020

LEC Safeguarding Children Flowchart

April 2020

LEC Safeguarding Children Record of Conern Form

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