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5. Role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and Deputy

Governing bodies, proprietors and management committees should appoint an appropriate member of staff, from the school or college leadership team, to take the role of designated safeguarding lead. The designated safeguarding lead should take lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection. This should be explicit within the role-holders job description. This person should have the appropriate status and authority within the school to carry out the duties of the post. They should be given the time, funding, training, resources and support to provide advice and support to other staff on child welfare and child protection matters, to take part in strategy discussions and inter-agency meetings – and to support other staff to do so – and to contribute to the assessment of children.   



Deputy designated safeguarding leads

It is a matter for individual schools and colleges as to whether they choose to have one or more deputy designated safeguarding lead/s. Any deputies should be trained to the same standard as the designated safeguarding lead.


Whilst the activities of the designated safeguarding lead can be delegated to appropriately training deputies, the ultimate lead responsibility for child protection, as set out above, remains with the designated safeguarding lead; this lead responsibility should not be delegated.


The designated safeguarding lead is expected to:


Manage referrals

  • Refer  cases of suspected abuse to the local authority Children’s Social Care as required;
  • Support staff who make referrals to local authority children’s social care;
  • Refer cases to the Channel programme where there is a radicalisation concern as required;
  • Support staff who make a referrals to the Channel programme;
  • Refer cases where a person is dismissed or left due to risk/ harm to a child to the  Disclosure and Barring Service as required; and
  • Refer cases where a crime may have been committed to the Police as required.


Work with others

  • Liaise with the headteacher or principal to inform him or her of issues especially on-going enquiries under section 47 of the Children Act 1989 and police investigations;
  • As required, liaise with the case manager and designated officers at the local authority (also known as local authority designated officer/LADO) for child protection concerns (all cases which concern a staff member); and
  • Liaise with staff on matters of safety and safeguarding and when deciding whether to make a referral by liaising with relevant agencies.  Act as a source of support, advice and expertise for staff.


Undertake training

The Designated Safeguarding Lead (and any deputies) should undergo training to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to carry out the role. This training should be updated at every two years.


The designated safeguarding lead should undertake Prevent awareness training.


In addition to the formal training set out above, their knowledge and skills should be refreshed (this might be via e-bulletins, meeting other designated leads, or simply taking time to read and digest safeguarding developments) at regular intervals, as required, but at least annually, to allow them to understand and keep up with any developments relevant to their role so they:


  • Understand the assessment process for providing early help and intervention, for example through locally agreed common and shared assessment processes such as early help assessments;
  • Have a working knowledge of how local authorities conduct a child protection case conference and a child protection review conference and be able to attend and contribute to these effectively when required to do so;
  • Ensure each member of staff has access to and understands the school’s or college’s child protection policy and procedures, especially new and part time staff;
  • Be alert to the specific needs of children in need, those with special educational needs and young carers;
  • Be able to keep detailed, accurate, secure written records of concerns and referrals;
  • Understand and support the school or college with regards to the requirements of the Prevent duty and are able to provide advice and support to staff on protecting children from the risk of radicalisation;
  • Obtain access to resources and attend any relevant or refresher training courses; and
  • Encourage a culture of listening to children and taking account of their wishes and feelings, among all staff, in any measures the school or college may put in place to protect them.


Raise awareness

  • The designated safeguarding lead should ensure the school or college’s policies are known, understood and used appropriately;
  • Ensure the school or college’s child protection policy is reviewed annually (as a minimum) and the procedures and implementation are updated and reviewed regularly, and work with governing bodies or proprietors regarding this;
  • Ensure the child protection  is available publicly and parents are aware of the fact that referrals about suspected abuse or neglect may be made and the role of the school or college in this; and
  • Link with the local LSCB to make sure staff are aware of training opportunities and the latest local policies on safeguarding.


Child protection file

  • Where children leave the school or college ensure their child protection file is transferred to the new school or college as soon as possible. This should be transferred separately from the main pupil file, ensuring secure transit and confirmation of receipt should be obtained.



  • During term time the designated safeguarding lead (or a deputy) should always be available (during school or college hours) for staff in the school or college to discuss any safeguarding concerns. Whilst generally speaking the designated safeguarding lead (or deputy) would be expected to be available in person, it is a matter for individual schools and colleges, working with their designated safeguarding lead to define what “available” means and whether in exceptional circumstances availability via phone and/or Skype or other such medium is acceptable.


  • It is matter for individual schools and colleges and the designated safeguarding lead to arrange adequate and appropriate cover arrangements for any out of hours/out of term activities.




Taken from Keeping Children Safe in Education (2016), pages 58 to 60