Maintaining a safe environment for both students and staff is a top concern of Principals and School Administrators. Having risk management strategies in place that focuses on preventing, identifying and mitigating risks to children was a key recommendation in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse report on Creating Child Safe Institutions.
Managing visitors to your school
One key risk that was outlined in the NSW Department of Education and Training safety and security directorate on how to be a safer school* was around the management of visitors to a school site including contractors and volunteers. A key recommendation in the ten steps to protecting schools was developing a visitor management plan, including requiring visitors to sign-in and wear visitor’s badges.
Similarly the Victorian Child Safety Standard on Child safety risk management strategies recommends asking the question “does the school monitor who is on premises? e.g. visitor and contractor sign-in process, perimeter control” as part of evaluating school risks.
Not only is it important that visitors sign-in and wear badges, the Royal Commission report also calls for all staff and volunteers to receive an appropriate induction to ensure that they are aware of their safety responsibilities. Along with staff and volunteers, it is also good practice to appropriately induct any contractors who are onsite to ensure that they understand their obligations whilst at the school.
It is also important to ensure that any contractors on school grounds are appropriately qualified and licensed to conduct the work as well as having a verified Working With Children Check (WWCC). Ensuring contractors are validated helps minimise the risk of something going wrong and helps keep your school compliant with industry rules and regulations.
Figure: Example digital contractor sign-in process
Where to start?
There are simple steps schools can take to manage the risks associated with volunteers and contractors being on the school premises, along with keeping a record of staff onsite. As the NSW and Victorian reports suggest, adopting a comprehensive sign-in and sign-out procedure will help to ensure the safety of students and other stakeholders.
Upstream, a Fuji Xerox company, offer a Visitor Sign-in and Contractor Compliance management solution that helps to validate contractor credentials, insurances, or licenses by linking to local or external Contractor Management Systems and WWCC, provide induction material, give visibility of who is onsite, manage time and attendance of contractors, volunteers and staff in a digital easy to use format.
* Source: New South Wales Department of Education and Training and New South Wales Police. How to be a safer school: safety and security directorate (2016)