6.30 Safeguarding Children in Licensed Premises

6.30 Safeguarding Children in Licensed Premises


  1. Context
  2. Government Guidance
  3. Training and Competence 
  4. Basic Principles
  5. Protection for All 
  6. Child Protection Procedures to be followed by Owner / License Holders and Their Staff 


  1. Context

The protection of children from harm is a national licensing objective. The term ‘children’ refers to all babies, children and teenagers i.e. from birth till their 18th birthday. The words ‘child protection’ is included in the term safeguarding children.

Licensing authorities must also consider the need to protect children from sexual exploitation when undertaking licensing functions.

This safeguarding children policy is for all staff (paid or unpaid) involved in premises which have been licensed under The Licensing Act 2003. This policy will give some basic information about what to do if you are concerned about a child and how your local Children and Young People’s Department and Police will respond to and deal with reports about children whose welfare is causing concern. This guidance should be read in conjunction with the Licensing Act 2003.

  1. Government Guidance

The Government position is that everyone working in an environment where there may be children present should safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children.

All adults (owner/license holders, staff and the wider community) must follow the Government Guidance ‘What To Do If You’re Worried A Child is Being Abused’. The Guidance describes the national framework within which local agencies and professionals should work and take action where there are concerns about the welfare of a child. The guidance can be downloaded from GOV.UK website.

Advice can also be obtained during office hours from your local Police Station or Children and Young People’s Department; and the Social Care Emergency Duty Team and Police (24 hour cover) out of office hours.

  1. Training and Competence 

All owners/license holders and their staff should have a basic awareness of Child Protection issues. This includes:

  • Being alert to the possibility of child abuse and neglect, i.e. the definition, prevalence, identifying features in a child or adult, legal parameters and social consequences
  • Having enough knowledge to recognise an abusive or potentially abusive event or set of circumstances
  • Knowing who in the organization to raise your concerns with
  • Being competent in taking the appropriate immediate or emergency action, and
  • Knowing how to make a referral to Children’s Specialist Services and/or the Police.

Information about this is included in this Child Protection Policy and in the ‘What To Do If You’re Worried A Child is Being Abused’.

The licensee is responsible for ensuring that they and their staff are familiar with, and competent in following both this Safeguarding Children Policy and the Government Guidance.

  1. Basic Principles
  2. If anyone involved with premises which have been licensed has any concerns about a child, then they must discuss these with the local Police Child Abuse Investigation Team and the local Children and Young People’s Department at the earliest possible opportunity. These may include concerns about a member of staff or a suspicion that an activity taking place in the establishment could place children at risk.
  3. In any situation where there is a suspicion that there may be abuse the welfare needs of the child must come first (see Children Act 1989) even where there may be a conflict in interest e.g. where the suspected perpetrator may be a customer, client or employee/employer.
  4. Protection for All 

All children must be safeguarded from harm and exploitation whatever their

  • Race, religion, first language or ethnicity
  • Gender or sexuality
  • Age
  • Health, ill-health or disability
  • Location or placement (e.g. living alone in a hostel or residential unit, with their family or a foster family, as a tourist in an hotel etc)
  • Criminal or offensive behaviour
  • Wealth or lack of it; and
  • Political or immigration status.
  1. Child Protection Procedures to be followed by Owner / License Holders and Their Staff 

Action to be Taken

Local Authority Children’s Specialist Services, the Police (and the children’s charity NSPCC) are the only agencies which have a legal obligation to investigate child abuse.

If you suspect that a child under the age of eighteen years or an unborn baby is:

  • Experiencing or already has, experienced abuse or neglect; and/or is
  • Likely to suffer significant harm in the future.

You must talk to your nominated safeguarding children person and make a referral to your local Children’s Specialist Services and your local Police.

Who to Contact

In Office Hours
Children’s Specialist Services 0151 606 2006
Local Police Station 0151 709 6010
Out of Office Hours
Children’s Specialist Services Emergency Duty Team 0151 652 2461
Local Police Station (24 hour cover) 0151 709 6010

What Children’s Specialist Services and the Police will want to know:

When you contact the Duty Officer you should provide the following details:

  • Your name
  • Your address and a telephone number at which you can be contacted in case they require other information or to follow up
  • The child or young person’s name, and any other details, if known (parent’s name, address, school etc)
  • Relevant information about the circumstances of your concerns – what you see, hear or suspect to be happening about an individual child and young person
  • Also concerns relating to activities you see, hear or suspect to be happening about the premise or linked to the premises e.g. if you suspect that a member of staff is selling alcohol to young people who are underage or you believe that children are at risk of Sexual Exploitation (prostitution or internet pornography). You may not have all the details about a child or young person, or the activity but you should still refer.

You will be expected to put in writing within 48 hours the information which you have given verbally (telephone or face-to-face).

Children’s Specialist Services and the Police should tell you how to respond to the situation in a way that supports their plan of action.

You may be in breach of your license if you do not disclose information where child abuse is suspected.

Nominated Safeguarding Children Person 

Recommended best practice is for the owner/license holder to nominate themselves or a senior staff member to have the following responsibilities* in relation to safeguarding children for the licensed premises – to:

  • Arrange safeguarding children training for all staff
  • Monitor and report on whether all staff have received the minimum (initial and refresher) safeguarding children training
  • Ensure that all staff have read and know where to find this policy and the Government Guidance: “What To Do If You’re Worried a Child is Being Abused”
  • Ensure that an up-to-date Safeguarding Children Procedures Poster is displayed for all staff at all times
  • Provide advice and support to staff when they have a concern about safeguarding a child;
  • Record all concerns raised by staff; and
  • Be the contact person for the local Children’s Specialist Services and the Police in relation to all incidents or concerns related to the safeguarding of children on or linked to the premises.

* This list is not exhaustive

All staff should know that they can call the local Children’s Specialist Services and the Police if the person they suspect is senior to them in the licensed premises staff hierarchy.

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