In April 2008 local authorities were given responsibility for Connexions and the ability to decide how best information, advice and guidance services should be delivered. Connexions has a substantial workforce working directly with young people including professionally qualified personal advisers and other delivery staff working under their supervision. Connexions is centred on young people and, as such, safeguarding and promoting the welfare of young people is a primary concern. Connexions staff should take account of and respond to behaviour that is likely to damage the overall wellbeing of young people and should address their welfare and safety needs in a holistic manner.
Local authorities should ensure that their Connexions service:
- identifies, keeps in touch with and provides the necessary support to young people in their geographical area. The needs of young people from vulnerable groups such as teenage mothers, care leavers, young people supervised by YOTs, young people in custody and young people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities are a particular priority as is ensuring support and planning for young people in custody and their resettlement back into the community;
- identifies young people who may be being abused or neglected and, in these cases, alerts the appropriate authority. Staff should be aware of the agencies and contacts to use to refer young people whom they suspect are suffering harm, and should be aware of the way in which these concerns will be followed up;
- minimises risk to the safety of young people on premises for which they are responsible and maintains the necessary capacity to carry out relevant risk assessments;
- minimises the risk that organisations to which they signpost young people, such as those providing employment and training opportunities, pose a threat to the moral development and physical and psychological wellbeing of young people;
- complies with current vetting regulations in the recruitment of all staff (including volunteers); and
- makes staff aware of risks to the welfare of young people so that they can exercise their legal, ethical, operational and professional obligations to safeguard them from these risks.
Connexions should work closely with other agencies concerned with child safety and welfare to analyse rigorously the nature and distribution of risk within the cohort of young people, and to use this information to design services, allocate resources and otherwise take action to address both cause and effect.