Introduction:

Perfect Host Homestay Ltd. offer accommodation to international guests of all ages.
This policy is to ensure that all members of staff, hosts and any other adults that are organised by us to be in contact with Under 18s while residing in homestay, are appropriately informed and committed to ensuring their safety and wellbeing.

In accordance with this we promote the equalities policies, prevention of bullying and harassments and are committed to ensuring the protection of children from abuse, harm or maltreatment including all forms of abuse as set out in Article 19, UNCRC 1989.
We also believe in the ‘Every Child Matters’ policy stating that there is a new approach to the well-being of young children. The Government believes that whatever a child’s background or circumstances, they have the right to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve and make a positive contribution to society.

All hosts will receive the Safeguarding Policy, Bullying & Harassment Policy, a guide for hosts and international guest’s booklet as well as Adult and Junior Guidelines.

Definitions:

PHH – Perfect Host Homestay Ltd.

Under 18s – any student/guest who has not reached their 18thbirthday is considered a child. Although we recognise that those who are 16 and 17 may not consider themselves a child. However, anyone who has not reached their 18th birthday falls within this category.

Safeguarding – ensuring that all Under 18s and adults are cared for appropriately. Caring for Under 18s safety and welfare regardless of race, culture, religion, gender, sexuality and/or disability. Having the correct policies and procedures in place and ensuring all those in contact with Under 18s are aware of the persons to contact if needed.

Child Protection – the protection of an Under 18 year old from any type of abuse, maltreatment or neglect resulting in actual or potential harm. Following procedures if a concern is raised or disclosure is made.

Suitability Check – all forms and paperwork relating to any known reasons why the said person should not have contact with Under 18s. Full Enhanced DBS checks are carried out on all main hosts and Suitability to Work with Children / Adults are completed by all members of the household over 18 and anyone that regularly visits the homestay that is also over 18.

Related Policies:

Statement:

PHH recognise that Safeguarding is about the welfare of Under 18s when under the supervision of the host, including their stay in the house, while out accompanied by the host and when travelling unaccompanied (only with written permission from the parent/guardian that is predominately held by the schools or agents) ensuring that they are as knowledgeable as possible of their surrounding and travel route.
This is enforced to hosts upon initial visit and they are continually reminded when accommodating Under 18s and is relevant to any individual who is in contact with Under 18s while under the supervision of hosts.

Responsibilities:

PHH will treat all bookings with respect and consideration. We recruit hosts carefully, and respond to complaints, allegations and concerns immediately.
If or when any concerns are raised about an Under 18 year old, all members of staff will raise the concerns to Shamie Mack (Office Manager) or in her absence Carman Richards (Accommodation Manager). We shall then receive information from all sides, appropriately documenting the concerns, responses and action taken. This will then be kept on record and taken into consideration with any future bookings or used to justify the removal of a host from our database or, if necessary, the taking of legal action.

In the unlikely case that you are unable to contact a member of Staff regarding a concern, Camden Council’s Multi agency Safeguarding Hub can be called on:
+44(0)20 7974 3317
+44(0)20 7974 6600
+44(0)20 7974 4094
Or +44(0)20 7974 4444 (out of office hours)

Alternatively, the NSPCC Helpline 24/7 0808 800 5000 or text on 88858

PHH and hosts recognise the importance of ascertaining the wishes and feelings of Under 18s and understand how individual Under 18s communicate by verbal or non verbal means.
When booking Under 18s all PHH staff members must complete the following procedures:

  • Make sure all security and Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is completed and up to date for the main host
  • Contact the local authority for any student/guest under 16 years old staying longer that 28 days to ensure that they are not aware of any problems with the host before placing any student/guest – if known by the local authority, receive permission from the host allowing the local authority to give us details so we can make the appropriate decision on whether the host can accommodate Under 18s. If suitable, the local authority will then complete their procedures
  • Ensure all members of the household who are over 18 have an up to date ‘Suitability to Work with Children’ form (Children Act 1989) and ‘Suitability to Work with Adults’ form
  • Make placements to most suited homestays, ensuring that any Under 18 feels valued and respected
  • Review the complaints folder and check that no previous complaints have been filed against the host deeming them unacceptable to accommodate the current booking
  • Any complaints that are made must be addressed, documented and dealt with accordingly

Dealing with an allegation:

Simple do’s and do not’s can be applied when hearing an allegation for the first time.

  • DO: Find out what is happening, ask the initial question of ‘What has been going on?’ Allow them to answer freely using their own words and phrases, do not ask detailed questions at this stage you do not want them to feel interrogated, use open ended questions, ask ‘What do you want to tell me?’
    Reassure them that they have done the right thing by speaking to you about their concerns and that you are there to help them feel better
  • DO NOT: Refuse to listen or ask to speak later; it would have taken courage to come to you first, be open and listen carefully. Do not overreact or show serious concern in your tone, movement or expressions.
    Be alone with the student in a room with closed doors.
    Promise that you will keep this confidential; explain that it may be necessary to inform someone else.

Expectations of Hosts:

Hosts are responsible for maintaining continuous contact with all guests, ensuring that all Under 18s are safe, comfortable, healthy and happy. Making themselves available to discuss any concerns they have and reporting those concerns to PHH.
Hosts will be constantly vigilant with regards to health and safety and fire risks ensuring that students are aware of the procedures.
They will honour our Homestay Code of Conduct, Meal Guidelines and Junior/Adult Guidelines provided by PHH in accordance with the British Council guidelines and will sign these on a yearly basis. The hosts are also asked to produce two character references completed by someone who has known them for over 5 years.
Hosts are expected to be a good role model at all times, maintaining a level of professionalism, using appropriate language at all times and most importantly maintaining good relations, helping the Under 18s to feel valued and respected. They must provide a supportive environment with the home away from home experience. Hosts and anyone within the household must respect the privacy of students, knocking before entering the room and allowing them privacy when using the bathroom.
Hosts should not take photographs or videos of Under 18s on personal recording equipment or upload any images that may have the Under 18 year olds picture to any social media sites.
Under 18s are not allowed to consume any drugs, alcohol, smoke cigarettes on the premises. Nor should hosts or members of the family be under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any intoxicating substances while caring for students.

Recognising Symptoms of abuse:

Emotional, sexual, or physical mistreatment is all a form of Child Abuse, including the lack of attention or care which may lead to harm of Under 18 year old. Abuse commonly occurs within an established relationship of trust, responsibility or authority and can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race or ability.

The four main types of abuse are sexual, emotional, physical and neglect. Abusers can be male or female adults and other Under 18s. An individual may be responsible for abuse or neglect directly or because they fail to prevent another individual abusing or do not report signs of abuse.

Hosts should consider

  • what you are seeing and asking yourself if it is acceptable practice
  • everything you are being told is a serious matter
  • change in behaviour or sudden outbursts could be a non-verbal cry for help

Internet Safe:

Everyone needs to be aware, especially Under 18 year old students that the internet can be a dangerous source of information and care must be taken at all times.
If an Under 18 should come across inappropriate content or suspicious activities, they must immediately report it to an adult.
If you have a suspicion of cyber bullying, under no circumstances must you participate and it should be reported immediately to an adult. This includes inappropriate words or pictures sent via social networks, text, e-mail or phone apps.

Under 18s are reminded:

  •  not to disclose personal information / host information
  • not everyone on the internet are who they say they are, it is easy to upload false information and pictures
  • not to open email/messages from people you do not know
  • do not visit illegal or inappropriate sites
  • know how to block people and immediately report inappropriate messages, pictures, videos to an adult
  • not to spend long periods of time on the internet or in front of a computer

If a host is led to believe that a student is not using the internet correctly or they have any unusual or inappropriate sites pop up on their computers which they have allowed students to use, they must inform a member of PHH immediately who will inform the school/agent/parents or guardians. It may result in the use of internet being taken away and/or early departure from homestay.

Under 18s curfew times

Under 18s will be given curfew times depending on their age. This is mainly decided through the school/agent and parents/guardian. If allowed out, unaccompanied permission forms/consent forms must be completed by the Under 18 year olds parent or guardian (mainly held by school or agent). Under 18s must follow the curfew times. If the Under 18 year old is aware that they will be late, they must inform their host immediately. If a host decides that the set curfew times are not appropriate and wishes the Under 18 to return home earlier, their say is final. If no curfew time has been specifically set for the student/guest, then recommended curfew times are stated on host confirmation letters.

If an Under 18 year old misses their curfew time, the host must inform PHH emergency numbers +44(0)7535077005 / +44(0)7535077006 who will then inform the school / agent on their emergency numbers. It is then the schools/agents responsibility to inform the parent/guardians. If a student remains missing after 1 hour the host must re-inform PHH, who will re-inform the school/agent so they can make the decision to notify the police. It is the schools/agents responsibility to remind the Under 18s of the importance of following the rules.

First Aid / Medical Assistance:

While under the supervision of hosts, it is their responsibility to provide proper medical attention and/or first aid treatment when necessary for Under 18 year old students.
Medical history, along with actions that need to be taken by the host/family members must be given to PHH at the time of the booking. PHH then informs the host in a confirmation letter with details of what they need to do i.e. remind students to take medication, storing medication and monitoring symptoms of Under 18 year old students.

Safer Recruitment:

Perfect Host Homestay Ltd. take great care in recruiting hosts. Before placing any student/guest in accommodation, an initial visit to the host and the property is arranged, a recent valid Gas Safety certificate is obtained along with at least 2 character references.
We obtain a DBS check on the main host if willing to accommodate Under 18s and Suitability forms for Children and Adults are completed on each member of the home who is over the age of 18, on a yearly basis. We take great care in keeping our records up to date with details of who lives within the home and the dates of birth of each family member so that it is known when a member of the home turns 18. Hosts who are found to have a criminal record will be asked to provide satisfactory explanations for the record(s). Perfect Host Homestay Ltd Office Manager and Accommodation Manager will then investigate the outcome and carry out a risk assessment so that a joint decision can be made on a case-by-case basis.

To ensure continued Safeguarding, each host is visited yearly, spot checks are organised and updates of DBS, Suitability Forms and Terms and Conditions are signed annually.

When recruiting Perfect Host Homestay staff we conduct a rigorous interview process gaining knowledge of previous job titles and addressing any gaps in the applicant’s CV along with obtaining at least 2 references. Training is conducted within the probation period where the applicant must read, understand and agree to follow all procedures, policies and share Perfect Host Homestay Ltd’s goals on Safeguarding all students, especially Under 18s, while in our homestay accommodation.

Transport:

Any company that is providing a taxi service from any location must be PCO/DBS checked and the company is required to have a safeguarding policy in place and available for inspection when requested.
All drivers should act in a professional manner ensuring the safety of the passengers and providing an efficient service. PHH has 2 emergency numbers that can be contacted in the event that the driver cannot be found easily and in turn we have the contact details for the driver/company to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.
Drivers must have the Under 18 in clear view until they are safely within the care of the designated host. If contact cannot be made with the host, then the driver must follow our policy of contacting PHH and continue to keep the Under 18 year old in their care whilst awaiting further instructions.

If the drivers have any concerns raised by the student, they have a Duty of Care to report the concerns to PHH immediately.

Under 18’s Travelling unaccompanied to and from school

Students from the age of 14 have the choice to travel unaccompanied to and from school, with the written permission of their parent / guardian. Anyone under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult unless they are booked on the school bus or daily transfers.

We expect all hosts to show all students/guests, from 14 years old plus, to the closest transport links, help them with the quickest route to their destination and ensure that they fully understand how to complete their return journey.

Students should take the address and contact details of their host and school. Should they become confused or lost, they will then have all the information they need to ask for help, preferably from a Police Officer or Transport Officer. Please familiarise the student/guest with the uniform worn by Police and Transport Officers so that they can identify one when necessary.

We expect schools to contact PHH if a student(s) fails to reach school. PHH will then contact the host to find out exact time the student(s) left, the route they were due to take and if they have had any contact with them since they left for school. This information will then be relayed back to the school.

As schools hold the personal information of the student(s), it will be their responsibility to try and make contact and inform the necessary relatives whether in the UK or overseas.
If no contact can be made, the school holds the responsibility to contact the police.
PHH will continually check back with the host in case the student(s) makes contact.

In turn, if a student does not attend school, the host must inform PHH who will inform the school or agent with the reason for their absence.

All hosts must ensure each morning that they confirm as to weather the student/guest is coming directly home from school or by curfew time and that have an understanding of what the student/guest will be doing while out of the homestay.

We ensure that this policy is understood and communicated to all persons in contact with Under 18 year olds and reviewed yearly.

Last updated September 2015