Safeguarding: role of the link governor
Understand what the role of a safeguarding link governor is and who you can appoint.
The information in this article is taken from Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2022.
Who can it be?
A senior board level (or equivalent) governor should take leadership responsibility for safeguarding.
Multi-academy trusts: You must appoint a member of your trust board to be responsible for safeguarding.
The safeguarding link governor must be:
- A full governor (either elected or appointed) – they can't be an associate member
- Separate from the designated safeguarding lead (DSL) – this is to make sure there's sufficient challenge to your school's safeguarding arrangements and performance
The DfE told us this.
Monitoring your school's systems and procedures
The safeguarding link governor should make sure your school has an effective:
- Child protection policy – they'll find our child protection checklist and model policy helpful for this
- Staff code of conduct
- Policy for handling allegations of abuse against staff and volunteers, including allegations that don't meet the harm threshold (low level concerns)
- Safeguarding response to children who go missing from education
- Online monitoring system and online filters
They should also:
- Make sure the school has appointed a DSL from the senior leadership team (SLT), who has the appropriate status and authority to carry out their duties, and:
- Meet them regularly to make sure policies and procedures are effective
- Make sure the DSL has the additional time, funding, training, resources and support needed to carry out the role effectively
- Ask the DSL the right monitoring questions
- Make sure all staff and governors have had the appropriate level of training (as applicable)
- Make sure the school has appointed a designated teacher to promote the educational achievement of looked-after and previously looked-after children, and that this person has appropriate training
- Make sure the curriculum covers safeguarding, including online safety, which should be a running and interrelated theme in your whole school approach to safeguarding and related policies/procedures
- Make sure checks for the single central record are happening – but note that they shouldn't do the checks themselves because a governor's role is strategic, not operational
- Update the governing board on how monitoring activities are going
Your safeguarding link governor may have other delegated safeguarding responsibilities. Check your school's role description, terms of reference or child protection policy for any additional duties.
Your link governor can use our safeguarding checklist to help them monitor effectively.
Being the board's specialist
The safeguarding link governor should:
- Keep the board up to date with statutory safeguarding and child protection guidance, including anything issued locally by your school's safeguarding partners
- Inform the board as to whether it needs to make any changes (e.g. in light of new regulations)
To keep up to date with the latest statutory guidance, the link governor should regularly attend training.
They should also make sure safeguarding training is attended by:
- All governors and trustees - they should receive safeguarding and child protection (including online) training at induction, which is regularly updated (see our article on safeguarding training for governors for more guidance)
- Staff – this should happen at induction and regularly thereafter
Get your link governor set up with training from The Key - our on-demand course for safeguarding link governors, included in your school's membership of The Key for School Governors, will give them the opportunity to learn at a time and pace that suits them.
Our courses have been specifically designed by experts, and include:
- Quick-read articles
- Bitesize video clips
- Practical tasks that'll help your link governor put their learning to the test in real-life scenarios
The safeguarding link governor will not:
- Write safeguarding reports - that's the job of the headteacher or DSL
- Deal with safeguarding incidents - but senior leaders should notify them when they happen (in general terms, and the governor shouldn't ask for any specific details, like who the child is)
Download a printable version of the role description
Give it to your safeguarding link governor so they know what their role is.
Note: this document includes the responsibilities outlined above but, as mentioned above, your link governor may have other safeguarding responsibilities, so check and adapt as necessary.
Follow your school's procedures to raise concerns
Everyone, including the safeguarding link governor, should follow your school's procedures where there's a safeguarding concern about a pupil or member of staff. Raise the concern immediately in line with these procedures.
We've updated this article to reflect the changes to Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) that'll come into force on 1 September 2022, specifically that your board needs to make sure:
- All governors and trustees receive appropriate safeguarding and child protection (including online) training at induction, which is regularly updated, to equip you with the knowledge to provide strategic challenge. This is so you can be assured that safeguarding policies and procedures are effective and support your school to deliver a robust whole school approach to safeguarding (paragraph 81)
- Your designated safeguarding lead (DSL) has the appropriate status and authority to carry out their job. You need to give the DSL the additional time, funding, training, resources and support needed to carry out their role effectively (paragraph 103)
- Online safety is a running and interrelated theme whilst devising and implementing your whole school or college approach to safeguarding and related policies/procedures (this has now been specified as a responsibility of governing bodies and proprietors) (paragraph 136)
- Your school has procedures to manage any safeguarding concerns (no matter how small) or allegations that do not meet the harm threshold (low level concerns), about staff members (including supply staff, volunteers and contractors). See paragraph 151