3.4.3 Countering Bullying


This procedure applies to children placed in children’s homes and foster care, but the principles apply to the placement of all Looked After Children. Therefore, where Looked After Children are placed with parents, relatives or friends or in placements outside the authority, the social worker must ensure these or other adequate procedures are applied.

The procedures in this Chapter must be read in conjunction with detailed Guidance contained in Countering Bullying Guidance. See also Residential Anti Bullying Guidance.

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  1. Definition of Bullying
  2. Placement Planning
  3. Notifications
  4. Recording

1. Definition of Bullying

Bullying is defined as behaviour or actions of a person, group of people or a whole organisation designed to cause distress or to hurt a person or group of people. 

Further detail of what may constitute bullying is contained in Countering Bullying Guidance

2. Placement Planning

If there is a risk that a child is likely to be bullied or may be the perpetrator of bullying behaviour, the strategies for managing and reducing the risks must be outlined in his/her Placement Plan.

In the absence of any such strategy, the following must be applied.

3. Notifications

There are different notifications procedures depending on the persistence and seriousness of the bullying:

3.1 Notifications of Minor or Non-Persistent Bullying

Where bullying is not persistent or not serious, it should be notified to the Registered Manager, family placements worker and social worker at the first opportunity; they will decide what action to take in the circumstances.

3.2 Notifications of Persistent or Serious Bullying

Serious, one-off, episodes of bullying are deemed to be Incidents; and must be notified to the social worker/Registered Manager and family placements manager soon as possible but within 1 working day. 

The social worker should inform the child’s parent(s), if appropriate.

Where serious bullying persists, the social worker and the link worker, in consultation with the Registered Manager, should come to a decision about whether it is deemed to be an Incident and whether they should be notified on each occasion or at specified intervals.

The child’s social worker notify parent(s).

If the bullying is serious or persists, the Registered Manager and social worker should consider whether the bullying may constitute Significant Harm; if this is likely, a referral should be considered under the Child Protection Procedures.

If the matter is referred under the Child Protection Procedures, the Designated Manager (Section 47 Enquiry) and the Regulatory Authority must be notified.

4. Recording

There are different recording procedures depending on the persistence and seriousness of the bullying

4.1 Recording of Minor or Non-Persistent Bullying

Minor or non-persistent bullying should be recorded by the social worker on the child’s Chronology.

In Foster Homes, minor or non-persistent bullying must be recorded in the Foster Carer’s Diary of Events for the child. The Supervising Social Workers should make a note on the case file.

In Children’s Homes, minor or non-persistent bullying must be recorded in the child’s Daily Record.

4.2 Recording of Persistent or Serious Bullying

Unless otherwise agreed between the social worker and manager/supervising social worker and set out in the child’s Placement Plan incidents of persistent or serious bullying must always be recorded as Incidents and are subject to a Management Review. Please see Incidents Guidance.