Lone Working

Untitled Document


  1. Induction/Training
  2. Risk Assessment
  3. Supervision
  4. Monitoring
  5. Guidance on One to One Working

1. Induction/Training

No member of staff should work in a one to one situation with a child until they have:

  1. Satisfactorily completed an induction programme;
  2. Received relevant training;
  3. Been approved by a manager as having sufficient prior training/experience.

2. Risk Assessment

Any potential risks associated with lone working can usually be minimised through risk assessments, relevant training, the provision of information and supervision with managers.

No member of staff in the Home will be asked or expected to work with a child in a one to one situation, until a risk assessment has been carried out in relation to the child. The risk assessment should be regularly reviewed. See also Risk Assessment and Planning Procedure.

The risk assessment will consider the safe working measures, controls, training and supervision requirements necessary to ensure the safety of staff and children in one to one situations.

All staff in the Home are responsible for familiarising themselves with the contents of the risk assessment, noting any conditions attached, and any other relevant information contained on the child's file.

The manager must ensure that arrangements are in place to manage any risks presented to staff.

Factors to consider:

  • The knowledge of a medical condition the staff member may have;
  • The time of day or night;
  • Methods of communication;
  • The location of the work and if travel is involved;
  • The risk of violence to staff (verbal and physical);
  • Whether inexperienced staff are particularly at risk?
  • Whether there are any issues such as expectant mothers being particularly at risk?
  • Has adequate training been provided to ensure the safety of both staff and children in the Home?

Where the risk assessment indicates that a member of staff is likely to be at risk in a given situation, the manager will ensure that a contingency plan is in place should the situation occur, for example by the provision of additional support staff.

If the member of staff has any concerns about their own safety, or the safety of the child or others, they must draw this to the immediate attention of the manager who will consider the need for an urgent review of the risk assessment. Any such concerns will be communicated as necessary to all members of staff working with the child. For example during contact with parents/adults, staff may feel threatened by the parent's/adult’s behaviour.

If the manager has any reason to consider, having regard to any incidents, reports, or events that a child presents a risk to staff, or that an individual member of staff is particularly at risk from a child or may be vulnerable when working in a one to one situation, the manager must take immediate steps to review the deployment of staff. The manager will consider if further training is needed.

3. Supervision

At each supervision meeting, there should be an opportunity for staff to cover any issues related to lone working. Any concerns, training needs or requests for additional support should be shared and discussed.

See Staff Supervision and Appraisal Procedure.

4. Monitoring

The manager must monitor the risk assessment through the regular reading of the child's file, regular supervision with members of staff engaged in lone working, discussion at staff meetings, regular consultation with the young person via Keyworker meetings (see Keyworker Guidance) and Placement Planning Meetings.

As indicated above in Section 2, Risk Assessment where the manager has any concerns that a child presents a risk to lone workers, either in general or to an individual member of staff, the manager must take immediate steps to review the risk assessment and if necessary review the composition or deployment of the staff team, and/or the training needs of the individual member of staff.

Any member of staff who has any concerns must report them to the manager so that they can take any necessary action.

5. Guidance on One to One Working

Please read in conjunction with:

Staff should view spending time alone with children as an opportunity to develop positive relationships with the young people.

Staff are asked to pay particular attention to the following areas of risk:

  • Special relationships: It is beneficial for children to be involved in positive relationships with responsible adults, however exclusiveness and secrecy are never appropriate and should be challenged;
  • Taking children home: This is not allowed under any circumstances;
  • Physical care: There are clear guidelines about appropriate privacy boundaries. Young people should be encouraged to undertake personal care and hygiene activities for themselves as soon as appropriate for their age;
  • Access to bedrooms: Staff should be mindful of young people's need for privacy, and the need to avoid situations which could give rise to discomfort or misinterpretation. It is not usually appropriate for any member of staff to be alone with a young person in their bedroom, with the door closed. Also see Bedrooms Procedure;
  • Trips and outings: These should be dispersed among the staff group and subject to collective management approval.

Where only one member of staff is on duty at any time, a risk assessment should be carried out and recorded in writing, identifying any likely risks to children, staff and members of the public, and this must have demonstrated that there is no acceptable level of risk from such an arrangement.

Children should always have a member of staff responsible for them, and know who that member of staff is and how to contact them. There is always at least one member of staff responsible for each identifiable group of children, within or outside the Home, with the means to call for immediate back up from at least one other member of staff or the On Call Service if necessary.