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SWGfL to Launch New Versions of Online Safety Review Tool

In 2012 our partners at South West Grid for Learning launched a new online safety self-review tool for settings and groups that work with children and young people. The Online Compass tool allowed these organisations to review their online safety policies and practices, compare their progress with similar organisations and produce improvement plans.

The tool has been very successful with over 3,000 organisations using the tool and many local authorities setting expectations that their early years’ settings should use the tool as part of their regular safeguarding reviews.

Online technologies continue to change and develop and one of the related features is that children are accessing these tools at increasingly younger ages. It has become even more important for organisations working with children and young people to understand and act on this aspect of their safeguarding practice.

How is the tool changing?

With support from European Commission funding, SWGfL has carried out significant re-development of the self-review tool and will be releasing new and more focussed versions of the tool.

The first to be released, in the Autumn, will be the “360 Early Years” online safety self-review tool with a clear focus on the review of policy and practice in settings for pre-school children. There will be 12 areas of focus which the setting can judge itself against 4 level statements, helping them to judge if their practice reaches what will be considered as essential or effective levels.

The tool will provide instant comparison with the levels of other settings using the tool. It will also suggest improvement actions and provide a range of reports. A set of policy templates will complement the tool and there will be links to good practice resources.

The second tool to be launched later in the year – “360 Groups” will have the same features but the review and content will be focussed towards a wide range of other groups that work with children of school age. This might include breakfast clubs, holiday schemes, youth groups, faith groups, sports clubs, libraries, uniformed organisations and a whole host of other such organisations.

SWGfL is pleased to provide these free to use, updated tools to help organisations keep their children and young people, staff and volunteers safe online, while also protecting the organisation itself in this essential area of safeguarding.