NACCC Membership goes hand in hand with being (or becoming) accredited with us. NACCC has a robust process of accreditation that seeks to ensure that all child contact centres operate to a standard that is safe and effective.
Membership is available to services in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Isles. We also have members in other parts of the world. Whilst providing membership to those abroad is not a core activity, it is possibly for those demonstrating NACCC’s core values.
There are two different types of accreditation for child contact services:
- Accreditation for supported contact
Supported child contact services provide a service where parents do not have to meet, but children are able to keep in touch with parents if communication has become difficult.
Supported services work with families where the risk is not assessed to be high, families will be supported, but not supervised. At supported services observations are not made and reports are not written.
Supported contact services provide safe, neutral centres mainly staffed by volunteers who keep a watchful eye on the children and families using the centre. Several families can use the facilities at the same time.
Families using these services will usually do so on a short-term basis, where the focus will be on supporting the family to move on to alternative arrangements that better meet a child’s needs.
2. Enhanced accreditation for supervised contact
Enhanced accredited services ensure the physical and emotional well-being of children in a one-to-one observing setting. Typically, families will use this service where their situation is more complicated or when risks are assessed to be at a higher level.
When using supervised services, children will remain within sight and sound of staff at all times (unless otherwise previously agreed), reports will be written, and direct observations can be made.
Supervised contact services are staffed by experienced people and often managed by Social Workers.
The National Standards are a detailed and holistic set of benchmarks that must be achieved by services to hold NACCC Membership and Accreditation. These standards are live documents and constantly written and reviewed by NACCC to ensure that they acknowledge changes to law and best working practices.
The NACCC National Standards are written in partnership with our members, key stakeholders and our management / trustee team. These are quality assured by the Independent Standards Panel, who takes responsibility for oversight of the NACCC Standards.
These standards seek to ensure that child contact services are safe and effective places for children to enjoy safe and meaningful relationships with people they do not live with or otherwise spend time with on a regular basis.
Accreditation, is granted to child contact services who meet the standards, their ability to do this is measured in the following ways:
- An allocated assessor will visit the service and carry out a detailed review of their services. This will include interviewing managers, staff, and looking for documented evidence. Where appropriate and only with consent, families are also welcomed to participate in this process. The assessor will also inspect files and documents held at the service.
- Portfolios of documentary evidence are also submitted to the NACCC Assessor.
- Evidence of financial standing and sustainability is submitted to a finance officer at NACCC who will review this to ensure that the service is administered in a sustainable and legal way.
- Services will then work with our detailed membership team to complete Membership agreements.
The above process is then reviewed on a three-yearly basis.
The process of awarding accreditation has been independently reviewed and certificated by the Open College Network, through their QEL+ programme.
NACCC reserves the right to work with services at any time to ensure that they are working to consistently high standards. The way that we will do this will vary and might include unannounced spot checks, depending on the nature of any concerns that are bought to our attention.
Removal of Membership or Accreditation
NACCC reserves the right to deny or remove membership or accreditation at any time and for any reason. However, this is very rare and in most cases is very unlikely to happen. NACCC would only take this course of action where children were considered to be at risk and where this risk could not be mitigated or managed.
NACCC will always try to work with our members to improve the quality of their services and where concerns arise we will make an assessment of the best way to remedy this.