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Within Small Society, explicit and constant attention is paid to the safety of children, parents and staff. Internal procedures are established within the Small Society quality management system. The theoretical knowledge of employees and the knowledge of internal procedures and policy are regularly tested. At all locations, a location manager is responsible for general policy and the safety of the location. The location manager is supported by the Quality Manager (as a supervisor). All branches are regularly visited and checked. Controls are recorded within the quality management system and are regularly discussed with Small Society management.

Small Society has a strict policy regarding third party access to facilities and hiring of staff.

Staff hiring policy

We only hire qualified people at our branches. Applicants are assessed, screened and hired by the branch managers of the branch concerned through a fixed application process. Our central personnel department is involved as well. Applicants must provide at least two references before coming on board. References are followed up and verified by the branch manager. Before a new employee is hired, they usually have a ‘test run’ by spending a morning in the group. During their trial period, new employees are helped to settle in by the relevant colleagues and actively supervised and assessed by the branch manager. Assessment takes place by means of a defined system and is recorded in writing.

Certificate of Conduct

New employees must be able to present a ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’ (Verklaring Omtrent Gedrag – VOG). This is a legal requirement; the GGD insists on it. In most cases, applicants have already had a job in childcare and, as a result, will already have such a certificate in their possession from their previous employer. In case of re-entry into employment, a new application must be made and discussed for such a certificate. Currently, a certificate of good conduct does not always provide sufficient guarantee for working in childcare. For some time, the government has been working on stricter regulations and testing of a certificate of good conduct. As an organization, we believe that the current certificate of good conduct combined with a careful internal application process can provide a sufficient degree of assurance in order to recruit the right staff.

Employing substitutes

Our organization has a number of permanent substitutes who work on the basis of an on-call contract. The same rules apply as for permanent employees (with respect to the recruitment and selection procedure). In addition, use is made of substitutes through two particular employment agencies from time to time. Our cooperation agreements with the various employment agencies stipulate that the employment agencies must comply with our recruitment and selection procedures.

Guidance, supervision and quality

Our branch managers are usually present at the day care center eight hours a day, four days a week. At our Bunschoten site, this is six hours a day. As a rule, the branch manager knows all the parents and children personally and has a complete overview of the ins and outs at the branch.

The branch manager is supported by the central organization in terms of human resources, child planning, financial affairs and the quality policy. As a result, the branch manager is freely available for support and supervision of the groups as far as possible. The branch manager is also supported by the ‘Childcare Manager’.

The Childcare Manager works from our central organization, has a bachelor’s degree level education within childcare and has many years of experience as branch manager within our organization. As a manager, he or she visits all locations on a regular basis (at least monthly) and together with the branch managers and teaching staff, assures the quality of our services.

The Quality Manager is responsible for quality control at the branches. The Quality Manager visits all branches on a regular basis (at least three times a year) and assesses compliance with our quality system, with respect to indoor climate, outdoor spaces as well as compliance with safety and hygiene standards. The Quality Manager is also qualified to bachelor’s degree level and experienced as a leader in childcare.

Our organization (office and branches) is also audited annually by an independent institution (TÜV) for compliance with our quality system (HKZ

Access to branches

Our branches are locked during opening hours and are only accessible to parents/guardians and our staff. Third parties will only be provided access to the day care center by the branch manager and by appointment (as stipulated in our house rules).

Collaboration and design of branches

Our locations are fitted out and furnished in a transparent and accessible manner. Group rooms, sanitary areas and sleeping areas are ‘linked’ and are shared, so collaboration between different groups is possible and supervision is always present. There are no closed-off sanitary or sleeping areas. All rooms are always easily accessible and have glass openings. In principle, the teaching staff work in twos in their group and are actively supported by the branch manager during the day. During the opening and closing of the branches (between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 and 6:30 p.m.), the children are dropped off and picked up by their parents. At these times and depending on the number of children present, the groups work together per two teaching staff members (per two groups). In the afternoon (between 1 and 2:30 p.m.), the teaching staff alternate taking a break of up to 30 minutes. The staff members are alone with their permanent group for a maximum of 30 minutes during their colleagues’ break. In the afternoon, the branch manager is present at the branch and usually goes along to the different groups for regular consultation.

Protocol for suspected child abuse

Within our organization, we work with a ‘protocol for suspected child abuse’. This protocol defines the manner in which suspicion of child abuse by parents/guardians or our own staff is handled. The protocol provides practical tools and a signaling method for our staff. The protocol is available in every group and is known to our staff.