The Role of a DSL - explained

After answering a number of questions relating to stepping up in to the role of Designated Safeguarding Lead, we've compiled some questions and answers all about the role of the DSL.

What is a DSL?

A Designated Safeguarding Lead is a very important role in the protection of children, the DSL has chief responsibility for listening to and dealing with all matters concerned with safeguarding children both mentally and physically for an organisation. The DSL refers cases to a higher level if necessary, provides support to staff members and generally raises safeguarding awareness within the organisation. 

Can anyone be a DSL?

Generally the DSL of an organisation is someone with authority to carry out necessary actions. However, it is common place for schools to have two or three DSL trained staff to fill in incase of absences. 

How do I become a DSL? What qualifications do I need?

To become a DSL for your organisation, you must have first completed Safeguarding Awareness Training (previously known as Level 2). You will then need to complete a Designated Safeguarding Lead Course, and be fully confident that you can carry out the role as described in the course. Completion of the DSL course will mean you can carry out the role of DSL, however, it is vitally important that you attend DSL refresher training every 2 years and keep up to date with any updates to guidance (KCSIE & WTSC).

Need Safeguarding Awareness or DSL Refresher Training?

We have both Safeguarding Awareness and Designated Safeguarding Lead Courses in our catalogue available in Live Virtual format and our 100% Flexible AnyTime Courses.

Why don't you test your Safeguarding knowledge? Take our Safeguarding Awareness Quiz and our DSL Quiz

What are my responsibilities as DSL? ​

These can depend on your type of organisation, generally your responsibilities include:

  • Holding the relevant certificate and refreshing training when necessary

  • Ensure your organisation has a satisfactory safeguarding policy which all staff members are aware of and familiar with

  • Review and update the policy at least annually

  • Refer safeguarding  cases to higher levels in necessary

  • Be familiar with your local authority's safeguarding procedures

  • Keep detailed records

  • Introduce/review appropriate safeguarding responses to pupil absences 

There are many other responsibilities of a DSL and this list is not exhaustive - the full list of responsibilities is found on the DSL Course.

I have been asked to write/contribute towards my organisation's Safeguarding Policy - where do I start?

Every DSL should have an awareness of, the following policies, and especially so if you are writing or contributing to your organisation's safeguarding policy:

  • The Children Act 1989

  • The Children Act 2004

  • The Education Act 2002

  • Every Child Matters 2004

  • Keeping Children Safe In Education

  • Working Together to Safeguard Children

Your Local Authority will give you guidance on specific details of your Safeguarding policy, however, we have a Safeguarding Policy Template you are free to use. View it here

Can the DSL train other staff in Safeguarding Awareness?

Yes they can, an organisation's Designated Safeguarding Lead can training the other staff in Safeguarding Awareness and we have some resources which can help too. It is worth mentioning though that it is important that a DSL is very confident that they get the correct and updated information out to staff members as Ofsted can like to test staff and like to see evidence of safeguarding training.

Have there been any updates recently?

Yes, there was an update to the Keeping Children Safe in Education government guidance in September 2020, we’ve put together a short video to summarise the updates and what they mean for you. See the video here

This is only a selection of questions on the role of a DSL, if you have any other questions feel free to get in touch.

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