More than ever, people are looking to invest in the children’s sector because they recognise the longevity of the industry, the privilege to make a very real difference in children’s lives and that the potential for growth is substantial. However, there are certain responsibilities that must be fulfilled in a children’s services franchise for both franchisor and franchisee and they’re not to be taken lightly.
The safety and wellbeing of the children and young adults we work with is paramount to any franchisor in this sector. An in-depth safeguarding assessment should outline areas of potential risk at all stages of the service. It’s the franchisor’s responsibility to put in place suitable measures to mitigate these risks as part of their franchise model. It’s the franchisee’s responsibility to uphold these systems and processes to the highest standards once operational.”
A prime example of this would be a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. This government organisation prevents unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups, including children. I would expect all franchisors working with children to perform a DBS check on prospects when they reach the final stages of the recruitment process. We encourage franchisees to conduct thorough due diligence on the brands they invest in and any responsible franchisor should do the same in order to fulfil our obligations.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of those working in the education sector have a passion for improving the lives of children and a duty of care to them. The safety of a kid is paramount and it’s within the responsibility of all franchisors to help reinforce this view throughout our own family of franchisees. We have the utmost honour of being in a position of trust and having a life-changing impact on the development of a child. It means we have to put children’s welfare at the forefront of our work.”
Everyone, not just the franchisor, holds the responsibility of creating a safe environment and providing parents with assurance of their child’s safety, whether it’s in their own home or at a learning space. Another crucial aspect that needs to be maintained is confidentiality. We’re now all very familiar – or should be – with the enhanced GDPR rules and know that where children are concerned, there’s a heightened sensitivity. Protecting a child’s identity and privacy must come before marketing and brand promotion – no matter how good the success story. That means permission for testimonials, case studies and use of images is much more stringent. It’s within our remit to promote the welfare of children and ensure confidentiality at all times.”
The roles and responsibilities of franchisees in any children’s sector can be daunting at times. To aid coherence between all franchisees and support them in their daily activities, the franchisor should ensure operations manuals and reference materials are easily available and accessible via a resource library.
When working with children, everything needs to be handled with extra care; from marketing and promoting your brand and your recruitment process, to staffing an individual franchise office and maintaining industry standards across the network. It’s anything but child’s play.”