(For a PDF version complete with flow charts click HERE)
R2S Limited (R2S) recognises its responsibility to ensure that a safe environment is provided for all children, young adults and vulnerable adults taking part in R2S’s activities. This policy specifies how we will provide a safe environment and protect children & vulnerable adults while they are taking part in R2S’s projects and other services.
It also aims to protect R2S’s staff, contractors and volunteers from situations where they may feel threatened or open to suspicion or accusation.
Children are young people under the age of 18. Vulnerable adults are defined as people over the age of 18, who are or may be in need of community care services because of age, illness, physical or learning disability, or those who are unable to take care of or protect themselves against harm or exploitation including those from whom English is an additional language.
Safeguarding or Child Protection – The term ‘Child Protection’ has been changed to Safeguarding as it reflects the wider responsibility for health & safety and prevention as well as just protection from abuse. The word safeguarding has been used with increasing frequency over the last few years in a wide range of settings and situations, going well beyond the world of children and child protection. Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined by the Department for Education as:
- Protecting children from maltreatment
- Preventing impairment of children’s health or development
- Ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care.
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Safeguarding is about being proactive and putting measures in place in advance of any contact with children to ensure that children, young adults and vulnerable adults are going to be kept safe. This will include:
- Ensuring staff are properly checked when they are recruited (DBS)
- Guidelines for people who come into contact with children as part of their role to ensure they know what they need to do to keep children safe
- Ensure staff receive refresher knowledge and skills up dates from the DSP
- Ensure that all staff who work with children undertakes appropriate training to equip them to carry out their responsibilities for safeguarding learners at least every three years which will enable them to recognise the signs and symptoms of abuse including Child sexual exploitation (CSE), Female Genital mutilation (FGM), Peer-on-Peer Abuse, and Honour-based Violence (HBV)
- Ensuring staff have the knowledge of The London Child Protection Procedures in relation to Children Who Go Missing From Care and Home
- Managers/Key Subject Leads will have undertaken Level 3 Designated Safeguarding officer training at all sites.
- Embedding within the curriculum the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
- Ensure that the names and contact details of the DSP/Deputy are on display for all staff, parents, pupils and visitors to the centre
- Guidelines for planning an event or activity with children and putting measures in place to minimise the risk of safeguarding issues occurring.
We at R2S are committed to good practice which protects children and young adults from harm. Staff and volunteers accept and recognise their responsibility to provide an environment which promotes the safety of children and young adults at all times. To achieve this we will:
- Develop an awareness of the issues which may lead to children or young adults being harmed.
- Create an open environment by having a “Designated Person” to whom the children or young adults can turn to if they need to talk. This person will also be the person for staff and volunteers to consult whenever they have a query or concern about a child’s welfare.
- Adopt Safeguarding guidelines through codes of conduct for staff, volunteers and other learners at R2S.
- Ensure careful recruitment, selection and management procedures. These will include regular support and supervision is provided to staff/volunteers
- Ensure complaints, grievance and disciplinary procedures are included in our Management System
- Ensure good and safe working practices.
- Be involved in training made available through the various agencies and strengthen links with these agencies, and deliver our own Safeguarding training to staff and volunteers every 3 years.
- Keep Safeguarding policies under regular review (every 3 years minimum)
- Have procedures relating specifically to bullying, field trips, radicalisation and use of electronic media and photography.
Code of Conduct
Following this simple code of conduct will allow R2S’s staff working with children or vulnerable adults to avoid most situations in which they might be compromised.
You should always
- Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every individual and treat everyone with equality
- Ensure the welfare and safety of children and vulnerable people is your top priority
- Be a good role model
- Ensure that the activities you are leading are appropriate to age, maturity and ability
- Consider that children and vulnerable adults may have complicated and/or traumatic backgrounds which could make them sensitive to certain issues
- Recognise individual contributions and give positive, constructive feedback
- Remember that someone else might misinterpret your words or actions, no matter how well intentioned
- Take disclosures seriously and report them in writing as fully as possible.
You should never
- Put yourself in a situation of risk; be aware of situations which may present risks and manage these.
- If possible you should not be alone with children and vulnerable adults. Where possible plan and organise the workplace so as to minimise risks and as far as possible be visible in working with children and vulnerable adults.
- Behave physically in a manner which is inappropriate or sexually provocative.
- Use actions or language that may cause a child or vulnerable adults to lose self-esteem or confidence.
- Allow allegations made by a child or vulnerable adults against you or someone else (even if the person is a child) to go unrecorded or not acted upon.
- Publish pictures of children or vulnerable adults involved in R2S’s activities without ensuring you have the person’s consent.
All staff can be expected to have contact with vulnerable children and vulnerable adults so we will ensure that all staff and volunteers will:
- Be subject to a satisfactory criminal security check (DBS) before taking up their post
- Have at least two personal and work references which will be checked and in line with best practice guidance.
- Receive a personal copy of this policy upon starting their job
- Required to sign a copy of this policy to say they have read it
- Be informed in writing of any changes to this policy
- If a member of staff works at an event before a DBS check is conducted or where additional staff are brought in at short notice, then every effort will be made to ensure that they work alongside a fully DBS checked member of staff.
Any physical contact between R2S’s staff and children or vulnerable adults is discouraged. However, it is acknowledged that some enthusiastic children or vulnerable adults may make contact with staff spontaneously. This is unavoidable but should not be encouraged and staff should not initiate unnecessary physical contact. Circumstances under which physical contact may be necessary are outlined below:
It is acknowledged that physical contact may be necessary to prevent children or vulnerable adults hurting themselves e.g. if someone is about to fall or run into an object. The nature of the contact which has taken place should be explained to the responsible adult.
Staff must not search children or vulnerable adults, or their property, without the approval of a responsible adult who should be present at all times. Searching of a young person or vulnerable adult would only arise if it was deemed that a dangerous item was being concealed by a young person or vulnerable adult and could cause damage to others or themselves.
Physical contact may be unavoidable from R2S’s first aiders administering basic medical assistance. It is standard first-aid practice to explain the purpose of physical contact before carrying it out.
Responsible adults are responsible for managing the behaviour of the children or vulnerable adults in their care and for dealing with violence or inappropriate behaviour. However, if R2S’s staff are physically attacked or threatened they may take reasonable measures to protect themselves or remove the threat. If necessary R2S’s staff may ask responsible adults to remove children or vulnerable adults.
Should a child or vulnerable adult accuse a member of staff or volunteer of physical or sexual abuse, or any kind of inappropriate behaviour, this should be referred immediately to the individual’s responsible adult and to the manager of R2S. Both parties’ account of the incident should be recorded in writing (ideally by a different member of staff) and passed to the line manager of the accused member of staff.
However neither party should be questioned at this stage – the record will simply be of what they said at the time and in fact may only be the alleged victim’s account.
If a member of staff is accused of physical or sexual abuse, or any kind of inappropriate behaviour, they may be suspended from work on full pay and the incident dealt with by their line manager. Incidents may be reported to the Local Authority Designated Officer as required by government guidance (ask Matt Masters for reference and expansion of this whole section if you need it) and the police which could lead to a disciplinary action against the member of staff. However should allegations be assessed as unfounded this will be noted on the staff file, which is subject to terms of the Data Protection Act.
Medication & First Aid, Health & Safety
Staff should not give a child or vulnerable adult any kind of medication under any circumstances.
If a child or vulnerable adult requires First Aid at R2S’s site, this must be provided by a qualified R2S First-Aider, with the assistance of the responsible adult where possible. If First Aid is required at an outreach event, the resident First-Aider should take charge; R2S’s staff may assist if requested.
In case of a medical emergency, the responsible adult should be consulted about calling for a paramedic or ambulance, but the decision is down to the attending First-Aider.
At R2S’s sites R2S’s Health & Safety guidelines should be followed at all times. All members of the public, but especially children or vulnerable adults, should not be allowed access to areas identified as potentially dangerous in risk assessment.
Any case of injury or accident on R2S’s sites should be reported using the accident book. Near misses should also be recorded in the accident book, which should then be passed to your line manager to complete the entry.
Photographs or videos of children or vulnerable adults (as individuals or in groups) where they could be recognised must not be taken or published without obtaining prior consent.
If a child or vulnerable adult discloses any information to R2S’s staff suggesting that they have been physically or sexually abused, staff should take the disclosure seriously, listen to the person and accept what is being said. They should not express shock, ask questions or make promises they are unable to keep e.g. to keep the information confidential or to stop the abuse from happening. They should inform the person at the beginning of the disclosure that they will not be able to keep the information confidential.
Any such disclosure should be recorded in writing in as much detail as possible straight after the incident and reported to the line manager. It is not the responsibility of staff to act on the disclosure themselves.
If a member of staff feels a child or vulnerable adult is at immediate risk, this should be included in reporting to the line manager as soon as possible.
Management of Information
R2S complies with the principles of the Data Protection Act (1998) in the way it collects, holds and disposes of personal information. Under the Data Protection Act, anyone processing personal information must comply with eight principles of good information handling. The eight principles state that the data must be:
- Fairly and Lawfully processed
- Processed for limited purpose
- Adequate, relevant and not excessive
- Accurate and up to date
- Not kept longer than necessary
- Processed in accordance with the individual right
- Not transferred to countries outside the European Economic area unless there is adequate protection.
For more information please see the website of the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Declaration by Staff
Staff are asked to declare that they have received and read a copy of this policy, and that they will abide by the code of conduct.
For more information please see the website of the Information Commissioner’s Office.