Version: 1.0; Approved by: Instructus Board, Approved on: July 2019, Next Revision: July 2020
Statement of Policy
This policy statement relates to Instructus (“the Company”) overall approach and policy to the management of Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults. This policy is also adopted by Instructus’ subsidiary companies, CQM Training and Consultancy Ltd and The Springboard Consultancy.
The Children and Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding & Prevent Policy sets out the Company’s approach to preventing and reducing harm to children and vulnerable adults when they are in contact with anyone employed by the company and associates/contractors in relevant positions.
Prevent refers to the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to protect people from radicalisation and extremism. To stop people from becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. This includes countering terrorist ideology and challenging those who promote it, supporting individuals who are especially vulnerable to becoming radicalized, and working with sectors and institutions where the risk of radicalization is assessed to be high.
The policy aims to:
- Promote and prioritise the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults;
- Provide assurance to parents, carers and other parties that the Company takes reasonable steps to manage risks and keep children and vulnerable adults safe;
- Ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in respect of Safeguarding and Prevent and is provided with the necessary information, training and support on Safeguarding and Prevent matters;
- Avoid the employment of individuals in work with children and/or vulnerable adults where they have been barred by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)or are deemed by the company to pose an unacceptable risk to vulnerable group’s;
- Ensure that appropriate action is taken in the event of any allegations or suspicions regarding harm to children or vulnerable adults arising from contact with anyone employed by the Company and associates/contractors in relevant positions, regardless of where the harm has taken place;
- Adopting a culture of respect, free from bullying or harassment;
- Protect people from radicalisation and extremism.
The Children and Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding & Prevent Policy also seeks to manage effectively the risks associated with activities and events involving children and vulnerable adults through departments:
- Completing a risk assessment process which involves identifying risks and means of reducing or eliminating these;
- Implementing the required actions identified by the risk assessment process and reviewing the effectiveness of these on a regular basis;
- Ensuring that the appropriate DBS or basic disclosure checks are conducted, depending on eligibility, for any individuals starting or moving into work which involves working with children or vulnerable adults;
- Requiring new employees and individuals involved in working with children or vulnerable adults to familiarise themselves with the content of this policy and the associated Code of Practice outlined in Appendix B.
This policy requires that any suspicions and allegations involving harm to children and vulnerable adults are referred through the group’s Designated Safeguarding Officer to determine what action, if any, must be taken. This will enable each situation to be investigated thoroughly, whilst treating the parties involved fairly and with sensitivity. It will also ensure that suitable steps are taken as a result of any investigations, which may include contacting the police and/or fulfilling the legal duty to refer information to the DBS as required.
The procedure for managing suspicions and allegations aims to strike a balance between the need to protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse and the need to protect anyone employed by the Company and associates/contractors in relevant positions.
The Children and Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding & Prevent Policy should be used as the basis of each department’s approach to prevent and reduce harm to children and vulnerable adults. However, departments are encouraged to develop their own procedures to address any safeguarding matters of particular relevance to them.
A child is any person under the age of 18.
Adults aged 18 and over have the potential to be vulnerable (either temporarily or permanently) for a variety of reasons and in different situations. An adult may be vulnerable if they:
- Have a learning or physical disability; or
- Have a physical or mental illness, chronic or otherwise, including an addiction to alcohol or drugs; or
- Have a reduction in physical or mental capacity; or
- Are in the receipt of any form of healthcare; or
- Are detained in custody; or
- Are receiving community services because of age, health or disability; or
- Are living in sheltered or residential care home; or
- Are unable, for any other reason, to protect himself/herself against significant harm or exploitation.
It is recognised that people who meet one or more of the criteria above may not be vulnerable at all, or all of the time. However, until a department has direct contact with people on an individual basis, it may be impossible to identify whether vulnerability exists in relation to an activity or event involving adults that they are planning.
Therefore, in order to support departments in identifying and managing potential risks of harm to people effectively, and for the purposes of this policy only, a vulnerable adult should be identified (for the purposes of this policy only) as a person aged 18 or over who meets one or more of the criteria listed above.
Raising awareness of the policy
All new members of staff are made aware of this policy and are given time to read it during their induction period.
Where appropriate to their role, staff will receive the appropriate level of training which includes Safeguarding training and Prevent training in respect of the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015.
All staff will be trained in the appropriate response to a disclosure and the correct procedure for dealing with concerns. Staff will work proactively to protect people from abuse and neglect and prevent people being placed in an abusive situation.
Initiating the Risk Assessment Process
Organisations are required under health and safety legislation to protect people as far as is ‘reasonably practicable’. In particular, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require organisations to assess the risks in their workplaces and to put plans in place to control the risks.
The Children & Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding & Prevent risk assessment process will be initiated by the following circumstances (although other situations may trigger this procedure if deemed appropriate by the department):
- Recruitment to a new or existing post which involves working with children and/or vulnerable adults;
- The commencement of new activities or events involving or potentially involving children and/or vulnerable adults;
- Changes being made to activities or events involving or potentially involving children and/or vulnerable adults.
Once it has been identified that the risk assessment process should be initiated, it is vital that the person responsible for the relevant recruitment campaign, activity or event includes completion of this within the planning process and ensures that it is completed.
Identifying required checks
Once the key duties and responsibilities of the activity are determined, one of the required actions must be to identify which checks, if any, are required prior to the individual working with children and/or vulnerable adults.
In addition, the department must consider if any required checks should be treated as essential before employment (that is, that the new employee recruited to the role should not be able to start work until the check is completed).
All staff have Right to Work in the UK ID checks; DBS checks are carried where relevant to their role.
We are registered with criminal record check provider. Their comprehensive service is registered with both the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Disclosure Scotland.
There are two types of check available from the DBS. The default check will be the standard, except for people that are identified as requiring an enhanced check.
- Standard – contains details of all spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held on the Police National Computer (PNC) that are not ‘protected’. Protected convictions and cautions are normally old and minor; they are filtered by the DBS so they are not disclosed, and they must not be taken into account by employers. The filtering rules and the list of offences that will never be filtered are now available for you to view on the DBS’s web pages.
- Enhanced – contains the same information as the standard check but also any relevant and proportionate information held by the local police forces. In addition, where the role is eligible, registered bodies can request a check on whether a person is barred from working with children or adults in regulated activity (particular types of work with children and adults).
Following the DBS application, it is the requirement of the Company that required staff will subscribe to the DBS Update Service. The Company will reimburse the annual fee for this service via the staff expenses claim process for the duration of their employment with the Company. With the individual’s permission, routine status checks will be carried out on an annual basis.
DBS checks are not portable. Any DBS check that has not been carried out by the Company will not be accepted as meeting our requirements for a post-holder.
Exceptions to this are as follows:
- Where an individual has subscribed to the DBS Update Service – this means that their DBS check will be kept up-to-date and they can take this with them from role to role, where the same level and type of check is needed. With the individual’s permission, representatives from the Company will be able to go online to do a free, instant check (known as a status check) to confirm that their DBS Certificate is still up-to-date.
- Where a DBS check or basic disclosure has been carried out within the last 12 months by the Company for a post with comparable duties – individual cases will need to be discussed with the group’s Designated Safeguarding Officer’s agreement provided that another check is not required.
Disclosure of a criminal record
Where a criminal conviction is disclosed by an applicant or through a DBS check/basic disclosure, the Company’s Designated Safeguarding Officers, MD/COO and HR will assess and discuss using current guidelines and policy.
Possible outcomes include amended duties, redeployment, withdrawal of an offer of employment or, where the individual started work before the relevant screening check was completed, dismissal.
Dealing with reported suspicions and allegations
Concerns for the safety and wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults could arise in a variety of ways and in a range of situations. For example, a child/vulnerable adult may report or show signs of abuse, someone may hint that a child/vulnerable adult is at risk or that a colleague is an abuser, or someone may witness abuse.
According to the Department for Education and Skills, there are eight main types of abuse, which are outlined in Appendix A. It is not always easy to recognise a situation where abuse may occur or has taken place and employees are not experts at such recognition. However, each person has a responsibility to act if they have any concerns about someone’s behaviour towards a child or vulnerable adult. It is important that the recipient of any complaint or accusation that a child or vulnerable adult has been or is being abused listens carefully without making or implying any judgment as to the truth of the complaint or accusation.
To ensure that all of the details of an allegation are captured for any future investigation, a detailed record should always be made at the time of the matter being raised.
It is impossible to promise complete confidentiality when a concern is raised, or an accusation made. This is because the Company owes a duty of care to anyone employed by them and their associates/contractors in relevant positions, and that cannot be fulfilled unless the Company takes action on the basis of information that may have been provided in confidence. The duty of confidentiality must be weighed against the duty of care, in case of potential or actual harm of an individual. However, at all stages, only those people who need to be made aware of an incident or concern, whether internal or external to Instructus, should be informed.
Where an individual suspects or is informed that a child or vulnerable adult has been, is being or could be harmed as a result of taking place in an activity/event or through contact with anyone employed by the Company and their associates/contractors in relevant positions, it is not the responsibility of that person to decide whether abuse has taken place. Instead, the individual aware of these suspicions or allegations must make immediate contact with the group’s Designated Safeguarding Officers for guidance and assistance on the action that must be taken. Staff who are worried about sharing concerns about abuse are encouraged to speak with an appropriate agency for further advice (for example, the NSPCC Child Protection Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or Childline on 0800 1111).
Where a complaint of abuse is reported, the group’s Designated Safeguarding Officers will carefully consider the information available and decide on the appropriate course of action. Such situations may require contact with the relevant external agencies (including social services and the police) for them to investigate the matter and determine any necessary action. This may include invoking the Company’s employee disciplinary procedures.
In emergency circumstances (for example, where there is certain immediate and significant danger to an individual or a criminal act has been witnessed), staff should make referrals to the police, social services or other appropriate authorities themselves prior to consulting with the group’s Designated Safeguarding Officers. In such cases, a criminal investigation may follow.
The Company has a duty to refer an individual to the DBS if they have been removed from working in regulated activity with children and/or adults because they caused harm to children/adults or posed a risk of causing harm. The duty to refer is absolute and overrides any concerns about data protection.
All cases for possible referral must be raised with the group’s Designated Safeguarding Officers in the first instance as soon as harm or a risk of harm is identified. The group’s Designated Safeguarding Officers should complete the DBS referral form found on the DBS’s web pages.
The completed form must then be provided to the CEO for review and a final decision on whether the referral is required.
Roles and Responsibilities
The MD/COO, HR and the group’s Designated Safeguarding Officers take overall ownership of the policy and will promote the importance of safeguarding within the group. Operation of the policy and its procedures will be the responsibility of other individuals, as outlined below.
Each MD/COO is accountable for the adoption and implementation of this policy. They are required to promote the importance of safeguarding within their organisation and ensure that appropriate systems are in place for:
- All staff, associates/contractors are to become familiar with the Children and Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding & Prevent Policy during their induction;
- Where required, staff associates/contracts will undertake appropriate annual Safeguarding and Prevent training;
- The Company’s Designated Safeguarding Officers are trained up to Safeguarding Level 3 and will undertake refresher training at least every 2 years.
- Relevant staff, associates/contractors to review the department/institution’s activities and follow the Children and Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding & Prevent risk assessment process.
It is the responsibility of the member of staff leading the recruitment campaign, activity or event which involves working with Children and Vulnerable Adults to:
- Identify that the Children and Vulnerable Adults Safeguarding & Prevent procedure is applicable to a particular role, activity or event;
- Ensure that staff, associates/contractors and students working with children and vulnerable adults are familiar with the contents of the policy and its application before any new or changed activity/event;
- Create or complete a risk assessment if required;
- Ensure implementation and review of the actions identified by the risk assessment;
- Identify whether individuals recruited or involved in an activity or event require a DBS check or basic disclosure and, where applicable, ensure that this is carried out in accordance with the organisation’s procedures.
Anyone employed by the Company and their associates/contractors in relevant positions working with children and vulnerable adults should be familiar with this policy. In addition, they should, wherever possible, conduct themselves in accordance with the Code of Practice set out in Appendix B.
Every individual who becomes aware of any suspicions or allegations regarding harm to children or vulnerable adults is required to report this immediately to the group Designated Safeguarding Officers.
The group Designated Safeguarding Officers will be the initial point of contact where any allegations of abuse against children and vulnerable adults are raised. They will hold responsibility for:
- Promoting the Children and Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding & Prevent Policy within the Company;
- Dealing with any reported suspicions and allegations of abuse of children or vulnerable adults within the Company;
- Providing appropriate information when making referrals to external agencies (such as Social Services or the Police) in all cases of suspected abuse of children or vulnerable adults;
- Ensuring that appropriate records are kept in relation to the reporting of suspected abuse;
- Working with the COO/MD and the DBS disclosure service to determine whether a referral needs to be made to the DBS.
Appendix A – Types of Abuse
The categories of abuse below are produced from external guidelines. A person may abuse or neglect a child/vulnerable adult by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. There are eight main forms of abuse, although there are variations within these:
- Physical Abuse
Deliberate physical harm to children and vulnerable adults or any other form of harm which causes illness in a child or vulnerable person.
- Sexual Abuse
Forcing or manipulating a child or vulnerable adult to take part in sexual activities.
This involves the persistent failure to meet a child’s or vulnerable adult’s basic physical and/or psychological need, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’ or vulnerable adult’s health or development.
- Emotional Abuse
This involves the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child or vulnerable adult such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s or vulnerable adult’s emotional wellbeing and/or development.
- Psychological Abuse
This is a form of abuse, characterised by a person subjecting or exposing another person to behaviour that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Domestic Abuse
Domestic violence (also named domestic abuse or family violence) is violence or other abuse by one person against another in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation.
- Discriminatory Abuse
This includes abuse that is racist, sexist, homophobic or is based on age or disability, or any forms of harassment.
- Financial Abuse
This is when an unauthorized use of a person’s property, money, pension book or other valuables (including changing the person’s will to name the abuser as heir), often fraudulently obtaining power of attorney, followed by deprivation of money or other property, or by eviction from own home.
Appendix B – Code of Practice
When working with children and/or vulnerable adults, staff, trainers, assessors and associates are expected to take account of the guidance below in the way that they conduct themselves.
- Consider the wellbeing and safety of event participants in advance through proper planning and development of safe methods of working/activities;
- Wherever possible, work in an open environment with children where they can be seen by others;
- Avoid unnecessary physical contact;
- Avoid taking a child or vulnerable adult alone in a car on journeys, however short;
- Avoid taking a child or vulnerable adult to the toilet, unless another adult is present, or another adult is aware (this may include a parent, group leader or other responsible person);
- In a situation where you are alone with a child or vulnerable adult, make sure that others can clearly observe you;
- Set expectations of the standards of behaviour required from participants in an activity/event and encourage them to accept responsibility for their own performance and behaviour;
- Ask participants in an activity/event to take reasonable steps to ensure their own safety and that of others, and to report any inappropriate behaviour they experience/witness or any concerns that they may have;
- Avoid showing favouritism towards particular participants;
- Report incidents of alleged abuse to the group’s Designated Safeguarding Officers and ensure that any allegations are recorded;
- Report any concerns about poor practice to the Designated Safeguarding Officers;
- Report any accidents to the designated person in the department for recording and investigation where required;
- Avoid personal relationships with a child or vulnerable adult;
- It is not appropriate for staff to have a physically or emotionally intimate relationship with a young person under the age of 18. Particular attention is drawn to the provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which created a new criminal offence of abuse of “a position of trust”;
- Staff, trainers, assessors and associates should remember that inappropriate behaviour can also occur over the telephone, email, social media or internet;
- Only the Company’s official social media should be used for engaging with the wider community. Inappropriate or abusive comments should be removed swiftly, and abusive individuals blocked/reported to the social media concerned. Facebook instant chat and other similar functions should not be used to interact with children or vulnerable adults. Wherever possible, communication should be only public pages and avoid colloquial language/abbreviations which may be misinterpreted (e.g. LOL);
- Do not make suggestive or inappropriate remarks to or about a child or vulnerable adult, even in fun, as this could be misinterpreted;
- Participate in training available to you to support you in your work with children and vulnerable adults;
- First aid treatment should be given with more than one adult present unless a delay would be life-threatening;
- Do not take children or vulnerable adults to your home;
- Maintain confidentiality about sensitive information;
- Where it is necessary for staff, trainers, assessors and associates to take photographs or video images of children or vulnerable adults, written consent must be obtained (from parents/guardians in the case of children) before these images are taken in order to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. Personal details and photos which clearly identify an individual must only be published where they (or their parent/guardian) has given specific agreement. Subjects should be suitably dressed in photographs (e.g. when taking place in a sporting activity).