GRASS makes a positive contribution to a strong and safe community and recognises the right of every individual to stay safe.
GRASS encounters children and / or vulnerable adults through the following activities:
- Committee meetings
- Delivery of GRASS events
The types of contact with children and / or vulnerable adults will be controlled, and no Child will be left alone or unaccompanied unless that committee member is DBS checked within the past three years.
This policy seeks to ensure that GRASS undertakes its responsibilities regarding protection of children and / or vulnerable adults and will respond to concerns appropriately. The policy establishes a framework to support paid and unpaid staff in their practices and clarifies the committee expectations.
The principal pieces of legislation governing this policy are:
- Working together to safeguard Children 2010
- The Children Act 1989
- The Adoption and Children Act 2002:
- The Children act 2004
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
- Care Standards Act 2000
- Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
- The Police Act – CRB 1997
- Mental Health Act 1983
- NHS and Community Care Act 1990
- Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
- Mental Capacity Act Code of Practice
Safeguarding is about embedding practices throughout the organisation to ensure the protection of children and / or vulnerable adults wherever possible. In contrast, child and adult protection is about responding to circumstances that arise.
Abuse is a selfish act of oppression and injustice, exploitation, and manipulation of power by those in a position of authority. This can be caused by those inflicting harm or those who fail to act to prevent harm. Abuse is not restricted to any socio-economic group, gender or culture.
It can take a number of forms, including the following:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial (or material) abuse
Definition of a child
- A child is under the age of 18 (as defined in the United Nations convention on the Rights of a Child).
Definition of Vulnerable Adults
- A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited.
This may include a person who:
- Is elderly and frail
- Has a mental illness including dementia
- Has a physical or sensory disability
- Has a learning disability
- Has a severe physical illness
- Is a substance misuser
- Is homeless
All volunteers and staff have responsibility to follow the guidance laid out in this policy and related policies, and to pass on any welfare concerns using the required procedures.
We expect all staff (paid or unpaid) to promote good practice by being an excellent role model, contribute to discussions about safeguarding and to positively involve people in developing safe practices.
Additional specific responsibilities
The Secretary has a responsibility to ensure:
- The policy is in place and appropriate
- The policy is accessible
- The policy is implemented
- The policy is monitored and reviewed
- Ensure staff (paid and unpaid) have access to appropriate training/information
- Promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults
- Receive staff concerns about safeguarding and respond to all seriously, swiftly and appropriately
- Implementation Stages
The scope of this Safeguarding Policy is broad ranging and in practice, it will be implemented via a range of policies and procedures within the organisation. These include:
- Whistleblowing –ability to inform on other staff/ practices within the organisation
- Grievance and disciplinary procedures – to address breaches of procedures/ policies
- Health and Safety policy, including lone working procedures, mitigating risk to staff and clients
- Equal Opportunities policy– ensuring safeguarding procedures are in line with this policy, in particular around discriminatory abuse and ensuring that the safeguarding policy and procedures are not discriminatory
- Data protection (how records are stored and access to those records)
- Confidentiality (or limited confidentiality policy) ensuring that service users are aware of your duty to disclose
- Staff induction
- Staff training
GRASS ensures safe recruitment through the following processes:
- Providing the following safeguarding statement in recruitment adverts or application details –recruitment is done in line with safe recruitment practices.
- Job or role descriptions for all roles involving contact with children and / or vulnerable adults will contain reference to safeguarding responsibilities.
- There are person specifications for roles which contain a statement on core competency with regard to child/ vulnerable adult protection/ safeguarding
- Shortlisting is based on formal application processes/forms and not on provision of CVs
- Interviews are conducted according to equal opportunity principles and interview questions are based on the relevant job description and person specification
- DBS checks will be conducted for specific roles for all staff (paid or unpaid) working with children and vulnerable adults. Portable/ carry over DBS checks from another employer will not be deemed to be sufficient. It is a criminal offence for individuals barred by the Disclosure and Barring Service. to work or apply to work with children or vulnerable adults in a wide range of posts.
- No formal job offers are made until after checks for suitability are completed (including DBS and 2 references).
Disclosure and Barring Service Gap Management
GRASS commits resources to providing Disclosure and Barring Service check on staff (paid or unpaid) whose roles involve contact with children and /or vulnerable adults.
To avoid DBS gaps, GRASS will ensure that established staff and roles are regularly reviewed through:
- A 3-year rolling programme of re-checking DBS’s is in place for holders of all identified posts.
- Existing staff (paid or unpaid) who transfer from a role which does not require a DBS check to one which involves contact with children / vulnerable adults will be subject to a DBS check.
Service delivery contracting and sub-contracting:
- There will be systematic checking of safeguarding arrangements of partner organisations
- Safeguarding will be a fixed agenda item on any partnership reporting meetings.
- Contracts and memorandums of agreement for partnership delivery work will include clear minimum requirements, arrangements for safeguarding and non-compliance procedures.
- Communications training and support for staff
GRASS commits resources for induction, training of staff (paid and unpaid), effective communications and support mechanisms in relation to Safeguarding
Induction will include:
- Discussion of the Safeguarding Policy (and confirmation of understanding)
- Discussion of other relevant policies
- Ensure familiarity with reporting processes
- Initial training on safeguarding including: safe working practices, safe recruitment, understanding child protection
All staff who, through their role, are in contact with children and /or vulnerable adults will have access to safeguarding training at an appropriate level. Sources and types of training will include:
- Safeguarding Children and Young People
- Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults
Communications and discussion of safeguarding issues
Commitment to the following communication methods will ensure effective communication of safeguarding issues and practice:
- Team meetings
- One to one meetings (formal or informal),
- Clinical supervision
Other aspects of communications may where appropriate include:
- Participation in multi-agency safeguarding procedures and meetings in order to be involved in child/ adult protection procedures
- Participation in joint client visits
- Involvement in the CAF process
- Provision of a clear and effective reporting procedure which encourages reporting of concerns.
- Encouraging open discussion (e.g. during supervision and team meetings) to identify and barriers to reporting so that they can be addressed.
- Inclusion of safeguarding as a discussion prompt during supervision meetings/ appraisals to encourage reflection
We recognise that involvement in situations where there is risk or actual harm can be stressful for volunteer concerned. The mechanisms in place to support staff include:
- Debriefing support for paid and unpaid staff so that they can reflect on the issues they have dealt with.
- Seeking further support as appropriate e.g. access to counselling.
- Staff / volunteers who have initiated protection concerns will be contacted by Secretary within a timescale of week.
- Professional boundaries
GRASS expects volunteers to protect the professional integrity of themselves and the organisation.
The following professional boundaries must be adhered to:
Giving and receiving gifts from clients:
- GRASS does not allow paid or unpaid staff to give gifts to or receive gifts from clients. However, gifts may be provided by the organisation as part of a planned activity.
Staff contact with user groups.
- GRASS prohibits passing on service users’ personal contact details
- Taking family members to a client’s home is not allowed
- Selling to or buying items from a service user/client is not allowed
- Accepting responsibility for any valuables on behalf of a client is prohibited
- Accepting money as a gift/ Borrowing money from or lending money to service users in prohibited
- Personal relationships with a third party related to or known to service users is not allowed
- GRASS prohibits accepting gifts/ rewards or hospitality from organisation as an inducement for either doing/ not doing something in their official capacity
- Be cautious of, or avoid personal contact with clients
The following policies also contain guidance on staff volunteers (paid or unpaid) conduct:
- Code of conduct
- Computer misuse.
If the professional boundaries and/or policies are breached this could result in disciplinary procedures or enactment of the allegation management procedures
The process outlined below details the stages involved in raising and reporting safeguarding concerns at GRASS
- Communicate your concerns with your committee member and document
- Seek medical attention for the vulnerable person if needed
- Discuss with parents of child
- Or with vulnerable person.
- Obtain permission to make referral if safe and appropriate
- if needed seek advice from emergency services or external service provider
GUIDANCE ON HANDLING A DISCLOSURE FROM A CHILD
What should you do if a child comes to you and tells you that they are being abused? It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and confused in this situation. Child abuse is a difficult subject that can be hard to accept and even harder to talk about. Children who are abused are often threatened by the perpetrators to keep the abuse a secret. Thus, telling an adult takes a great amount of courage. Children have to grapple with a lot of issues, including the fear that no one will believe them. So, care must be taken to remain calm and to show support to the child throughout the disclosure phase. The following guidelines will help lessen the risk of causing more trauma to the child and/or compromising a criminal investigation during the disclosure phase. Receive: Listen to what is being said without displaying shock or disbelief. A common reaction to news as unpleasant and shocking as child abuse is denial. However, if you display denial to a child, or show shock or disgust at what they are saying, the child may be afraid to continue and will shut down. Accept what is being said without judgement. Take it seriously.
Reassure the child, but only so far as is honest and reliable. Don’t make promises that you can’t be sure to keep, e.g. “everything will be all right now”. Reassure the child that they did nothing wrong and that you take what is said seriously. Don’t promise confidentiality – never agree to keep secrets. You have a duty to report your concerns. Tell the child that you will need to tell some people, but only those whose job it is to protect children. Acknowledge how difficult it must have been to talk. It takes a lot for a child to come forward about abuse.
Listen quietly, carefully and patiently. Do not assume anything – don’t speculate or jump to conclusions. Do not investigate, interrogate or decide if the child is telling the truth. Remember that an allegation of child abuse may lead to a criminal investigation, so don’t do anything that may jeopardise a police investigation. Let the child explain to you in his or her own words what happened, but don’t ask leading questions. Do ask open questions like “Is there anything else that you want to tell me?” Communicate with the child in a way that is appropriate to their age, understanding and preference. This is especially important for children with disabilities and for children whose preferred language is not English. Do not ask the child to repeat what they have told you to another member of staff. Explain what you have to do next and whom you have to talk to. Refer directly to the named child protection officer or designated person in your organisation (as set out in the organisation’s child protection policy). Do not discuss the case with anyone outside the child protection team.
Make some very brief notes at the time and write them up in detail as soon as possible. Do not destroy your original notes in case they are required by Court. Record the date, time, place, words used by the child and how the child appeared to you – be specific. Record the actual words used; including any swear words or slang. Record statements and observable things, not your interpretations or assumptions – keep it factual.
- Allegations Management
GRASS recognises its duty to report concerns or allegations against its staff (paid or unpaid) within the organisation or by a professional from another organisation.
The process for raising and dealing with allegations is as follows:
- Any member of staff (paid or unpaid) from GRASS is required to report any concerns in the first instance to the committee or peer. A written record of the concern will be completed.
- follow the advice provided
GRASS recognises its legal duty to report any concerns about unsafe practice by any of its paid or unpaid staff to the Disclosure and Barring Service.
GRASS will monitor the following Safeguarding aspects:
- Safe recruitment practices
- DBS checks undertaken
- References applied for new paid staff
- Records made and kept of supervision sessions
- Training – register/ record of staff training on child/ vulnerable adult protection
- Monitoring whether concerns are being reported and actioned
- Checking that policies are up to date and relevant
- Reviewing the current reporting procedure in place
- Presence and action of Designated senior manager responsible for Safeguarding is in post
- Managing information
Information will be gathered, recorded and stored in accordance with the following policies:
- Data Protection Policy
- Confidentiality Policy
All staff must be aware that they have a professional duty to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children and vulnerable adults. The public interest in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults may override confidentiality interests.
However, information will be shared on a need to know basis only, as judged by the Managing Director
All staff must be aware that they cannot promise service users or their families/ carers that they will keep secrets.
- Communicating and reviewing the policy
GRASS will make clients aware of the Safeguarding Policy through the following means:
- Displayed on intranet
- Highlighted in Training Session
- This policy will be reviewed every 2 years and when there are changes in legislation.