Safeguarding Children and Young People
Action in the Community To Support North Wales and Cheshire (ACTS) – hereafter called ‘the charity’ – is committed to implementing any action needed to ensure a safe environment for children and young people.
The trustees recognise that they have a duty of care and are committed to reviewing the policy and all its associated procedures annually.
This policy applies to all trustees, volunteers and anyone representing Action in the Community To Support North Wales and Cheshire (ACTS) – ‘the charity’.
The purpose of this policy is:
- To protect children and young people who receive the charity’s services. This includes the children of adults who use our services;
- To provide trustees and volunteers with the overarching principles that guide our approach to safeguarding.
The charity believes that a child or young person should never experience abuse of any kind. We have a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people and to keep them safe. We are committed to practice in a way that protects them.
This policy has been drawn up on the basis of law and guidance that seeks to protect children and young people, namely:
- Children Act 1989
- United Convention of the Rights of the Child 1991
- Data Protection Act 1998
- Sexual Offences Act 2003
- Children Act 2004
- Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
- Relevant government guidance on safeguarding children
We recognise that:
- The welfare of the child / young person is paramount
- All children / young people, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity, have a right to equal protection from all types of harm or abuse
- Some children /young people are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues
- Working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers and other agencies is essential in promoting the welfare of children and young people
- All allegations or suspicions of abuse must be reported and that the authorities have lead responsibility for any investigations
We will seek to keep children and young people safe by:
- Valuing them, listening to and respecting them
- Adopting safeguarding practices through procedures and a code of conduct for trustees and volunteers, and by keeping up-to-date with safeguarding developments
- Developing and implementing an effective e-safety policy and related procedures
- Providing effective management for volunteers through supervision, support, resourcing and training
- Recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
- Sharing information about safeguarding and good practice with children, parents and volunteers
- Sharing concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately.
For the following procedures, the terms ‘child’, ‘children’, ‘young person’ and ‘young people’ refer to anyone under 18 years of age.
Part A – Preventing Abuse
The charity has a duty of care to all those with whom it comes into contact. We will maintain confidentiality at all times, except in circumstances where to do so would place the individual or another individual at a risk of harm.
Currently, the charity runs no activities at which it is expected there will be children present without a responsible adult. For all activities where there is a possibility that children will be present:
- The activity will be organised in such a way so as to minimise the opportunities for harm
- Appropriate risk assessments will be carried out
- Appropriate consent forms will be used
- Appropriate records will be kept (including an accident book)
- Adequate insurance will be in place
- Adults with appropriate skills (such as first aid) will be present
The charity will make sure that all volunteers for such activities will be recruited in accordance with the principles laid out in the procedures Part B. All trustees, paid staff and volunteers will work within a code of conduct (given in Appendix A). We will have a clear supervision structure, and a trustee will be appointed each year as the lead for safeguarding.
The trustees will maintain a list of approved staff or volunteers, and only people on this list will be allowed to have contact with children or young people.
The trustees will ensure that anyone representing the charity (such as staff, trustees, volunteers) will not meet with a child without a responsible adult (such as a parent) being present at all times. If the charity receives a funding application for a child, then contact will be with the responsible adult (i.e. the charity will communicate only with adults).
We will ensure that all staff, trustees and volunteers are provided with the appropriate resources, support and training.
The definitions of abuse relating to children will be taken as being those listed in Appendix B.
We will implement the e-safety policy and procedures laid out in Appendix C.
All of the trustees will be made aware of all the procedures in this document, and both this document and all the relevant contact details will be given to the appropriate staff or volunteers. The trustees will make sure that proper documentation is kept.
Part B – Recruitment Procedures
If the charity does run a group or activity where children or young people will be present without responsible adult supervision, then the adults running, helping with or volunteering with this group will:
- Be given a written job description by their supervisor
- Complete and sign an application form / declaration that states that there is no reason why they should not be working with children or young people
- Have a face-to-face interview. The person(s) conducting the interview must not be closely related to the candidate, and the trustees must approve of the interviewer. This interview will ensure that the candidate is aware of their role and what is expected of them (including safeguarding measures). The interview will also ensure that the candidate is aware of the support that they will receive in their role.
- Give references if requested to do so, and these will be taken up before the appointment
- Allow the charity to submit a check using the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
After these steps have been taken, and if there are no reasons not to appoint the candidate, then the trustees will approve the candidate and inform them that they have been appointed. The candidate’s name will be added to the list of approved workers for the charity. Appointments will be made subject to a designated probationary period.
- Paid workers (staff) may need additional checks
- A DBS check will be deemed valid for a period of 5 years, after which the charity will process another check
- Each worker must attend a training session about the charity’s safeguarding procedures at least once every 3 years
- Each worker will be made aware of the provisions of this policy (and will be given a copy of this policy), including the worker being made aware of how to report any concerns
The charity takes the position that it is unacceptable for there to be a sexual relationship between a worker and a child / young person. Any behaviour that might allow a sexual relationship to develop (even if this may be legal in other settings) between a worker and child / young person is unacceptable and must be avoided. The charity also takes the position that it is not acceptable for a worker to form a romantic relationship with a child / young person.
If the charity withdraws permission for an individual to engage in children’s / youth work (or would have done so had the individual not resigned, retired, been made redundant or been transferred), then the relevant authorities will be informed (such as the DBS). In such cases, the Charity Commission will also be informed.
Part C – Reporting Abuse and Concerns
If a child or young person or adult makes a disclosure that they are being abused, or they make an allegation against someone, the person being told:
- Should stay calm and listen carefully
- Should assure the person making the disclosure or allegation that they have done the right thing in telling someone
- Must not investigate, act alone or ask any leading questions
- Should explain to the person making the disclosure or allegation that someone else needs to be told if anyone is at risk of harm, in order to help them
- Must not promise to keep secret what they have been told
- Should make a written record of the conversation (with as much detail as possible) and then sign and date this written record. This written record must be kept securely stored and not stored in a place where anyone else can read it.
- Must not discuss the situation with anyone else except those who need to know, such as the lead trustee for safeguarding.
Any disclosures, allegations or concerns must be reported.
If there is no immediate threat of harm, then:
- The lead trustee for safeguarding must be informed, and the written record as detailed above must be given to them. The written record will be kept securely and passed on to authorities if needed.
- If the lead trustee is not available, another trustee should be informed.
- If the allegation is against a trustee, then that trustee will not be informed – the allegation should be passed on to one of the other trustees.
- The trustee will then decide if the case warrants a referral to the statutory authorities. If this is case, the charity will do everything necessary to comply with the statutory authorities.
- The trustee may also need to inform the charity’s insurers and / or the Charity Commission.
If the disclosure involves an immediate threat of harm or if the disclosure suggests that a criminal offence has been committed, the police will be contacted as a matter of urgency.
Information will be made readily available (including on the charity’s website) about how to contact the police or social services, so that allegations (for example, against the trustee responsible for safeguarding) can be made directly to them.