Safeguarding Policy

Policy Statement and Aims:

Safeguarding means protecting people’s health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect.   The Family Support Centre (FSC), Shirley recognizes that it has this duty of care towards all people who access their services, irrespective of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation or identity. 

The aim of the policy is to ensure that all staff at the Centre adopt safe working practices towards all people they encounter through the Centre and respond appropriately when abuse is disclosed or suspected.

Scope of the policy:

The policy applies to all people who access the Centre’s services be it adults, vulnerable or at-risk adults and people under 18.  This includes the children of adults who use our services.

A vulnerable adult, also known as an adult at risk, is described as ‘a person aged 18 years or over who, due to disability, mental function, age, or illness or traumatic circumstances, may not be able to take care or protect themselves against the risk of significant harm, abuse, bullying, harassment, mistreatment or exploitation’

The policy applies to all staff/volunteers working at the Centre. The term staff includes all those working as volunteers in an advisor role, an administrative role or as a trustee.

Dates:

This policy will come into force October 2019 and will be reviewed every 2 years, the next review date being October 2021.

What we will do to keep people safe:

Staff:

All staff will have an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check performed before they encounter clients at the Centre.  Trustees, however, are exempt from having an enhanced check as they have been removed from the new definition of regulated activity. There will also be systems in place to check that current staff’s checks are kept up to date.   

It is understood that the law will be broken if a person who is barred from working with children and/or young adults works or tries to work with those groups. Equally, if the Centre knowingly employs a person who is barred to work with these groups, it is also breaking the law.

Should the Centre dismiss a volunteer/staff member because they have harmed a child or vulnerable adult, then a referral to the Disclosure and Barring service must be made.

Prior to working at the Centre, all staff will have satisfactorily completed the Centre’s application form for work and accepted the terms and conditions of employment as a volunteer. This includes agreeing to be familiar with the Centre’s policies and procedures including this Safeguarding Policy and the procedures attached to it. In particular, new volunteers will further be made aware at induction and any changes or updates will be brought to the attention of staff at team meetings currently held monthly.

Safeguarding Training:

Trustees, managers and the Safeguarding Officer/deputy officer will ensure that Safeguarding Training sessions are provided.  Staff will attend these sessions and a record of staff attendance will be kept.  Each volunteer should attend a session at least once every 3 years.

The sessions will train staff in recognizing signs of possible abuse and what to do in cases of blatant disclosure.  They will also train staff in how to respond both practically and supportively and what their responsibility is.

Staff will follow safe working practices:

This will ensure protection of clients as well as protection of staff against any false allegations.

Safe working practices include:

• Following the policy of the Centre that whenever possible two advisors will be present with an individual client, but in the case of under-18s two advisors must always be present.

• Keeping written records of any allegation made against you.

• Getting another adult to witness the allegation if possible.

• Not going into a toilet alone with a client. Leave doors ajar and always tell another member of staff where you are going with an under-18-year-old and why.

• Being careful and sensitive as to how physical contact, if any, is made with a client, taking extra care with under-18s.  An advisor should not make physical contact if alone with a client.

Raising concerns:

The FSC has a named Safeguarding Officer, Hilary Stone.  If staff at the Centre have any concerns, they must raise this with Hilary in the first instance. If Hilary is unavailable, then staff are to contact Liz Warner. A record of the discussion must be made (see attached procedure for reporting concerns) and Hilary or Liz

will have final responsibility for the further reporting of any concerns to Social Services if they feel this is necessary. Any allegations or concerns must be discussed only with Hilary or Liz.

However, if you feel that the client or their family members are in any immediate danger and there is any delay in getting hold of Hilary or Liz, then it might be applicable for the volunteer to contact Social Services or even the police in cases of more imminent danger.

Confidentiality and clients:

• Absolute confidentiality cannot be upheld when a client states that they or someone they know, such as a child or vulnerable adult, may be or has been at risk of serious harm. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to disclose information and share concerns with another professional agency such as Social Services. The permission of the Safeguarding Officer must be sought. The client would need to be informed of this intention and be told the content of what would be communicated.

• The limits of confidentiality should be explained to all clients as early as possible.

Storage and retention of Safeguarding records:

Any records of concerns raised will be kept securely at the centre for a period of 75 years.  The Safeguarding Officer may keep any records they make securely, and to the satisfaction of the Trustees, in their own home and should they step down from their role, hand these over to the Centre.  Historically, these records have been kept to a minimum.

Details regarding who has been working at the centre and their DBS checks will also be held for a period of 75 years.  This is a new development in our practice and is in line with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and new current practice in many churches and voluntary sectors.

Please see our separate detailed procedure and guidelines associated with this policy entitled:

FSC Procedure for the reporting of concerns to the Safeguarding Officer

FSC Confidentiality Policy

The Team Leaders and Trustees of the Family Support Centre approved this policy on 16th October 2019.