Safeguarding policy

Date Approved Body Review Date

May 2024

Sufian Sadiq – Designated Trustee for Safeguarding

May 2025

 

You can also view our Safeguarding Policy, set out on the webpage below, via PDF here

 

Working Options in Education is committed to protecting staff, volunteers and the Charity’s beneficiaries from harm, and this policy outlines the policies and processes in place to do so. Specifically, it raises awareness of staff and volunteers of the need to safeguard children and vulnerable adults when undertaking work on behalf of the Charity. It highlights the responsibility that staff have for identifying and reporting any possible cases of abuse, neglect or other safeguarding concerns and helps ensure they are aware of how to deal with such situations.

All members of the Working Options in Education staff fully acknowledge their responsibilities with regards to the safeguarding of children and young people and they recognise that through their contact with them they are well placed to identify signs of risk and harm. Safeguarding is defined as:

Staff should read and adhere to this Policy and other relevant safeguarding documentation (including an individual school or college’s Safeguarding Policy).

 

  1. Policy Statement

1.1. Working Options in Education (“the Charity”) fully recognises its responsibilities in the area of safeguarding.

1.2. This policy applies to all those working for the Charity including but not limited to trustees, interns and freelance staff (“staff”). Other volunteers (“volunteers”) who assist the Charity with its work should be given a summarised copy of this policy and the Code of Conduct found in Appendix A.

1.3. This policy forms part of a suite of HR documents and policies which relate to the Charity’s safeguarding responsibilities. Staff should refer to additional policies as appropriate when undertaking specific projects.

1.4. In this policy “child” means a person under the age of eighteen, a student aged 18 or over who is still in education and/or a person who has left full-time education in the previous twelve months and “children” is to be construed accordingly.

1.5. This policy also extends to Vulnerable Adults. A vulnerable adult (a person aged 18 or over) is someone who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of disability, age or illness; and is or may be unable to take care of or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

1.6. We recognise some children and adults are additionally vulnerable, for example those with disabilities, because of their level of dependency and possible communication barriers.

1.7. The welfare and safety of any child or vulnerable adult involved with the Charity is paramount.

1.8. All children and vulnerable adults without exception have the right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, religion, disability, sexuality or beliefs.

1.9. This policy is approved and endorsed by the Working Options in Education Board of Trustees.

1.10 The Charity will appoint a named Safeguarding Officer. The person is currently Claire McMaster, Head of Programme. The Chief Executive Officer will take on this role if Head of Programme is unavailable.

 

Contact details for Working Options in Education Safeguarding Officer

Name: Claire McMaster

Email: claire.mcmaster@workingoptions.org.uk

Mobile telephone: 07702730482

Office telephone: N/A

 

Contact details for Working Options in Education Designated Trustee for Safeguarding and Child Protection

Name: Sufian Sadiq

Email: sufiansadiq@gmail.com

Mobile telephone: 07956444594

Office telephone: N/A

 

The Role of Trustees

The Trustees will:

 

The Role of the Designated Trustee for Child Protection

The Designated Trustee for Child Protection will:

 

The Role of the Designated Safeguarding Lead 

The Designated Safeguarding Lead will:

 

  1. Safeguarding Procedures

2.1. All staff who will work directly with children and vulnerable adults must be checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service. The Charity will usually carry out its own Disclosure and Barring Service check, unless the staff member has a current subscription to the DBS update service.

2.2. DBS checks will be performed for trustees, directors and relevant staff at least every three years.

2.3. All trustees and directors must be checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service, whether or not it is intended that they will work directly with children and vulnerable adults.

2.4. Volunteers, temporary staff and anyone else involved in a project run by the Charity who have not been checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service will not be allowed by the Charity to have unsupervised access to any child or vulnerable adult.

2.5. All of the Charity’s events taking place in a school or college should have appropriate school staff in attendance supervising. Where the school is running an event, the school’s safeguarding procedures and policies will apply.

2.6. For the avoidance of doubt, where any Safeguarding Policy or other relevant policy or procedure in place at the school or college has more stringent requirements than this policy, for example in relation to requirements for Disclosure and Barring Service checks, the school or college’s policy shall take precedence over this Policy.

2.7. On occasions where Working Options in Education are facilitating events directly, the Charity’s own procedures and policies will provide an additional safeguard to the School’s own safeguarding procedures and policies.

2.8. Where an event involving children and/or vulnerable adults takes place other than in a school or college, staff should ensure, insofar as possible, that there are appropriate school staff in attendance supervising.

2.9. The Charity’s staff should liaise with relevant staff at the school or college who will follow guidance set out in the DfE’s Keeping Children Safe In Education in deciding whether a Disclosure and Barring Service Disclosure and other appropriate checks should be obtained in respect of a volunteer.

2.10. Volunteers will be supervised by the Charity’s staff or appropriate staff from the relevant school or college whether engaged in regulated or non-regulated activity. A person will be considered to be engaging in regulated activity if as a result of their work they:

The full legal definition of regulated activity is set out in Schedule 4 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. An enhanced DBS check is required where an individual is carrying out regulated activities.

The Department for Education has provided key documents which offer clear and detailed information about the role and responsibilities with regards to the safeguarding of children and young people; some of the documents are as follows:

Note: all staff working directly with children must have read part 1 of Keeping Children Safe in Education and Appendix A ‘Further Information’.

From September 2019, the arrangements for safeguarding children in England have changed and key safeguarding partners (the Council, the Police and the Clinical Commissioning Group) are now required to work together in order to safeguard children by working to a new set of Multi-Agency Safeguarding Arrangements (MASA). These place more emphasis on considering outcomes for children and young people, and the impact of the work that the key partners need to do to keep children safe, well and achieving their aspirations. This way of working offers the key partners more time for reflective discussion, scrutiny of work with children and families and sharing learning to aid improvement.

Local partnerships will be known as:

The Charity works with all local safeguarding boards, depending on the location of the individual school or college.

 

  1. Recruitment

3.1. The Charity is committed to safe recruitment, selection and vetting of all trustees, staff and other individuals involved in a project. Adverts for job vacancies at the Charity will state a commitment to safeguarding staff, volunteers and children.

3.2. When interviewing for new Charity staff, at least one member of the interview panel will have undertaken level 3 safeguarding training or Safer Recruitment training.

3.3. Consent will be obtained from staff to seek information from the Disclosure and Barring Service and from any other agency required by relevant legislation in place.

3.4. When recruiting individuals to a role at the Charity that will involve work with children and vulnerable adults, where possible at least one employment reference should be related to a role that required work with children/vulnerable adults, whether salaried or voluntary.

3.5. It is fully understood that the staff and Trustees at the Charity must act reasonably in making decisions about the suitability of prospective employees, contractors or volunteers based on a range of checks (including pre-employment) and evidence, which may include:

checks related to a person who has lived or worked outside of the United Kingdom

NB All of the information gathered will be recorded in a Single Central Record (SCR); the SCR details information about staff, as well as governors, contractors and other key volunteers.

3.6. Identified members of staff and the Safeguarding Trustee complete safer recruitment training either online or face to face.

3.7. For further details about ‘safer recruitment’ see the Department for Education’s Keeping Children Safe in Education – Statutory Guidance for Schools and Colleges (September 2021), pages 47-78 and Safer Recruitment Consortium.

 

  1. Allegations of Abuse

4.1. Abuse and neglect are forms of mis-treatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm (acts of commission), or by failing to act to prevent harm (acts of omission). Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting, by those known to them or by a stranger. They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children. (Definition of abuse from the HM Government guide to inter-agency working, ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’) Guidance on recognising abuse is contained in Appendix A – Code of Conduct.

4.2. The Charity will take all concerns and allegations of abuse seriously and respond to them with urgency. Where there is a concern that a child or vulnerable adult is experiencing, may already have experienced abuse or neglect, is suffering or is likely to suffer ‘significant harm’ the Child Protection/Safeguarding Officer will refer immediately to the Designated Officer (formerly known as the Local Authority Designated Officer, or LADO) in Children’s Services at the local authority and, in emergencies, the police.

4.3. Where staff have concerns or there are allegations relating to potential abuse of a child or vulnerable adult, these must be written down and passed to the Safeguarding Officer at the Charity within the hour (or as soon as is practicable).

4.4. The Charity recognises that the welfare of the child is paramount. Every effort will be made to ensure that appropriate confidentiality is maintained for all concerned where there is an allegation of abuse as set out in more detail at paragraph 6 below.

 

  1. Distribution of this Policy

5.1. This policy will be provided to all new staff before they commence substantive work with or for the Charity, and staff members will be required to review the policy on an annual basis. Training on this policy will be provided as part of staff induction processes.

5.2. School staff and parents/guardians of children/vulnerable adults with whom we work will be informed of this policy as appropriate and will be provided with a copy on request.

5.3. All volunteers and temporary staff (including work experience staff) shall be provided with a copy of this Safeguarding Policy and Code of Conduct prior to undertaking any Charity led activity where they will have access to pupils and they shall be expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct set out at Appendix A below. A briefing will be provided to all volunteers interacting with young people before they begin this volunteering.

 

  1. Confidentiality

6.1. The Charity recognises that all matters relating to safeguarding are confidential, in the sense that they must not be generally discussed. Staff will disclose any information about a pupil to other members of staff on a ‘need to know’ basis. All staff must be aware that they have a professional responsibility to share information with other agencies, through the defined school or college channels or otherwise, in order to safeguard children and vulnerable adults. Information relating to allegations of abuse will be dealt with in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation.

 

  1. Concerns over Charity Practices

7.1 All staff and volunteers should feel able to raise concerns about poor or unsafe practice and potential failures in the Charity’s safeguarding regime. Appropriate whistleblowing procedures, which are reflected in staff training and related policies, are in place so that such concerns can be raised with the Board of Trustees.

7.2 Where a staff member feels unable to raise the issue with the Board of Trustees, or feels that their genuine concerns are not being addressed, other whistleblowing channels are available to all staff; see the Charity’s Whistleblowing Policy for details or find information at https://www.gov.uk/whistleblowing. Furthermore, advice and guidance can be sought from the NSPCC whistleblowing helpline, which is available for staff who do not feel able to raise concerns regarding child protection failures internally. Staff can call 0800 028 0285; the line is available from 8:00 am to 8:00pm, Monday to Friday, or staff can email help@nspcc.org.uk.

 

  1. Sources

8.1. This policy refers to UK legislation and its principles on safeguarding children and vulnerable adults and to the official guidance and principles of the Charity Commission and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children regarding safeguarding children and the DfE’s statutory guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE).

8.2. This policy will be reviewed annually and updated to reflect any changes in legislation and guidance.

 

Safeguarding Policy: Appendix A

Code of Conduct

In order that staff and volunteers do not place themselves or pupils/young people at risk of harm or of allegations of harm to a pupil, we require Working Options staff and volunteers to:

 

Recognising Abuse

Types of abuse include:

For further information about types of abuse, see Keeping Children Safe in Education, pages 11 and 12.

 

If you suspect a child may be at risk of harm

If, as a Working Options member of staff or volunteer, you have any reason to suspect that a child may be at risk of harm, the following procedure should be followed:

 

Specific advice relating to mobile phones, digital communication and social media

 

Digital communication:

 

Facebook and other Social Networking Sites

 

Photography /Video recording/Audio recording

 

Safeguarding Policy: Appendix B

This appendix outlines the internal procedures which enable compliance with the Safeguarding Policy.

 

Trustees, Directors and Staff (including volunteers)

 

For short term projects

A short-term project is defined as one where volunteers interact with the same group of young people on three or fewer occasions.

 

Volunteers

 

Schools and colleges

During the Working Options led activity booking process schools and colleges:

 

For longer term projects

A longer-term project is defined as one where the volunteers interact with the same group of young people on more than three occasions.

The following guidelines will be followed, and detailed processes for safeguarding will be developed specific to each project:

 

Recording and storing incidents, concerns and referrals

All records of incidents, concerns and referrals will be stored digitally in chronological order in a secure online folder. Where paper evidence is collected, this will be stored in a secure, locked cabinet. Only the Executive Board will have access and records will only be kept as long as necessary.

Where records relate to a child, they will be retained until the individual’s 25th birthday.

Where records relate to concerns about an adult’s behaviour with children, records will be retained until the individual’s 65th birthday, or for 10 years, whichever is longer.

Where there are unfinished legal proceedings related to an incident for which records are being held, records may need to be retained longer. In this instance, legal advice will be sought.

All records will be handwritten by the person with the concern within 24 hours, on headed paper or incident sheets and will be factual and non-judgmental. Records will include any known details of the child/children or young people involved e.g. name, address, date of birth etc. Records will be signed, dated and the time of record creation included.

Normally these records will be passed to the school or college’s safeguarding lead as soon as possible. Records of serious incidents will be passed on to the relevant authority. Where incidents are not referred to relevant authorities, the reasons for making the decision not to refer will be recorded as well.

 

Making referrals

Referrals will be made by the Child Protection/Safeguarding Officer or, in their absence, the CEO.

Where an incident requires a referral beyond the safeguarding lead of a school or college, the following process will be followed:

Other useful contact details:

 

Safeguarding guidance for volunteers

The following guidance applies to volunteers attending a Working Options led activity.

 

Working Options events

Working Options has a duty of care towards students who are participating in Working Options organised events. This duty of care covers the duration of the event from the designated meeting point until the event finishes. Working Options is responsible for undertaking, or obtaining from the venue, a risk assessment for the visit and ensuring there are an adequate number of qualified first aid staff present.

 

When a teacher/ school/college representative attends an event with the students

When a teacher or other school/college representative is attending with students, the students remain the duty of care of the school/college. Working Options will provide a risk assessment of the venue, but it is expected that the school/college representative takes full responsibility for their students for the entire duration of the visit. When students attend an event independently of the school/college Working Options expects students to travel to the event. Working Options will provide a risk assessment to the school/college and a letter that can be passed to parents – this is at the school/college’s discretion. Working Options staff should ensure that they have emergency contact details for each student that attends, and either Working Options or the school/college should call a parent/carer should a student become unwell or if there is a concern regarding the student’s welfare. Working Options accepts no responsibility for personal belongings brought by students to events.

 

Staff ratios and supervision

Each Local Authority defines the appropriate number of staff for trips and visits and therefore it is the responsibility of the school or college to ensure they send enough staff as per their school/college/local authority guidelines. Working Options follows a guideline of one member of staff for every 15-20 students. These members of staff may include adults from the hosting organisation who support the event.

 

Virtual sessions

Safeguarding and Virtual Sessions Some key points on how to keep staff, volunteers and students safe during virtual sessions:

 

Find us on
social media

Keep up to date with how we make a difference, career tips and news from the education world.